Monday, July 04, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Closed July 4


All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. The Birmingham Public Library wishes everyone a safe and fun 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tickets Still Available at All Birmingham Public Library Locations for Free June 24 Teen Tailgate Party for Ages 11-17


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is excited to host Score Big with the Cotchery Foundation, a summer reading tailgate party at the Central Library.

Jerricho Cotchery, a graduate of Phillips High School in Birmingham and veteran NFL receiver, has teamed up with BPL to host yet another amazing series of events promoting the 2016 BPL Summer Reading program. Qualified "Get In The Game, Read” participants age 11-17 will have the opportunity to attend a free teen tailgate party at the Central Library on Friday, June 24, 2016, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Teens can pick up free tickets in advance at any of Birmingham’s 19 library locations.

Cotchery, who turned 34 on June 16, will speak at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24. Since being drafted into the NFL in 2004, Cotchery has played with the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and most recently with the Carolina Panthers, who appeared in the 2016 Super Bowl. His 200 career receptions and 15 games with 100-plus receiving yards broke two school records at North Carolina State previously held by NFL receiver Torry Holt.

Series Review: The Sunday Philosophy Club

The Sunday Philosophy Club Series
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a piece of work, a happy, complex, intelligent, and amusing piece of work, the narrator and protagonist of Alexander McCall Smith’s ten book (and counting) series, The Sunday Philosophy Club. As with McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series (see this recent blog piece) we are in contemporary, bourgeois Edinburgh, but, in this case, on the south side of town, near the university, and it takes place entirely from one person’s point of view: Isabel’s.

Isabel Dalhousie is the editor of the Journal of Applied Ethics. She’s a philosopher and most of the internal dialog of these books is Isabel’s internal debate about right action in her daily life, applied ethics. She struggles with temptation to fall short of her standards, particularly the temptation to shade the truth or to wish ill of other people. The Sunday Philosophy Club is a gentle satire of high-minded Edinburgh and its vaunted intellectual traditions.

Isabel is generous and has a reputation for helping people. She has a fine home, an income that is more than sufficient, a housekeeper, the caustic Grace, and many friends. People know that, if asked, Isabel will help them untangle their problems, so we are unexpectedly drawn into fascinating corners of Scottish life and geography as she hunts the truth. She is aided by her finely honed sense of other people’s emotions and honesty. In addition to Grace, the cast of continuing characters includes her aptly named niece Cat, Cat’s troubled young assistant Eddie, and one of Cat’s ex-boyfriends, Jamie, a professional bassoonist for whom Isabel harbors a secret love.

The Sunday Philosophy Club series is, at heart, about human happiness. If one earnestly applied the best thoughts of the ages to one’s personal decisions and interactions with other people, would not happiness be likely to follow? In the case of Isabel Dalhousie and her happy readers, the answer is yes.

If you have never read McCall Smith, this is a great place to start. I blended my experience with audio and traditional reading. Even if you are into reading and not so much into listening, sample the audio for a priceless narration and be prepared to hear yourself laugh out loud. Snippets and individual titles can fare well as stand-alones, but the best way to enjoy this is to read (or listen, or both) to these titles in order.

Enjoy and laugh!

The Sunday Philosophy Club Series
1. The Sunday Philosophy Club
2. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
3. The Right Attitude to Rain
4. The Careful Use of Compliments
5. The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
6. The Lost Art of Gratitude
7. The Charming Quirks of Others
8. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
9. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds
10. The Novel Habits of Happiness

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

UAB’s Regions Institute for Financial Education to Offer Money Matters Workshop Series at Central Library on First Wednesdays Beginning July 6, 2016


It’s never too late to start building a better understanding of your personal finances and begin developing a plan for the future. To assist you in this endeavor, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is partnering with the staff of the Regions Institute for Financial Education at UAB to offer a series of Money Matters workshops at the Central Library on the first Wednesday of each month from July 2016 to May 2017. Please join us on the dates below to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to achieve your economic goals.

