Press Release - Detail
Roy L. Williams            
Director of Public Relations        
Birmingham Public Library             
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067            
Library Board awards 3 new "Innovative and Cool" grants for Birmingham Public Library programs
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –North Birmingham, Smithfield and Southside libraries are hoping to get an uptick in adult foot traffic this summer thanks to three new programs that are the latest recipients of the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees "Innovative and Cool" grants.
Southside Branch Library is using its grant to purchase four new tournament chess sets, meaning adults visiting daily won't have to wait while the current chess set is in use. Senior patrons at the North Birmingham Regional Branch will now be able to take healthy steps in the right direction after the library received funding to purchase low-cost pedometers available at the library as well as a new senior yoga class being offered as part of its Adult Summer Reading programs.

Smithfield Branch Library's grant will fund an Adult Summer Reading Kickoff program on Wednesday, June 7 at 11 a.m. during the monthly meeting of its Smithfield Library Book Club. The kickoff party will allow the library to promote its book club, started last year, to prospective new members and promote more summer reading among adult patrons, said Smithfield Branch Manager Heather McWilliams.

The BPL Innovative and Cool grants program, an idea originated by Advocacy Committee member Gwendolyn Amamoo, was adopted by the board in April 2016 to encourage staffers to develop engaging new programs to help generate enthusiasm and value for their library patrons. The grants funded 25 programs which received a combined $1,250 in 2016.  

"The Board of Trustees is committed to encouraging staff and librarians to promote the library's mission of lifelong learning and cultural enrichment," said Dora Sims, chair of the BPL Board Advocacy Committee.

Here is background on the three new award recipients:
Take a Step in the Right Direction for Health Program, North Birmingham Regional Library
Leigh Wilson, a Librarian II at North Birmingham Library, said it will kick off during a June 12 Adult Summer Reading program called "Build a Better You with Gentle Yoga for Seniors," taught by instructor Marie Blair. The goal is to give participants a pedometer to encourage them to continue exercising by walking for good health after the program.

Wilson came up with the idea after senior adult patrons requested more exercise programs at North Birmingham Library after participating in an exercise program with instructor Russell Lee last summer. "I believe that the upcoming yoga program, combined with the pedometers, would encourage continuing exercising for good health for our seniors," Wilson said.
Smithfield Library Adult Summer Reading Kickoff Party
With so many Summer Reading programs for children and teens planned, Smithfield Library's adult kickoff party is designed to ensure older patrons are also encouraged to read this summer. It will also help promote the Smithfield Library Book Club started last year and recruit new members, Branch Manager Heather McWilliams said.

"We will let newcomers know about our book club, invite them to join, or just come once and try something new," she said.
Besides purchasing light snacks, the grant will fund a $25 gift card that will be given to the person who reads the most books at the end of the summer.       

Adult Chess program at Southside Branch Library
Southside Library has many adults who visit every morning to read, talk, use computers, or play on its chess board or chess online. During a survey of adult patrons, eight adults expressed interest in a chess program, said Southside Branch Manager Teresa Ceravolo. This grant will fund the purchase of four tournament chess sets that will be used in a free hour-long adult chess program being offered twice a month and available for the public.

"Research has shown that playing chess exercises the brain, improves self-confidence, and reduces anxiety," she said.
In order to qualify for the $50 grants, BPL staff must submit a brief description of the program and how they will use the funds.  A committee reviews the selections and forwards their recommendations to the full board for approval. Guidelines for "Innovative and Cool" awards are posted on the library's Intranet where all library staff has full access.
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 130 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.  
Page Last Modified: 6/15/2021 9:51 AM