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 entrée.”
  • 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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today's Brown Bag Lunch: The Cherokee and American Indian Today

BBL series logoValarie McCay of the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama will share insight into how Cherokee Culture influences Cherokees and American life today. The Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama is one of the nine tribes recognized by the State of Alabama with representation on the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. Alabama is rich in Cherokee history, including some of the first written Cherokee laws being enacted in Alabama. Several of the earliest Cherokee delegations to Washington D.C. included Alabama Cherokees. Representative McCay is a certified Project Management Professional currently working at UAB. Wednesday, November 16, 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.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Library Programs for Our Youngest Patrons

1-2-3 Play with Me program
Birmingham Public Library youth programs offer something for everyone, from tots to teens and family fun, too. Youth events at BPL include the following:

1-2-3 Play With Me is one of the BPL grant-funded programs for children birth through age 3, and for their parents and/or caregivers. The program teaches parenting skills and is a forum for parenting professionals to share information and answer parenting questions each week. This five-week program has been scheduled at several branches and the Central Library throughout the fall. BPL libraries supply age-appropriate books, toys, and art activities at each location.

Most BPL locations host a weekly program with library storytellers, such as Tot Time with Mrs. Eve at the Avondale Regional Library. Avondale Library is also a Family Place Library, which is the designation for a network of libraries nationwide. Family Place Library sites redesign the library environment/space to be welcoming and right-sized for our youngest patrons.
Dave Holland
Family Fun Night at Avondale Library is Drumming Up Stories with Dave Holland. Holland is the founder of Beatin’ Path Rhythm Events. For more than ten years Holland has spread the message of community, teamwork, diversity, and environmental awareness through rhythm-based events. On Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m., Holland will bring his message to Avondale Library with stories from Ghana, India, and Ireland.

Public Workshops Encourage Participation in Birmingham Comprehensive Plan Project

Birmingham City Comprehensive Plan flyer

The city of Birmingham invites you to be a part of the City of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan Project. Workshops have been scheduled in six locations around the city for the public to attend and share their ideas and visions for the city's future.

For more information, call the city’s planning office at 205-254-2479 or sign up at http//www.birminghamcomprehensiveplan.com. Click on the flyer to enlarge for a list of the workshops.

Local Authors Expo Great Place to Shop for Literary Gifts

Local Authors Expo logoStart your holiday shopping with a visit to the Birmingham Public Library’s Local Authors Expo. 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 60-minute program, presented by freelance editor Liz Reed, will outline steps in the process of getting your book into print. “Every Writer Needs an Editor” takes place from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium. There is no charge for the program; however, reservations are requested, http://everywriterneedseditor.eventbrite.com.

The Local Authors Expo was started by the library's Collection Management division to spotlight the wide range of authors in the Birmingham area. Acquisitions Librarian Jared Millet, also an author and Birmingham's liaison for National Novel Writing Month, says, "Birmingham is overflowing with literary talent and creativity, so the expo is an event that really resonates with our community. For holiday gift-giving, it's a great opportunity to meet the authors and purchase unique gifts that you might not find in traditional retail outlets."

There are more than 90 authors of both adult and youth titles registered for the expo. Several of the writers registered for the expo include Antonee Boykin, Alex and Tony Learn to be Gentleman; Nancy Dorman Hixson, Diplomacy and Diamonds; Keisa Sharpe, An Easy Natural Hair Care Guide; and J.D. Weeks, Birmingham Then and Now.

