Friday, December 30, 2011

Friends Bookstore is Listed Among Birmingham's Bests for 2011


The Friends of BPL have worked diligently to renovate and renew its Bookstore over the past six months and it is paying handsome dividends. The people have noticed. They have voted it a runner-up among Birmingham's Best Bookstores for 2011 (squeezed in among local giants Barnes & Noble, Little Professor, and The Alabama Booksmith).

If you have not had an opportunity, please do come see the Friends Bookstore and shop for books, media, and retail merchandise, all of which benefits the Birmingham Public Library.

You may also donate books, media, and gently used gift items at any Birmingham Public Library location. For more information, contact the Friends Bookstore at 226-3676.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bards & Brews Makes Its Return

Bards & Brews logo
Set your alarm for Friday, January 6, at 6:30 p.m. It marks the time when the library’s phenomenal program Bards & Brews makes its return. Since its inception in October 2010, Bards & Brews has brought a diverse audience of more than 900 attendees to the Central Library. Returning in 2012 is our host Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins, who has emceed poetry slams throughout the city. Live music is performed from 6:30 p.m. until the slam begins at 7:00 p.m. The monthly poetry slam and beer tasting is held on the first Friday of each month and is free to the public. Attendees must be at least 18 years old to enter, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked.

Poetry slams have grown in popularity in recent years and are a natural fit for the library. Bards & Brews is one of the ways the Birmingham Public Library is reaching out to a younger audience/demographic. The craft beer movement in which beer is elevated to the level of fine wine as something to be savored and appreciated has really taken hold especially among the younger generation. Put the two together, and you’ve got a combination that is very appealing. Each contestant contributes $5 to the pot, and winner takes all. Southern Fried Slam rules are observed. Five judges are chosen at random from the audience. The highest and lowest scores are thrown out. Slam participants must be 18 years or older. On Friday, February 3, Bards & Brews will travel to Birmingham Public Library’s Avondale Regional Library. This event will be an open mic rather than a slam.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) has again provided funding for the Bards & Brews series. Also receiving funding for the second time in its five year run is WORD UP! 2012, a poetry slam for high school students throughout Jefferson County. Winners from individual schools will compete in the final slam held at BPL on April 1. Prizes are awarded to the top three performers.

Word up, y’all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Miss the Noontime Performance by The Pillars at the Central Library, Decmeber 28

The Pillars sextet
Vivid memories of work in mines and pipe shops around Birmingham resurfaced when Norman Wooding Jr. and Henry Burton viewed the exhibition, The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork From the 1930s and 1940s at the Central Library. On Wednesday, December 28, the two will join fellow members of The Pillars for a midday performance of Negro Spirituals and other hard gospel, fast moving harmony pieces, all in a cappella. Their midday performance in the Atrium of the Central Library will be in conjunction with the exhibition which depicts Birmingham daily life in landscapes, industrial locations, rural and urban settings, and African-American life. The program will include a gallery talk on the exhibition by Marjorie White, Director of the Birmingham Historical Society. This performance is one of many offered at libraries throughout the Birmingham Public Library System over the holiday season. Visit the library’s website at www.bplonline.org for programs the entire family can enjoy.

The Pillars gospel sextet includes a total of six members—four who are veterans of the tradition. Senior members include Norman Wooding Jr., Reverend Don Solomon, Henry Burton, and Bob Friedman, all of whom have over fifty years of experience singing, recording, and performing. The group has performed all over Birmingham and throughout the Southeast.

The Birmingham Scene offers a collection of 60 pieces of original artwork and will be displayed through December 30 in the Fourth Floor Gallery. “We have found watercolor landscapes, and everyday scenes with people doing regular chores,” says White. “There are also incredible depictions of industry—notably, a glimmering slag dump etched on aluminum—and wonderful moments from African-American life, including an award-winning woodblock cut of a Sunday supper with people passing the biscuits titled Church Supper that was once on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Learn more about The Birmingham Scene exhibition.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One more chance to donate in 2011

As we close out 2011 at the Birmingham Public Library, we want to take this time to thank you for your support and offer you one last chance to donate before the tax year ends. Your donations help the Birmingham Public Library serve a diverse and energetic population.



Your contributions help us purchase books and materials for students throughout the city,


And serve all ages of patrons, from senior adults...


...to very young children who are just learning to read.


Your contributions also can provide unique programming in locations across the system...


...and help provide updated and current technology to many generations.



Therefore, if you have not had an opportunity to donate, please consider investing in us. All contributions are tax deductible.

Your gifts help us serve two million visitors each year. By making a donation to the library, you are helping to ensure our future and our mission, which is “to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life long learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment.”

Anyone may donate in person, online or through the mail at 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, 35203. Please make checks payable to “BPL Campaign.”

For additional information, please click here or contact Development Assistant Hunter Murphy at 226-3761

Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken January Workshop

Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken flyer
Many of us were deeply affected by the tornadoes that hit Central Alabama in April. The Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) and Real Life Poets, Inc. are joining together to offer those who wish to do so an opportunity to share their experiences through writing. This project is open to all ages.

You may submit your work at any JCLC library between October 1, 2011, and January 31, 2012. You may also make submissions electronically to Haruyo Miyagawa (hm@bham.lib.al.us), Birmingham Public Library, Central- Arts, Literature, and Sports Department. The work can be in the written form of your choice: poem, short story, essay, etc.

In addition, Real Life Poets will offer free workshops to inspire and guide participants in effectively using the power of words to express their storm experiences. The January workshop is scheduled for the following date (prior reservations are recommended):

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Vestavia Hills Public Library

John Paul Taylor, Executive Director of Real Life Poets, Inc., will choose the works which will be included in a printed anthology. Real Life Poets, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community service and mentoring organization focusing on mentoring young adults, encouraging good communication, and oratorical skills using spoken word poetry and the arts. Each submission will be posted on the JCLC website (www.jclc.org). For more information, contact John Paul Taylor at johnpaul@reallifepoets.org or (205)-585-8271.

