Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from BPL!


BPL wants to wish you a safe and happy Halloween. The Ghoul's Ball was a tremendous success last week!

Pictured here is one of BPL's many wonderful employees, dressed as Jack Skellintgton, the main character from A Nightmare Before Christmas. (Notice the detail of the BPL name badge here.)

If you're looking for treats on All Hallow's Eve, BPL offers thousands upon thousands of items for check-out at any one of its 18 locations.

Be safe and visit soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: Industrial Voices: Reflections on the Birmingham Scene During the Great Depression

BBL series logoTo accompany the Birmingham Historical Society’s new exhibit The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork from the 1930s and 1940s, Sloss Furnaces curator Karen Utz will discuss the "voices" within the paintings—how different Southern classes and cultures dealt with economic and social issues during an era in American history that witnessed everything from the Great Depression to the onset of World War II. Wednesday, November 2, 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, October 25, 2011

Birmingham Public Library Celebrates 125 Years of Service with Launch of 2011 Donation Campaign

The Birmingham Public Library was established in 1886 as an adjunct of the city's public schools. John Herbert Phillips, then superintendent of the public school system, set up a library in a room adjoining his office, and this particular library grew over several decades. Finally, in 1913, a public library board was established, and the City of Birmingham assumed responsibility for funding the institution.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is celebrating 125 years of service to the community. As the oldest cultural institution in Birmingham, the library has grown from a single small room to the system that now includes the 233,000-square foot Central Complex and 18 branch locations housing more than 900,000 catalogued items. Last year, the library’s budget for materials was cut 48%, or $600,000, and this year, it has been reduced even more. To help offset these cuts to the public library’s budget, the library recently announced the 2011 BPL Campaign.

“Our collection is very special and as one of Birmingham’s premier cultural assets our goal is to continue to maintain the resources that make this library special,” said library director, Renee Blalock. “With the 2011 BPL Campaign, we are asking citizens, corporations, and everyone who enjoys the array of services the Birmingham Public Library provides to contribute. By making a donation, you are investing in the library and helping us maintain the high quality services that have made the Birmingham Public Library one of the very special gems of our city. Your contribution also acknowledges how important libraries are to the community.”

The library houses more than 400,000 photographs and is the only Patent and Trademark library in Alabama. Birmingham Public Library also holds the archives for the City of Birmingham and numerous organizations and institutions, creating a collection that contains more than 14,000 linear feet of archival documents.

Donations in honor of 125 years of service to the community will help this library continue to provide free access to the information and technology people depend on, keep the shelves stocked with new materials, and provide systemwide programming, serving more than two million visitors a year.

Donations may be made in person at any Birmingham library location, via the library website www.bplonline.org, or by mail. Checks can be made payable to the BPL Campaign and mailed to BPL Campaign, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203. For additional campaign information, visit www.bplonline.org/about/contributions/ or call 205-226-3761.

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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library November Poetry Slam

Bards & Brews logo
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) hosts the last Bards & Brews poetry slam/beer tasting of 2011 on Friday, November 4, at the Central Library. Bards & Brews will not be held in December; the slam will start again in January.

Bards & Brews showcases both veteran slammers and first-timers. Held on the first Friday of each month, slams are emceed by poetry slam events director Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins. Each contestant contributes $5 to the pot, and winner takes all. Southern Fried Slam rules will be observed. Craft beer will be available for sampling. You must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked. Live music at 6:30 p.m. Call time is 7:00 p.m. Check out the Bards & Brews page on Facebook for more information. This program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Word up, y'all!

Take a peek at photos and videos from past slams.

Details
Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library Poetry Slam Series
Central Library
Friday, November 4, 2011
6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Live music and sign-up is at 6:30
Call time is at 7:00

Additional information:
Brian Hawkins (AKA Brian “Voice” Porter) will serve as emcee for the Bards & Brews Poetry Slam. He is a full-time performance artist and poetry slam events director. Mr. Hawkins has hosted "On Stage at the Carver" at the Carver Theater, the longest running poetry open mic in Birmingham (almost 7 years running). He has hosted numerous additional events of this nature and has also performed his own works many times across the country.

The Art of Science November Programs: Nutrition Science

Art of Science logo
Color, art, and good food, too;
Looks good, tastes great,
There’s a question for you:
What makes a nutritious plate?

The importance of proper nutrition is illustrated when children design their own food pyramid puzzle, learn how to “eat their colors,” and decorate food.

