4 BPL Programs Nominated for 2019 ULC Innovations Awards

Four Birmingham Public Library programs have been nominated for the 2019 Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovations Awards.

   The nominees are:

 * Teen Engineers BHM  (Education Birth -Teen Category)
 * BPL - A Citizen’s Experience (ACE), a partnership with City of Birmingham (Civic & Community Engagement)
 *Grow with Google Digital Skills Program (Work Force Development)
 *Bards & Brews (Education-Adults)

BPL's four nominees are among 260 of the  best public library programs in North America accepted as nominees in 10 categories for the 2019 Urban Libraries Council Innovations Awards out of thousands of entries across the country. The winners will be revealed during the Innovations Celebration at the Urban Libraries Council forum October 16-18, 2019 in Salt Lake City, said Urban Library Council spokesman Curtis Rogers.

BPL and the other nominees are all featured on the Urban Libraries Council website and will be published in print for distribution to 150 ULC Libraries.

"BPL has some of the best library programs that you will find any place in the country due to our amazing and talented staff and community partners," said aid Floyd Council, executive director of the Birmingham Public Library. "BPL is the only Urban Libraries  Council member in the State of Alabama and by all accounts from national partners, our brand is viable and our future looks bright."

Read more about BPL's four nominees below:

 * BPL - A Citizen’s Experience (ACE) (Civic & Community Engagement Category)

 ACE (A Citizen’s Experience) is a City of Birmingham initiative with the central goal of getting residents directly involved and engaged with their local municipal government. ACE is now known as the Academy of Civic Engagement and is kicking off its fall classes on October 28, 2019. During the seven week ACE program, five BPL regional library locations supported and hosted the largest community engagement effort in the recent history of the City of Birmingham. BPL hosted an orientation, seven weeks of classes and a graduation for 600 ACE participants.

 * Teen Engineers BHM  (Education Birth -Teen Category)

Teens Engineer BHM is a partnership between BPL and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering, which provides student mentors to teach classes for teens at several BPL locations. Participants learned STEM skills through robotics, Arduino coding and soldering. It addressed barriers to achievement in math and science faced by youth living in metro Birmingham.

BPL hosted 145 Teens Engineer BHM programs with 2,865 participants. There were 11 schools collaborations and six community organization partnerships.

 * Bards & Brews (Education-Adult category)

Bards & Brews is a monthly spoken word poetry performance and beer tasting event hosted by BPL.  Originally founded 10 years ago, it has become BPL's most successful signature public program attracting patrons of all ages who normally don't attend library events. The wildly popular open mic performances make BPL the "Adult Poetry University" for the Birmingham community.

Bards & Brews rotates between library branches, Birmingham bars and other city departments, and has won national accolades. The program was featured in March 2018 by Anna Weaver of North Carolina in her blog about her visit to open mics in all 50 states. Bards & Brews host Voice Porter was also featured in a national spotlight by Starbucks Coffee in August.  The infusion of poetic expression and adult beverage makes this program a prime community venue for adult expression.

*Grow with Google Digital Skills Program (Workforce and Economic Development Category)

  BPL was the first Alabama public library system to kick off the launch of the Grow with Google Day of Digital Skills partnership in August 2018. During this innovative day of events, more than 700 patrons and staff participated in digital skills training sessions hosted by BPL and Google.

Thanks to this partnership, BPL has hosted digital skills workshops at libraries across the city of Birmingham, teaching patrons how to add digital skills to their resume, organize their business or improve efficiency within their current career.

The success of the partnership with BPL led Grow with Google to choose BPL as the main feature of a national article in The Atlantic highlighting the important role public libraries play in providing public access to computers. See link to The Atlantic article spotlighting BPL by clicking here.