We hope you will share this information with others who may have an interest.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Unusual Object Being Tracked By NORAD

We have now reached the time of year in which NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) will utilize high-tech satellite and radar systems to track and monitor an unusual object in the airspace above North America - a sleigh driven by a jolly old elf and pulled through the sky by eight tiny reindeer.

NORAD has been conducting the NORAD Tracks Santa program since 1955 and, according to the book Guarding What You Value Most: North American Aerospace Defense Command, the idea for the program began with a typo in a Sears & Roebuck newspaper advertisement. On December 24, 1955, dozens of young boys and girls in the Colorado Springs area called the number featured in that advertisement in order to speak with Santa Claus and reached the command center’s "red phone" hot line instead. Flustered at first, the operations officer in charge that evening eventually gathered himself and instructed his staff to provide callers with the kind of information that only a sophisticated air defense agency could impart – continuously updated tracking of Santa’s position as he journeyed across the sky from the North Pole to a myriad of destinations throughout the world. This tactic proved so popular with callers and staff alike that the decision was made to continue its practice each year at Christmastime.

The NORAD Tracks Santa program has become a high-tech affair since the early days of volunteers answering phones and preparing typed responses to the letters written by children. Now volunteers are also able to respond to the inquiries of children from all over the world via email and corporate sponsorship has enabled children (and their parents) to track Santa’s flight on Christmas Eve via the NORAD Tracks Santa website, their mobile phones (Android App or iPhone App), as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Earth.

Parents and other grown-ups should be sure to listen to the brief interview with Col. Harry Shoup (he's the Air Force officer that picked up the red phone that fateful Christmas Eve) that is available on this page at the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Happy tracking and Happy Holidays from the staff of the Government Documents Department at the Birmingham Public Library!


Brandon C. Smith

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BPL Librarian Receives National and Local Recognition



Saundra Ross-Forrest, one of ten winners of the 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York/ New York Times I Love My Librarian Award, shares what winning the award means to her. She works at the North Avondale Branch Library of the Birmingham Public Library System in Birmingham, Alabama.









Get Microsoft Silverlight



Saundra Ross-Forrest is recognized by Mayor William Bell and the Birmingham City Council.

Read the nomination of Ross-Forrest by Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch and learn more about the award.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Using Music to Tell The Story: Pillars Connect Exhibition Images to Life In Birmingham Through Music

The Pillars sextet
Vivid memories of work in mines and pipe shops around Birmingham resurfaced when Norman Wooding Jr. and Henry Burton viewed the exhibition, The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork From the 1930s and 1940s at the Central Library. On Wednesday, December 28, the two will join fellow members of The Pillars for a midday performance of Negro Spirituals and other hard gospel, fast moving harmony pieces, all in a cappella. Their midday performance in the Atrium of the Central Library will be in conjunction with the exhibition which depicts Birmingham daily life in landscapes, industrial locations, rural and urban settings, and African-American life. The program will include a gallery talk on the exhibition by Marjorie White, Director of the Birmingham Historical Society. This performance is one of many offered at libraries throughout the Birmingham Public Library System over the holiday season. Visit the library’s website at www.bplonline.org for programs the entire family can enjoy.

The Pillars gospel sextet includes a total of six members—four who are veterans of the tradition. Senior members include Norman Wooding Jr., Reverend Don Solomon, Henry Burton, and Bob Friedman, all of whom have over fifty years of experience singing, recording, and performing. The group has performed all over Birmingham and throughout the Southeast.

The Birmingham Scene offers a collection of 60 pieces of original artwork and will be displayed through December 30 in the Fourth Floor Gallery. “We have found watercolor landscapes, and everyday scenes with people doing regular chores,” says White. “There are also incredible depictions of industry—notably, a glimmering slag dump etched on aluminum—and wonderful moments from African-American life, including an award-winning woodblock cut of a Sunday supper with people passing the biscuits titled Church Supper that was once on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Learn more about The Birmingham Scene exhibition.

Alabama Humanities Foundation Gifts Pratt City Library with New Books

Donated books are sorted through at the Pratt City LibraryBob Stewart, executive director of the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and Pratt City Library Director Deborah Drake Blackmon, sort through boxes of books that the AHF donated for the Pratt City Library. (The Birmingham News, Hal Yeager)

Several months ago Birmingham Public Library Director Renee Blalock and Associate Director Angela Fisher Hall met with Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF) team members about the AHF Project Turn the Page effort to provide free books for damaged public libraries and schools. This week, AHF Executive Director Bob Stewart delivered 200 new books to BPL Director Rene Blalock and Deborah Drake Blackmon.

The books include titles related to Alabama history and other books aimed at young readers in the fourth to sixth grades. Among the books donated, you’ll find A.G. Gaston: Visionary Businessman and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Last Straw. Director Deborah Drake Blackmon says, “This is a big, big Christmas. All of these books are very much needed.” Though the Pratt City Library was heavily damaged by the tornadoes in April, almost all of the 20,000 or so items in the library escaped major damage. The items have been cleaned and are being stored until a new building is built.

In addition to the book delivery, the Birmingham City Council approved a contract with Harrington Architects to design the reconstructed Pratt City Library. With the book delivery and city government’s approval of a design firm, Pratt City Branch Library is turning the page on a challenging year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Everything You Wanted to Know About E-Books But Didn't Know How to Ask

cartoon man surrounded by E-readers
There has been an explosion in the popularity of e-books, driven by the boom of e-readers as gifts. They’re one of the top electronic devices purchased during Christmas season. As patrons receive e-readers as gifts the e-book becomes an essential part of the experience.

