Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Monday, February 13, 2012
Charla Draper                                                  
Public Relations Department Head               
Birmingham Public Library                             
Phone: (205) 226-3746

Libraries Use Poetry Therapy as Post-Storm Rx

Birmingham, Alabama---The Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) “Voices from the Storms” takes a page from the Operation Homecoming writing program for military veterans as an initiative to aid survivors of the tornadoes in Central Alabama in 2011 and 2012.  “Voices from the Storms” encourages area residents to turn to expressive writing to share their thoughts and emotions as part of the post-tornado healing process.  Originally slated to end in January the deadline for submitting an original poem, short story or essay has been extended to March 31. The submissions will be compiled and included in an anthology that will be available to library patrons free of charge.

There are indications that expressive writing and poetry therapy can play an important role in improving health and well-being.[1]  In 2012, writing workshops will be part of the medical protocol to help service members heal at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, expanding the landmark 2004 Operation Homecoming partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense.

The BPL and other members of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) have partnered with Real Life Poets, Inc. on the “Voices from the Storms” project.  The program is open to all ages.  All submissions will be posted online on the JCLC website. John Paul Taylor, Executive Director of Real Life Poets, Inc. will select works that will be included in the free printed anthology. Submissions of work may be made at any Jefferson County Library or electronically to from now until March 31.  Real Life Poets, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit community service and mentoring organization for young adults encouraging good communication and oratorical skills using spoken word poetry and the arts.

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 18 locations and serving the community for 125 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast. For additional information, visit the website at or follow us on Twitter at
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