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. For more information, visit http://www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors/.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: The Cherokee and American Indian Today

BBL series logoValarie McCay of the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama will share insight into how Cherokee Culture influences Cherokees and American life today. The Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama is one of the nine tribes recognized by the State of Alabama with representation on the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. Alabama is rich in Cherokee history, including some of the first written Cherokee laws being enacted in Alabama. Several of the earliest Cherokee delegations to Washington D.C. included Alabama Cherokees. Representative McCay is a certified Project Management Professional currently working at UAB. Wednesday, November 16, 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.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Entertain the Readers

Mr. Putter & Tabby Stir the SoupYou may find it surprising that a series of books about two elderly neighbors and their pets would be so appealing to children, but Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter & Tabby series is quite popular among young (and old *raises hand*) readers, popular enough to warrant twenty books—Mr. Putter & Tabby Ring the Bell was published in September. My first grader loves these chapter books so much he chooses one every week from his school library to bring home.

In the first book of the series, Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea, Mr. Putter decides that a cat would make the perfect companion. When he goes to the pet store to buy an older cat, there are none for sale because everyone knows that cute, frisky kittens make the best pets. So Mr. Putter heads to the shelter where he adopts an older, bent-whiskered cat in the twilight of her years, just like Mr. Putter himself. Neither one is cute or frisky, and that’s the way they like it!

Mr. Putter and Tabby live next door to Mrs. Teaberry and her good but mischievous dog, Zeke. Mrs. Teaberry is also elderly, but she has a bit more bounce in her step than Mr. Putter; it’s mostly Mrs. Teaberry who’s responsible for their adventures, with Mr. Putter good-naturedly going along for the ride.

Although this elderly man and his cat’s endeavors are of the slower-paced variety—writing a book; painting the porch; stirring the soup—they are no less interesting and humorous for that. I love the way that aging and retirement are handled in these books, and how comfortable Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry are in their own skin as they accept the limits on their more fragile bodies, but are still willing to attempt new challenges. Rylant creates such a positive view of getting older that she makes me want to hurry along my own eleven years, one month, and six hours before I leave the rat race and retire to my own adventures.

Today's Brown Bag Lunch: Cherokee Genealogy Research

BBL series logoJoin us as Valarie McCay of the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama discusses genealogy research for people with American Indian ancestry. Representative McCay is a certified Project Management Professional currently working at UAB. Wednesday, November 9, 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, November 07, 2011

Security Team Builds Appreciation for Rules

security at BPLOn a recent visit to the Central Library, patron Agnes Hail* took a few minutes to complete a comment card for the library director. In her comments, she thanked the BPL security staff for reviewing the library rules with her two students. Hail went on to mention how courteous the guards were and that they provided their service with a smile. After reading the card, BPL Director Renee Blalock immediately shared the remarks with appropriate staff. “It’s always important to commend our team members when library visitors offer positive feedback,” stated Blalock. "Ms. Hail’s remarks reinforce one of our main goals: to offer the very best in customer service.”

Members of BPL’s security team are responsible for enforcing all library rules and for providing general security in library facilities. They help ensure the safety of all patrons and staff, as well as protect against theft or misuse of library property. Additionally, team members are expected to render assistance to patrons and staff when necessary and feasible—without hesitation.

*Patron’s name was slightly changed.

BPL Extends Thanks to Board Member Owens

Judge Shanta Owens
Judge Shantá Craig Owens always had a love for books. Growing up in Birmingham, she spent many days during her youth in the library. That love for libraries led her to many years of volunteer service as a Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Trustee. She was first appointed to the Board in January 2006. Owens served on various Board committees during her tenure and in 2010 chaired the Public Relations Committee. She resigned from the BPL Board recently when her family moved outside of the Birmingham city limits. Owens is a Criminal District Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit and currently presides over the Jefferson County Drug Court Program. Aside from her love of public libraries, she enjoys reading, traveling, and swimming. She is married to Rahman Owens and they have one child. Trustees and staff of BPL extend their greatest appreciation to Judge Owens for her many years of service.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Last Call for Bards & Brews 2011

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. The slamming will resume in January 2012. Friday’s farewell event will feature Sharrif Simmons—musician, poet, and performer par excellence. Samples of Pinstripe Stout from Blue Pants Brewery—Alabama’s smallest brewery—will be served.