Most e-readers can hold 1,000 to 3,500 books; e-books cost less than new hardcover versions and many classic titles that are out of copyright are available free of charge. The text size of e-readers can easily be adjusted making the e-book more user-friendly to older readers.

Checkout
E-books are checked out with rules similar to those of traditional library books. They do have time limits and, in most cases, they are checked out one book at a time. Patrons may reserve titles that are currently checked out.

To check out an e-book simply:
  • Go the library downloadable website (http://downloadable.jclc.org)
  • Log in using your library card number
  • Select the e-book
  • Check it out
  • Download the title to your e-reader or simple reserve it
Downloading
When using a PC, Mac, or laptop you’ll need to download Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) first—this is a one-time download. The link is displayed next to the title when the title is ready for download. ADE is the e-book-to-personal computer connection interface that allows the e-book to be read on the computer or laptop. When the title is downloaded, ADE is opened and the title downloaded to it. To get the title onto an e-reader, using ADE simply connect the e-reader to the PC/laptop via the USB port and drag the e-book from its location in the ADE window to the e-reader shown at the bottom left of the screen.

For tablets and smartphones, the OverDrive app from your app store must be downloaded to the device. When completed, proceed as directed for the PC. When the download is complete, the title is loaded directly onto the mobile device.

For the Kindle, the user proceeds as described above for PCs, but selects a Kindle-specific title. The user is then transferred to the Kindle site to complete the download wirelessly.

In all instances the user must have a download account. The user will be given simple instructions for creating an account (or log in if an account already exists).

E-books automatically return when the checkout period expires and they cannot be renewed. The e-book must be checked in and, if no one is waiting for it, can be checked back out again. E-books can also be returned early.

As a member of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC), the BPL has access to more than 6,000 titles for your reading pleasure.

Book Review: Come Closer

Great literary horror is few and far between, so when my friends at Goodreads* started raving about a book called Come Closer, I had to read it.

Sara Gran has written more than a dark fiction about demon possession, she wrote a book about the female psyche, about the impulse of civilized people to do harm to those we love and those we don't know, and she gave her story a shot of the old "turn of the screw" by having a pretty, confident architect inadvertently invite the spirit Naamah from Jewish lore to take over her mind and whittle the world away until there is nothing left but these two.

Amanda lives in Manhattan with her husband, Edward, and theirs is a solid marriage. Trendy restaurants and flea-market weekends make up their complacent existence. But the tapping in the walls of their small apartment follow them to their dream loft, and one day Amanda receives a book she didn't order on how to tell if you're possessed by a demon—complete with quizzes—and she starts wondering about puzzling urges that have overtaken her daily life, such as the urge to steal small items from stores or burn her husband with her cigarette or drown the young daughter of a friend. At night she dreams of lying on a red beach next to a woman with crazy hair and pointy teeth who hugs her so fiercely she can barely breathe. Then come the blackouts and the coming to consciousness in hotel rooms with strange men. She starts scoring higher on the quizzes, but is she really possessed, or is it a case of a woman on a downward spiral into insanity?

I've added Come Closer to my growing list of favorite dark fiction: Crawlspace, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Naomi's Room, Let's Go Play at the Adams', Don't Look Now, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Her Fearful Symmetry, When Darkness Loves Us, and Harriet Said. I like the way Come Closer and these other books acknowledge and then confront the dark things that nestle deep within all of us.

*Join the Birmingham Public Library on Goodreads to see what's new in books at the library.

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program: A Pianistic Holiday with a Touch of Class

Anthony Pattin
The library Brown Bag Lunch Series will feature Dr. Anthony Pattin in a midday mini-concert next Wednesday, December 14, at 12:00 p.m. “A Pianistic Holiday With a Touch of Class,” is open to the public, free of charge, in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library downtown. The program will include both seasonal favorites and classical selections. Pattin’s talent is well known throughout the Birmingham community. He has performed on Alabama Public Television’s “Pianist at Work” series, and has toured throughout the United States, including several performances in Carnegie Hall.

Recently retired as at the Professor of Music from the University of Montevallo, Pattin has received numerous accolades including Montevallo’s Distinguished Teacher Award and the University Scholar Award; he is also the recipient of the New Millennium Award for outstanding achievement from the University of Alabama.

Pattin is the director of music at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, and on the music staff at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. As one of the most popular performers on the library calendar, “A Pianistic Holiday With a Touch of Class” will conclude the 2011 Brown Bag Lunch Series. The series will resume in January.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Friday, December 09, 2011

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas


A song from Annie Lennox's celebrated 2010 album, A Christmas Cornucopia. Lennox chose to record these carols she grew up singing for the human message they impart. She wisely decided to have the African Children's Choir sing backup on seven of the twelve tracks, adding a universal flavor and an innocence to the songs. Learn more about the making of A Christmas Cornucopia, and about the amazing African Children's Choir.


If you're tired of being at the mercy of those radio stations that rotate the same, tired Christmas songs 24/7, then take a trip to the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the Central Library and pick out your own music. There is a variety of jazz, blues, rock, pop, and classical holiday albums to choose from. The holiday music is shelved separately and alphabetically for quick browsing.

