Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birmingham Public Library Staff Win National Awards

Birmingham Public Library has received three Be Innovative! awards from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. III provides software to public, academic, special and school libraries in the US and 40 countries for managing, ordering, processing, and circulating library materials. This awards program recognizes the creative and outstanding uses of Innovative products. The Birmingham Public Library is the only library, worldwide, to receive this award three times.

Jane Keeton, Acquisitions Department head, received the Most Innovative Staff Module award at the 2004 Innovative Users Group Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, for the introduction of the immensely popular Best Sellers Club. This club allows the patrons of the Birmingham Public Library automatic reserves of newly published books of fiction penned by their favorite authors. Currently, 1,980 patrons use this service and more are added daily.

Melinda Shelton, webmaster for the library, accepted the award for the Most Innovative Marketing of Millennium Products/Features at the 2007 Innovative Users Group Conference in San Jose, California. Shelton designed and linked features from the Innovative Interfaces system to the library’s MySpace page to allow direct searching of the catalog, new materials list, and other online content.

Tobin Cataldo, Information Systems Manager, accepted the Most Innovative Implementation of E-resource Discovery award at the 2008 Innovative Users Group Conference in Washington, D.C. Cataldo created links in the online library catalog to allow patrons to easily access other recommendations for similar titles or genres found on Amazon.com.

All three of these librarians have worked to carry out the mission statement of the Birmingham Public Library to “provide the highest quality library service for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and recreation.” Please visit the BPL website at www.bplonline.org or call 226-3600 for additional information.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ Climate: Concepts and Personal Choices

carbon footprint icon
What personal choices do we make each day that affects our air, water and, climate? You might be surprised! Join us as Dr. Joyce Lanning shares insights into the world in which we live and breathe. Wednesday, June 4, noon.


brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

David Sedaris Alert

book cover

Good news for David Sedaris fans! His new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, is on order. Better go ahead and reserve the book and/or audio before the list gets too long. The publication date is June 3.

Sydney Pollack Dead at 73

sydney pollack
There are very few movie goers who haven't been entertained at some point by Sydney Pollack the actor, director, and producer. Pollack died Monday of cancer at the age of 73.

Pollack started out as a stage actor in 1954, and then moved behind the scenes to direct television shows in the ‘60s. He eventually moved on to directing and producing some of the most popular and entertaining films of our time, including Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, The Firm, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Cold Mountain.

Robert Redford and Pollack met on the set of War Hunt in 1962, and developed a friendship that led to a successful movie collaboration. Redford starred in seven of Pollack's movies, and their epic Out of Africa went on to win Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. Pollack was also nominated for Best Director Oscars for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Tootsie.

Pollack had a way of shining in every bit part he played. Who can ever forget Pollack as Tootsie’s frustrated agent? The scenes of him screaming at his client (Dustin Hoffman) for not wanting to sit down in his tomato costume or nixing his Love Canal play are pure gold. (It was his on-the-set arguing with his star Dustin Hoffman that led to his small role as Hoffman’s agent in Tootsie, with Hoffman suggesting that Pollack take the role.)

Pollack is survived by his wife of fifty years and two daughters. His only son died in 1993 in a plane crash.

BPL@Night Hosts Author Warren Trest

former Governor Patterson
Former senior historian for the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, Warren Trest has written over fifty stories and articles concerning military history. He has published three books of nonfiction and one novel.

In Trest’s new book, Nobody But the People, Trest has written the first authorized biography of Alabama’s youngest governor, John Patterson. The governor led a controversial life, which started in 1954 when his father, then Alabama Attorney General Albert Patterson, was assassinated in Phenix City, AL, in an attempt to clean up the city’s crime and corruption.

Gov. Patterson was elected Attorney General after his father’s death and a few years later, in 1958, he defeated George Wallace to become governor. As governor, he stepped in to stop the violence after a mob burned the Freedom Riders bus passing through Anniston.

