Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016
CONTACT:  Roy L. Williams                                  
Director of Public Relations             
Birmingham Public Library                          
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                        
Birmingham Public Library Board names Innovative Cool award winners for November
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Students participating in afterschool programs at Inglenook Branch Library will soon get to play classic 1980s-era video games as the library is purchasing the new retro Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Console.
On Dec. 7, East Ensley Branch Library will hold an after school craft session in which students will make Christmas ornaments and decorations for hospice patients at a Birmingham nursing home. At Five Points West Regional Library, new programs are being added to “Active Living,” a senior citizens group who gather on Wednesdays to participate in exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and assorted craft workshops.
And Wylam Branch Library is adding two new programs: wreath-making and holiday decorations for adults and purchasing new board games for youth who attend afterschool programs there on weekdays.      
Those four libraries are the latest recipients of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Innovative Cool Awards, presented during the Nov. 7, 2016, BPL Board of Trustees meeting. The award was established in April to encourage library staff to come up with unique ideas to serve the Birmingham community.

The Birmingham Public Library Innovative Cool Grant recipients for November 2016 are as follows:
  • Inglenook Branch Library, 4100 40th Terrace North, Purchase of Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Console 
 The Nissan slogan, “Innovation that excites,” is being used by Inglenook Library as staff implements new ideas to better serve the community. With November being National Gaming Month, Inglenook Library will use this award to purchase the retro Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Console being released Nov. 11, 2016. This system has 30 classic games from the 1980s. The funds will be used to purchase the gaming console and allow children to experience retro games from the 1980s and hold a BPL Tecmo Bowl tournament,” said Michael Fagin of the Inglenook Library, who wrote the grant application. 
  •  East Ensley Branch Library, 900 14th St. Ensley, Afterschool Christmas ornaments and decorations program for hospice patients in Birmingham. 
This grant will be used to purchase craft supplies to make holiday decorations and Christmas ornaments that will be donated to hospice patients at St. Martin’s in the Pines. A hospice representative, Katrina Pigler, will help make the crafts on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, and speak to the youth about the importance of giving. “Hopefully, the ornaments made by the children will show the families of the patients that others are thinking of them during the holiday season,” said Cynthia Phillips, a library assistant III  who wrote the grant application.   
  • Five Points West Regional Library, 4812 Avenue W,  “Active Living” senior adults program 
For six years, Five Points West Library has offered senior adults a program called “Active Living” that meets every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday). This grant will help offer more activities, which include exercise classes, cooking demonstrations, crafts, movies, gardening, games, and guest speakers. About 25 women participate in the program each session.
“When I ask for suggestions of what they would like to do, they simply tell me that anything I choose they will enjoy because coming to Five Points West Library is the highlight of their week,” said Monica Cottrell, a library assistant II who wrote the grant application. “This award will be used to continue to provide the ladies with entertaining, informative programs they look forward to having each Wednesday.
  • Wylam Branch Library, 4300 7th Avenue Wylam – 2 grants, Adult Wreaths and Decorations program and purchase board games for Afterschool Children’s program 
Wylam Library has offered an adult program on the second Wednesday monthly for several years, and will use the money to buy wreaths and holiday decorations. Past programs have included genealogy, jewelry making, candle making, painting class by Cherie Hunt, and downloadable media. “Each participant could express their creativity and take home the wreath to enhance their home decor,” said Connie Tolbert, library assistant III at Wylam.
The second grant will be used to buy games such as Jenga, Uno, Trouble, and Connect 4 for students involved in Wylam Library’s afterschool programs “It is good to know that these simple pleasures we enjoyed as children are still entertaining in spite of all the technology,” Tolbert said.
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 129 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast. 
The Innovative Cool Awards program was adopted by the library board in March 2016 upon recommendation from the Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development Committee. The grants are designed to encourage BPL staff to develop “innovative and cool” public programs to better serve the communities that surround its 19 locations.  The award will provide up to two $50 stipends to the 18 branches and the Central Library.
“The board is proud of employees’ participation in the Innovative and Cool Award Initiative. We look forward to the display to showcase all programs that engage patrons of all ages," said Dora Sims, chair of the BPL Advocacy Committee.
In order to qualify, staff must submit a brief paragraph or two explaining to the board how they will use the funds.  The funds should assist staff in bringing new ideas to the library or provide extra support to existing programs.  Submissions are due by the 15th of each month.
The idea for the Innovative and Cool award was brought to the Advocacy Committee by committee member Gwendolyn Amamoo.  A committee reviews the selections and forwards their recommendations to the full board for approval. These ate the last Innovative Cool awards to be given in 2016.  A display of awards given in 2016 is on display on the first floor of the Central Library, 2100 Park Place in downtown Birmingham.
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