We're pretty sure you've been nice and naughty this year, but these are still on their way from the North Pole:

Annie Lennox, A Christmas Cornucopia
Katherine McPhee, Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You
Michael Buble', Christmas
The Puppini Sisters, Christmas With The Puppini Sisters
Toni Braxton, Snowflakes
Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe
Luther Vandross, This Is Christmas

And Russell, who works in the Arts, Literature and Sports Department and knows his music, recommends these holiday albums:

Dave Koz, A Smooth Jazz Christmas
Grover Washington Jr., A Breath of Heaven
Josh Groban, Noel
Bette Midler, Cool Yule
Elton John, Elton John's Christmas Party
Natalie Cole, Holly and Ivy
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Light of the World
Kenny G., Wishes: A Holiday Album
Ultimate Soul Christmas
LinkThe Essential Now That's What I Call Christmas

Happy Holidays from the Birmingham Public Library!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

North Avondale Branch Manager Receives I Love My Librarian Award

North Avondale librarian Saundra Ross surrounded by young patrons
In her own terms, she was “born to be a librarian.” A love for reading, travel and service guided the steps of Saundra Ross-Forrest and led her to Birmingham and the Birmingham Public Library, North Avondale Branch. During her nine years as manager of the neighborhood library, she has worked tirelessly to make the branch an integral component of the North Avondale community. Today, that commitment has placed her in a prestigious position with nine other librarians from across the country. During a ceremony in New York, Ross-Forrest was named one of ten librarians to receive the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times, I Love My Librarian Award for community service.

Ross-Forrest was recognized for going beyond the call of duty to develop outreach programs, foster innovative ideas for service and provide a friendly library setting that keeps regulars and newcomers walking through the doors. "While many people look at the North Avondale community as a place where children could be destined to a life of drugs, teenage pregnancy and poverty, Saundra has a different viewpoint. She sees the area as a place that can grow a garden full of successful professionals. To reap such a harvest, it depends on what you put into the soil. Saundra is using her library to plant seeds that are destined for greatness. She doesn’t believe in the word, “No.” She uses the power of “Yes” as fertilizer to make the community’s garden something that will benefit everyone," said Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch who nominated Ross-Forrest for the award.

Ross-Forrest is one of four children born in Montgomery, Alabama, to David and Sarah Ann Ross. She is a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School (Montgomery) and Troy State College where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science. Ross-Forrest received her Master's Degree in Library Science from Clark/Atlanta. Since 2002 she has served as the North Avondale Branch Manager.

The award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college and university librarians. It carries with it a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards reception hosted by The New York Times. Librarians in our nation’s 122,000 libraries make a difference in the lives of millions of people every day. Over the past three years, 30 librarians from across the country have won the I Love My Librarian Award. This year, more than 1700 nominations were received. Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) in library and information studies, or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the national Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school. The award is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times and administered by ALA, the oldest and largest library association in the world, and The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign about the value of libraries and librarians.

The mission of the Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with eighteen locations and serving the community for 125 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.

Congratulation to the JCPLA Library Champions of 2011


Congratulation to the Jefferson County Public Library Association (JCPLA) Library Champions of 2011 including the Cotchery Foundation and Jerricho Cotchery.

The Library Champion Award is presented annually by the Jefferson County Public Library Association. The award recognizes an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution(s) to libraries and/or librarianship in Jefferson County, Alabama.

The Cotchery Foundation and Jerricho Cotchery were nominated for the Library Champion award for their steadfast support of teen reading. Since partnering with the Cotchery Foundation, the Birmingham Public Library has experienced a significant increase in the number of teens participating in our summer reading program.

Thanks to Homewood Public Library for sharing the photographs of the Library Champion Award ceremony presented at the JCPLA Holiday Luncheon on December 7, 2011.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Don't Miss Your Chance to See the Birmingham Scene Exhibition at Central Library

If you haven't visited the Central Library's Fourth Floor Gallery to see the beautiful artwork by local artists depicting daily life in Birmingham from the Great Depression through World War II, The Birmingham Scene: Seldom Seen Artwork from the 1930s and 1940s will be on display through Friday, December 30, 2011. The artists included in the exhibition are: Birmingham's Frank Hartley Anderson, Richard Coe, Della Dryer, Hannah Elliott, Mamie Fogerty, Martha Henderson Goings, Sarah Greer, Ernest Henderson, Carrie Hill, Roderick MacKenzie, Rosalie Pettus Price, Arthur Stewart, and Walter Swettman.

Details
The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork from the 1930s and 1940s exhibition
Through Friday, December 30, 2011
Central Library, East Building, Fourth Floor Gallery

C-SPAN visited the Birmingham Public Library and taped the Brown Bag Lunch program, Industrial Voices: The Great Depression, for C-SPAN3's series American History TV. The presentation is by Karen Utz, curator at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, and adjunct history instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.



The video is also available for viewing online at the C-SPAN Video Library.

For more information on this special exhibition, visit http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2011/11/birmingham-scene-exhibition-to-open.html.

Brown Bag Lunch Program: A Pianistic Holiday with a Touch of Class


Anthony Pattin
The library Brown Bag Lunch Series will feature Dr. Anthony Pattin in a midday mini-concert next Wednesday, December 14, at 12:00 p.m. “A Pianistic Holiday With a Touch of Class,” is open to the public, free of charge, in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library downtown. The program will include both seasonal favorites and classical selections. Pattin’s talent is well known throughout the Birmingham community. He has performed on Alabama Public Television’s “Pianist at Work” series, and has toured throughout the United States, including several performances in Carnegie Hall.

Recently retired as at the Professor of Music from the University of Montevallo, Pattin has received numerous accolades including Montevallo’s Distinguished Teacher Award and the University Scholar Award; he is also the recipient of the New Millennium Award for outstanding achievement from the University of Alabama.

Pattin is the director of music at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, and on the music staff at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. As one of the most popular performers on the library calendar, “A Pianistic Holiday With a Touch of Class” will conclude the 2011 Brown Bag Lunch Series. The series will resume in January.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

In Remembrance of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor attack
Today is the seventieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in which over 2,300 American servicemen and civilians were killed. The United States' declaration of war against Japan on the following day marked our country's entry into World War II.