The Art of Science is a grant-funded after-school program conducted by Elinor and Winfield Burks at six Birmingham Public Library branches: Avondale, East Lake, Five Points West, North Birmingham, Powderly, and Springville Road. The program will run nine months—from September 2011 through December 2012—and will cover the science of nutrition, geometry, sound, plants, optics, recycling, and materials engineering in a hands-on atmosphere. Each program will begin with a science principle and end with a craft or group project. Supplies for the crafts are provided.

At each session, the library will showcase books and videos about the program’s topic, and introduce age-appropriate databases for children to further explore what they learned at each program.

The Art of Science is made possible by the Kresge Arts in Birmingham, a partnership with the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.

November Programs
Five Points West Regional Library, November 1, 4:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Regional Library, November 3, 4:00 p.m.
Avondale Regional Library, November 4, 3:15 p.m.
East Lake Branch Library, November 8, 3:30 p.m.
Springville Road Regional Library, November 9, 4:00 p.m.
Powderly Branch Library, November 15, 4:00 p.m.

Friday, October 21, 2011

BPL Archivist Jim Baggett to Participate in BMA Panel Discussion on Fred Shuttlesworth

Fred ShuttlesworthGood Friday, 1963. Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. taking part in civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham. The three ministers were arrested, and it was during this incarceration that King wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail." (Birmingham Public Library archives)

Additional photos and newspaper articles of Fred Shuttlesworth may be found in the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections.

Birmingham Public Library Archivist Jim Baggett will participate in Historians and History Makers Pay Tribute to the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a panel discussion led by Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home. The discussion is a part of a weekend filled with public conversations about the cultural and historical significance of the late civil rights activist, whose recent death sparked reflection and mourning throughout the country.

For a list of panel participants and more information on the event, visit Birmingham Museum of Art's website: http://www.artsbma.org/events/view/255.

Details
Historians and History Makers Pay Tribute to Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
Birmingham Museum of Art, Steiner Auditorium
Sunday, October 23
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Free admission to the museum
Panel discussion is open to the public

Jim Baggett is Head of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Birmingham Public Library, and Archivist for the City of Birmingham. He has served as president of the Society of Alabama Archivists and Chair of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Baggett has lectured throughout the U.S. and in Europe and has been featured on Alabama Public Television (APT), Alabama Public Radio, National Public Radio (NPR), and CSPAN. He has authored or edited five books on Birmingham and Alabama history, including A Woman of the Town: Louise Wooster, Birmingham’s Magdalen and Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th Century Newspapers. He has written on archival preservation and Alabama history for Alabama Librarian, Alabama Heritage, and Birmingham magazines. Currently he is researching and writing a biography titled A Good Time to Fight: Bull Connor and the Politics of Confrontation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: The Martians Are Us! A True Halloween Tale or Two

Jim Reed
Just in time for Halloween, Birmingham author, bookseller, and all-around colorful local character Jim Reed will share true tales about scary places, such as the sand pits at Woking, where the H.G. Wells Martians first landed. Join him if you dare! Wednesday, October 26, 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.

Citywide Visioning Forum

Citywide Visioning Forum logo
You are invited to share your vision for Birmingham's future at the Citywide Visioning Forum. Over the next year, the city of Birmingham will be asking you—and your family, neighbors, and coworkers—to help plan for the city's new comprehensive plan that will serve to guide the physical development of the city based on the community's vision and goals. This will be the city's first full comprehensive plan since 1961, so don't miss this opportunity to make your voice heard. For more information, call the city's planning office at 205-254-2479 or visit the website: www.birminghamcomprehensiveplan.com.

Details
Citywide Visioning Forum
Birmingham CrossPlex (former Alabama State Fair Grounds)
Saturday, October 22
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Continental breakfast and lunch included.

Today's Brown Bag Lunch: Little-Known and Important: The Civil Rights Movement's "Best-Kept" Secrets

Civil Rights photo
Birmingham teacher and historian J.D. Jackson will discuss little-known but important stories of the Civil Rights Movement, exploring people, places, and events often overlooked or rarely focused on in other studies of this dramatic time in American history. Wednesday, October 19, 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, October 18, 2011

5 Horror Movie Scenes I Wish I Could Unsee

The Shining Twins"Come play with us, Danny. Forever...and ever...and ever."

I co-moderate a horror group at Goodreads, and the question that gets batted about often is: "Why do people love horror?" One of the answers that makes the most sense is that we read and watch horror to confront our fear of the unknown and become inured to its potential nasty surprises.