Gov. Patterson led Alabama as our state struggled to come to grips with the civil rights of its citizens. The title Nobody But the People comes from Gov. Patterson’s stance as a populist leader, which he remained throughout his political life, even with his admitted shortcomings.

Gov. John Patterson will be at the library with his biographer, Warren Trest. This book will resonate with audience members as the author delves into the life of this important governor and our state’s most important era. Gov. Patterson and Mr. Trest will answer questions and sign copies of Nobody But the People, which will be on sale at the library.

Event Information
Event: Nobody But the People author Warren Trest
Place: Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library
Date: Tuesday, June 3
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

BPL@Night is made possible, in part, by the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Fund administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, and by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

EBSCO has Green

Alternative Energy sources, Bio fuel, Sustainability- These are all buzzwords relating to the heightened interest and research on climate change.
EBSCO shares that interest, and has added a new, FREE, database to their collection.
Want to know more?
Visit GreenFILE.
With more than 380,000 records and access to more than 4,700 full text records, EBSCO can help you find answers to your questions about agriculture, climate change, polution and policy.
I browsed through the publication list and found some dating back to the 1960s. Titles include: Annals of Environmental Science, Bioscience, Naturalist, Recycling Today, and Sierra.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Book Review: Girls Like Us

book cover
Even though I’ve been listening to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon for decades, I had no idea I would enjoy Girls Like Us so much. Sheila Weller is a pop trivia queen and had to have spent hours hunched over microfilm machines, researching the minutiae of these ladies’ lives.

The interviewees go all the way back to neighborhood playmates and school chums, and the book is filled with information about the music scene starting in the early sixties, when Carole King started plinking out the melody to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with her husband, Gerry Goffin, in the Brill Building.

Out of the three, it's Joni Mitchell's music I enjoy the most. Her songs are more introspective and her talent can't be matched in the female singer/songwriter genre. Her song "Little Green" off her famous Blue album hinted at the baby she gave up for adoption when she was just a 21-year-old unknown named Joan Anderson, and I was touched at just how it affected her life until she finally met her daughter as a 32-year-old woman with a child of her own.

The tidbits of information on Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Judy Collins, and others hanging around at that time are just as titillating. And if you have any interest whatsoever in James Taylor, there's no need to reach for a biography on him. You'll learn more than you'll ever want to know in Weller's book, and will feel for Carly Simon and what she went through during her marriage to this heroin addict.

Girls Like Us and Alice Hoffman's newest book duked it out on my nightstand every night for weeks, and more often than not the Girls won the fight.

Brown Bag Program ~ Would You Like to Be a Jewelry Detective?

flower pin
Jeanne Bell will share her expertise as an Antiques Roadshow appraiser on various types of costume and other jewelry. Audience members may bring one piece of jewelry per person for an unofficial look. Wednesday, May 28, noon.


brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Retirement Planning Seminar: Your Good Health—Now and in Retirement

doctor
In the ongoing series covering retirement, the Birmingham Public Library is offering its next installment, “Your Good Health–Now and in Retirement.” This session features Danny Mays, who is the Physician’s Assistant at SeniorCare Geriatric Healthcare Services.

Mr. Mays will discuss the importance of health in retirement and what those planning to retire may do now to help themselves maintain a fulfilling and healthy retirement.

Seminar Details
Who: Danny Mays, Physician’s Assistant for SeniorCare
What: “Your Good Health” in The Retirement Seminars Series
When: Thursday, May 22
Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon
Where: Central Library auditorium
Cost: Free and open to the public

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ Alabama's Aquatic Diversity and Preservation

mussel shells
Mussel shells by Paul Freeman

Alabama is known for its unique aquatic species, but what is being done to preserve them? Join us as Paul Freeman, Aquatic Ecologist from the Alabama chapter of The Nature Conservancy, discusses this aquatic diversity and conservation efforts to preserve Alabama's natural heritage. Wednesday, May 21, noon.


brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Come Enjoy the Neo Jazz Collective

The Neo Jazz Collective is scheduled to perform both dreamy blues sound and snappy jazz at City Stages this year.

