Why should you CHECK OUT the Linn Henley Research Library? From its neoclassical look on the outside to the intricate murals in the reading room, the Linn Henley Research Library is a great place to spend your quiet time or deep dive into some research.

Get to know Linn Henley

Before the library existed, Birmingham City Hall had a library room that tragically caught on fire in 1925. Over half of the books were damaged in the fire, and the building was lost. However, the fire created a much-needed push to build the city’s first public library. With the help of libraries all around the country, who donated numerous books, the neoclassical building of Indian limestone opened in 1927.

Southern History Reading Room

The Birmingham Library Board commissioned world-renowned artist Ezra Winter to create a mural surrounding the large reading room. He was allowed to be as creative as he wanted, so he read and studied famous literature from around the world, which inspired his murals for the reading room. The murals are comprised of 16 major literature books/writers from around the globe, including Don Quixote and Confucius. You can learn more about each of the sixteen murals here!

Children's Room

The children’s room also has a mural that depicts famous children’s tales like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. The room still uses the small bookshelves, and you can even use the quaint reading nooks.

What other popular tales can you depict from the photos below?

Before you go

In lieu of the new Birmingham Public Library that opened in 1987, the Linn Henley Library was renovated into a research space. Now, you can use the library as a study area, find old newspaper articles, or learn more about your ancestors. Appointments are required but are usually available the day of. BOOK a trip to this hidden gem in the center of downtown today!

What to know before going to the library:

  • Library hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • The entrance is deceiving; to enter the library, go through the Birmingham Public Library and cross the skywalk on the third floor. Go down the marble steps to the bottom floor to enter the main reading room.
  • Parking is available on the street, or the Boutwell Auditorium parking deck is a block away.
  • You can bring outside beverages as long as they have a closed lid.
  • Small snacks are welcome just don’t bring a big lunch!
  • While there aren’t any Zoom/phone booths, this quiet area allows you to work without any disturbances.
  • There is public WIFI available for visitors.
  • You are allowed to take pictures if there aren’t people in the photos.

To learn more about the Linn Henley Library, use the link here! Or ask the resident librarians that are always on duty to help you answer any questions.

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