There are different kinds of horror within the genre: classic horror that includes writers such as Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allen Poe, and movies such as Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Birds; conventional horror that includes writers such Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and movies such as Friday the 13th and Halloween; splatterpunk horror that includes writers such as Edward Lee and Joe Lansdale, and movies such as I Spit on Your Grave and High Tension.

But no matter how tame or how shocking a book or movie is, often there are scenes that you just can't shake. For movies, I have five such unshakable scenes, and here they are: My Top 5 Horror Movie Scenes I Wish I Could Unsee (WARNING: Some scenes are graphic.*)

5. The Fly (1958) - When you talk about The Fly starring Vincent Price, you gotta mention the web scene. A helpless old man, swaddled like a newborn in spider silk, mewls "please help meeeeee, please!" loud enough for Herbert Marshall to pick up a rock and end his misery. I remember watching this movie with my father when I was a kid, and the horror of the helpless meal resonates to this day.

4. Pet Sematary (1989) - Pet Sematary is a book by Stephen King about a little cemetery in Ludlow, Maine, where generations of children buried their pets. A bit beyond the pet "sematary" is an Indian burial ground, and if you bury something there it will return to you, only not in the same condition as when it was living. This wouldn't be a Stephen King book if only a pet cat was reanimated, so King has an 18-wheeler run down a ridiculously adorable toddler named Gage. So Gage is born, lives three years, dies, is reanimated, and goes on a murder spree. Some think the most horrible thing about this movie is Gage slashing at family with a straight razor, but for me it's the bloody sneaker. Here is a tribute to little Gage.

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Responsible for my fear of traveling back roads and asking strangers for help, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remains my favorite horror movie of all time. Just about the entire movie is filled with scenes I wish I could unsee, but none as horrible as *Kirk stumbling into Leatherface's home abattoir. You don't just walk uninvited into someone's house! Sheesh.

2. The Thing (1982) - Science fiction writer John W. Campbell wrote a novella called Who Goes There? about an arctic expedition that uncovers and thaws an alien life form whose sole purpose is to absorb the likeness any human it gets alone time with. Since the group of bored men are cohabiting in a small space, the paranoia about which one is theThing plays out well. There is a tense blood-testing scene, but *this legendary scene was jaw-droppingly awesome in its day—and still is

1. The Shining (1980) - The Overlook Hotel wants Danny because he has "the shine." If he dies in the hotel, his spirit will be absorbed and the hotel will come into possession of his shining ability, making its evil able to reach beyond the grounds of the Overlook. What better way to get Danny to join the staff than to get *two dead sisters with large foreheads to invite him to play...forever. Redrumed by their father, the sisters are fated to haunt the halls of the Overlook Hotel for infinity, at least in the movie version.

Friday, October 14, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

At midnight on November 1, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 250,000 people around the world will set out to become novelists.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.

So what’s the point? “The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity,” says NaNoWriMo Founder and Executive Director Chris Baty. “When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it’s a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month.”

More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience.

Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, both #1 New York Times Best Sellers.

“Writing a novel in a month inspires incredible confidence in seasoned and first-time novelists alike,” says NaNoWriMo Program Director Lindsey Grant. “Completing a draft of the novel they’ve been contemplating for ages gives participants a tremendous sense of accomplishment and leaves them wondering what else they’re capable of.”

For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit www.nanowrimo.org.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April Storms

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 three free workshops to inspire and guide participants in effectively using the power of words to express their storm experiences. The workshops are scheduled for the following dates and libraries (prior reservations are recommended):

Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: North Birmingham Public Library

Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Springville Road Public Library

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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: Little-Known and Important: The Civil Rights Movement's "Best-Kept" Secrets

Civil Rights photo
Birmingham teacher and historian J.D. Jackson will discuss little-known but important stories of the Civil Rights Movement, exploring people, places, and events often overlooked or rarely focused on in other studies of this dramatic time in American history. Wednesday, October 19, 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.

Today's Brown Bag Lunch: The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen book cover
The story of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen continues to inspire and teach us about the courage and determination of a group of fighting men who would nto let discrimination keep them from serving their country. Author Daniel Haulman will discuss his new book, The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History, 1939-1949. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. Wednesday, October 12, 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.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Old Switcheroo

Self-Made Man book coverImmersion journalism has lifted the veil many times. In Black Like Me, Caucasian John Howard Griffin “became” a black man in the segregated South too see what it was like from the other side of the wall. Many years later, an Israeli Jew passed as a Palestinian in order to appreciate Arab reality in the Occupied Territories. Norah Vincent has tried something less noble, perhaps, but every bit as personal in Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised As a Man. She lived as a man for a year and a half (even the book’s subtitle underplays her role). The book is far more than a mere stunt in any commonly-understood sense. For one, Vincent didn’t do it to gain attention (at least not while she was living as a man). Of course, publicity would have blown her cover. In the sense that what she did was “an unusual or difficult feat requiring great skill or daring (Merriam Webster)”-yes, the book qualifies as a stunt. But that definition is only a sliver of the account here.

