Employees Receive Encouraging Words and Training at 2018 BPL Staff Day

Staff development and training is a year-long commitment at the Birmingham Public Library. From sending employees to national conferences such as the American Library Association to local leadership and management courses at the Personnel Board of Jefferson County, BPL makes giving employees the job skills needed to better serve our patrons a top priority as our 19 libraries strive at "Putting People First."

On Thursday, October 18, 2018, all 19 BPL locations were closed as our nearly 300 employees gathered at the Central Library for BPL Staff Day. BPL is committed to staff growth and development, providing staff with "the opportunity to take formal academic courses and job-related meetings and training that helps prepare them for new opportunities and enhances their job skills."

More than a dozen BPL employees attended the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans in June, including Shawn Caddell of Eastwood Library, who shared her experience at staff day. Tina Samuel, a library assistant at Titusville Library, became the first BPL employee to attend the Libraries of Color National Conference in New Mexico in September. BPL staffers also attended training events at the Urban Libraries Council, plus state and local training sessions.

The 2018 BPL Staff Day provided a well-rounded range of workshops and speakers including:

Morning sessions

Stephen Black
Stephen Black, founder of Impact Alabama, talked about the valuable role libraries play in society. His organization hosts free tax clinics for the low-income at three BPL locations every year.

Ashlea Hitchcock-Francis of Grow with Google shared how impressed the company was at the response they received from businesses and individuals who attended the Birmingham kickoff of the Grow With Google Alabama tour held at the Central Library on August 6.

Na'Denna Colbert
Na’Denna Colbert, membership director of the Urban Libraries Council, discussed the impact member libraries such as BPL are having in cities across the country. BPL rejoined the Urban Libraries Council in 2018.

Anthony Sparks, a Birmingham development coach, inspired BPL employees in his message, “Your Piece Is Important,” which talked about how every piece of the puzzle – employees–matters.

Afternoon sessions

Health and Wellness: High Blood Pressure – James Gibbs, fitness center administrator for the City of Birmingham, shared tips on how exercise and reducing stress can not only lower blood pressure but help prevent diseases such as diabetes.
Melva Tate
Diversity and Inclusion – Melva Tate, a Birmingham human resources consultant, talked about the importance of having a workplace that values diversity and inclusion regardless of employees’ race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Goal-setting – Vicki Morris, education training coordinator for the City of Birmingham, gave advice about how BPL employees can set realistic goals for the future and achieve success in the workplace.

Amanda Keller, director of the Magic City Acceptance Center, led a workshop about the importance of "Providing LGBTQ Affirming Spaces and Services” for the public.

Although BPL Staff Day is geared towards training workshops and motivational talks encouraging library employees and giving them the tools to succeed, staff members also participated in fun activities:

September Reed
Whimmmsy Natural Henna Art – September Reed, who this year hosted a popular Summer Learning activity at Springville Road Library, taught 15 employees in this workshop the art of henna tattoos.

Cherie Hunt
Birmingham artist Cherie Hunt taught 30 BPL employees how to tap into their artistic side by presenting Palette Party, her popular Summer Learning program that has been held at several BPL locations the past several years.

View more photos of BPL 2018 Staff Day on Flickr.