By EMILY SPARACINO | Editor-in-chief
VACUUM CLEANER – The Hoover Public Library serves residents in the eastern part of the city from a local cafe.
The grand opening of the Library’s Remote Locker inside the East 59 Café in Lee Branch in October signaled a much anticipated expansion of services to Hoover communities along the US Corridor 280.
Residents can use the locker, or “Library in a Cafe,” to pick up and return materials, and the Library also hosts programs and events inside the cafe.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said library director Amanda Borden, noting that the project was funded by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act through the Alabama Public Library Service, with a 20% contribution from the city.
Grant funds totaled nearly $ 45,000 and were awarded in August 2020, Borden said.
The library ordered the locker remotely last fall, it arrived in May, and it opened in early October.
“We really love the library,” said Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato. “It’s a big space. Hope this leads to a real branch on this side of town.
Borden said the library initially continued with the project in 2017, but challenges like funding and securing a location kept it from happening.
Instead, the library has opened several new book deliveries around the city, to Inverness, Greystone, Bluff Park and Ross Bridge.
Now, residents near US 280 have a new outlet for convenient pickup and drop-off of books, library programs, and cafe refreshments.
Borden thanked East 59 Café owner Amber Tolbert for partnering with the library on the project.
Tolbert, her husband, Stephen, and her parents, Jeannine and Michael Glenn, opened East 59 Café in Lee Branch in September 2020.
They opened the original location in East Lake Birmingham in 2014. Although it closed in 2019, the family still own and operate the East 59 Café which opened in the Hoover Public Library in 2017.
East 59 Café at Lee Branch is located at 701 Doug Baker Boulevard No. 103.
Upcoming library events at this location include Story Time on Monday, December 6 at 10:30 a.m. and Story Time with Santa Claus on Thursday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Library in a Cafe, visit Hooverlibrary.org/leebranch.