Friedman Library, 1305 Greensboro Avenue
The public library was called the Friedman Library, in honor of Victor Hugh Friedman who gave the house, now known as the Jemison - Van de Graaff Mansion, at 1305 Greensboro Avenue, to the county for use as a library.
In 1955, the ante-bellum house was purchased by the YMCA for $70,000. In a prearranged agreement, it was then exchanged with Mr. Victor Hugo Friedman for the north half of the block containing the Battle-Friedman House. The YMCA used that property as the site for the new central YMCA building. Mr. Friedman gave the house to Tuscaloosa County for use as a public library.
This building was used by the library from its opening on June 16, 1958 until 1979 when it moved to its current location on Jack Warner Parkway.
New services made possible by the size of the facility included a conference room on the second floor and a music room including phonographic equipment and 227 phonograph records.
The Civil rights movement was beginning to have a major impact on library services for African Americans in Tuscaloosa when the Friedman Library opened. A "separate-but-equal" segregation strategy adopted by the Friedman staff involved transporting any requested items from the central library to the Weaver Branch immediatley upon request by an African American patron, reserving service in the Friedman facility for white patrons.
There was also a station of approximately 1,000 books in Northport's recreation center. Unfortunately, funds were not provided to continue the bookmobile service until 1965.
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