Thursday, August 30, 2012

Audio Book Review: Morpheus Road: The Blood

The Blood
D.J. MacHale
Narrated by Nick Podehl

Although there is a brief overview given of the first two books in the trilogy, the concept of the Morpheus Road, using visions to move from spot to spot, and the differences between Watchers and Guardians, creates some confusion if The Blood is the first of the trilogy one is listening to. This reinforces the problem of most audios in a series of any sort as it can be hard to fill in the missing pieces, just as it would be if one were reading the print version instead of listening to the audio. It also makes me feel that the appeal will be limited if 12- to 18-year-olds haven’t listened to the first two in the trilogy.

The narration provided by Nick Podehl certainly creates excitement, terror, fear, and a sense of doom that is perfect for this concluding volume of the worlds of life and death. People exist in the Light [living], the Black [spirit world], and the Blood [home for really bad spirits]. Marshall and Coop take on the task of attacking and neutralizing Damon, whose desire to host one final battle between the living and the dead leads to their fear that the living might lose that battle. Little do they know that there’s an even more evil spirit in the Blood, waiting for his chance to wreak true destruction on Mankind.

Thanks to Podehl’s ability to express the various characters’ nuances in their voices, one immediately picks out the slight Long Island accent apparent in Coop, while Marsh’s voice stays firm and usually self-assured. Damon feels sorry for himself and at times is rather whiny while Brennis is croaky, raspy. When the demons speak, it’s horrible, beyond-raspy sounding words. Podehl also has ability to speed up or slow down his speech and the action verbs of the dialogue alway match his voicing.

The music that begins and ends each disc has a little bit of mystery and some eerie sounds, which fit perfectly with the book. Despite my concerns about appeal, the narration is outstanding.

Lynn Carpenter
Five Points West Library

Young Professionals Groups: A Great Tool to Establish a Budding Career

Photo of three young professionals
Young professionals groups—sometimes called junior boards—are gaining popularity in most cities around the country, and Birmingham is no exception. If you consider yourself a young professional (usually defined as between the ages of 20 and 40), joining a group can benefit you by providing networking opportunities, leadership experience to add to your resume, and the good feelings that come from helping a worthy non-profit organization. One of the greatest advantages of being involved in a young professionals group is placing yourself in a position to someday be on an organization’s “senior” board.

Young professionals groups are most often associated with a non-profit organization, and they exist to raise funding, awareness, and support for that organization. Most groups consist of a leadership level that plans social, volunteer, and fundraising events and a membership level that attends regular social and fundraising functions and gives some volunteer hours to the organization. Young professionals groups generally have an annual membership fee, which is tax deductible and helps to support the organization’s activities.

The newly established Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals will be shaping the future of Birmingham’s oldest cultural institution. BPLYP members will be able to enjoy the social events that make YP groups so popular, but can also feel good about giving their time to volunteer for library programs for people of all ages. BPL has been a cornerstone of the Birmingham community and a hallmark of literacy and learning for over 100 years, and the BPLYP will ensure the library’s service to this community for years to come.

BPLYP is accepting nominations and applications for its board until September 30. Visit www.bplonline.org/yp for information or to submit a nomination or application.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Captain Underpants!



“It’ll make kids laugh until soda comes out of their noses.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


The 9th book in the Captain Underpants series, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers, came out on August 28. The series is written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, whom USA Today calls "the savior of the reluctant reader." Pilkey's other popular series are Super Diaper Baby, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, and The Dumb Bunnies.

I can personally attest to the popularity of this series. Like a lot of boys, my son was not all that interested in drawing and coloring as a preschooler or even throughout first grade. He is an avid reader though, and as he progressed through picture books and on to chapter books in second grade, he discovered Dav Pilkey's funny potty humor books about two elementary school boys, George and Harold, who create an unlikely superhero out of their principal when they hypnotize him. What interests him most is the book within the book—the comic book that George and Harold write and draw and sell to their friends on the playground for fifty cents a copy. His attempts at writing and illustrating his own books has fueled an ongoing interest in arts and crafts I never thought I'd see. Last year we co-authored a book (more like a pamphlet, really) on the very, very short history of Thanksgiving in America. Inspiration is indeed found in the unlikeliest of places.

