Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sweet Home: Alabama’s History in Maps Exhibit Available March 1-April 30, 2017

Sweet Home Exhibit

What: Sweet Home: Alabama’s History in Maps exhibit
When: March 1-April 30 during library hours
Where: Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery
Details: Opening reception held March 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Fourth Floor Gallery. Free and open to the public.

Sweet Home: Alabama’s History in Maps is an exciting new exhibit from the Birmingham Public Library. The exhibit opens in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library on Wednesday, March 1, and runs through Sunday, April 30. The public is invited to attend an opening reception for the exhibit on Sunday, March 5, 3:00-5:00 p.m., in the Fourth Floor Gallery. The entire exhibit is also available online at

Timed to coincide with Alabama’s upcoming bicentennial, this exhibit tells the history of our state by introducing patrons to maps that depict Alabama’s development from the earliest days of exploration through the present day. Partially funded by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the exhibit explores 450 years of Alabama history. It includes over 50 maps which have been carefully selected from the library's world class cartography collection. Jay Lamar, head of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, called Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps, "one of the most exciting, beautiful, and stimulating exhibitions I have ever seen. People will discover things about Alabama that they never knew or imagined by experiencing these lovely, remarkable maps."

The library has been the grateful recipient of several large collections of rare, valuable, and exquisitely drawn maps. These donations were made by Rucker Agee, Dr. Charles Ochs, John C. Henley III, and Joseph H. Woodward II. "Birmingham is incredibly fortunate to have such a large collection of beautiful maps," said Mary Beth Newbill, head of the library's Southern History Department which houses the map collection. Newbill hopes the exhibit will be exciting to "map lovers, genealogists, and anyone interested in Alabama history."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box—North Avondale Library Hosting Cowboy, Boots & Books, Awesome On Purpose Girls Mentoring Programs

Branch head Saundra Ross and Marie Nash (2nd and 3rd from left) are the creative 
team responsible for the innovative programs at the North Avondale Branch Library,
both for adults and children. Here they are presented with an Innovative and Cool 
Award by BPL board members Eunice Rogers (far left) and Gwendolyn Amamoo.

With her library adjacent to Hayes K-8 School, North Avondale Library Branch Manager Saundra Ross strives to come up with programs that fill a need and introduce young people to a world outside their environment.

Two new programs being offered at the North Avondale Branch Library fit that mold. At 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, the library will host Cowboy, Boots & Books in which a black Birmingham cowboy will talk to students about what it is like to be a cowboy. On Tuesday, February 28, at 9:00 a.m., the library will host the weekly Awesome On Purpose mentoring session designed to build a positive self-image in young girls and teenagers.

Hands On Youth Activities participant
Ross said it is part of North Avondale Library’s desire to serve the community. “With our cowboy program, the kids will get to meet Todd Morris,” Ross said. “They will make paper cowboy boots and hear him talk about what cowboys do. He will show them how cowboys use rope to lasso cattle, and explain about the spurs on the boots.”

Ross is really excited about the new girls mentoring program. During the February 14 meeting Cocoa and Cupcakes, volunteers spoke to young girls from Hayes K-8 School about how to build self-esteem, she said.

Children's Picture Book Club
The North Avondale Library in 2016 won two Innovative and Cool Awards from the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees for both the Cowboy, Boots & Books program and an adult coloring program called Love to Color @ My Library.

The library also hosts two book clubs, one for adults called Chapter Chatters and one for youth called The Children’s Picture Book Club. Last year, North Avondale Library patrons also built a community quilt won by a 10-year-old girl who lives in the community. It was a partnership with Juliette Watts, founder of Hands On Youth Activities Programs Inc., a nonprofit which has done quilting, flip-flops and other hands-on craft workshops at the North Avondale Library since 2015.

To learn more about the North Avondale Library, visit them on Facebook and Flickr. Visit the BPL event calendar and search Location: North Avondale Branch for a list of upcoming programs.