However you do not have to wait until then to enjoy the sounds of this talented group of student musicians.

Come hear them live Monday evening at the Five Points West Library.


The Details
Where: Five Points West Library
When: Monday, May 19, 2008
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Metamorphosis @ Birmingham Public Library

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tech Tuesdays ~ Social Networking for Parents: What You Need to Know About What Your Children Are Typing

teen chat shorthand
BPL’s next Tech Tuesday will be an entire session about social networking sites, which are all the new media kids use to communicate, including text messaging, chats, IM’s, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and many more.

This session has been designed to inform parents about the specific acronyms that kids are using and how to discover what your kids are saying. Some of the phrases that parents may have seen are PAL (Parents Are Listening), KPC (Keep Parents Clueless), and POS (Parents Over Shoulder), among a host of others.

Join us as we discover and teach you the internet shorthand used by children of all ages as they text, chat, and connect themselves to the outside world.

Program Details
Who: Birmingham Public Library staff
What: “Social Networking fort Parents” in the Tech Tuesdays series
When: Tuesday, May 20
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Live at the Central Library auditorium and simulcast at Springville Road and Five Points West
Cost: Free

IM, del.icio.us, MySpace, Facebook, RSS, Mashups, Photobucket, Pixer, Second Life, Wiki, blogging. What are these things and will they hurt me? Join us at Tech Tuesdays for a look at the technologies sweeping the Internet and see if you need to join the crowd!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Take Charge of your Legal Affairs



Visit us online or in person to access Alabama Legal Forms.

This easy-to-use database provides a wide selection of legal forms, a comprehensive directory of Alabama attorneys and a dictionary of legal terms explained in laymen's language.

This online database is just one of our many useful online resources.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Staff Pick: Thank You, Mr. Falker (Ages 4-8)

book cover
Trisha is the smallest girl in a large, loving family. When Trisha turned the glorious age of five, grandpa drizzled honey on the cover of a small book. Oh, it was such a special day for Trisha! She would finally learn to read. Her family told her that knowledge was sweet like honey, but “knowledge is like the bee that made that sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book!” Trisha loved books and longed to read. She liked to draw and the other kids in her kindergarten class would crowd around to watch her reveal her glorious unique creations. Her brother told her that she would learn to read in the first grade. Excellent!

As her first grade teacher smiled, she tried to sound out the letters and words in her first grade reader. However, all Trisha could see was squiggly shapes. None of this made sense! Trisha felt different from the other children. She thought she was dumb. She spent more time drawing and more time with her dear, sweet grandmother.

Soon, her family made the decision to move to California and she started attending a new school. In Thank You, Mr. Falker , Patricia Polacco tells the inspirational story of Trisha, a young girl whose life takes a dramatic turn because of the understanding and compassion shown by a teacher.

Has someone in your past made a significant difference in your life by showing a small bit of compassion? You probably will always remember that one special individual, a person who had a caring spirit and was sympathetic toward your difficulties.

Read this book for a special surprise ending. If you have a small child who has learning difficulties, read this book with them. Readers young and old will enjoy the message. Remember, do not become discouraged with troubling circumstances, there might just be that special someone that cares and truly makes a difference.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

BPL@Night Presents Vulcan Bones

vulcan bones group shot
The Vulcan Bones is in residence at Samford University, and was founded back in 2003. The members of Vulcan Bones come from many walks of life: from high school standouts to surgeons, to professional trombonists in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. They love to play a variety of music, from the earliest written trombone music, to modern jazz, popular, and, of course, movie music.

The sound of a trombone choir is one of the most homogenous of all instrumental groups. From the early days of its invention for the support of voices, the trombone family has been a model for the most expressive and dynamic of music making.

Program Details
Where: In the atrium at the Central Library
When: Thursday, May 15
Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m.

BPL@Night is made possible, in part, by the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Fund administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, and by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's The Buzz...

Brown Bag Program ~ Page to Stage Presents The White Rose

scene from the white rose
Join us as we get an inside look at Birmingham Festival Theatre’s current production, The White Rose.