BPL Closed September 2-3 for Labor Day

Labo Day imageAll locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed Sunday and Monday, September 2-3, for Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Marks 70th Anniversary of Influential World War II Bombing Mission

USAF emblem
This past August 17 marked an important 70th anniversary. Although not among the most well remembered dates of World War II, August 17, 1942, proved to be a very significant day in the subsequent development of American military strategy and foreign policy. At approximately 3:30 in the afternoon that day, twelve B-17 bombers from the U.S. 8th Army Air Force took off from Grafton Underwood Airfield in southwest England with the purpose of striking a blow against the growing industrial might of Nazi occupied France. The target for this mission was the Sotteville railroad yards, near Rouen, which is located on the banks of the Seine about 85 miles north of Paris. As a major transportation hub linking the ports on the English Channel with a variety of Nazi military installations located throughout the French countryside, the railroad yards were viewed by the Allies as an important piece of infrastructure whose destruction would signify a long awaited move from the defensive to the offensive in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).

By all standards of measure, the Sotteville mission was a success. Reconnaissance photos of the site showed that about half the bombs dropped hit within the general target area—a ratio that was thought to be more than acceptable considering it was the 8th Air Force’s initial foray into the aerial bombardment of Nazi occupied lands. Furthermore, the Americans did not suffer any losses during the mission—all twelve B-17s returned to Grafton virtually unscathed and no crew members were killed.

Although the mission only took a few hours to complete, it had been the product of many years of planning and preparation. Beginning in the waning years of World War I, and continuing through the ensuing decades, a vocal number of U.S. Army Air Force officers had aggressively advanced the idea of using bombers to attack, and destroy, industrial and transportation targets deep within enemy territory. The goal of such attacks would be to critically disrupt the enemy’s capacity to wage war, and, at the same time, break the will and morale of the enemy’s civilian population. They called this new approach to warfare strategic bombing, and they contrasted it to the more conventional approach of tactical bombing, the purpose of which is to destroy targets of direct military value, such as troops, equipment, and installations.

The success of the Sotteville operation helped convince the Americans that a strong, sustained campaign of strategic bombing could be the key to victory against Nazi Germany. By the end of 1942, U.S. bomber sorties in the ETO totaled 1,453. By the end of hostilities, in May 1945, the number had increased to over 460,000. The destruction and death that the missions wrought on the German people most certainly contributed to the decisiveness of the Allied victory in Europe. Perhaps even more telling of the success of the strategic bombing initiative was the degree to which it was adopted by U.S. military officials on the other front—the Pacific Theater of Operations. Although far fewer sorties were flown there than in the ETO, the devastation that they brought with them, most notably at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ended up negating the need for a direct assault on the Japanese mainland by American land and naval forces.

In terms of lasting influence, the events of August 17, 1942, can hardly be overstated. It can be argued that the idea that the United States was capable of using its vast production capabilities and technological resources to achieve military victory and wield its political influence throughout the world was born on that day. This proposition can be borne out by looking at some of the nation’s foreign policy actions over the last seventy years: the nuclear arms buildup during the Cold War; the saturation bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War; and the use of laser guided missiles, stealth aircraft, and so called “smart bombs” in both Gulf Wars.

To learn more about the history of U.S. bombing operations in World War II, check the Birmingham Public Library’s catalog. Of particular importance is the Air Force History and Museum Program’s multivolume work, The U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, which is available in the library’s Government Documents Department.

Jim Murray
Business, Science and Technology/Social Sciences
Central Library

Movie Review: Happy-Go-Lucky

DVD coverSally Forth, Poppy

Happy-Go-Lucky

A Film By Mike Leigh

I’m a repeat viewer when it comes to movies directed by Mike Leigh. Except for a couple of cases, I’ve watched all of his movies at least twice and usually six or eight times. They are dense, multi-layered and as close as movies get to viewing actual life-dramatic, captivating real life, that is. A better comparison is that they’re as close as movies get to a good novel you want to read again and again.

