Tuscaloosa Public Library
Jack Warner Parkway
Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, 35401
Located on Jack Warner Parkway (then River Road), the Tuscaloosa Public Library was realized in 1979 after lengthy construction problems and delays.
An 1879 article in The Tuscaloosa Times marks the foundation of a library for Tuscaloosa. J.H. Fitts, Esq., endowed it with a subscription of $50.00 in cash and 100 valuable books. A large number of books belonging to the Young Men's Christian Association were turned over to the library and about 500 books were given by citizens. A "commodious room" housed the library, located over the store formerly occupied by Dr. John Little.
By the early 1900s the library had been moved to a small one-room location in the basement of the County Courthouse. The library soon outgrew the Courthouse rooms and moved to what is now known as the "Old Searcy Home" (at 9th Street and 24th Avenue) in 1926. The library shared space with the County Board of Education. Five of the downstairs rooms were dedicated to the library.
The main library soon outgrew the five room space in the Searcy House and was relocated to the historic Jemison House in 1958. The house, an Italianate villa, was built in 1860-1862 and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was donated by the Friedman family and the library then became known as the Friedman Library. By 1966, the book stock numbered some 59,853 volumes.
Still the library would outgrow even the Friedman building. It then moved to its new building.
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