Consisting of five students from the University of Munich, the White Rose distributed leaflets calling for the German people to oppose Nazi oppression. Seen dropping leaflets from a top floor by a custodian at the university, the students were arrested and went to trial on February 22, 1943. All were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by guillotine.

The students would have the last word, however, when their last leaflet was smuggled to Allied forces, who used it as a propaganda leaflet and airdropped millions of copies into Germany. Wednesday, May 14, noon.


brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Cyclones

CNN is now reporting the death toll from the Myanmar cyclone at “22,464 with 41,000 missing. The U.N. is estimating that as many as 1 million could be missing.” What exactly is a tropical cyclone, how is it capable of causing this type of devastation and can it happen here?

According to Gale’s Science Resource Center, “a fully developed tropical cyclone is a circular complex of thunderstorms about 400 mi (645 km) in diameter and more than 7.5 mi (12 km) high. Winds near the core of the cyclone can exceed 110 mph (177 km/h).” The destruction is caused not only by winds reaching 110 miles per hour, but by storm surges that can reach 16 ft. “In 1900 the city of Galveston, Texas, was struck by a storm surge during a hurricane. One eyewitness reported that the sea rose 4 ft (1.2 m) in a matter of seconds.”

The Australian Geographic reports that cyclones are not actually unique to the tropics. In fact, "basically, these are all geographical names for the same weather phenomena," he said. "If you're in the Atlantic or eastern and central Pacific Ocean region, they're known as hurricanes; in the South China Sea they're typhoons; and if you're in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean they're tropical cyclones.”

The area of devastation covered by the Myanmar cyclone is over 30,000 square kilometers. For a sense of the size of the storm look at these Cyclone images from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

BPL@Night Presents Slavery By Another Name with Author Douglas Blackmon

douglas blackmon
The Wall Street Journal Atlanta bureau chief, Douglas Blackmon, will give a presentation about his groundbreaking book, Slavery By Another Name, a book which delves into the neo-slavery that existed among African Americans well into the 20th Century.

After abolition, tens of thousands of African Americans were wrongfully arrested, imprisoned, and charged outrageous “fines” that they had to pay off in work camps, sometimes for many years. The “prisoners” had no way to pay the fines so they were sold as forced laborers in all types of work, from lumberyards and coal mines to brickyards and farm plantations. This practice occurred until the outbreak of WWII.

Listen to the author discuss the "re-enslavement" of African Americans after the Civil War on a May 1 broadcast of Tavis Smiley.

Mr. Blackmon has been writing about race and politics in the South for over 20 years. He first began writing stories in his native Mississippi, then moved on to local newspapers, and worked for a time at The Atlanta Journal Constitution before becoming the Atlanta Bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal.

His book, published by Doubleday, will be on sale at the library.

The announcement for his visit to the Birmingham Public Library was listed in The New York Times recently and he will be hosted in the Arrington Auditorium of the downtown library. Light refreshments will be served.

Program Details
Where: The Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library
When: Tuesday, May 13
Time: 6:30 p.m.

BPL@Night is made possible, in part, by the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Fund administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, and by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night.

Photo by Michael A. Schwartz

BPL@Night Presents Chopin's Afterlife: A Documentary Experience

ophra yerushalmi

Concert pianist and film maker Ophra Yerushalmi created the film Chopin’s Afterlife, which is a personal essay of Yerushalmi searching for Frederic Chopin. She says, “I am a pianist because of Chopin. He has been a constant presence in my life.”

Frederic Chopin, one of the world’s greatest composers and certainly one of the most popular, was born in 1810 in Poland and died in 1849 in Paris. His piano compositions were generally short and he attained legendary status as a performer, although he performed less than 30 times in his entire lifetime. Chopin’s ill health caused him not to perform often or in public. He preferred to compose and teach, but his passionate piano compositions suggest a fiery interior life. Chopin was both a romantic and a revolutionary.

