The Things We May Take for Granted at BPL

by John Paul Lawhead, Youth Department, Central Library

Youth Department staff attending the 2018 City of Birmingham
Harvest Festival in Linn Park

It is often said that one of the greatest places to make investments is in the future. People are constantly searching for the “next big thing” that may add to their wealth or be able to immortalize their name through the ages. Here on the second floor of the Central Library, we search for the “next little thing or person” to visit us and make investments in their futures. We see each of our young patrons as priceless and do our best to provide a safe, educational environment that allows children and young adults to have a place to follow their dreams, or perhaps even discover a new pursuit. What activities, opportunities, and knowledge do the youth of BPL have a chance to acquire when visiting the second floor throughout the year?

Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Build & Battle competition

Each person who is a part of the BPL Youth Department creates activities and programs that are a part of their own unique skill sets or something they can learn and teach to youth. Our books and media are stocked with a wide variety of subjects and interests that are consistently and constantly being called upon from fellow libraries that we are happy to accommodate. Programs range from any number of art projects, crafting constructs, and adapted ideas of the staff who exercise participant ingenuity and imagination. Our robotics program is fantastic and offers amazing opportunities to take part in a burgeoning career field of the future. The “Beat Studio” is an amazing top of the line music recording booth that allows youth to create music and expand their knowledge of the music industry, how to produce and create music and, also, enjoy making their poetry into real recordings. There are laptops and computers available for study and homework. Visitors even have access to Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, and TV/DVD to unwind after a long school day.

Building birdhouses

Black Panther party

Our visitors regularly enjoy the company of a staff that believes in the mission of Mayor Woodfin of “Putting People First.” Whether it is a school assignment, personal interest, or leisure activity, we are dedicated to making sure all patrons leave satisfied, that their needs were met, and that they are looking forward to their next chance to visit the Birmingham Public Library. We strive to make a difference in the lives of each member of our community who chooses to visit our floor or whom we visit outside the walls of the library. Each day offers new opportunity to assist others in taking the next step toward their hopes and dreams while making the most of one of the greatest gifts a community can have: a library that cares.

Enjoying a treat at the Engineers: Build a Haunted House program