North Huntsville

North Huntsville fundraising progressMar. 15, 2017: Another sizable donation is pushing the new North Huntsville Library project closer to its $2.5 million goal. A press conference will be held on Wednesday, Mar. 22, at 2 p.m. at the Bessie K. Russell Library, 3011-C Sparkman Dr., to acknowledge a generous contribution from the Alabama A&M University Foundation on behalf of the university. AAMU President Andrew Hugine Jr. and First Lady Abbiegail Hugine, Mayor Tommy Battle, and District 1 Councilman Devyn Keith will be in attendance.

AAMU has a long history of supporting the North Huntsville community.

“Alabama A&M University is a part of the larger Huntsville community, and in keeping with the desire to be good community partners, we invested in the North Huntsville Library because it represents a place where students and community members can increase their knowledge,” said President Hugine. “This is consistent with the University’s mission of enhancing educational opportunities.”

“We are so grateful to receive $50,000 from Alabama A&M,” said campaign chairperson Kim Caudle Lewis. “Donations like these from educational institutions, businesses, and organizations within North Huntsville really show how much support we’ve seen from this community for a new library. People really recognize that it will be a true asset in this area, and they want to be a part of it.”

To date, the North Huntsville Library Committee has raised over $1.3 million of the $2.5 million needed to transform the Berachah Center into a 21st-century, state-of-the-art library.

If you are interested in donating to this project, or would like more information, visit


Nov. 9, 2016: First Missionary Baptist Church Foundation (FMBC Foundation), an extension of First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, has approved a $200,000 donation to the Huntsville Library Foundation (HLF) on behalf of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (HMCPL). These funds will be used for the Library’s capital campaign for the Bessie K. Russell Branch Library of North Huntsville. The Large Reception Hall will be named after the FMBC Foundation in honor of this generous donation. A press conference announcing this donation will be held at the Bessie K. Russell Branch Library, 3011-C Sparkman Drive, at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.

The FMBC Foundation has a mission focused on education and community engagement. This represents the largest donation that they have made since their inception in 2009.

“We at First Missionary Baptist Church, are delighted to join with the City of Huntsville, Redstone Federal Credit Union, the Cecil B. Ashburn Foundation, and other community partners in helping to bring a first-class library to North Huntsville. We believe that this library will enhance the learning experiences of all North Huntsvillians and create a lasting benefit for our school-age children,” said FMBC Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs.

“The Bessie K. Russell Branch Library of North Huntsville will enrich the lives of the entire north Huntsville community. The First Missionary Baptist Church Foundation is excited and honored to play a role is this grand undertaking.,” said John Stallworth, FMBC Foundation board president.

This donation from FMBC Foundation, along with large donations from Redstone Federal Credit Union and other contributors, totals $3.1 million of the $4.5 million fundraising goal for the new North Huntsville Library.

“This library would not be possible without the support of our community partners, and we are proud to see the First Missionary Baptist Church Foundation give generously to this worthy cause,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.


May 12, 2016: As part of the planning process, the public was invited to a BIG Picture forum on Feb. 9 to help shape a vision for the library and the rest of the campus. Here are some of the most popular options discussed in that community meeting:

  • Additional public computers and a computer training lab
  • Expanded children’s programming
  • Artwork inside and outside the library
  • Study rooms for children and adults
  • Community meeting rooms
  • Garden
  • Public performance area
  • Spaces for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming

For the new North Huntsville Library to become a reality, the whole community must get involved. Leading the library’s fundraising push is a committee chaired by Kim Lewis. 

“This committee’s clear and focused vision can only be realized with partnerships from public and private business sectors as well as the community,” Lewis said. “Our collective commitment to this fundraising effort will benefit children and adults alike, now and in the future. We need you to join us.”

The City of Huntsville has committed $2 million toward this effort as it did for the New Bailey Cove Library in South Huntsville. With the city’s $2 million allocation and support from early donors, the North Huntsville Library is almost half way to reaching its goal of $5 million. Many thanks to all our early donors, including our first major donor, the Cecil B. Ashburn Foundation.



Nov. 2, 2016: Madison community fundraising goal

The earth will start moving on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. when officials break ground for a brand new, state-of-the-art library that is coming to the city of Madison. The library’s new building will be located at 142 Plaza Boulevard, just two doors east of the Madison Public Library’s current location. A reception will immediately follow at Madison Public Library, 130 Plaza Blvd., where plans and drawings for the new library will be on display.