In the film Chopin’s Afterlife, Ophra Yerushalmi attempts to bridge the gap between Chopin the romantic and Chopin the revolutionary. She helps the audience understand the power and quality of Chopin’s music and its relevance today.

Yerushalmi will introduce the film at 6:30 and all in attendance will have an opportunity to view the documentary and ask questions and interact with the producer.

This special event will be held in the auditorium of the downtown library and is free. Light refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Program Details
Where: The Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library
When: Monday, May 12
Time: 6:30 p.m.

BPL@Night is made possible, in part, by the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Fund administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, and by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Growing Learning Tree Park



Decorative Lighting What was a desolate field of dirt, rocks, and weedy lumps, is giving way to the foundations of a park.

Over the past few months, this field was cleared, a sprinkler system installed, and decorative lighting began to appear beside the Five Points West Library. These lights and the beginnings of a ¼-mile long walking track are part of the much anticipated Learning Tree Park.

Eventually, the addition of a large central learning tree, clusters of other trees, exercise stations, and a pavilion will result in a community park to compliment the library and the adjoining municipal center at Five Points West.

To see more photos of the ongoing construction of Learning Tree Park click here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

BPL contributes to Civil Rights Digital Library

Civil Rights Digital Library logo
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing materials from the Birmingham Public Library's Digital Collection are included in the recently launched Civil Rights Digital Library. Birmingham Public Library is the only library or archives from Alabama included in this new online library.

Below is the announcement sent out by the Civil Rights Digital Library.


Athens, Ga., April 29, 2008 - The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is the most ambitious and comprehensive initiative to date to deliver educational content on the Civil Rights Movement via the Web.

The CRDL promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement through its three principal components:1) a digital video archive delivering 30 hours of historical news film allowing learners to be nearly eyewitnesses to key events of the Civil Rights Movement, 2) a civil rights portal providing a seamless virtual library on the Movement by aggregating metadata from more than 75 libraries and allied organizations from across the nation, and 3) instructional materials to facilitate the use of the video content in the learning process.

The centerpiece of the site is a collection of more than 30 hours of historical news film held by the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. These moving images—about 450 clips--cover a broad range of key civil rights events, including the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas (1957); the Atlanta Temple bombing (1958); Atlanta sit-ins (1960); Freedom Rides (1961); desegregation of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech (1961); the Albany Movement (1961-1962); desegregation of Ole Miss (1962) and University of Alabama (1963); and Americus Movement (1963, 1965); Birmingham demonstrations (1963); among many other topics.

The video archive covers both national figures and local leaders. There is more than two hours of film related to Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s role in the Albany Movement is documented extensively, including clips of speeches at mass meetings, his arrest by local police, press conferences, and his visit to a pool hall to urge local African Americans to adopt non-violence in achieving change in Albany. Among the clips is coverage of King’s reaction to President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and his funeral in 1968.

In addition to the news film, the digital library includes related collections from 75 libraries, archives, and museums across the nation. Most are original documentation of the period, such as oral histories, letters, diaries, FBI files, and photographs.

A partnership with the online New Georgia Encyclopedia is a key component, providing concise, authoritative articles on events and individuals associated with the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, supplemented by images and multi-media files.

The CRDL initiative includes a special site for teachers, called "Freedom on Film" (currently in development) that relates civil rights stories from nine Georgia towns and cities, along with related news film, discussion questions, lesson plans, and related readings. Freedom on Film is being developed by University of Georgia faculty and students, along with scholars from other institutions.

The Civil Rights Digital Library receives financial support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The CRDL will continue to grow through its partnerships with allied organizations across the U.S.

Visit the Civil Rights Digital Library: http://crdl.usg.edu

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ Rabbi Milton Graffman and Temple Emanu-El's Response to WWII

temple emanuel
photo by Julian H. Preisler and Janet Dancer

Troy University historian Dan Puckett will discuss the efforts of Birmingham’s Jewish community to reach out and maintain ties with their fighting men and women during the Second World War. Wednesday, May 7, noon


brown bag imageFeed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.