Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tech Tuesdays ~ What Are YOU Reading?

people reading
Are you looking for the next fascinating book to read? Have you already read the books by your favorite authors? Don’t panic. Come join us to discover the treasure map and locate your next great read–online! Tuesday, October 7, noon. Live @ Central Library and simulcast at Five Points West and Springville Road libraries.

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, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman, Screen Legend

Paul NewmanPaul Newman, one of the most well-known and talented actors of his generation, died on Friday. He accomplished so much during his career that it’s difficult to write a short description. One reference book lists Paul Newman’s occupations as actor, director, producer, screenwriter, philanthropist, chef, and auto racer.

Born January 26, 1925 in Cleveland, OH, Newman was a leading man by 10 years old, starring in a local production of St. George and the Dragon. After studying at the Yale School of Drama, Newman began performing in television plays and his success led to work on Broadway. His film debut in 1955 was the beginning of a storied career that spanned over five decades. He is well-known for his memorable performances in movies such as Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Sting. With a career total of 10 Academy-Award nominations, including a Best-Picture nomination as producer of Rachel, Rachel, he won the Best-Actor award for his portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson in the 1986 film The Color of Money. In 2002, Newman received his 10th Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Road to Perdition.

In addition to his acting career, Paul Newman is well-known for his food company which produces the brand Newman’s Own. The company, which produces over 40 products, donates all its profits to charitable organizations. Newman died at his home near Westport, CT, surrounded by family and friends, including his beloved wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Children's Book Review: Madam President (Ages 9 - 12)

Book CoverThrough her imagination, a little girl dreams of what her day might be like as President of the United States. So busy! Why she has executive orders to give, daily briefs to review, photo ops, press conferences, etc. She also has to be protected by a special “Secret Service Agent” on the playground (enter cat with dark sunglasses). She even has the power to veto “lunch specials” and school musicals. The list goes on. As Madam President, she must be careful to handle certain situations with grace and be a diplomat. Therefore, she will not comment on certain individuals with wild hats! Of course, she must show leadership abilities by first cleaning her own room. After a full day, Madam President can rest and begin again another day.

Madam President is a humorous book with adorable illustrations. The author reminds young girls to dream big, be assertive and have confidence. Lane Smith introduces us to a confident little character who is sure she can rise to any task and become a most influential and noble leader.

Please be sure to visit Lane Smith's Website.

Celebrate Banned Books Week (September 27th - October 4th 2008)

Banned Books Logo Banned Books ImagePlease join us in the annual celebration of “Banned Books Week: Celebrating The Freedom To Read.” Each year, during the last week in September, we celebrate the freedom to make choices among which books to read, to express opinions and to make choices between a wide variety of viewpoints and varying sides of issues. This year, we will celebrate Banned Books Week during September 27 through October 4, 2008.

This year is special cause for celebration since it marks the 27th anniversary of “Banned Books Week.” Read a book from the list of most frequently challenged books of 2007, stir up your imagination and challenge some ideas! You might also take a look at the list of top 100 challenged books of the 1990's.

The following is a list of ideas from the American Library Association Website you might explore to support Banned Books Week:

Get Involved : Go to school board meetings. Volunteer at your local public library to create an event that helps to celebrate our freedom to read

Speak Out! Write letters to editors, officials and school principals that discusses and celebrates the freedom to read.

Exercise Your Rights! Check out a banned book at your library, discuss banned books at your book club.

Join the Freedom To Read Foundation

Dedicate one day’s programming on your National Public Radio (NPR) station to Banned Books Week.

Please visit ALA's Action Guide for even more suggested activities to celebrate Banned Books Week!

“Banned Books Week” is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Children's Book Review: For the Love of Autumn (ages 4-8)

book coverFor the Love of Autumn by Patricia Polacco is a sweet story about a kitten and a young, romantic student teacher. Oddly enough, my energetic, WipeOut-obsessed, truck-bashing son has been requesting it every night since I brought it home from the library. It's reassuring to know there's a gentle side under all those snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails.

Danielle falls in love with her kitten at first sight, naming her Autumn because it's almost Halloween. They spend their days playing and lounging on the sofa, munching on popcorn and watching TV.

