Library in a Café serves Hoover’s 280-area residents
Published 12:48 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021
By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
HOOVER – The Hoover Public Library is serving residents on the east side of the city from a local café.
The grand opening of the library’s remote locker inside East 59 Café at Lee Branch in October signaled a much-anticipated expansion of services to Hoover’s communities along the U.S. 280 corridor.
Residents can utilize the locker, or “Library in a Café,” to pick up and return materials, and the library also holds programs and events inside the café.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” Library Director Amanda Borden said, noting the project was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the Alabama Public Library Service, with a 20-percent match from the city.
Grant funds totaled nearly $45,000 and were awarded in August 2020, Borden said.
The library ordered the remote locker last fall, it arrived in May, and it opened in early October.
“We really do love the library,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said. “This is a great space. I hope this leads to an actual branch on this side of town.”
Borden said the library initially pursued the project in 2017, but challenges such as funding and securing a location prevented it from happening.
Instead, the library opened several new book drops around the city, in Inverness, Greystone, Bluff Park and Ross Bridge.
Now, residents near U.S. 280 have a new outlet for convenient book pickups and returns, library programs and refreshments from the café.
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 at Lee Branch in September 2020.
They opened the original location in East Lake Birmingham in 2014. Although it closed in 2019, the family still owns and runs the East 59 Café that 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 Storytime on Monday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m. and Storytime with Santa on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
For more information about Library in a Café, visit Hooverlibrary.org/leebranch.