The Butler Did It

by Maya Jones, West End Branch Library

In the Heat of the Night movie tie-in book cover
for the 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier
I come from a long line of mystery buffs. My mother loves to read mysteries and watch television mystery series and films. My father loves to watch mysteries but doesn’t read them. I’m always telling him, “Dad, you know this mystery series is based on a book, right?” Ever in hope that one day, he will actually read a mystery and decide that he likes the book better than the television series or movie. It’s not that my father doesn’t read but he likes to read newspapers, journals, and magazines that deal with politics, business, and finance.

Anyway, since we're celebrating Black History Month here at the Birmingham Public Library, I decided that this might be the time to showcase African American mystery writers.

Frankie Y. Bailey is a criminal justice professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She has written numerous nonfiction books about crime and is the author of the Hannah McCabe and Lizzie Stuart mystery series. In her most recent series, Hannah McCabe is a police detective and the series takes place in the near future 2019 & 2020. Her sleuth, Lizzie Stuart, is a university professor and crime historian. The books in her Hannah McCabe series are The Red Queen Dies (2013) and What the Fly Saw (2015). There are five books in the Lizzie Stuart series.

John Ball is creator of the Virgil Tibbs series and winner of the Edgar Award for his first book in the series, In the Heat of the Night. Don’t forget to watch the films with Sidney Poitier after you read the book.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)
The Organization (1971)
You can also watch the TV series In the Heat of the Night (1988-1995) with Howard Rollins as Virgil Tibbs and Carroll O’Connor as Chief Gillespie on the WGN America channel.

Karen Grigsby Bates is an NPR correspondent and is the author of the Alex Powell series. Alex Powell is a journalist who has an interest in mysteries. There are only two books in the series: Plain Brown Wrapper and Chosen People.

Eleanor Taylor Bland’s African American detective Marti MacAlister moves from Chicago to work in a small town in Illinois. There are fourteen books in the series.

Charlotte Carter’s Nannette Hayes series features a female jazz musician who solves murders. There are four books in her Nanette Hays series. Carter also has two books in another series which features a trio who solves mysteries in Cook County, Illinois.

Stephen L. Carter burst onto the writing scene in 2002 with The Emperor of Ocean Park the first book in his Elm Harbor series. Carter depicts the lives of upper class African Americans in his mysteries and thrillers. There are three books in his Elm Harbor series. He has two other stand-alone mystery/thriller novels.

Christopher Chamber’s heroine, FBI agent Angela Bivens, is in a catch-22 situation, she’s just won a discrimination suit against the FBI. Because of the suit, she’s not trusted at the agency and she can’t trust anyone. But that’s not going to keep her from solving crimes. There are only two books in the Angela Bivens series.

John William Corrington & Joyce Hooper Corrington are a husband and wife team who’ve written screenplays for television and film. Together they authored the Ralph “Rat” Trapp series. Trapp is a homicide detective in New Orleans and there are four books in the series.

Christopher Darden & Dick Lochte write the Nicolette Hill series. Nicolette “Nikki” is a prosecutor in Los Angeles. There are four books in the series.

Kyra Davis is the author of the Sophie Katz mystery series. Sophie, like her creator Kyra Davis, is a writer and biracial. There are five books in her Sophie Katz series.

Nora DeLoach is the creator of the Mama Detective Series. Sadly, Ms. DeLoach passed in 2001. I had the honor of meeting her at an American Library Association Convention and was impressed by her tenacity in selling her books and her kindness. There are eight books in the Mama Mystery Series.

Grace F. Edwards authors the Mali Anderson series. Mali is a former NYPD police officer who lives in Harlem and is working on a PhD in social work. She lives with her father and helps take care of her young nephew, whose mother was murdered. There are four books in this series.

Clyde W. Ford writes the Charlie Noble mysteries and Shango mysteries. There are three books in the Charlie Noble series and two books in the Shango series.

Robert Greer writes the CJ Floyd mysteries. CJ is a bail bondsman, bounty hunter, and antique dealer. There are eight books in the series.

Gar Anthony Haywood writes the Aaron Gunner detective series. There are currently five books in the series. Haywood has also written two thriller/mysteries under the name Ray Shannon.