One day Danielle receives a letter offering her a teaching position in Port Townsend, Washington. She's thrilled because she has always wanted to live by the sea.

Danielle rents a cozy cottage on the bay and begins teaching a classroom full of inquisitive moppets. They want to know all about her. Is she married? Danielle wistfully answers no, but someday she'll meet "the one." "How will you know he's the one?" they want to know. Why, when she hears the sound of thunder, smells jasmine, and sees the wind blow his hair.

One night an injured Autumn returns home during a storm, but gets spooked and runs away for several weeks. Danielle is lost without Autumn, but elated when she turns up later, looking well-fed and rested. Where has she been? And why does she keep disappearing for weeks at a time? If you're guessing that it involves a handsome man, jasmine blossoms, and a thunderstorm, you would be correct. This book pulls double duty: a cute cat story for the kiddos and a romance for the moms.

Visit Patricia Polacco's Web site at patriciapolacco.com to learn more about her life and books.

Brown Bag Program ~ Presidential Election 2008

candidates
As the election approaches, we are pleased to welcome as our guest speaker Dr. Natalie Davis, Professor of Political Science at Birmingham-Southern College. Dr. Davis, a noted commentator on both local and national political affairs, will discuss the candidates, the issues, and the possible outcomes of this year’s presidential contest. Wednesday, October 1, 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.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oprah's Fall Book Pick

book cover
David Wroblewski's debut novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, is the fall pick for Oprah's Book Club.

Wroblewski's novel is about a mute boy named Edgar who lives with his parents on a peaceful, remote farm in northern Wisconsin. The Sawtelles have raised and trained companionship dogs for generations, and one dog, Almondine, has become one of Edgar's best friends and strongest allies on the farm.

Edgar's idyllic existence is shattered with the sudden arrival of his uncle Claude, who worms his way into his mother's affections when Edgar's father dies unexpectedly. Edgar's insistence on proving that Claude had a hand in his father's death backfires, and he's forced to flee his home, along with three yearling dogs who follow him into the wilderness that lays beyond the farm. But his desire to prove that Claude murdered his father preys on him, and he makes his way back home for a final confrontation.

Reserve your copy and see why Stephen King had this to say about Wroblewski's modern-day take on Shakespeare's Hamlet:
"I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. In the end, this isn't a novel about dogs or heartland America, it's a novel about the human heart and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate.... I don't reread many books because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one."

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast ye readers and prepare to drop anchor for it's Talk Like a Pirate Day today!

Here are some key words to help expand your pirate vocabulary.

Pirate photo by Melinda SheltonAarrr! Pirate exclamation. Done with a growl and used to emphasize the pirate's current feelings.
Ahoy Hello
Avast Stop and pay attention
Beauty a lovely woman
Cutlass Popular sword among pirates
Lubber Land lover. Someone who doesn't want to go to sea.
Matey Friend or comrade
Ne’er-do-well A scoundrel or rascal

After ye learn how to talk like a pirate, find a tale or two to tell to your matey. Or, become an expert pirate historian. See what other plunder the library has before ye weigh anchor. Aarrr!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BPL@Night Presents Sam Banana & the Bunch @ Springville Road Library

the bunch group shot

The Warblers Club men's choral group has its roots in the original Warblers Club of Woodlawn High School, which performed from 1929 until 1977. Sam Banana & the Bunch is a small group from the original Warblers that performs popular doo-wop songs from the 1950s and '60s. The guys in the Bunch have been singing their songs and having fun since 1992.

Performance Details
Who: Sam Banana & the Bunch
Where: Springville Road Library
When: Thursday, September 25
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public

Light refreshments will be served.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Brown Bag Program ~ The Legacy of American Independence Cinema

film festival logo
Although there have been independent filmmakers in the U.S. since the 1960s, it wasn't until the 1980s and big hits like Sex, Lies and Videotape that the independent film movement made its presence felt. Twenty years on we have an opportunity to evaluate the impact of this movement—the new talents it introduced and how it changed the look of movies, the film industry, and our expectations of what American films should be.

