Birmingham Public Library Launches New Digital Collections
Starting in January 2006 the Birmingham Public Library’s Digital Collections will be available over the Internet 24/7 without charge and will feature some of the great treasures of the library’s special collections and archives. Many of these collections offer rare or unique glimpses into the history of Birmingham. “By digitizing some of the library’s newspaper clippings, photographs, and other materials, we are able to offer these special resources to people all over the world. We also expect these digital documents and images to motivate people from Birmingham and beyond to come into the library to see more of the library’s historic collection,” said Library Director Barbara Sirmans. She added, “This project would not have been possible without the generosity of the Birmingham News and the Birmingham Post Herald that allowed us to reproduce many of the articles from their papers.”
The digital collections encompass a variety of topics from the familiar to the unusual and currently feature newspaper articles, photographs, local history, and full-text pamphlets. The digital resources will continue to grow as the library adds more materials from its special collections. The library is also using this project as a catalyst to ask the public for historical photographs, scrapbooks, high-school yearbooks, and other materials from private collections that document the city’s past, particularly from the 1930s forward.
Collections already online include a souvenir booklet on the tornado of 1901, memorabilia on the Alabama Theatre, and photos depicting the aftermath of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The digital collections are on the library’s Web site at http://www.bplonline.org.