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The Florence-Lauderdale Public Library is located at 350 North Wood Avenue in beautiful downtown Florence, Alabama. The two-story building was built in 2002 in response to the community’s desire for a facility that served the literary, cultural, and recreational needs of the community.

Today, FLPL is the destination for anyone looking for a place to learn, have fun, or relax. When visiting the library, you’ll see patrons checking out the latest bestsellers or dvds for their families. You’ll see Mrs. Jessica leading toddlers in storytime, and adults enjoying classes and special events. You’ll also see people using the public computers to search for jobs, and researchers discovering long-hidden details about their ancestors in the Local History & Genealogy Room.

In 1885, a group of Florence women formed a subscription library. Originally called The Ladies’ Library, the collection was first housed in the Florence Synodical College, a Presbyterian school located at the site of the Federal Post Office on Seminary Street. It was supported by membership dues of one dollar for one year, a rather large sum for that time. Additional books were purchased with funds generated by a variety of community events, including concerts, plays, and performances by “facial impersonators.”

Following the closing of the Synodical College in 1893, The Ladies’ Library became The Southern Library and was temporarily relocated to the basement of Florence City Hall on Short Court Street. It was next housed in the basement of the old Lauderdale County Courthouse, located in what was known as Court Square, bordered by Court, South Court, Tennessee, and College Streets.

Bibb-Graves Hall on the campus of Florence State Teachers College, now the University of North Alabama, became the library’s fourth home. In return for housing the library, the college’s faculty and students were allowed free use of the collection.

Moving Forward
In 1945, Louis Rosenbaum, the proprietor of a local chain of movie theaters, donated $25,000 to acquire or build a permanent home for the library. This marked the beginning of a very successful fundraising campaign.

In February 11, 1946, the subscription library became a free public library. Miss Evelyn Peeler was employed by the city-appointed board to serve as the library’s first administrator. While awaiting the completion of its new building, the library was moved once again into temporary quarters at the Hotel Reeder. On January 9, 1949, the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library opened its doors at 218 North Wood Avenue, an address that was to be its home for the next 53 years.

Today’s FLPL
In the fall of 2002, FLPL moved to its current location. Since then, the library has had over 1.7 million visitors and has hosted special guests that include Donald Trump, illustrator Richard Cowdrey, and author and columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson. Home to a collection of nearly 100,000 books, audiobooks, music CDs, and movies, FLPL continues to be a vital asset to the community.

FLPL in the News

The King James Version
Times Daily, March 31, 2012

Hungry? Read a book
Times Daily, March 30, 2012

Get dirty
Times Daily, February 28, 2012

Thanksgiving, for beginners
Times Daily, November 16, 2011

Library receives advance on budget allocation
Times Daily, October 22, 2011

No wage increases for employees
Times Daily, October 5, 2011

Library asks for $250,000 for next fiscal year
Times Daily, July 23, 2011

Library goes high-tech by circulating e-readers
Times Daily, May 31, 2011

Historical documents now available on library’s website
Times Daily, February 6, 2011

Internet, tight budgets hurt library book buying
Times Daily, November 26, 2010

Historical documents on display at library
Times Daily, October 13, 2010


Old FLPL Brochure [PDF, 1.9 MB]: We found this brochure in one of our books, from back when the library was at 218 North Wood Avenue and you could “call the library [catalog] computer” from home using “a personal computer with a modem and telecommunications software” (probably the late ’80s).

The Floor Medallion: A History: A description by Heritage Preservation, Inc. of the medallion on the floor of the library entryway.