Join Dr. Andre Millard for this fascinating discussion as the Sidewalk Film Festival approaches. Wednesday, September 24, 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, September 16, 2008

Tech Tuesdays ~ Health, Wealth, and the Online Bookshelf

clip art
Do you need to brush up on your science skills to help answer those nightly homework questions? How about health issues? Need some answers? Are you trying to do your own homework and figure out where to put your money for retirement? Join us for a look at the best resources to help you with your search. Tuesday, September 23, 6:30 p.m. Live @ Central Library.

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!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BPL@Night to Host Comedienne Joy—the Queen of Clean

Joy
Joy—the Queen of Clean is a local comedienne and performer who performs events at clubs, churches, family reunions, and other venues. She performs in a family friendly style. Part of her billing is that she uses no vulgarity or cursing.

Joy’s performance career began when coworkers encouraged her to try for amateur night at a comedy venue. She practiced or tested her material on members of her church and things began to fall in place for her after a few performances. She decided to take her stage name from Nehemiah 8:10, which says, “the Joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Joy derives most of her comedy material from everyday life. She finds humor from dialogue, clich├ęs, people walking down the street, and the good folks at church. Joy has been featured on Fox 6, NBC 13, ABC 33/40 and in the Birmingham Times and the Trussville Times.

She has performed at The Stardome Comedy Club, The Safari Cup with Russell Ehrett’s Fresh Ground Comics, Ced Delany’s Comedy Nite, The Punchline in Atlanta, GA, Trendz Bar and Grill in Montgomery, Alabama, The Comedy Catch in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and many local churches.

For more information on Joy—the Queen of Clean or to see a sample of her performances, visit her Website .

As always, BPL@Night performances are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Performance Details
Date: Thursday, September 18th
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Atrium at the Central Library
Cost: Free

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fiction Book Review: When We Were Romans

Book Cover Matthew Kneale has written a novel from the perspective of his main character, nine-year-old Lawrence. In When We Were Romans, Lawrence reveals the love, the emotion, as well as the excitement and fears of a loving family, when something has gone terribly wrong.

Lawrence movingly narrates his own story. He is an unusually bright boy who, among other interests, loves stories of popes, emperors and the eccentricities that complicates their lives. He shows an amazing understanding of the universe, stars, moons and galaxies. You will be surprised by his unusual spelling as he relates his experiences.

Lawrence has a three-year-old sister, Jemina who is a constant problem. She is spoiled, aggressive, demanding and almost impossible to handle. His mother, Hanna, and their father have recently divorced and the mother's attitude toward the father is causing major problems.

Hanna grows progressively paranoid concerning her ex-husband. She takes the children and flees to Rome, Italy, believing that their father is trying to kill them. Once there, they stay with old friends of Hanna's where they are forced to move from house to house. Lawrence narrates their adventure with much color. He describes the sights, sounds and smells of Rome so that we feel as though we are there, walking along ancient street paths. He describes narrow stone streets that are arranged in circles, the beautiful architecture of old buildings, fountains and ancient ruins.

Lawrence takes us into his world and by doing so, we can better understand his confusion as he struggle with a life that would be difficult for an adult. Please read this book if you are involved with or ever expect to be involved with children. The story is a real eye opener with a surprise ending.

Brown Bag Program ~ Exploring the Rhetoric of the "Long" Civil Rights Movement

jim crow-era photo of a segregated bus
Photo courtesy of BPL Digital Collections

Join us as Dr. Stephen Schneider looks at a historian's arguments for a "long" Civil Rights Movement—one that extends back to the New Deal and forward to today. Specifically, it examines the ways that contemporary historians and intellectuals continue to use civil rights language and arguments as a means of engaging contemporary historical events. Wednesday, September 17, 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, September 09, 2008

In the News: Novel About Wife of Muhammad Will Be Published

book coverFirst-time novelist Sherry Jones' fictionalized account of Aisha, the child bride of Muhammad, will be published by Beufort Books in October.

Random House declined to publish The Jewel of Medina back in August out of concern that the subject matter could be offensive to the Muslim community and might incite acts of violence.

The novel tells the story of Aisha's life, spanning the years from her engagement at age six to the prophet Muhammad to his death. A Serbian translation was released in August but was withdrawn when the Muslim community protested. A sequel is planned for a 2009 release.

Reserve a copy in advance.