When: First Wednesday of the month
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Building/Richard Arrington Auditorium

Date/Workshop
7/6/2016 – Income, Savings, and Assets
8/3/2016 – Your Spending, Your Savings, Your Future
9/7/2016 – Risk and Protection
10/5/2016 – Family Money Skills
11/2/2016 – What Every Woman Should Know About Money
12/7/2016 – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud
1/4/2017 – Dealing With Debt
2/1/2017 – Where to Invest Your College Money
3/1/2017 – Your Credit Report
4/5/2017 – Saving Through Tax Refunds
5/3/2017 – Five Keys to Investing Success

For more information about the workshop series and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
Steve Martin

This one came to me by an odd route. I’m not a typical Steve Martin fan. Though I adore his seventies stand-up and SNL appearances, I’ve deliberately missed most of his movie career (there are some winning exceptions) and don’t get his New Yorker humor pieces (though I have to admit I don’t respond to most written New Yorker humor). But it may have been Martin’s connection that prompted the magazine to run an excerpt from Born Standing Up, Martin’s memoir of his slow road to comedy success. That I did like. Nine years later (I told you this was circuitous) I bought a cheap copy of the book and quickly started reading it. It far exceeded my expectations. Soon I was marking favorite lines and making margin notes. I was mesmerized. There wasn’t a wasted sentence.

Though Steve Martin has been a big success for four decades, it took him fourteen years to get there. He sacrificed a lot for stand-up-college, close family connections, community of almost any sort. There are many things here that surprised me about Martin. Because I knew almost nothing about his early life, I unconsciously assumed it was like…well, I don’t know what, but not what it turned out to be. His parents were from Waco, Texas, his mom a strict Baptist and the whole family was emotionally blocked and terrible at communicating. Martin threw himself into learning magic tricks, spent as much time away from home as possible, and left for good the moment he made enough money to squeak by. For a while he dated fellow actor Stormie Sherk, who would become in another incarnation the well-known Christian author Stormie O’Martian. He had a chance encounter with Diane Arbus, also before she was famous. A huge break happened when he got a job writing for the Smothers Brothers. But the network soon cancelled their highly popular show because it was too controversial and Martin was once again out of the mainstream. He spent many more years doing stand-up again, fairly content if not exactly happy because relative poverty allowed him to explore, innovate, and experiment. He mixed up all the skills he had—acting, comedy, writing, juggling, magic tricks and so in ways that often confounded audiences. It took him forever, he says, to realize that he’d get nowhere if he wasn’t original. But even originality wasn’t a ticket to financial security. He was plagued with recurring panic attacks, felt he had no great showbiz skills because he couldn’t sing or dance. But, like Andy Kaufman, Martin was, in the late sixties and early seventies, way ahead of his time, so much so even he wasn’t quite aware of it. (Martin himself doesn’t say he was ahead of his time: this is a modest book, modestly written). Also like Kaufman, Martin made fun of what he saw as showbiz norms such as slickness, shallowness, smarminess, and even competence. Like Kaufman, this was lost on much, if not most, of his public. He promised himself that he’d quit if he hadn’t made it by age 30.

Throughout the accounts of alienation and struggle there is sharp, well-detailed writing and a type of Martin humor new to me—often restrained, literary, but not pristine. And still funny, very funny. Martin on the fifties: “Eddie, I discerned, was living with a woman not his wife, the 1955 equivalent of devil worship.” As for the sixties, “… we were now living in the Age of Aquarius, an age when, at least astrologically, the world would be taken over by macramé.” Every so often, Martin drops us a reminder of why he left home in the first place. While dating Mitzi Trumbo, daughter of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, he discovers that he’s “never been in a house where conversations were held during dinner.” The life of the artist was often difficult, but at least it was alive.

It’s interesting that the man who’s made such a career playing crass and shameless characters has produced a book that is so carefully written, so unsentimental, so unself-congratulatory. It’s almost an anti-star book when you compare it to the run of the mill How I Made It accounts. The only place where I detect Martin doing something close to bragging is when he reminds us how The Jerk was universally panned upon release but has since won critical favor. Taking him up on the dare, I watched it for the first time and found it largely mediocre. But it does have a few brilliant scenes.