Chester Himes is author of a detective series that takes place in Harlem featuring detectives “Coffin” Ed Johnson and “Grave Digger” Jones. Five of his books were made into movies: Come Back, Charleston Blue, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Hot Day Hot Night, A Rage in Harlem, and Yesterday Will Make You Cry.

Walter Mosley is a mystery, science fiction, and literary fiction author. He is best known for his Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones mysteries set in the 1940s/1950s. He also writes about a modern detective and ex-criminal, Leonid McGill.

Barbara Neely’s character Blanche White works as a domestic in North Carolina. Her first book in the series, Blanche on the Lam, won the Agatha Award in 1992. There are four books in this series.

Jewell Parker Rhodes writes the Marie Laveau mystery series, based on Marie Laveau, a legendary New Orleans Voodoo priestess. There are four books in the series.

Pamela Thomas-Graham’s detective Nikki Chase is an economics professor. She has four books in the series.

Valerie Wilson Wesley’s private detective, Tamara Hayle, is a single mom and ex-police officer. There are eight books in the series.

Paula L. Woods’ LAPD detective Charlotte Justice is the protagonist in her four-book series.

I hope you enjoy these authors and their detectives. If the Birmingham Public Library doesn’t have a book in the series that you are reading, you can always have it ordered through ILL (Interlibrary Loan).

Money Matters – Your Credit Report Workshop Scheduled for March 1, 2017

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 help you achieve your economic goals.

When: First Wednesday of the month
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

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 or by calling 205-226-3691.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Computer Skills Center: LearningExpress Library

Microsoft Word Video Tutorial

How would you like to save $169.00?  You could probably do quite a few things with that money.  Well, if you’re interested in enhancing your computer skills and have a library card, you have access to a number of free online computer classes using LearningExpress Library.  How did I arrive at the $169.00 amount? A local junior college is offering a course in Microsoft Word that costs $169.00.  I’m sure it is very extensive, but with LearningExpress Library, you can take courses in Word 2007, 2010, or 2013 at the basic through advanced levels in the comfort of your home.  There is no need to get dressed, drive across town and sit in a classroom or computer lab.  You also have 24/7 access to the database allowing you to use it at your convenience.  Not to mention, you can pause the video tutorials whenever you need to which is impossible to do with classroom instruction.  The lessons are presented in short segments (most under 5 minutes) making them easy to repeat if necessary.

This database offers a variety of popular software tutorials at the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels.  Among the available software tutorials are Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Microsoft Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word, as well as Windows 7, 8 and 10.  If you registered for your library card at a Birmingham Public Library location, the software tutorials can be accessed from home using your library card. From Database Quick Links, choose LearningExpress Library, then type in your name and library card number.  Choose the tab for Computer Skills Center, then click on Popular Software Tools.  You must register for an account in order to launch a tutorial.  Once you have created and logged into your account, choose a tutorial under the headings listed in the left column and you are ready to get started.  

In addition to software tutorials, LearningExpress Library provides a wealth of other resources.  These include test preparation for civil service exams, ACT, SAT, and ASVAB preparation, graduate school admissions exams, resume assistance, GED preparation, and many other wonderful resources that you have to see to believe.  Any Jefferson County library card can be used to access these areas of the database.  LearningExpress Library saves you time and money while allowing you to learn at your own pace.  Please take advantage of this excellent database and all the information it has to offer.  If you would like a preview of the Computer Skills Center, there will be a demonstration of the database on February 28th and March 28th.  Click here for registration information. 

Southern History Book of the Month: They Too Call Alabama Home: African-American Profiles 1800—1999

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

They Too Call Alabama Home: African-American Profiles 1800-1999
Richard Bailey

African American History Month is a busy time in the library and this resource gets a workout. Leafing through They Too Call Alabama Home was a re-discovery of this resource for me; I’ve used it on a regular basis to look up answers to questions, but after taking some time to explore it I found plenty of new information (and realized how much I’d forgotten). If someone asks about African Americans with Alabama connections, there are names that instantly come to mind: Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron, W.C. Handy, Carrie Tuggle, Willie Mays, Coretta Scott King.

