Birmingham Public Library

Application Period for Library Board Closed Tuesday

Birmingham Public Library (Source: Encyclopedia of Alabama)

The application period for seats on the Birmingham Public Library’s board of trustees expired at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Three members of the 10-member board — Board President Eunice Johnson Rogers, Vice President Willie S. Davis and Parliamentarian John Scott Vowell — had terms that expired last December, though they’ve continued to serve on the board until new members can be appointed.

While Vowell has served two full terms and is thus ineligible for another, Rogers and Davis are eligible for another five-year appointment to the board.

Three more board seats — those of James A. Sullivan, Fatima Carter and Sherri Nielson — are set to expire Dec. 31. As first-term board members, all three are eligible for reappointment.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the library system. Last December, Executive Director Floyd Council resigned from his job months after the board suspended him without pay for undisclosed reasons. He was replaced by Janine Langston as interim director; the board has yet to select a permanent successor.

The board also was the subject of significant controversy in October, when Rogers wrote an open letter to BPL staff recommending the closures of library branches in East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale and Titusville, citing “Mayor (Randall) Woodfin’s vision of decreasing the number of physical (library) locations.”

Woodfin in return accused Rogers of “playing games,” saying he had not been consulted on the decision and that “such unilateral action by the library board president jeopardizes confidence in the board tasked with overseeing our libraries.” The board has since delayed making a decision on those proposed closures.