There are few events in American history that have received more scrutiny than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Countless books, articles, essays, documentaries, and films are available that provide a variety of interpretations of the events surrounding that day. Many of these items are available to be checked out through the Birmingham Public Library.

In addition to the materials described above, the Birmingham Public Library’s status as a Federal Depository Library provides patrons with access to several items that can serve to shed a unique light on the attack. Many of these items, which include official government reports and Congressional hearings, are available to view electronically through our catalog and database subscriptions.

For example, 7 December 1941: the Air Force Story (published by the Air Force) is available in the Government Documents Department of the library as a non-circulating reference book, but it is also available to download as a searchable pdf file via our catalog.

A search of the Proquest Congressional database finds a 622 page Congressional hearing from 1946 entitled Report of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack searchable pdf file.

The staff of the Government Documents Department can also help guide patrons through government websites to find additional primary source materials related to the attack on Pearl Harbor. One such website is the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress, captures the reactions of ordinary Americans in its After the Day of Infamy: "Man on the Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Patrons interested in Birmingham's response to the attack may want to consult the local newspapers being published at the time. Microfilm copies of the Birmingham News, Birmingham Age-Herald, Birmingham Post, and Birmingham World are available for viewing in our Microform room.

If you have any questions, please give the Government Documents Department a call at (205) 226-3620.

Brandon Smith
Central Library
Government Documents/Microforms Department

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program: Remembering Pearl Harbor at the Movies

BBL series logoDick Segreto specializes in bringing the Golden Age of Hollywood to life, with stories of the studios, celebrities, and films of that era. One of his favorite films of all time is From Here to Eternity, an Oscar winner for Best Picture that depicts the lives of U.S. servicemen stationed in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The presentation includes background information about the film’s production, plot lines, characters, actors, and awards. Wednesday, December 7, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Government Documents Department to Close on Weekends

Visitors to the downtown location of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will no longer have access to the Government Documents Department on weekends beginning December 3, 2011. Staff normally assigned to work in that area on weekends will instead work in the Microforms Room where library patrons have access to microfilm and microfiche copies of newspapers and other documents. Staff will also be available to assist the public in going online and locating services that are offered by federal, state, and local government agencies.

“Closing this area allows for reorganization and the opportunity to use staff in other departments and library locations throughout the City,” says library Director Irene S. Blalock. The move to reorganize comes as the consortium of public libraries in Jefferson County experienced a loss of funding from the Jefferson County Commission. The Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) is the name for the consortium and its mission is to encourage and coordinate services and resource sharing among the 40 public libraries of Jefferson County, Alabama. Since September of this year, 15 part-time positions assigned to BPL were lost as a result of the budget cuts to the Cooperative. For additional information about the Cooperative, visit www.jclc.org.

Birmingham Public Library has been a federal depository library since 1895, making it one of the oldest depository libraries in the United States. The Government Documents Department was created as a separate department in 1977 when an effort was made to bring all federal, state ,and local documents housed throughout the library together in one location. Additional information about the Government Documents Department can be found on the library’s website at www.bplonline.org.

The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with eighteen locations and serving the community for 125 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Mystery for Christmas

Many of us are busy getting ready for Christmas. I have seen countless SUVs with fresh Christmas trees on top. Stores are crowded with holiday shoppers, and grocery stores are fully stocked with supplies for holiday baking. We always associate decorating, shopping and baking with Christmas. Did you know that Christmas is also a popular theme for mystery novels? Many authors use Christmas as a backdrop for murder and mayhem. Take a break from the holiday rush to sample some of these holiday goodies.


A Christmas Odyssey Ten days before Christmas, Henry Rathbone volunteers to search for a friend's son who has been lured into London's drug scene. He asks for help from two companions: Squeaky Robinson, a reformed brothel-keeper and Crow, a mysterious slum doctor.


Christmas MourningSheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant investigates the death of a high-school cheerleader in a mysterious car crash. Then two brothers are gunned down in their trailer and he must determine if the deaths are connected.



Christmas at The Mysterious BookshopThese seventeen short stories set during the holiday season feature The Mysterious Bookshop in New York in the action. Popular authors such as Mary Higgins Clark, Ed McBain, Anne Perry, and Lawrence Block contributed stories for the collection.


The Body in the SleighCaterer Faith Fairchild discovers the body of a young woman in an antique sleigh on Christmas Eve. A newborn baby boy is found the same night in a barn with a note and a large amount of cash. Faith tries to determine if the baby's abandonment is related to the death of the young woman in the sleigh.

Friday, December 02, 2011

BPL Schedules an Encore Performance of Dolores Hydock's One-Woman Show, "A Christmas Memory"

photo of Dolores Hydock
D0lores Hydock returns to the Central Library on Thursday, December 8, for an encore performance of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory." This poignant one-woman show about a 7-year-old boy named "Buddy," his 60-something cousin he calls "my friend," and their adventures during fruitcake weather has become a BPL tradition during the holiday season.

Details
"A Christmas Memory" performed by Dolores Hydock
Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Building
Thursday, December 8
6:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Visit Dolores Hydock's website to learn more about her life and work.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Shop & Learn at the Local Authors Expo

Local Authors Expo logo
The Sixth Annual Local Authors Expo is an extraordinary event showcasing Alabama authors and their books, including independent press and self-published titles. Shoppers will be able to meet each writer, purchase books, and obtain personalized autographed copies. The expo is Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library. The goal of the expo is to increase awareness of self-published authors in the state and provide a forum for them to connect with community members and library patrons.

