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Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum

Weaver Bolden Branch Library

Weaver Bolden Branch Library

 In 1946, a library to serve the African American community opened in three rooms of the Community Center, located at 18th Street and 30th Avenue in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Community Center, site of recreational activities and a radio school, was funded through what was then known as the Community Chest (precursor to the United Way) and the Tuscaloosa Religious Association. Tuscaloosa County assumed financial responsibility for operating all recreational programs and the Community Center building was torn down.

In 1948 Ruth Eaton Cummings Bolden served as librarian there until her retirement in 1975.   The library was moved first to the Lutheran Church School, then to a store owned by Mr. Frank Williams. The County appropriated no funds to the library until 1953, when the Tuscaloosa Public Library assumed responsibility. In 1956 the branch of the library for African Americans was housed in the Barnes branch of the YMCA, located between 18th and 19th streets facing 30th Avenue in the Alston Home. 

Twice a month, the library carried books to county schools in Holly Springs, Coaling, Romulus, Taylorville, Dry Creek and Holt. There was no other library service to African Americans in Tuscaloosa County except at the Northport Technical School.

By late 1959, the idea of building a new segregated branch libray for African American patrons was being regarded as the best way to provide library service to this community.  City of Tuscaloosa purchased the property for the location of the Weaver Branch at 2937 19th Street in early 1960. The $29,446 facility opened on December 12, 1960 and was dedicated on February 12, 1961 as the Weaver Branch.  

Ruth Bolden, the first librarian at the branch, requested that the Library Board name the library in honor of George Weaver, a former civic leader who opened his personal library to area students.  In 1991, Ms. Ruth Bolden's name was added, making it the Weaver-Bolden Branch Library.  A Community Block Grant funded renovations in 1991.

In the fall of 1998, faced with substantial financial shortfalls, the Library Board voted to close its three branches including the Weaver Bolden Branch Library.  Thanks to an increase in appropriations from the City of Tuscaloosa, the branch was able to remain open with some reduction in service. 

Rennovations in 2003 were again funded by a Community Block Grant.  On November 16, 2010 thanks to a Hope VI grant, Weaver Bolden was relocated from its original location to a brand new building at 2522 Lanier Avenue. The new location gave additional space for both patron and staff use. As a way to connect with its past, the sign from the original location was brought to the new location.

Weaver Bolden Branch Library