So why did he give up the biggest stand-up career in history? In addition to the severe limits it put on his family and social life, there were other good reasons. Because he was exhausted. Because he couldn’t do anything subtle in front of 25,000 people. Because his public expected the old bits and he wanted to innovate instead. And, finally, he discovered that you hunt for fame, then you find it, then it hunts you.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Monday, June 20, 2016

NFL Receiver Jerricho Cotchery to Host Teen Summer Reading Tailgate Party at Central Library, June 24


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is excited to host Score Big with the Cotchery Foundation, a summer reading tailgate party at the Central Library.

Jerricho Cotchery, a graduate of Phillips High School in Birmingham and veteran NFL receiver, has teamed up with BPL to host yet another amazing series of events promoting the 2016 BPL Summer Reading program. Qualified "Get In The Game, Read” participants will have the opportunity to attend a free teen tailgate party at the Central Library on Friday, June 24, 2016, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Teens can pick up free tickets in advance at any of Birmingham’s 19 library locations.

Cotchery, who turns 34 on June 16, will speak at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24. Since being drafted into the NFL in 2004, Cotchery has played with the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, and most recently with the Carolina Panthers, who appeared in the 2016 Super Bowl. His 200 career receptions and 15 games with 100-plus receiving yards broke two school records at North Carolina State previously held by NFL receiver Torry Holt.

Here is a link to BPL's summer reading events schedule that lists over 500 programs from free dance lessons to science camps and painting: http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2016/05/summer-reading-2016-programs-for-teens.html.

Last summer, 18,418 BPL patrons attended 558 programs and read more than 52,000 books.

Registration is under way now, with forms available in any of the 19 BPL locations and online at www.bplonline.org. You can view the entire event calendar at the link below:
http://www.bplonline.org/summerreading.aspx#Kids_Summer_Reading.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Birmingham Public Library=Innovative

Innovative is a positive word that is used to describe new ideas or methods, and many people think that is one of the characteristics of a leader. Birmingham Public Library is innovative.  To illustrate my point, let’s compare the Birmingham Public Library 100 years ago to today with two examples.

The “Beach Read”
BPL Loans Books for Summer1916: What happened if you wanted to take a book on your summer vacation in 1916? Back then, it was not easy to renew a book over the phone due to the outrageous long distance charges. Returning it through the mail was risky as it could arrive late, become overdue, or get lost in the mail. The library found the solution by granting summer vacation loans. Books could be checked out from June 1st through September 30th without worrying about renewals or overdue fines.

Today: You can request a book from any of the 40 public libraries in Jefferson County and have it sent to the library closest to you. The book can be checked out for 21 days and can be renewed online. Besides physical books, you can also download e-books to your device for both online and offline reading. This is great if you headed to the beach and forgot something to read. Plus, you can also download audio books for that long drive. We even have a curated collection of “beach reads”. Would you like to learn how to download and read e-book or listen to audio book for free on your device? We have classes to teach you how, and here's the schedule.

Device Training Downloadables
  • June 21, 2 pm, Powderly Library 
  • June 24, 10 am, East Lake Library 
  • June 27, 11 am, North Birmingham Library 
  • June 28, 12 pm, West End Library 
  • July 12, 2:15 pm, Central Library 


Piano Rolls Circulate At BPL
Music 
1916: The Birmingham Public Library circulated piano rolls. Having read in a magazine about libraries that loaned music scores, piano rolls, and one which even had a soundproof room so patrons could play the music before checking it out, the library director decided to circulate piano rolls and solicited donations from local music companies. The Starr Piano Company started the collection with a donation of 150 piano rolls. Each patron could check out three rolls and keep them for a week. Some of the popular songs included: "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground." The collection became so popular they added more piano rolls to include songs like "Sewanee River" and, of course, "Dixie."