In addition to the expo, the library is hosting a program for aspiring authors titled “Every Writer Needs an Editor.” This program, presented by freelance editor Liz Reed, will outlLiz Reedine steps in the process of getting your book into print. This program will focus on self-publishing, including steps to self-publishing in a print-on-demand world, book and page design for print, and e-publishing for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other e-environments. “Every Writer Needs an Editor” takes place from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium. The program is free, however reservations are requested: http://everywriterneedseditor.eventbrite.com.

There are more than 90 authors of both adult and youth titles registered for the expo. For a complete list of participating writers, visit www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors.

The Local Authors Expo is presented by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library. The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library is a nonprofit association that supports Birmingham Public Library special needs by providing volunteer and financial resources.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: Remembering Pearl Harbor at the Movies

BBL series logoDick Segreto specializes in bringing the Golden Age of Hollywood to life, with stories of the studios, celebrities, and films of that era. One of his favorite films of all time is From Here to Eternity, an Oscar winner for Best Picture that depicts the lives of U.S. servicemen stationed in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The presentation includes background information about the film’s production, plot lines, characters, actors, and awards. Wednesday, December 7, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

'Tis the Season at BPL


‘Tis the season and like so many of our patrons, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is decking our halls for the holidays. The BPL Central family has decorated around the building and trimmed our tree in the Southern History Department. Ben Peterson, Head of the Southern History Department notes that “Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as a legal holiday in 1836.”

If you’d like to learn more about seasonal holiday traditions, rely on the collection at the BPL. For the origins of Southern holiday traditions, visit the Southern History area of the Linn-Henley Research Library. If you need ideas for holiday decorations, these items can be found in call number 745.5941. The Arts, Literature and Sports Department has festive music and artwork for check out. Stumped for kid-friendly books, seasonal craft, or holiday things to do? Check out the Youth Department for both resources and on-site activities.

Our collection also includes a generous sampling of holiday film favorites on DVD. The DVDs are in the Fiction Department, and they can be checked out for seven days. Whether you’re looking for holiday folklore, decorating and menu ideas, or fun, BPL can help.

What Advice Would You Give Your Sixteen-Year-Old Self?

Dear Me book coverWhat a neat concept for a book. In Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, Joseph Galliano has enlisted seventy-five celebrities to write letters full of advice, warnings, and encouragement to their sixteen-year-old selves. With a group that includes writers, singers, actors, and musicians, old and young, you won't be surprised that the letters range from the humorous to the serious to the touching.

Some of my favorite advice:

Dear Angie, Treasure your abilities: you won't always have them.

"I can see. I can pee. I can hear.
I can bend. I can steer.
I can kneel. I can crawl.

I can run backwards.
I can chew.
I can do it all.
I can fall."

So, dear one, dance and ride your bike, but don't forget that, one day, you won't be able to get back on.

Angie Dickinson

***

...oh, one more thing, your "across the street" neighbor is going to ask you to learn guitar with him...I suggest you take him up on it.

Garth Brooks

***

Dear Gillian, You are completely and utterly self obsessed. If you spent a quarter of your time thinking about others instead of how much you hate your thighs, your level of contentment and self worth would expand exponentially...Oh and honey, expand your horizons; your world is a bigger oyster than your low self-esteem wants you to believe. Love yourself, think of others and be grateful. I love you, I believe in you, and I look forward to respecting you. Me. You. Us. P.S. Follow your dreams and not your boyfriends.

Gillian Anderson

***

Dear Jo, ...This must be a lot weirder for you than it is for me; after all, I know you. I also really like you, which you will find impossible to believe, given that you are racked with insecurity and self-loathing. Jo, give yourself a break. You're not the only one who feels small and inadequate; you'll realise eventually that everyone is the wizard of Oz...One last thing. One day you will not only meet Morrissey, but he will know who you are. I KNOW!

J.K. Rowling

I would tell my sixteen-year-old self that all the universe-stopping drama of high school won't add up to a hill of beans the day after you get your diploma. And I would be right.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Today's Brown Bag Lunch: Dolores Hydock Performs Capote's "A Christmas Memory"

Dolores Hydock
Join us for our annual tradition with Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock as she presents "A Christmas Memory." Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama is brought to vivid life in this wonderful holiday performance. Wednesday, November 30, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Children's and Teen Book Sale at Central Library December 5-18

Dolls for raffle
The Friends Bookstore Children's and Teen Book Sale begins Monday, December 5. All children's and teen hardback books will be on sale for $1.00 each. A large stock of picture books, readers, board books, juvenile fiction, teen, and holiday books will be on display from December 5-18, 2011.

The bookstore is holding a raffle on a beautiful 26" doll which was anonymously donated to the Friends. It is dressed in a 19th century costume of petticoat, stockings, and underpants, and has its own little angel doll as well. Purchase tickets for $1.00 each and get a chance to win a great Christmas present for someone special in your life. The drawing will be held on December 18. You do not have to be present to win.

Enjoy coffee and baked goods in the bookstore while you shop. Friends members will be supplying fresh bakery goods twice a week at reasonable prices during the sale.

And please note that the Friends of BPL are sponsors of the Local Author's Expo, being held Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the first floor of Central Library's East Building. Come shop the Expo and then visit the Friends Bookstore gift shop.

Happy Holidays!
The Bookstore Staff

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hitting the Books

The Know It All book coverGo out, do an outrageous stunt for typically one year, write it up, make the bestseller lists. A few years ago it was all the rage. Whether or not these were trivial pursuits, the books claimed a big audience. Norah Vincent lived as a man, another female author gave up buying products made in China, and still another woman gave up all shopping. A man “lived biblically” (that’s A. J. Jacobs, too, by the way), and Barbara Kingsolver lived locavore with her family.

