The start of a new week also meant the start of a new era at the Pratt City branch of the Birmingham Public Library. The building re-opened Monday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony – one originally scheduled for January 30 but postponed due to our recent issues with winter weather. The building, mostly destroyed by a tornado on April 27, 2011, replaces one that opened on the site in 1993.
As Alabama’s 13 pointed out in its coverage, the library sits in its old location, though the address has been changed to reflect it no longer facing Hibernian Street, but Dugan. The branch’s entrance from the parking lot greets patrons with a new metal sign (as seen in the image accompanying this post).
Its kitchen/break room will now serve as a storm shelter, capable of holding 25 people if necessary. The new building also includes new terrazzo floors with a map showing the location of major sites located throughout Pratt City and quotes lining the top of the walls surrounding its main reading room.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, speaking to reporters before the start of the ceremony, referenced the significance of the $10 million TIGER grant awarded to the city of Birmingham in June 2012 for its “Roads to Recovery” effort in the rebuilding effort of the library and the surrounding area. A portion of those TIGER funds may have been used for the project itself as it contains new bike racks and is located at a BJCTA bus stop. According to an email from the public library announcing Monday’s event, the Daniel Foundation, the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation, Alabama Forever, the Greystone Foundation, the Alabama Public Library Service, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, Bobby Humphrey’s Legends of the Iron Bowl Run for Recovery 5K, and Kingsley Metal Works USA also contributed funding and time toward the project.
It’s quickly becoming a busy period for the library as it recently announced plans to renovate its downtown location. They’re asking the public for input in the process – before February 17.