Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Student Mock Trial Program Heading into Home Stretch

Teen participants learn how trials work to pepare for the mock trial on March 16.
Teen Librarian Lance Simpson listens at the back of the class. For more photos
of the Spring 2017 Mock Trial Program, visit the BPL Flickr page.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is heading into the home stretch of the inaugural Spring 2017 Student Mock Trial Program. BPL is partnering with the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Alabama to put on the program that exposes teens to the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, February 23, at the Central Library, students learned how lawyers prepare closing arguments at trials. In three weeks (Thursday, March 16), the students will participate in a mock trial in a Jefferson County courtroom.

The program is designed to introduce 30 students from grades six through 12 to the critical thinking, technology, and advocacy skills utilized in trial practice, said Lance Simpson, teen librarian for BPL. After learning and developing these skills, the program will culminate in a mock trial conducted in a courtroom. During the trial, program participants will assume the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and judge.

All of the Student Mock Trial Program classes, held in the second floor Teen Zone Learning Lab of the Central Library, are taught by distinguished Birmingham area attorneys. Classes began January 19 and conclude with a mock trial on Thursday, March 16. During the mock trial, students will utilize the skills taught in the preceding weeks by assuming the roles of a trial—from prosecutor and defense attorney arguing a case, to a judge, jury, and witnesses.

For more information, call Simpson at 205-226-3655 or e-mail him at lmsimpson@bham.lib.al.us. You may register online through the BPL event calendar. Read more about the program at

Schedule for Spring 2017 Student Mock Trial Program (held Thursdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m.)
Remaining sessions (held in the Central Library's Teen Zone except the mock trial) are:

Week 7 (March 2) - Courtroom Technology & Preparation for the Mock Trial
Week 8 (March 9) - Preparation for Mock Trial
Week 9 (March 16) - Mock Trial

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