What if you needed 22 library cards, instead of one?
The Public Libraries in Jefferson County (PLJC) is a group of 22 individual
municipal Jefferson County libraries that banded together thirty-three years ago
to create the "one county - one library card" system. Citizens of all ages use
one library card countywide and have access to all the resources of all the
libraries in the county, plus an online catalog, the Internet, numerous
databases and the Books-By-Mail program. Our countywide delivery system
transports materials throughout the county to satisfy users’ requests and
returns them to the owning library for the borrower’s convenience. PLJC is the
non-profit organization that manages the system-wide services—the glue that
links us together.
After 33 years of funding, the Jefferson County Library Cooperative was recently
eliminated from the Jefferson County budget. Local library buildings, staff, and
operations are funded at the local level. But PLJC, a non-profit organization,
provides all 40 Jefferson County city public libraries—including your local
library—with essential services like internet access, book and DVD delivery
between libraries, one centralized catalog and one centralized library card.
Our members include the following public libraries: Adamsville, Bessemer,
Birmingham Public Library System (19 branches), Botanical Gardens, Clay,
Fairfield, Fultondale, Gardendale, Graysville, Homewood, Hoover, Hueytown,
Irondale, Leeds, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Pinson, Pleasant Grove, Tarrant,
Trussville, Vestavia Hills, and Warrior.
On behalf of the 22 directors of our member libraries, we greatly appreciate
that over the past thirty-three years you have been such steady, staunch
supporters of PLJC and all of our public libraries. Your tax dollars, along with
funding from the local municipalities, the Alabama Public Library Service, and
tax deductible public donations, aid in making us "one" cooperative. We take
great pride in providing world class library service to citizens of all ages
throughout Jefferson County.
Tell your friends and family that libraries are essential components of
communities— worth fighting for and worth funding.
is the Library Worth to You?
"I moved to Birmingham at the age of 10 in the depths of the depression.
From the very beginning of my family's move, I started going to the Children's
Department of the Birmingham Public Library. I also enrolled in the summer in a
children's reading program. I remember bringing my father down at the end of one
of the summers in which I had read 30 books, thus entitling me to a certificate
of proficiency (10-book minimum for a certificate) plus two seals, (each
representing 10 additional books) that were affixed to the certificate.
As I matured, I began to pursue a love of history and good literature. I was
seldom disappointed in my selections.
In short, the library has been a resource for me ever since 1938. It is
my understanding that all of the libraries in this area are having a difficult
time at the present because of our economic downtown. I would like to do my part
to help and, to that end, I enclose my contribution to the Jefferson County
"The library rocks! Especially our Jefferson County libraries! I've
always said, I could live just about anywhere with very little IF I lived within
walking distance of one of our libraries!"
"I love the fact that all Jefferson County libraries are connected, and
that you can go online to locate books, music, and movies that would not be
feasible if you had to go to every library to locate. The librarians are always
friendly and helpful as well."
"My library gives me a place to relax and get a hold of some great books
w/out having to spend my whole paycheck. I love books and reading and w/out my
library, I would have a household of books and be penniless because I would buy
every book I could."
"I love the library. I've used the library's books to diet and exercise,
cook and reorganize, to raise children and put myself to sleep at night. I used
to read books but now I listen to them, sometimes download them. I'm studying
"This library system works like a well oiled machine!"
In the News
Local Libraries Need Your Help Post Budget Cuts | Alabama's 13.com
May 6, 2012
Jefferson County, AL, Bankruptcy Cuts Library Funding | Library Journal
Mar 2, 2012
by Meredith Schwartz
The bankruptcy of Jefferson County, AL, is leaving a trail of collateral
damage to services in its wake, libraries included. Until the current crisis,
the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) had
received the majority of its funding from the county for 33 years.
JCLC's ancestor: In the 1920s, Jefferson County funded a wagon
Unfortunately, the county has had to cut the cooperative’s funding over and
over. In 2010 the funding was
halved to $500,000, according to The Birmingham News. In 2011 it
halved again, according to the News. And in 2012 the county
eliminated funding for the co-op altogether.
Today, the co-op subsists largely on its emergency reserve fund (which it had
been increasing since 2006, when the county’s fiscal problems began to look
serious), and on fees from its 22 member libraries. “Libraries are paying higher
member fees than ever. And at a time when their city funding is level or they
have sustained local cuts also,” Patricia F. Ryan, executive director of JCLC,
VIEWPOINTS: JCLC libraries offer our society more than books
| al.com Sept 16, 2012 by Alexandra Tucci
Twelve-year-old Kendell King goes to the Smithfield branch of the Birmingham Public Library every day it is open, six times a week. He lives a few blocks from the library and walks over to read, play computer games and check out Curious George books for his younger brother.
Although shy at first, King, who has a bashful smile and large, inquisitive brown eyes, describes his walk to school, his fondness for pizza, his worries about his mom's health and his dreams of simultaneously being a football player and doctor. He said he goes to the nearby park and basketball court often, but he comes to the library every day.
The library is "a safe place," he explained.
Jefferson County Library Co-op donations embraced to ease crunch | al.com
Nov 22, 2010 by Hannah Wolfson
Facing a second year of tight budgets, the
Jefferson County Library Cooperative has launched its first formal fundraising
The cooperative, which links and provides support for the county's 21 library
systems, hopes to make up a small part of the cuts that came last year when the
Jefferson County Commission, which provides much of the group's funding, cut its
appropriation from $1 million to $500,000.
"The cooperative is so crucial, because if every library had to do this on
their own, they couldn't afford it," Ryan said. "What we're able to offer is
economy of scale. The co-op is the glue that holds us all together."