Leigh and his actors prepare like no one else. They spend months developing characters through extensive improvisations. (To give an idea of how rare this is, the late director Stanley Kubrick used his considerable clout to arrange an almost unheard-of couple of weeks for rehearsals). They start from nothing and build characters until they’re at the point where they react and emote like their characters would in a large variety of situations. Then they’re introduced to characters they haven’t met. In theory, it’s like two actual people meeting. Only late in the game is a script written, and then it’s refined until everyone feels comfortable with it. By this point characters are fleshed out to an extraordinary degree. Actors go out of their way to work with Leigh and usually look back on the experience as one of the high points of their acting life. Jim Broadbent, Gary Oldman, Stephen Rea, and David Thewlis are some of the better-known actors who’ve worked with Leigh, who’s won top prizes at European film festivals. His best known film is probably Secrets & Lies, which is to me one of the best movies of the last twenty years. Probably no movie in history has dealt with the issue of race better than Secrets & Lies.

Many of Leigh’s movies are downbeat, so it surprised everyone when Happy-Go-Lucky came out. It’s the story of “love,” in Leigh’s words. It centers on Poppy, played by Sally Hawkins. Vivacious, extroverted, ebullient, fearless, hilarious, mischievous—Poppy brings love to all she comes into contact with and she’s a catalyst for all as well. Watching Hawkins/Poppy is like taking deep breaths of clearest mountain air, like dancing through lawn sprinklers bare-footed. To say it’s life-affirming is like saying cars transport you.

At first you think she’s a chucklehead. When she finds her bicycle’s been stolen she laments out loud to the London street that she didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to the bike. But Hawkins soon deepens and expands Poppy to where you see an enormous range of emotions, characteristics, ticks, quirks, and sensibilities under her sunny surface. We see that she can be so joyous because she is in fact tough as nails. In one scene, she wanders alone at night into an abandoned industrial building, lured only by the sound of a man’s voice mumbling apparently bizarre nonsense. She meets the man, who’s strange and scary and who may at any time try to beat her or rape her, but he doesn’t. Incredible tension rises, dissipates, rises again. She reaches out to him, trying to connect, freely giving compassion. A bit of his talk beings to make sense—but only a bit. He takes some of her understanding, then wanders off, mumbling as he goes. There’s no saint-making here; it’s just believably real.

The main relationship in the movie is between Poppy and Scott, her driving instructor. Scott’s so wound up his body could crush subatomic particles. He’s angry, afraid, bigoted, clenched, and a nutter besides—he’s the anti-Poppy. He also wants to possess her. Leigh and Eddie Marsan, the actor who plays Scott, developed this character for a very long time, then Leigh introduced Scott to Poppy. Sparks flew. The bouts between Scott and Poppy are brilliant—incredibly tense, hilarious, wrenching. You feel like you’re in the car and you never know when it’s going to crash. (This was achieved partly through innovative rigging of multiple cameras throughout the vehicle. The two actors are literally driving.)

There are too many miracles in Happy-Go-Lucky to mention in a short piece like this. It’s as different from a regular movie as a 3-star feast is from leftovers. Only it’s free and at the library, so it’s even more of a boon.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Drumming Up Stories with Dave Holland

Dave Holland
Join Dave Holland, founder and primary performer of Beatin’ Path Rhythm Events, as he drums up some exciting stories. With stories chosen from places like Ghana, India, and Ireland, young audiences are introduced to new cultures, languages, and life lessons, all woven together through drumming, song, and creative interaction. It promises to be an event you won’t soon forget!

Event: Drumming Up Stories
Performer: Dave Holland
Target audience: Mixed ages
Cost: Free
Registration: Not required

Dates/Times/Locations
Monday, September 24
Central Library - 10:30 a.m.
Inglenook Library - 3:30 p.m.
Five Points West Library- 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 25
Powderly Library- 10:30 a.m.
Titusville Library - 3:45 p.m.
Avondale Library - 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 26
Springville Road Library - 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Library - 1:30 p.m.
North Birmingham Library - 4:00 p.m. (Due to North Birmingham Library being closed for renovation, this performance will be held at the North Birmingham Recreation Center, 3501 28th Street North, 35207.)