But I had never heard of James Reese Europe, AKA The King of Jazz, who was born in Mobile, fought in World War I, and formed his band after he recovered from being gassed in the trenches. I had heard of poet Sonia Sanchez, but never knew that she was born in Birmingham. Or there’s Louphenia Thomas, who was the first African-American woman to have a seat in the Alabama legislature.

This source has entries for institutions as well as people. There’s the Ben Moore hotel of Montgomery, Alabama, which was named after a former slave who was born in Alabama. There’s also a brief but interesting history of the WRMA radio station in Montgomery:
WPKN was Montgomery’s first black radio station . . . Southland Broadcasting Company, which owned the station, was a partnership of Ralph M. Allgood of Montgomery and Grover Wise of Birmingham. Wise was also the owner of the West End Theater in Birmingham . . . In 1952 one black radio station was located in Birmingham, two in Atlanta, and one in Memphis. The station went on the air on 8 May 1953, having changed its call letters to WRMA, the initials of Ralph M. Allgood.
There’s also a wealth of information in the Appendices. These include lists such as Alabama’s Black Officeholders from 1868-1999, Documented Black Resources in Alabama (arranged by county), and an Occupational Distribution, so if you need to find how many were musicians or politicians or physicians or librarians, consult this section.

There are numerous copies of They Too Call Alabama Home throughout the county library system. Some are listed as reference books for others are in the circulating collections, so if you have an interest in African American history and its Alabama connections, seek out this book at a library near you. It’s one of our most helpful resources.

For further information:
African American History Month
Alabama sites play part in African-American history
James Reese Europe
Sonia Sanchez
Louphenia Thomas
Ben Moore Hotel
WRMA Radio Montgomery, AL
Alabama African-American Genealogy Research

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Review: United States of Jihad

by Shea Robinson, Fiction Department, Central Library

United States of Jihad (2016)
Peter Bergen

United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists examines the cases of American citizens that have been charged or convicted with crimes of terrorism. Since September 11, 2001, approximately 330 American citizens have been prosecuted for some form of jihadist terrorist crime. While some of these crimes have occurred within the borders of the US, others have been terrorist conspiracies that took place in other countries. These crimes are categorized as a form of treason since the intent of this radical ideology is to kill Americans. This book examines the circumstances, training, and motivations that led these particular individuals to commit these crimes.

The author, Peter Bergen, is a professor within the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. He is also a CNN national security analyst and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. He has also performed extensive counter-terrorism reporting concerning Al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, and Iraq for numerous sources such as Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. This is his 7th published book regarding the subject of terrorism, with three among them becoming New York Times bestsellers.

American jihadists form a small percentage of the American Muslim population. They come from a multitude of various backgrounds, spanning races, socioeconomic status, and age. There are no generalizations to be found within this group of individuals. Their average age is 29 and more than one-third are married and have children. Less than 15% have been incarcerated and only approximately 10% experienced mental health disorders. On average, their educational and emotional level is on par with the typical American citizen.

This spawns the question of how these typical Americans became terrorists. Based on the studies of law enforcement officials, terrorism experts, and psychologists that have examined these cases in-depth, the pool of knowledge has increased regarding the motivations of those who turn to terrorism.
Several recruits have been prompted by a need for recognition or a desire to belong to an organization with a higher purpose. Jihad granted them that opportunity. Many of these recruits felt they were taking part in a holy war against the enemies of Islam. They were able to act out a heroic fantasy with the belief that Allah was backing their mission.

The majority of the militant terrorists outlined within this book subscribe to the branch of Islam known as Salafism. This branch has extremely fundamentalist beliefs and promotes intolerance of Islamic deviancy from the Koran. Though there are millions of peaceful Salafists throughout the world, most of the terrorists within this group developed a politicized view of the religious branch. Their belief in the sanctity of the Islam land inspired them to perform what they viewed as acts of revenge against Americans, their supposed enemy.