Despite the fast-growing population of Madison that has forced the library to move twice already, the institution has continued to serve Madison for nearly 40 years. The Madison Public Library (MPL), currently located at 130 Plaza Boulevard in a building that was constructed in 1997, was designed to serve a population of about 25,000. With a current population that is double that, the city of Madison requires a bigger, more innovative space to adequately serve this growing area.

“Anyone who has visited our library in the past couple of years know that we are bursting at the seams,” said Madison Public Library Manager Sarah Sledge. “We are so fortunate to have a community that not only supports the idea of a great library for Madison, but also heavily uses it. The challenge we are faced with every day is how to adequately and proactively provide services and quality programs for so many people with limited space to accommodate the wonderful, free things we offer.”

MPL is second only to the Downtown Huntsville Library in terms of circulation, but at only 15,000 square feet, still operates in a building that is a fraction of Downtown’s size. MPL currently provides 600,000 items per year in circulation, serves 17,400 households, issues over 4,100 library cards each year, and exists in close proximity to 13 public schools.

The new building will be 25,000 square feet, and will include the following amenities and features:

  • An open, bookstore-style floor plan for easy browsing
  • Larger meeting spaces that will be accessible after hours
  • Private study rooms as well as a small board room, with the latest technology in each
  • Art gallery featuring rotating collections
  • Expanded Friends of the Library Bookstore
  • Studio Lab
  • An indoor fireplace for cozy reading
  • Family bathroom facilities
  • Separate children’s storytime room
  • Interactive early literacy center
  • Separate teen space
  • A large outdoor screen for movie screenings, presentations, and more
  • A natural outdoor amphitheater
  • New state-of-the-art technology for printing, researching, and more

Each of these upgrades and improvements will allow for a more engaging, innovative, and creative learning environment at MPL. The City of Madison has committed to an $8.5 million bond toward this project, but the total estimated cost is $10.2 million, leaving a $1.7 million gap. After a $833,333 donation from Redstone Federal Credit Union, the project is left with a $1 million community fundraising goal. Anyone who would like to contribute to this project may contact HMCPL Director of Institutional Advancement Susan Markham at

“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to increase our presence in the Madison community,” said Markham. “The library is an essential cornerstone for any city, and provides a common denominator in equal opportunities for all walks of life. Young, old, rich, poor…we literally provide the same products and services for free to everyone who walks through our doors. By supporting this new library, you are supporting your own community’s future success.”

For information, news, and updates regarding this project, visit or follow at If you have any additional questions regarding the new Madison Public Library, including fundraising, design, layout, amenities, necessity, etc., contact Susan Markham at

Rendering of new Madison Public Library



Floor plan for new Madison Public Library

Sept. 16, 2015: Madison Public Library held a town hall meeting at City Hall on September 15, 2015 to discuss features that are being considered in the New Madison Library. Peter Bolek, a nationally recognized architect who works primarily on libraries, led the discussion and allowed participants to identify which features they like and disliked the most. Based on this input from the community and known needs for the new building, several enhancements are being considered for this 25,000 square foot (maximum) facility. The most requested features include:

  • Natural light throughout the library
  • Self-checkout at entry
  • Rotating artwork / local artwork at entry
  • “History of Madison” display at entry
  • “What’s new in the library” display featuring new materials and upcoming events
  • New materials / face-out materials display
  • A larger Friends of the Library bookstore and donation area
  • Clear / bold signage throughout the library
  • A variety of seating types throughout the library
  • Quiet reading room
  • Café / Vending Area
  • Touch-screen end panel catalog stations
  • Topic-based neighborhood shelving
  • E-browser / download stations
  • Glass enclosed, technology-rich study rooms
  • Collaborative and technology-rich meeting / study spaces for groups
  • Plenty of outlets for BYOD (bring your own device) patrons
  • Public computer access
  • Flexible computer training lab with moveable glass wall
  • Laptop / tablet dispenser
  • Flexible meeting rooms
  • “Dirty” room for messy programs
  • Recording studio
  • Maker space with 3-D printer
  • Performance space
  • Defined and colorful children’s area entry
  • Interactive learning elements in the Children’s Area
  • Fun, kid-sized seating in the Children’s Area
  • Enclosed children’s area to contain noise
  • 24-hour lobby with a book vending machine
  • After-hours access to meeting rooms
  • Staff / Circulation desk at entry
  • Smaller service points throughout the library
  • Mobile service points for staff flexibility
  • Views to the outdoors
  • Outdoor seating, garden, and program areas
  • Outdoor seating and technology to host events and movie nights
  • Outdoor café seating / access to café