|(l-r) Josia Hudson and Michael Joseph at Southside Library's STEM program|
Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Teens Engineer Birmingham (TEB) afterschool program has expanded from the Central Library to two additional branch libraries this fall.
In mid-September, the Woodlawn Branch Library began offering TEB for students from nearby Woodlawn High School on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. On Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m., the Southside Branch Library is now hosting TEB for students from nearby Ramsay High School. The Central Library has added more activities for participants of its TEB afterschool program, held on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. and comprised mostly of students from nearby Phillips Academy.
BPL purchased 3D printers and other engineering equipment to expand the program after being chosen as recipient in February of $50,000 from the UAB Benevolent Fund, a grant program funded by UAB employees. Lance Simpson, system teen librarian for BPL, and Carrie Campbell, now working in the Arts, Literature and Sports Department and formerly grants and special projects librarian, submitted the grant application on behalf of BPL.
“Our teens are very excited, and so are the UAB students with whom we've been working,” Simpson said. “This program will encourage students to push themselves academically and prepare them for great success in future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers.”
The UAB School of Engineering has partnered with BPL’s Central Library since 2015, coordinating the engineering program offered for school children in Birmingham, including Phillips Academy. Dr. Abi Yildirim, director of outreach for UAB’s School of Engineering, and UAB student mentors work with the teens participating in all three BPL engineering programs.
Lisa Higginbotham, UAB Benevolent Fund program manager, said in a statement last December that UAB is honored to support the BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham program.
“We appreciate the work BPL does in our community and we look forward to a strong continued working relationship with BPL,” Higginbotham said. “The Community Impact Grant is a unique and engaging opportunity for UAB employees to make their voices heard and make a deep, lasting impact in our community.”