I found this book did a commendable job examining the cases of homegrown jihadist terrorism within the US. The work itself was extremely well-documented, which was to be expected given Peter Bergen's extensive credentials. He utilized the research and statistics composed by the New York Police Department and FBI, but did not allow that to bias his observations. For example, in some cases, he implies that the FBI committed acts of entrapment during their sting operations. Additionally, he documents the NYPD surveillance and intelligence gathering methods concerning the targeting of mosques as possible racial profiling and/or an invasion of civil rights. He allows the reader to decide if law enforcement agencies crossed the line with their investigations.

The only aspect of this book that I found inadequate was the lack of inclusion of American women that have attempted to join ISIS or commit domestic terrorist crimes. There has been extensive media coverage regarding women that are joining ISIS in large numbers. I would have enjoyed examining some research chronicling their motivations and experiences.

Thinking Outside the Box—Inglenook Library's Children's Book Club, Black History Programs Drawing in Young People

Inglenook Library Branch Manager Karnecia Williams believes libraries must think outside the box to show young people that libraries offer more than just books.

Last fall, the library won an Innovative and Cool Award from the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees after library assistant Michael Fagin devised an afterschool program in which young people come play retro video games on a new Nintendo video game console. This month, the Inglenook Branch Library is offering several unique activities that have drawn large crowds.

During the month of February, the Inglenook Library is hosting seven different programs exposing teens and pre-teens to various parts of black culture. On February 7, the library hosted Young Leadership Tuesday: Celebrating Black Music. On February 9, it hosted a program about a black entrepreneur, A Taste of History: George Crum and the Potato Chip.

The Mannequin Inglenook Library

On February 13, Williams invited youth to participate in a filming of the Mannequin Challenge that has drawn over 1,000 views on the Birmingham Public Library Facebook page. On Wednesday, February 15, the Inglenook Library launched a new book club for children as part of the library’s Black History Month programs. The Readers Are Leaders Children's Book Club will meet on the third Wednesday of each month. The February Book of the Month was The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton.

On February 14, the Inglenook Library hosted Lego Build: Honoring Black Architects, in which youth used Legos to erect structures inspired by buildings designed by black architects. On February 15, the library introduced its Readers Are Leaders Children's Book Club.

“At Inglenook Library, we believe that libraries should be fun, informative and educational at the same time,” Williams said. “We invite all students, their parents and adults both young and old to come in and join us. For more information about our programs, give me a call at 205-849-8739.”

Here are the remaining Black History Month programs planned at Inglenook Library:
Celebrating and Honoring Black Heroes: Open Mic (open to everyone)
Wednesday, February 22, 3:30 p.m.

Natural Hair Talk Featuring Nyesha Marshall
Monday, February 27, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Registration Open For March 2017 Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the March 2017 classes. During this month, we include classes on a variety of topics including computer skills, career guidance, and genealogy. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) Library. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.

Please note that registration does not necessarily guarantee you a spot in the class. You will receive an email confirming your registration for classes. You may also call to confirm your registration.

To register for any class, please email us at or call 205-226-3681. You may also download and print a March 2017 class schedule flyer to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the March 2017 class schedule can be sent to us as an email attachment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Readers are Leaders Children’s Book Club at Inglenook Library Tenth in BPL System

Inglenook Library Branch Manager Karnecia Williams talks to members of the
Readers Are Leaders Children's Book Club about the February book of the
month, The People Could Fly

As a parent and branch manager of Inglenook Branch Library, Karnecia Williams knows the importance of reading.

Seeing a need, Williams is launching a new book club for children as part of the library’s Black History Month programs. The Readers Are Leaders Children's Book Club hosted its first meeting at 3:30 p.m. on February 15 at the Inglenook Branch Library. Meetings will be held the third Wednesday of each month.

Williams said youth who attend afterschool programs at the Inglenook Library are looking forward to joining the book club.

“I am excited that through the Readers are Leaders Children’s Book Club, we here at Inglenook Library will be able to share with young people the joy of reading,” Williams said. “I welcome parents and young people interested in this club to give me a call at 205-849-8739.”