Today: The Birmingham Public Library still loans music, but instead of piano rolls, you can checkout CDs. With the rise of MP3s, Birmingham Public Library subscribes to Freegal, which allows patrons to download three songs a week for free and keep them for life. You must have an active library card and be resident of Birmingham to use the Freegal database. BPL continues to be an innovator. If you want to learn more about life in Birmingham 100 years ago, visit our “Birmingham in 1916” digital exhibit, and make plans to attend our “Life in 1916” program.

Birmingham in 1916

Life in 1916 
What was life like in Birmingham 100 years ago in 1916? Get a glimpse into the past as the Southern History Department takes you on a journey through the news, stories, and advertisements gleaned from Birmingham newspapers for the year 1916.
  • Monday, June 20, 2:00 pm, West End Library 
  • Monday, July 11, 2:15 pm, Southside Library 
  • Wednesday, July 13, 2:00 pm, Central Library, Arrington Auditorium 
  • Monday, July 18, 2:00 pm, North Avondale Library 
Laura M. Gentry 
Central Branch 
Southern History Department

North Avondale Library Shows Support for Woodlawn High Track Star Headed to National Competition

Jayla Kirkland, left, in photo with North Avondale Library Manager Saundra Ross, center, and track coach Myra Hawkins, right, hold some of the cards North Avondale patrons created to show support as she heads to national competition in North Carolina Friday. Photo by Bruce Nix. 

Staff and patrons of North Avondale Branch Library are rallying to show their support for a Woodlawn High School track start headed to a national competition to defend her titles.

On Friday, June 17, Jayla Kirkland will leave for North Carolina for the New Balance Nationals, where she will defend her first-place titles in the 100- and 200-meter dash races she won last year. Later this month, Jayla will fly to Clovis, California to compete in the World Junior Trials. If she makes the World Junior team, Jayla will compete in a world event in Poland this July.

After hearing that Jayla was training next door at Hayes K-8, North Avondale Library Manager Saundra Ross said staff and patrons got together to show their support. Students created a huge support Kayla card and a book display of track books in honor of Jayla. Ross urged the public to stop by the library to sign the card, which will be given to Jayla.

Last year, Jayla brought home the bronze after competing in the World Junior Championship track meet in South America. Birmingham citizens can help Jayla as she eyes an even bigger prize at the Poland track meet.

Jayla, who has won recognition as Alabama’s fastest female high school sprinter, needs additional financial support to help reach her dreams. She has set up an account at www.gofundme.com/GoJayla123 for donations.

Learn more about Jayla here:  http://alabamanewscenter.com/2016/06/13/alabama-athlete-jayla-kirkland-wants-make-run-world-junior-championships/

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Central Library to Host Google Workshop for Small Business Owners on June 29





Did you know that 97% of consumers look for local goods and services online?

Only 37% of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine.


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development are partnering with Google and Zeekee, a local internet marketing firm, to offer a workshop aimed at helping put every business in Birmingham on the map—including yours—for FREE.

If you are a current business owner and you want to gain control of the information Google displays about your business in Google Search and Google Maps, then this workshop is for you. A Google Trusted Photographer and Trusted Verifier will be present to help your business get online and allow you to choose what people see when they “google” you.

Space for the workshop is limited, so please register with Valencia S. Fisher in the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development at valencia.fisher@birminghamal.gov as early as possible to reserve a spot.

DETAILS

DATE
:            Wednesday, June 29, 2016
TIME:             12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
LOCATION:  Central Library, Arrington Auditorium

For more information about the workshop and other resources for small business development available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.




Let’s Put Birmingham on the Map!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reduced Hours at Springville Road Regional Branch Library


Due to air conditioning failure in the main part of the Springville Road Regional Branch Library, the hours of operation have been adjusted as follows:

Monday-Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Sunday - Closed

This schedule will be in place until repairs have been made.

If you have reserves to pick up at Springville Road and cannot get in during these temporary hours, please call the Circulation Desk at 226-4081 and the library will route them to the library of your choice. Your holds will not be cancelled during this period.

The library's evening programs have been postponed, but hopefully these can be rescheduled to take place before the end of the summer.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused our loyal patrons and we hope to be back to normal hours very soon. In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest news by visiting the Springville Road Library (Birmingham Public Library System) Facebook page.