Starting out was comparatively easy when you know what Vincent would do later. She changes her name to Ned, gets a flat top haircut, buys glasses to accentuate the angles of her face, gets a makeup artist to help her fake a beard, forces her body down, in, and out where it counts, changes her clothes and goes to Juilliard to learn how to talk like a man, forcing herself to “pronounce with terse authority.” She does all this to be safely stereotypical, reasoning that she can’t afford to take chances.

Unlike transvestites or transsexuals who find relief in living as members of the opposite sex, tomboy Vincent gets no such pleasure. Being a man was, uhm, a drag, almost entirely. But being a man in rare specific situations could be psychologically fulfilling. In the course of the book Vincent joins a bowling team, hangs out at strip clubs, joins an all-male high-pressure sales team, lives in a monastery and embraces an Iron John-like men’s group.

The bowling team chapter has high risk and real rewards. The white, working class guys didn’t know what to make of Ned the lousy bowler. They kid him in ways that Ned is hurt by at first but slowly realizes are a form of tough love. After almost eight months, she comes clean and spills her gender on them. What she was terrified of doesn’t happen: they don’t beat her up. In fact, when they get over the profound shock, they decide to keep her as a friend. Vincent treasures her hard-won pals but despises her deception.

The strip club chapter is depressing and scary. The only democracy here is that both genders get emotionally brutalized.

In dating, Vincent allows that “girls don’t behave any better under relational duress and the centuries of subjugation haven’t made women morally superior.” Now that’s a post-feminist statement. She also discovers how profoundly vulnerable men are when they date. Here and elsewhere, Vincent’s painful constrictions in the male role are paradoxically broadening, even liberating.

More ego-pounding happens in the monastery. It’s the most exclusively male place Ned visits, and it brings perhaps the highest risks since he had to be “on” 24/7. Her insights here are characteristically full of empathy and compassion:

They wanted to be among their own kind, to be understood and left mostly alone to go about their business without a hectoring wife bearing down on them. But, and this was crucial, they didn’t want to be lonely.…But therein also lay the rub.…The nurturing influence that women could provide, the communicative skills they could lend and foster were lost to these men, and much to their emotional detriment.

Even among men who’d supposedly forsaken the world there was, unsurprisingly, a pecking order. And Brother Crispin was at the bottom of it, largely because he could occasionally get very emotional. Apparently, the last here was not the first. Ned befriends Crispin and also Brother Jerome, who declares, “You’ve brought emotional awareness and the possibility of change….We need that.” But almost all of the brothers were very uncomfortable with Ned expressing his emotions, which of course he did very guardedly indeed. Why? Vincent “feels they took refuge in machismo because they feared inappropriate intimacies between men.” Which is ironic because a couple of the brothers are, to Ned at least, obviously gay but, of course, celibate. As in the bowling chapter, Ned reveals Norah at the end, but in this case only to a couple of the brothers. This is powerfully dramatic, of course, but I wanted her to make a clean getaway because I thought that this might have made for even more effective drama.

No rest for Ned as he goes straight to work a testosterone-filled sales company. These guys (and they’re all guys, except for [including?] Ned) are like the proverbial hamsters on a wheel, forever chasing higher sales quotas that will lift them above minimum wage, according to the shiny promises touted by the company. There’s phoniness here on Ned’s part, too: “At the end of the day I gave my earned cash [away]. I didn’t want anything to do with it.” Really needing the money would’ve have made this chapter much more valid. But even here, there are worthwhile bits, such as the scattered seconds when Ned’s disguise unintentionally fades:

It was the freezing that always struck me the most. People will literally stand paralyzed for a moment…when they don’t know what sex you are.…If they don’t know what sex you are, they literally don’t know how to treat you. They don’t know which code to opt for, which language to speak…how close they can come to you physically, whether or not they should smile and how. In this we are no different from dogs-with the notable exception, of course, that no dog has ever been mistaken about anyone’s sex.