See also:
Author shocked by Jewel of Medina controversy

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Birmingham African-American Genealogy Study Group

the bennett family of gees bend
The Bennett Family of Gee's Bend, 1971-1980
Photo courtesy of BPL Digital Collections

The staff of the Southern History Department will be on hand to assist African Americans in family research. Sunday, September 14, 3:00-5:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. For more information call 226-3665.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More 1-2-3 Play With Me

1,2,3 Play With Me, an organized time for children--birth through age 3--and their parents/caregivers to play and learn together, is expanding. Running for five weeks, 1,2,3 Play with Me is a 1 hour and 15 minute program featuring toys, art experiences, books, and play.

Please contact one of our Family Place Libraries™ listed below for registration or more information.

Avondale Regional Library
(205) 226-4003
Every Wednesday
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Sept. 10 - Oct. 8

Five Points West Regional Library
(205) 226-4017
Every Tuesday
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Sept. 9 - Oct. 7

North Birmingham Regional Library
(205) 226-4028
Every Wednesday
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Oct. 15 - Nov. 12

Springville Road Regional Library
(205) 226-4085
Every Thursday
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Oct. 23 - Nov. 20

The Birmingham Public Library Family Place Libraries™ are funded in part by a Project Development Grant from the Junior League of Birmingham

Live Homework Help Update and Fox 6 At Your School Video

live homework help logo
Some great news leading up to the 2008 school year! Live Homework Help has added some new services to their already excellent tutoring program that will go into effect on August 1. For those not familiar with Live Homework Help, it is a free online afterschool tutoring site for all residents of Alabama. Tutors are online Sunday through Thursday, 3:00-10:00 p.m. A JCLC library card is required.

Powered by Tutor.com, users are connected in real-time to a live tutor to work one-on-one through problems with homework, test prep, or whatever one needs help with. Help is literally minutes away. There are no software downloads and no special equipment to access this service.

Tutor.com was recently recognized by Parent's Choice with a Gold Award—their highest recommendation.

New services:

  • Tutoring services now include grades K-3.

  • Adults are now able to receive tutoring help. The Adult Learner section will support those earning their GED, taking education courses, seeking grammar help with their resume or work-related project, and more. Tutoring help will be available for the following subjects: English; English - Writing Center; Math - Algebra, Algebra II, Calculus, Geometry, and Trigonometry; Science - Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics; Social Studies.

  • The subject selection "Essay Writing" is being changed to "Writing Center" to a reflect a wider range of writing assistance. Tutors will continue to assist students with long and short writing assignments, from essays to expository writing to term papers, and more.

  • View Fox 6 At Your School: Homework Alabama video

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Brown Bag Program ~ Page to Stage with Birmingham Festival Theatre

    play poster
    Join us for an in-depth look at how books move from page to stage. Birmingham Festival Theatre’s fall production of Tuesdays with Morrie will be our topic of discussion with BFT members and crew. Wednesday, September 10, 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, September 02, 2008

    Tech Tuesday ~ Help! My Report is Due Tomorrow!

    shocked teen pics
    Sound familiar? Check out the resources that can help your child get the last minute information for their reports and class assignments. It's so easy—maybe the next time they won’t wait so long. Tuesday, September 9, noon. Live @ Central Library.

    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, September 01, 2008

    National Library Card Sign-up Month

    September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a perfect time for us to remind parents and children that a library card is a school supply that shouldn't be forgotten in the rush to stock up on pencils and notebooks when school starts.

    This year Kareem Abdul-Jabar has been named honorary chair of Library Card Sign-up Month by the American Library Association.

    Kareem is the 7'2" tall basketball star who helped his teams win three consecutive NCAA titles and six NBA championships. He is also an author who has seen four of his books reach the bestseller lists. This armchair time traveller explains what the library means to him: "The library has always been my own personal time machine. I can walk through the doors and land in any place, any time period in history. I didn’t have to wonder what their worlds were like; I could experience it first hand.”

    Think the library is just for running in and grabbing a classic on a reading list? If so, check out 52 ways to use your library card.

    If you haven't traded in your old library card for a new keychain card yet, do so this September and the usual $3 replacement fee will be waived. If you don't already have a card, check here for everything you need to know about signing up for a library card and borrowing materials.