Norah Vincent’s account was a fascinating portal into gender and inspired me to write a blog. It also inspired me to read another stunt lit book. This time I wanted one that would be lighter and more fun. The Know-It-All seemed to qualify at first and did actually end up filling the bill. In a way, Jacobs got a jump on all the other stunters. The idea for reading the Encyclopedia Britannica (the reason for the “smartest person” in the subtitle) started with Jacobs’ dad decades ago. But dad never got past the B volume. A.J. takes on the whole 2002 edition with a mission to beat his dad. Dad is skeptical. Dad’s comments intensify the father-son rivalry, and add fuel to son’s fire. Jacobs pitches it to his wife, who tells him the project is a time-waster. Jacobs feels that with each passing day it’s a ridiculous folly: 33,000 pages, 32 volumes, a four foot tall stack of books. And he’s got a day job. And he and his wife are trying to get pregnant. TV, movies, eating out—all of the sudden, everything else seems unworkable. His wife says she feels like a widow because he has no time for her. Well, he doesn’t.

Jacobs has arranged his book encyclopedia-like, A to Z. It is a super-condensed format featuring the best bits from the E.B., which expand naturally into a semi-chronological diary of Jacobs’ life. The E.B. greatest hits are more interesting by far than the tangents leading into the author’s world (not that those are dull or anything). They are a good mixture of light and substantial, snack and feast. Here are some of my favorites taken from Jacobs’ favorites, a best-of, best-of:

  • Casanova ended his life as a librarian. Most of my fellow librarians didn’t know this when I first told them about it many years ago. It’d be far stranger if a noted librarian ended up pursuing a Casanova-level career late in life.
  • The idea of canned laughter isn’t new. Ancient Greek playwrights hired people to laugh at their comedies. It’s hard to imagine august figures such as Aristophanes stooping to this, but then the classical world’s players were seldom as august as we think.
  • ”Half ass” is the actual name of a type of mule from Asia.
  • Gandhi’s teenage rebellion: secret atheism, smoking and-Yikes!-meat eating. Maybe the reason Gandhi could be so ultra-austere in adult life was because, like the Amish teens who go through the anything-goes ritual rumspringa, he’d got it out of his system. And so the loincloth becomes a parallel to plain clothing.
  • The hilariously clueless E.B. entry on rap. According to the eminent reference book, Public Enemy and Wu-Tang Clan “were among the popular purveyors of rap during the 1980s and 1990s.” I shall purvey some hip-hop forthwith.
  • Hollywood was founded by “a prohibitionist who envisioned it a community based on his sober religious principles.” Mae West wept.
  • I knew something of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 but I didn’t know that Indian soldiers “were shot from cannons in a frenzy of British vengeance (though some British officers did protest the bloodshed).” Jacobs’ understated parenthetical phrase comes off quite, well, British.
  • The kappa is the oddest mythical figure of all for Jacobs. It is a “vampire like lecherous creature” from Japan that’s “obsessed by cucumbers.” A green monkey with fishlike scales, the kappa keeps magic water in the top of its head. It refuses to lower its head for fear the water will spill out. This, by the way, is where the cuke-bearing sushi dish kappa roll gets its name.
  • Isaac Newton got some of his ideas for gravitational theory from occult books he’d read, particularly notions of repulsion and attraction over distances.
  • The Taipeng Rebellion. I recognized the term, but had long since forgotten what little I knew about it. A Chinese social revolution in the 19th century that resulted in 20 million dead. The rebellion was started by Hung Hsiu Chuan, who believed he was Jesus and came up with a novel blend of “socialism, spiritualism and Puritanism.” Perhaps more importantly, he wanted to overthrow the Manchu dynasty. By the way, one of the chief anti-Hung leaders was General Tso, “now reduced to a chicken entrĂ©e.”
  • The entry on umlauts unfortunately does not explain their bizarre over-usage in the New Yorker magazine.
  • The only other mammal besides humans that produces uric acid is the Dalmatian.
  • Philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote this about animals: “The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?”
  • Chamber music, according to the E.B., “probably gives the most lasting pleasure to more music lovers than any other kind of music.” Which may explain the rap entry.
  • In the beginning, the White House was called the President’s Palace. However, the name sounded “too royal” to U.S. citizens, who changed it to the Executive Mansion.

I’m indebted to Jacobs for slimming the Britannica down for all of us with civilian amounts of time on our hands. There are so many fascinating facts that at times you feel like gorging on them. And the above samples are only the tip of the iceberg. He’s an engaging writer, to be sure, but he’s not without fault. Time and again in the book he’s on about how he’s a regular guy, but then he lets it slip that he went to a fancy private prep school, that he graduated from Brown and that he has an agent. That’s more than just a small disconnect.

I was looking forward to the son telling the father that he did in fact finish the whole of the E.B., but Jacobs Jr. never gets around to it. Maybe the Britannica’s gigantic breadth gave him the ability to put his relationship with his father in perspective.

Richard Grooms
Central Library
Social Sciences Department

Friday, November 25, 2011

BPL and City of Birmingham Featured on C-SPAN

Photo courtesy of C-SPAN
Birmingham will be featured on C-SPAN's Book TV (C-SPAN2) and American History TV (C-SPAN3) this weekend. Hosted by Birmingham Bright House Network, C-SPAN's Local Content Vehicle visited numerous locations to showcase the history and literary culture of Birmingham.

On American History Television, C-SPAN3 will delve into the history of one of the cities that is central in telling the story of the Civil Rights movement in America.

On Book TV, C-SPAN2 will visit the literary scene to learn about the city's past and present by meeting and discussing with some of those authors who have chronicled the people, events, and places that have impacted Birmingham and the surrounding area.


Featured on AHTV:

"Industrial Voices: The Great Depression in Birmingham" (Filmed at Birmingham Public Library)

Nov. 26, 10 am
Nov. 27, 5 pm
Nov. 28, 6 am


Also on AHTV

Hear:

* The story of Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

* About Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth - a famous Birmingham based Civil Rights leader.

