Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Monday, August 31, 2015
CONTACT: Angela Fisher Hall, Director
Birmingham Public Library System
Phone: (205) 226-3616
Local Teen Creates Characters for Library Activity Book
Summer volunteer project produces tool for connecting children to library adventures

Birmingham, Alabama—Libraries are great places to check out reading material, to learn a new skill, and to share your talent as a volunteer. This is the experience 16-year-old Jaylen Callins took away from his summer volunteer project at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system’s Central Library.
When Jaylen asked for the opportunity to use his drawing skills, staff quickly put their heads together. Working with guidance from staff in the Central Library’s Youth Department, the team asked Jaylen to create new characters to teach children about positive library experiences. Jaylen quickly got to work and what he produced were lively characters embarking on a visit to the local library. With Jaylen’s new creation, Oscar the Octopus set off on his library journey. Copies of the activity book are free and available at all 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library.

Jaylen Callins is 16-years-old and attends Clay-Chalkville High School and The Jefferson County School of Visual Art—Shades Valley Technical Academies (dual-enrollment). He has won several art awards throughout the years and is currently part of Teen BMA (Birmingham Museum of Art). Jaylen has hundreds of volunteer hours recorded for his work on this project at the Central Library, for his work at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library where pieces of his art have been displayed, and at several other organizations throughout Jefferson County. He was the winner of the City of Birmingham’s Division of Youth Services logo design for the 2014 Smart Art Festival and a finalist for the 2015 Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s 7th District Congressional Art Competition.

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. 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 nineteen locations and serving the community for 128 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.

MEDIA COVERAGE:  Media coverage of this story is appreciated. For additional information, please contact Angela Fisher Hall at (205) 226-3616 or by email Photographs are attached along with a Word copy of the release and a PDF copy of the same document showing the placement of all captions.  The photo captions should read as follows:

JAYLEN CALLINS AND MAYOR WILLIAM BELL--Birmingham Mayor William Bell recognized Jaylen at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, for his work on Oscar the Octopus. The artist presented a hand drawn likeness of the Mayor to him for his office.

JAYLEN CALLINS WITH BOARD PRESIDENT AND FAMILY CROPPED--BPL Board President Kim Richardson (far right) congratulates Jaylen, his parents Rachel and Brad Allen, and his sister Kennedy Allen.

JAYLEN CALLINS WITH PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF--Jaylen Callins poses with library staff (left to right) Lance Simpson, Karyn Davis-West, and Cheryl Burgess.
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