By Emily Williams
September marks the golden anniversary for Mountain Brook’s Emmet O’Neal Library, which opened its doors Sept. 12, 1965. To celebrate 50 years, the library will host a variety of events for the public.
“This September’s 50th birthday celebration is an opportunity to share with the community the library’s commitment to providing quality materials and information services; well-trained, service-oriented and friendly staff; and state-of-the-art technology for lifelong learning opportunities,” Library Director Sue DeBrecht said.
DeBrecht began working for the library in the ‘80s, when it was a 17,000-square-foot building, and has watched it grow into a more than 40,000-square-foot Blue Ribbon facility. DeBrecht said her favorite part of her job is seeing the children who once attended her story-time session return.
“One of the most rewarding things is that they are now coming back and bringing their own kids to story time,” DeBrecht said. “It’s great to see that the mothers, their children and now their grandchildren are instilling that level of reading and life-long learning.”
She said that, regardless of what format the books come in, the community is still reading and the library has done its best to keep up with the changing technology.
“I really have to give a shout-out to our city manager, Sam Gaston, and (director of finance) Steven Boone,” DeBrecht said. “They are the ones who have really been with this library over the last 20 years and they are making sure that we are a well-funded library.”
Whether it’s high-speed technology, eBooks or 3D printing, DeBrecht said the library has had the means to keep up with the changing environment due to the work of the city council and the Mountain Brook Library Foundation.
DeBrecht said the library soon will be incorporating Hoopla, an online streaming website that allows users to borrow movies, music, books and more with their library card.
To kick off the celebratory festivities, the library will host a family night Sept. 11 on the lawn at 5:30 p.m. The evening will begin with a picnic dinner, followed with a musical performance by FunikiJam at 6 p.m.
In addition, an all-day celebration will take place Sept. 12 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with cupcakes and lemonade available for library guests. At 9:30 a.m., Friends of the Emmet O’Neal Library will host fine art broker John Jones, who regularly appears as an appraiser on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.” During his discussion, Jones will discuss five different audience-submitted items. To be considered for discussion, items must be submitted to the library by Sept. 4.
To complete the day of celebration, the library will host a reception featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at 6 p.m. Goodwin will hold a book-signing following the program.
Tickets for the book-signing are $50 and can be purchased at the library’s reference desk. For more information, call 445-1121.
For more information on antique submissions, contact Katie Moellering at 445-1118 or email email@example.com. ϖ