Vincent concludes her undercover tale with a stint in a men’s consciousness group. These are men tired of “holding up the world,” a position that wasn’t just “painful and tiring, it was also one of the most vulnerable poses a man could assume.” Here men were exhausted from rescuing and protecting women, a job that sometimes made them resent women. The invented initiation rituals the men put themselves through are embarrassing, even laughable, but I sympathized with these guys who had needs like open wounds. Their ultimate goal was to liberate men and women from the patriarchy which they feel that men as well as women had created.

Leaving Ned was an immense relief. Vincent dreaded “being found out as less than a real man, and I suspect that this is something a lot of men endure their whole lives, this constant scrutinizing and self-scrutiny.” Trust me, they do. The men Ned hung out with are obsessed with sex, competing, and hazing. (No wonder they needed women). But Vincent mistakes her experiences for the whole male world, which is a lot more various than this. Does it even need to be said that not all men are stereotypically male? Vincent goes on to say that “there is at bottom no such thing as that mystical unifying creature we call a human being, but only male human beings and female human beings, as separate as sects.” That’s a monolithic statement. What about intersexed or transgendered people? They more than blur this line, to say the very least. And hasn’t Vincent read Jung?

Did Ned get access to more power when she joined the patriarchy? No. It was “much more like joining a subculture than a country club.” Like the character Tootsie in the movie, Vincent comes to have an “inescapable empathy” for what was no longer the opposite sex. But the strain of the role catches up with her. She can no longer maintain two opposing ideas in her self and it finally “shut[s] down” her brain. When I read this I vaguely remembered that Vincent had written a subsequent book. Sure enough, Voluntary Madness is about how she tried to put herself together after the breakdown that Self-Made Man caused. Anything for a story. But, seriously, I need to thank Norah Vincent for her many valuable insights in this book. She’s taught me a great deal about men and women. Her occasional defects matter little compared to the generous amount of good sense and even wisdom here.

Richard Grooms
Central Library
Social Sciences Department

Join Us for Another Round of Bards & Brews

Bards and Brews logo
The Birmingham Public Library hosts another poetry slam on Friday, October 7, at the Central Library. Bards & Brews showcases both veteran slammers and first-timers. Held on the first Friday of each month, slams are emceed by poetry slam events director Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins. Each contestant contributes $5 to the pot, and winner takes all. Southern Fried Slam rules will be observed. Craft beer will be available for sampling. You must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked. Live music at 6:30 p.m. Call time is 7:00 p.m. Check out the Bards & Brews page on Facebook for more information. This program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Take a peek at photos and videos from past slams.

Details:

Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library Poetry Slam Series
Central Library
2100 Park Place
1st Friday of every month
6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Live music and sign-up is at 6:30
Call time is at 7:00

Additional information:
Brian Hawkins (AKA Brian “Voice” Porter) will serve as emcee for the Bards & Brews Poetry Slam. He is a full-time performance artist and poetry slam events director. Mr. Hawkins has hosted "On Stage at the Carver" at the Carver Theater, the longest running poetry open mic in Birmingham (almost 7 years running). He has hosted numerous additional events of this nature and has also performed his own works many times across the country.

Ghoul's Ball Spooktacular, October 27

Don't miss out on a real treat and a devilishly good time. Be sure to register for the 3rd Annual Ghoul's Ball. This spooktacular event will take place in Central Library's Atrium on Thursday, October 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. We will have treats, games, airbrush tattoos, and a dance contest. Teens ages 11-18 are welcome. Do you dare? Take a look at photos from previous years. The event is free but please register by calling 226-3651.

11th Annual City of Birmingham Recycles Day

Recycles Day flyerIt's that time of year again to start cleaning out the outdated or broken electronic items cluttering your home in preparation for all the nifty new gadgets you're sure to receive in the coming holiday season. On Wednesday, October 26, from 6:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., you may drop off your e-waste and other items for recycling at Linn Park. Click on the flier for more details and the list of acceptable and unacceptable items.

The Annual Meeting for the Friends of BPL is coming 'round the bend!


Join us at the Friends Annual Meeting, October 16, 2011, @ 1:30 p.m., featuring the GRAND OPENING of the Friends Bookstore

The Bookstore Makeover is complete and we have the best-looking Bookstore in all the Birmingham Public Library, even if it is the only one in the system. It is still a thing of beauty and we want to invite you to its Grand Opening at the Friends Annual Meeting, October 16, 2011.

In fact, if you attend, you will get to see the Retail Room for the first time ever! Over the past few weeks, we have been stocking the Retail Room’s shelves with new gifts (as well as gently-used ones) for you to purchase. We will unveil it all on October 16th.

