1012 Hoover Public Library building
Hoover Public Library
The Hoover Public Library welcomed nearly 700,000 patrons through its gates in the past year. As a cultural mainstay of the community, it offers free access to arts and enrichment programs, comprehensive technology services, an inventory of books and multimedia to rival almost any public library throughout the Southeast.
“Our library is not your grandmother’s library,” said Assistant Library Director Amanda Bonner. “Forget dusty books and stodgy librarians. We are the ‘it’ place to be, and have all types of materials for your informational and entertainment needs – a café, theatre programs, tons of relevant children’s programs, movies, books, computers, ebooks and even musical performances. It’s more than a library – it’s the hub of the community, a notable arts center, a children’s wonderland. It’s a ‘you can’t believe it ‘til you see it’ library.”
According to Library Director Linda Andrews, the library’s reputation as a destination in its own right is an image she and her staff have worked deliberately to build.
“Many people have found our library to be the ‘Third Place’ in their lives,” she said. “First is home, second is work, and for many people, the library can serve as the third place where they can come to escape and find a magical world with so much to offer.”
The library’s past success seems to be an incubator for future successes as well, substantiated by the talent track record of The Library Theatre, now in its 21st season. According to Matina Johnson, the library’s fine arts coordinator, memorable acts include Los Lonely Boys, Marc Cohn, Jim Brickman, Loudon Wainwright III, Pam Tillis, Colin Hay, Nickel Creek, Leon Redbone and many others. This year the Theatre will welcome performers Lorrie Morgan and Edwin McCain, as well as the National Tour of Pride & Prejudice.
A new online service called “Universal Class” offers wide variety of subjects including computer training, language, mathematics, medical billing and recreational and hobby classes. In addition, computer classes are free and are offered each month, though registration is required. These classes are also available in Spanish taught by area businessman Juan Lopez.
“The nonfiction section is the history, discovery and National Geographic channels of the Hoover Public Library rolled into one,” said Bryce Thornton, business librarian. “A patron can come to our department and travel anywhere in the world, consult with any expert or gather as much information as they need, on any given subject, with one click or turn of the page.”
The library offers 24/7 access to many databases. “Through these databases, patrons can access popular magazines, medical and business information and career guidance that they cannot find by just surfing the web,” Thornton said.
Cone of silence
Andrews said a top priority for all Hoover Public Library staff is innovation. For example, they had a problem with people talking loudly on cell phones in the library and were receiving complaints from other library users. Their solution: a soundproof cell phone booth. It’s a glass cylinder, and when you close the door, a light and fan come up. “The public loves it and we have had no more complaints about cell phone use,” Andrews said. “We have named it the ‘Cone of Silence,’ and it looks as if it would beam you up!”
The Library also offers more than 70 public access computers from which patrons can access the Internet, email, Microsoft Office products and online databases. Through the facility’s laptop lending program, patrons can check out laptops for use anywhere on the Library’s 85,000 square foot campus.
The Hoover Sun will publish an ongoing article series about the Library’s special events and programs. For immediate information about Library events, visit hooverlibrary.org.