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.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch: Cherokee Genealogy Research

BBL series logoJoin us as Valarie McCay of the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama discusses genealogy research for people with American Indian ancestry. Representative McCay is a certified Project Management Professional currently working at UAB. Wednesday, November 9, 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.

The Birmingham Scene Exhibition To Open November 6 at Central Library

The Seldom Scene flyer
From the toughest of times—The Great Depression through World War II—comes astounding and touching artwork by local artists who depicted Birmingham daily life in landscapes, industrial locations, rural and urban settings, and African-American life. For decades, the works have been tucked away in dark corners of the city, protected but rarely displayed.

A collection of 60 pieces appear in the new exhibition, The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork From the 1930s and 1940s. This exhibition is scheduled for November 6 through December 30 in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library. “We have found watercolor landscapes, and everyday scenes with people doing regular chores,” says Marjorie White, Director, Birmingham Historical Society. “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.

“These pieces were created by Birmingham artists who had migrated home after studying in New York and abroad, and turned their talents on this city,” White continues. “Birmingham had an Ash Can School painter in Martha Henderson Goings; pastel art from Roderick MacKenzie; and engravings by Ernest Henderson. Frank Hartley Anderson drew local industry and African-American life—and this is just the beginning of what you’ll see in this important exhibition.”

In what White calls a “read-the-labels-too” show, there’s interest culled from the artist and his/her professional vitae as well as the Birmingham history portrayed in each work. The pieces have been drawn from private Birmingham collectors, the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and the sponsoring organizations—the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Historical Society.

“These pieces may never be seen in this manner again,” says White, who has worked with a skilled planning committee for several years to cultivate the mix. “Collectively, the bringing together of the artwork created during this fertile period of the arts—complete with Federal support of certain projects and the use of materials from pastels to paints, aluminum to woodblock—is a testimony to the work created in the midst of difficult economic and political times.

“The work is magnificent and deserves to be seen. It’s the kind of show that makes you happy,” White says.

Details
Opening lecture and reception
The Industrial City Beautiful: Artists of the Birmingham Scene from the Great Depression Through World War II
Sunday, November 6, 2011
2:15 p.m.
Central Library, Linn Henley Research Building, Arrington Auditorium

Led by Dr. Graham Boettcher; William Cary Hulsey, Curator of American Art, Birmingham Museum of Art

The artists: 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, Walter Swettman

Exhibition

The Birmingham Scene: Seldom-Seen Artwork from the 1930s and 1940s
Sunday, November 6, through Friday, December 30, 2011
Central Library, East Building, Fourth Floor Gallery

Today's 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, November 01, 2011

What do Lady Liberty and the Birmingham Public Library have in common?


We’re both celebrating a birthday this year. We were both born in 1886, 125 years ago. We both stand for democracy and for the values inherent in a free society. We both welcome all and everyone.

It is no small coincidence that several of the words from Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” (written for the Statue of Liberty) could be placed at the entrance of all 18 locations of BPL:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

What is more free than the freedom of information that BPL provides?

BPL offers services and resources for people of every socioeconomic background, not to mention every race, religion and creed.

Unfortunately, the library has suffered a major financial setback over the last two years. We are operating on half the materials budget that we once did.

The staff and board at the Birmingham Public Library believe in its mission, which is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. Our financial cuts have placed this mission in peril.

However, you can help. Your monetary contributions will allow us to offer programming throughout the system, provide access to technology, and purchase books, CDs, audiobooks, DVDs, and eBooks for the two million visitors we serve each year. We’re asking you to join us by investing for the benefit of future generations as well as the current one. Please help us keep our shelves full of the rich materials we have provided for 125 years.

Donate online, in person at any library branch, or by sending your gift to the Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203. Please make checks payable to the BPL Campaign. Thank you for investing in us! If you have any questions regarding the campaign, please contact 226-3761.

Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken November 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 November workshop is scheduled for the following date (prior reservations are recommended):

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