Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Bloom County Returns after 25-Year Hiatus

by Lorraine Walker, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
Berkley Breathed

Berkley Breathed is back! If you do not know Breathed, it is possible that you are not a fan of his most famous creation. Over 25 years ago, he made the comic strip Bloom County one of America’s most famous destinations. Featuring all your favorite characters—Opus, Milo, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, Cutter John, and many more—Bloom County has finally come home.

When he left us, the characters were knee deep in the controversial topics of the day. Topics such as Reaganomics, women’s lib, the Moral Majority, and Phil Donohue were fair game. This newest book brings the subjects forward. They now deal with the presidential election, Star Wars, Starbucks, Facebook, and many other issues of today. His take on them is hilarious as well as thought-provoking. You’ll want to get your hands on a copy ASAP.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Southern History Department Closes out 2016 with Introduction to Genealogy Workshop, Announces Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshop Schedule for 2017

The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department gets calls and visitors daily from patrons trying to unravel the mysteries of their family tree. Southern History Department staffers are presenting several genealogy and local history workshops to close out 2016. Also, the department has now set dates for its popular Basics of Genealogy workshop schedule for the first half of 2017. You can go ahead and register to secure your spot and get an e-mail reminder a few days before the workshop.

"Genealogy is a hobby for many people,” said Southern History’s librarian, Laura Gentry. “The Southern History Department specializes in local history and genealogy, and we are here to help you research your ancestors."

Tuesday, December 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Introduction to Genealogy – Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. This class meets on the first floor of the Linn-Henley building in the Southern History Department.

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop schedule.

Saturday, January 28, 10:00 a.m.
DNA Genealogy Testing Services
– Explore the offerings of the three major DNA genealogy testing services, and learn how to make full use of their websites.

Saturday, March 4, 10:00 a.m.
Digital Dixie 2 – Do you have ancestors from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Texas? In this class, you will discover digital genealogy resources that you never knew existed from these Southern states and learn search strategies to find untapped information and locate your ancestor.

Saturday, April 8, 10:00 a.m. 
Making Your Sweet Home among Maps: How to Read and Interpret Maps of the Southeastern United States – Do old maps enchant or intimidate you? Do the symbols intrigue or confuse you? This hands-on workshop explores the symbols and mapping conventions used on 19th and early 20th century maps to tell the story of the development of the Southeast. Students will learn how to interpret and analyze information contained on old maps as well as look for hidden meaning behind what was mapped and what was left off the map.

Saturday, June 24, 10:00 a.m.
One for the Record Books: The English Census – Searching for English ancestors? Genealogists know that census records are crucial to family history research, but there are some important differences between the U.S. Federal Census and its English cousin. This workshop will show you how to navigate this important information source.

Workshops are free of charge, but registration in advance is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernHistoryBPL.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Celebrate the Holidays at the Birmingham Public Library

That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular
December morning, I  keep searching the sky. As if I expected to
see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of  kites hurrying toward heaven.
From A Christmas Memory, illustrated by Beth Peck

People will have plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday mood during the month of December at many of the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system.

Activities kick off Saturday, December 3, at the Southside and West End Branch Libraries with the first of several library performances of From Page to Stage: A Christmas Carol: The Musical – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children. On Sunday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m., BPL continues a holiday tradition with Irondale storyteller Dolores Hydock’s popular one-woman performance of “A Christmas Memory,” the Truman Capote holiday classic. This time, Hydock’s event will have a special treat: slices of fruitcake for the public from Birmingham Breadworks.

Springville Road Regional Branch Library will host its Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 4, with refreshments from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and the Seasoned Readers performing at 4:00 p.m. Also, patrons who find the elves on the shelves and solve the mystery of the missing Santa at East Lake Branch Library will get a chance to enter to win a Christmas gift. Enter now at East Lake Library; winners will be selected on Wednesday, December 21.

All BPL locations will be closed for the Christmas holiday Friday, December 23, through Monday, December 26.

To see a list of December programs at all BPL locations, visit the event calendar at http://www.bplonline.org/calendar/Default.aspx and click on "Seasonal" in the Event Category.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dolores Hydock to Peform Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" at Central Library, December 4


What: "A Christmas Memory" performed by Dolores Hydock
When: Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

The Christmas season doesn’t really begin until you have experienced Birmingham storyteller Dolores Hydock’s incredible one-woman performance of "A Christmas Memory," Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama.

As an added treat Birmingham Breadworks will join us to share their own fruitcake creations. In "A Christmas Memory" Capote lovingly describes making fruitcake with a favorite relative. Birmingham Breadworks will offer a new twist on an old holiday favorite.