You must be a member of the Friends to attend the meeting, but you may join for half price from now until the meeting. You may click here to join today.

Membership levels are as follows:

Senior citizen, student, or BPL employee $10
Individual $20
Family $30
Patron $100
Benefactor $500

So, pay half the price and join us at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, the 16th.

Here's the schedule for the Annual Meeting:

1:30 p.m. A brief (very brief) Friends meeting in the Central Library Youth Department's Storycastle (so short that if you blink, you'll miss it). We will report on our progress and goals, present the Beyond the Budget and Jack F. Bulow Volunteer Awards, thank several Board members whose terms expire this year, and then…

1:45 p.m. Ribbon cutting

1:46-2:30 p.m. Marveling at new store, enjoying refreshments, buying books, gifts and media, and laughing loudly

If you bring a new Friend or you talk someone into joining, we will give you and the new Friend a 10% discount on all merchandise. We will serve light refreshments and offer very polite society during this brief meeting and celebration. We look forward to mingling and shopping with you. If you have any questions, please call 226-3761.

Two months ago, the Retail Room looked like this:


Join us on Sunday, the 16th, to witness its amazing transformation.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

AIA to Assist Storm-Affected Residents

AIA flyer
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has assembled a team of national experts to assist storm-affected residents in the development of a long-term recovery strategy from October 7-10, 2011. The public are invited to participate in a Town Hall Kick Off.

Details
Town Hall Kick Off
South Hampton Elementary School
Friday, October 7
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen book cover
The story of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen continues to inspire and teach us about the courage and determination of a group of fighting men who would nto let discrimination keep them from serving their country. Author Daniel Haulman will discuss his new book, The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History, 1939-1949. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. Wednesday, October 12, 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, October 04, 2011

Birmingham Noir: A Nighttime Walking Tour of Notorious Downtown Sites

Birmingham Noir poster
We are sorry, but this year's Birmingham Noir tours are sold out. Contact Jim Baggett at 226-3631 or jbaggett@bham.lib.al.us to be put on a list to receive an e-mail reservation reminder before next October's tours are advertised.

Just as the afternoon sun slips out of the downtown sky, like a platinum blonde sliding into a black party dress, the night owls will gather at the library.


Put on your walking shoes and join Birmingham Public Library archivist Jim Baggett for a visit to some of Birmingham's most infamous historic places. Learn about the Magic City's most famous brothel, spectacular 19th century murders, political intrigues, and the scandal that nearly destroyed Bull Connor's career.

The two tour dates are October 28 and 30. The tours begin at 5:45 p.m. in the Atrium of the Central Library and last approximately 90 minutes.

Admission is free, but reservations are required and spaces are limited. Contact Jim Baggett at 226-3631 or jbaggett@bham.lib.al.us.

Brown Bag Lunch: A Taste of Music Featuring the Alabama School of Fine Arts

ASFA logo
Join us to hear the Music Department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts present a program of performances by the ASFA String Orchestra, Ladies Vocal Ensemble and Jazz Combo. Under the direction of Kimberly Scott, Laura Doss, and Robert Janssen, the talented students of ASFA will perform a diverse program of music from the Classical period to modern day. Wednesday, October 5, 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, October 03, 2011

Research Controversial Paper Topics with Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Opposing Viewpoints in Context logo
Opposing Viewpoints in Context is the premier online resource covering today’s hottest social issues from all perspectives, from offshore drilling to climate change, health care to immigration. Opposing Viewpoints in Context helps students research, analyze, and organize a broad variety of data for conducting research, completing writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations, and more.

  • Click on the Databases link from the Birmingham Public Library homepage
  • Scroll through Database Quick Links to find Opposing Viewpoints
  • Use the Opposing Viewpoints database to read thoughtful essays, both pro and con on any topic in the news (there are also links to newspaper, magazine, and reference articles to help you form your own opinions). You can click on any of the subject specific databases to find even more information.

It’s like a treasure hunt and you’re on the trail of the best and most current information available anywhere. The databases also give you the correct ways to cite your references according to the style manual your teacher requires. Best of all, you know if you connect through a database from the BPL website, information professionals have authenticated the site and the information available through it. No more scatter-shot Google searches for you—your library card gives you a direct link to the information you need.

It’s free for Jefferson County residents, and if you need help librarians are only a phone call away. What are you waiting for? (We’re a big help, but that paper’s not going to write itself!)

Submitted by Kelly Laney, Springville Road Regional Library