Last month, Floyd Council was installed as the new executive director of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL). Council will oversee all operations of BPL’s 19 library locations and manage 285 employees.
Before taking on the position at BPL, Council was the Central Library Administrator for the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System.
I early December, Bham Now was able to ask Council a few questions about his new leadership role and the future of libraries in the Magic City.
Bham Now – How do you like being the new Executive Director at the Birmingham Public Library?
Council – It’s really exciting, this is an amazing time of transformation and change for the Birmingham Public Library System. We get this opportunity to bridge this space between the great heritage at the library to the 21st Century.
Bham Now – What are some upcoming initiatives?
Council -We have a wonderful strategic plan in place. Here soon, probably the first quarter of the year, we are putting staff together to comprise our new innovation and technology team. Literally, this group of staff will shape the future of the digital services delivery of the library system.
Libraries have become so much more than books and visiting the library. There use to be this expectation of a quiet place in a library. Traditional quiet reading rooms where everyone had to be quiet. Now libraries are places where people want to make noise, they want to do something, they actually want to develop their businesses and interact with all kinds of stakeholders within the community.
Bham Now – Neighborhoods are a top priority with the new administration, what are some of your neighborhood initiatives?
Council – What we are planning to do is work with the new city leadership, put together a facilities master plan for all of our library locations. We want to make sure our buildings are in proper repair and that heating and cooling systems, basic interior and exterior functions are all up to par. And then we intend to maintain them on a regular basis.
In addition, I’m actually developing a new community engagement programming plan. I’m calling it “everyday people” programming plan for the city of Birmingham. For all of the 99 neighborhoods, in the city of Birmingham, we are going to have each branch manager fully interact with the community, do a good needs assessment about what people are doing, what they want, what they need. Then we’ll roll out our service in those neighborhoods. We’ll actually do this in tandem with the Mayor’s leadership, centered around economic development, education and revitalization.
Council has earned a national reputation as a 21st Century librarian who actively mentors librarians and managers across the country. With the full support of the community, there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about the future of the Birmingham Public Library.
More info about the Birmingham Public Library
Established in 1886, the Birmingham Public Library is one of the largest library systems in the southeastern United States, consisting of 19 branches and a central library located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. To learn more about BPL visit http://www.bplonline.org .