For more information on the program contact Jim Baggett at jbaggett@bham.lib.al.us or 205-226-3631.

And catch up with Dolores Hydock at http://www.storypower.org/.

There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments.

Learn more about Birmingham Breadworks at http://www.birminghambreadworks.com/.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Money Matters – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud Workshop Scheduled for December 7


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

Dates/Workshops
12/7/2016 – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud (This program has been rescheduled for December 14)
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, November 29, 2016

Lives Touched by the Birmingham Public Library: Adrienne Stroud Moves from Homeless to Homeowner Thanks to Assistance from BPL

Adrienne Stroud talking to staff at the Business, Science and Technology Dept.

Adrienne Stroud was homeless for over two months during the summer of 2014. Today, she is a homeowner. Stroud gives much of the credit to Birmingham Public Library (BPL) staffers who provided assistance and access to information that helped turn her life around.

“The Birmingham Public Library helped me find a homeless prevention program to get off the streets, and put me in touch with people who help those who’ve lost jobs,” Stroud said. "A lot of people aren’t aware you can call the library to get information and take advantage of valuable programs for free.”

Stroud is one of 1.5 million lives a year touched in a positive way by resources and workshops available for free to the public at BPL’s 19 locations. Stroud in particular credits Jim Murray, head of the Business, Science and Technology Department at the Central Library, and Robert Jones, a librarian in the department, for taking time out to help her.

“A lot of people use the Yellow Pages,” Stroud said. “I am legally blind so I called the library to find resources I needed. The library was an invaluable resource for me that helped me move from a homeless shelter at the Salvation Army to become a homeowner.”

Stroud is now in her 18th month of taking classes at Lawson State Community College, and has also taken some coursework at Miles College, thanks to educational assistance programs for students she learned about from BPL. She said has built friendships with BPL staff like Murray and Jones, whom she still keeps in touch with today.

“I feel as if the Birmingham Public Library is a part of my extended family,” Stroud said.

See videos and more information about how to help BPL assist patrons like Stroud at http://www.bplonline.org/Foundation/Support.aspx. View BPL's homelessness resource page at http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/subjects/Default.aspx?s_page=75. Also. consider making donations to BPL as part of #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving taking place on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Patrons Win Thanksgiving Giveaways from Smithfield, North Birmingham Libraries

Jesse Allen, one of the lucky winners of the Thanksgiving basket giveaway

Three patrons who checked out books at the Smithfield Branch Library during November won Thanksgiving baskets as part of a giveaway at the library November 22.

The winners are: Jesse Allen, who checked out The Color Purple; Charles Smith, who checked out a Willy Wonka book; and Demetrius Hayes, who checked out To Kill a Mockingbird. All three patrons won Thanksgiving baskets from the Smithfield Library that included a turkey, canned goods, bread rolls, celery, tomatoes, and other vegetables.

Allen said he was surprised to find out that he had won one of the Thanksgiving baskets. “I’m really excited because I never win anything,” Allen said. “Thanks to the Smithfield Library. I visit this library all of the time because I live in the community.”

Felicia Cooper’s decision to drop by the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library last week to check out Debbie Macomber’s novel, The Inn at Rose Harbor, has paid off in more ways than just giving her a good book to read.

Cooper’s name was drawn as winner in the library’s “Thanks for Being Our Patron" turkey drawing She received a 12-pound turkey, which Cooper says was unexpected.

“I’m very excited; it’s the first time I’ve ever won anything,” Cooper said in a phone interview. She has been a regular patron of the North Birmingham Library since childhood. “It’s my favorite library,” she said.

Birmingham Public Library Accepting Donations During #GivingTuesday on November 29


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is accepting donations as part of the #GivingTuesday campaign.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Donations help BPL’s 19 locations to serve nearly 1.5 million people a year throughout Birmingham, granting them access to information, programs, and resources at no cost.

BPL has been educating the public for over 129 years, as noted in a national spotlight feature in the Atlantic.

The Robotics Marathon, held recently at the Central Library as part of Teens Engineer Birmingham, is among many free activities held in BPL’s 19 libraries daily. The afterschool program teaches engineering skills to dozens of teens weekly at the Southside, Woodlawn, and Central Libraries.

Because of the generous contributions of people like you, BPL can continue its mission of enriching the lives of Birmingham citizens like Calvester Sanders and the teen engineer participants featured below:

Redmont Hotel employee attends free computer classes at BPL
UAB engineering student teaches teens in afterschool program