The Atlantic Spotlights BPL Computer Workshops, Google Partnership

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) received a special visit this week from the Atlantic, a New York-based magazine.

Writer Jordan Teicher and art director Drew Campbell led a team representing Atlantic Re:think, who spent three days at BPL Monday, May 13, through Wednesday, May 15. While in Birmingham, the Atlantic took photos and interviewed BPL employees and patrons for an upcoming June 2019 spotlight on the essential role libraries play in providing digital skills training for the public. The magazine will also highlight BPL's partnership with Google.

Jordan Teicher and Calvester Sanders

Teicher sat in on computer workshops at the Central Library and Ensley Branch Library led by Maurice Harley, BPL training coordinator. He interviewed BPL patrons, including Calvester Sanders, who was promoted to lead the housekeeping staff at the Redmont Hotel thanks to computer skills she gained from free computer workshops at the Central Library.

Teicher and Executive Director Floyd Council

The Atlantic also interviewed BPL Executive Director Floyd Council and other BPL staffers about the role that BPL can play in helping patrons learn new skills and achieve success.

"The Birmingham Public Library and City of Birmingham offer special thanks and appreciation to the Atlantic for profiling our library system and our vision for digital skills and the role of the public library space in supporting 21st Century workforce development," Council said.

Since April of 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King mailed a copy of his historic Letter from the Birmingham Jail to The Atlantic in New York, Birmingham has shared a long historic relationship with the Atlantic, Council said. 

"After the Atlantic featured BPL in November 2016 as a Birmingham treasure, iconic photos of our Linn-Henley Library have become a core part of our branding thanks to the Atlantic reporters and photographers," Council said. "In this new information technology age, BPL has a mission to sustain a community village of digital inclusion with the provisions of innovation, technology, and digital skills empowerment."

Dominique Agee and Maurice Harley teach a computer workshop 
to patrons at the Ensley Branch Library 

This upcoming feature in the Atlantic is a result of a partnership BPL began with Google after hosting the first Grow With Google workshops in Alabama last August. Council said that BPL's collaboration with Google is allowing the library system to better serve patrons of the Birmingham metro area.

"As an intentional Grow With Google Library Partner, we are very excited about how our profile in the Atlantic will lend inspiration and motivation to library systems around the world where the need for digital skills is just as essential as the need for clean water and electricity. "BPL is also excited for our patrons to Grow With Google."