If you are an avid reader and want to meet fellow book lovers, there are ten book clubs open to the public at library locations across the City of Birmingham. Here is a listing of clubs, meeting times, and contact persons at various Birmingham Public Library locations:

The Avondale Library Book Group meets on the third Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m., The book club began in October 2016. For more information, contact Rachel Lopez at 205-226-4000 or

The Ensley Library Reading Gems Book Club, founded in August 2016, meets every second Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Mary Merchant at 205-785-2625 or

The Inglenook Library Readers Are Leaders Children's Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month. For information, call Inglenook Branch Manager Karnecia Williams at 205-849-8739.

The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club meets the last Wednesday each month at 10:30 a.m. am (except in November & December). The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or

The North Avondale Children's Picture Book Club meets the second Wednesday each month at 3:30 p.m. It is comprised of school-age children. The first meeting was held in November 2015 and centered on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or

The Powderly Library Maturing Minds Book Club meets the third Friday each month at 10:00 a.m. The group enjoys reading both fiction and nonfiction titles. For information, contact Loretta Bitten at 205-925-6178 or

The Smithfield Library Adult Book Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Reba Williams at 205-324-8428 or

The Springville Road Regional Branch Library Afterthoughts meets the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion of selected nonfiction work. For titles, contact Kelly at or 205-226-4083.

The Springville Road Library Reading Roadies meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. The club reads and discusses fiction titles chosen by the group and welcomes all adults, both young and old. For more information, contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or

The Wylam Book Group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. Popular fiction and nonfiction books are read and discussed. For more information, contact Connie Tolbert at or 205-785-0349.

Visit the BPL event calendar for more information and to view upcoming meetings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Free Concerts Scheduled in February as Part of Black History Month Celebration at BPL

Two singing performances the weekend of February 18-19 are among four free concerts taking place over five days as part of the Birmingham Public Library’s observance of Black History Month.

The concerts are among dozens of programs taking place at many of BPL’s 19 libraries as part of its celebration of Black History Month in February. Read more at the link below:

Schedule of concerts:
10th Annual Black History Month Concert featuring J.D. Jackson
Five Points West Regional Branch Library
Saturday, February. 18, 2017, 2:00 p.m.

Music of African American Diaspora, a Joint Recital Featuring Jillian Rogers, soprano, and Jeremy McMillian, piano, both doctoral students in musical arts at University of Alabama
Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

Wenonah High School Choir Presents Celebrating African American History Through Music
Tuesday, February 21, 5:00 p.m. 

African American Musical by the Alabama School of Fine Arts Music Department
Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 12:00 p.m.

For more BPL programs, go to

Playaway Launchpad Learning Tablets Now Available for Checkout

The Public Libraries In Jefferson County announced today that Playaway Launchpad tablets are now available at most locations for patron checkout. The Library Cooperative (made up of 40 locations) received a $25,000 federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Alabama Public Library Service, Montgomery, Alabama.

Playaway Launchpads are designed especially for youth and are pre-loaded with high-quality, ad-free apps that are both fun and educational. Apps are grouped onto Launchpad tablets by subject area, theme, grade level, and age, making it easy for parents and kids to choose a tablet with the content most appealing to them. Every Launchpad is 100% secure, providing hours of interactive learning and play without the risk of exposure to unintended content. The Launchpad content collection spans subject areas from math and science to critical thinking and creativity, and features themed learning packs including animals, princesses, fantasy, nature, and more. A custom designed user interface gives children the opportunity to make every Launchpad experience their own by creating a personal avatar, plus an informational console gives parents and educators feedback about time spent on the tablet. Launchpad is powered by an Android operating system and features a 7” high-definition touch screen, external speaker, universal audio jack, and a durable, protective bumper.

Launchpads are also available at some libraries for teens and adults. Various subjects are available. As with all Playaway pre-loaded products, patrons can simply check out a Playaway Launchpad tablet and begin learning, while having fun, the same day. No connectivity or downloading is required for use.

To search the catalog for a list of Launchpads in the Jefferson County public library system:

1) Access the Encore catalog
2) Search: launchpad
3) Refine by Format: computer files
4) Refine further by Collection, Location, or Language