See:

* The 16th Street Baptist Church.

* The Lyric Theater.

Visit:

* Sloss Furnaces National Historic Site.

* The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

* Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens.

Featured on BOOK TV

Hear:

* Rick Bragg discuss his book The Most They Ever Had.

* Carolyn McKinstry, survivor of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, talk about about the event and the friends she lost as profiled in her book While the World Watched.

Learn:

* About the World War II submariners from Don Keith, author of Undersea Warrior: The World War II Story of "Mush" Morton and the USS Wahoo.

* About the role that African-American churches in Birmingham played in the Civil Rights movement from Marjorie White, editor of A Walk to Freedom.

Visit:

* The Alabama Booksmith to learn about the literary scene in Birmingham.

* Author Warren St. John as he talks to us about the story of young boys selected by the U.N. to come to a small town outside Atlanta from the Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Afghanistan and Iraq in his book Outcast United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference.

In the Birmingham area, Bright House Networks provides C-SPAN on these channels: C-SPAN: 155; C-SPAN2 156; C-SPAN3: 157.

For more information, go to C-SPAN's website where the above content is also available online for viewing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BPL Closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday

cornucopia
The Birmingham Public Library will be closed November 24-27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

RIP Anne McCaffrey

Photo of Anne McCaffrey courtesy of ICv2News from ICv2
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/21582.html

'Pern' Creator Dead at 85

Groundbreaking fantasy author Anne McCaffrey has passed away of a stroke on Monday, November 21, 2011 at her home in Ireland. McCaffrey is best known for the Dragonriders of Pern universe. She authored or co-authored nearly 100 books, with a lot of firsts as a writer:

First woman to win a Hugo Award (1968, for “Weyr Search”)

First woman to win a Nebula Award (1969, for “Dragonrider”)

First with a science fiction title on the New York Times Bestseller List (1978, The White Dragon)

McCaffrey was recognized as one of the best ever for her impressive career:

Named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America (2005)

Joined Science Fiction Hall of Fame (June 2006)

Read the rest of ICv2's article.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Board Approves Winter Hours for Neighborhood Libraries

snowflakes
At its regularly scheduled November meeting, the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees approved a winter operating schedule for its six neighborhood libraries. Beginning Monday, November 21, neighborhood libraries in Ensley, Inglenook, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn and Wylam will maintain a temporary schedule through Friday, March 2, 2012. The hours of operation will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. On Wednesdays, the libraries operate from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. All other BPL locations maintain their regular schedules. In future years, the winter hours for the neighborhood libraries will begin the first Monday in November and end the first Monday in March.

The neighborhood libraries will continue to close each day from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. for lunch. All are closed on Wednesday mornings in order for staff to get behind the scenes work done, perform community outreach activities, and participate in training as well as system-wide meetings.

For additional information on BPL locations and hours of operation, please visit our website at www.bplonline.org.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Decades-Old City Federal Scrapbooks Donated to Archives Department

Jim Baggett and Renee BlalockJohn Akin, Jim Baggett, and BPL Director Renee Blalock examine one of six City Federal Savings & Loan scrapbooks found in the City Federal Building. Akin is vice president of Atlanta developer Carter, which owns the building. Baggett is the head of Archives at the Birmingham Public Library. Photo courtesy of The Birmingham News.

Birmingham Public Library was the recipient of several scrapbooks donated by Ingram & Associates. An employee of the real estate firm recently discovered six large scrapbooks in a closet of the City Federal Building, which is being turned into condos. The scrapbooks are filled with photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia that reveal the history of the landmark 1913 building, and a peek at some of the events that took place there through the decades.

An executive with the company that owns the City Federal Building and agents with Ingram & Associates recently visited the Archives and Manuscripts Department at the Birmingham Public Library, Central, to present the scrapbooks to Renee Blalock, Director, and Jim Baggett, head of Archives. The scrapbooks will be cataloged and made available to the public. In accepting the donation, Blalock and Baggett agreed that the books will add to the library's collection dedicated to the city's history of commerce. Baggett continued, "Birmingham is a city built for business, and many corporations kept scrapbooks. Our library is actively seeking donations for our commerce collection."

Brown Bag Lunch: Dolores Hydock Performs Capote's "A Christmas Memory"

Dolores Hydock
Join us for our annual tradition with Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock as she presents "A Christmas Memory." Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama is brought to vivid life in this wonderful holiday performance. Wednesday, November 30, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Read 'Em and Eat—Rely on BPL Collection for Holiday Menu Ideas

holiday cookbook collection
The Birmingham Public Library owns more than 1,000 cookbooks. If you’re looking for classic recipes that are tried and true or you need fresh ideas to update your holiday menu, check out our cookbook collection.

Cookbooks have been written in almost every literate society. Amelia Simmons is credited with publishing the first American cookbook in Connecticut in 1796. The book was an American original and the first listed ingredient was cornmeal. More cookbooks followed in the 19th century, including the Virginia Housewife. However, these cookbooks were very different from the ones we use today. They did not give sizes of the dishes used in baking, the number of servings, temperatures, or the amount of flour to add. Cooks during this era added as much flour as needed until it felt correct.

With the advent of gas ranges and the first all-electric kitchen at the 1893 World’s Fair, cookbooks became more precise, evolving into the books we are familiar with today. The books we rely on are much more helpful. Recent additions to the BPL collection include The Neely's Celebration Cookbook by Pat and Gina Neely, Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2012, and Big Book of Cupcakes by Birmingham’s own Jan Moon. The library’s cookbooks can be found in the nonfiction section in call number 641.

Popular Posts