Thursday, September 27
Smithfield Library - 10:00 a.m.
West End Library - 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sugar-Coated Memories of Baby Boomer Childhoods

book imageAlabama author Tim Hollis has written a new book that recalls more childhood memories, and you don’t have to have been raised in the South to reminisce along with this one. In Part of a Complete Breakfast: Cereal Characters of the Baby Boom Era, Hollis explores a time in TV history when cereal mascots were more popular than the products they advertised; when commercial catch phrases became part of childhood lingo—“They’re magically delicious” and “They’re grrreat!” The book covers the years from 1950-1979.

Hollis digs up the backstories of some of the most fondly remembered product characters in advertising history. In early stages of development, did you know that Lucky the Leprechaun humored cereal-stealing children a little less and hated them a little more, and that Tony the Tiger walked on all fours and had claws and teeth? What were they thinking?

Part of a Complete Breakfast (yeah, like kids actually eat that piece of toast shown as part of the "complete breakfast," whatever that means) will be published on September 2, but you may reserve it in advance.

Tim Hollis was born in Birmingham and currently lives in Dora, Alabama. He enjoyed writing fiction as a child and worked as an editor for local authors before publishing his first book in 1991, Cousin Cliff: 40 Magical Years in Television. Hollis is the author of 21 books and a contributor to the nostalgic Birmingham Rewound website.

First Lucky Charms commercial, 1966.

Gifts of a Wordsmith September Workshop

John Paul TaylorAward-winning poet and community activist John Paul Taylor will lead free adult poetry workshops the first Tuesday of the month through November 2012 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Central Library. "Gifts of a Wordsmith'' will take place on the library's second floor in the Story Castle.

The class will cover how to get your thoughts down on paper, overcoming writer's block, copyright issues, self-publishing, how to perform, and more. Future classes will be held the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Library. The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library will fund the workshops.

Taylor is one of the founders of Real Life Poets, a nonprofit creative writing program based in Birmingham. This summer he presented two workshops as part of BPL's adult summer reading program. Participants enjoyed the adult classes so much that they wanted to see them continue.

"We offered it this summer and the people wanted it back. That's why I wanted to do it,'' Taylor said. "We know it works. But it's cool when your community says, 'This is valuable.' ''

For more information on the adult poetry class, contact Taylor at johnpaul@reallifepoets.org or 205-585-8271. The Real Life Poets website is www.reallifepoets.org. The BPL contact is Haruyo Miyagawa, 205-226-3670. Her email address is hm@bham.lib.al.us.

Workshop: Gifts of a Wordsmith Workshop
Presenter: John Paul Taylor
Place: Central Library
Date: Tuesday, September 4, 2o12
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Registration: Not required

Friday, August 24, 2012

BPL Screens The Barber of Birmingham, September 12-October 22, 2012

Barber of Birmingham logo
The Birmingham Public Library system is getting a head start on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Birmingham by showing the Academy Award-nominated film The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, September 12-October 22, 2012.

The film is about Birmingham barber and civil rights activist James Armstrong and what he did to fight for equality in Alabama. There will be 14 free screenings at 13 library branches. Discussions will follow each screening. This event is a collaboration with POV (Point of View), the award-winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS. The film was produced by Gail Dolgin, who died in October 2010, and Robin Fryday. Both women are from California.

Starting in January 2013, Birmingham will mark 50 years since the start of the civil rights movement. In 1963, Armstrong won his fight to integrate Birmingham's Graymont Elementary School. His two sons would become the school's first black students. "We already have programs scheduled for 2013. This is just the beginning,'' Sandi Lee, eastern region coordinator for the Birmingham Public Library, said of how the library system will recognize 1963.

Armstrong continued fighting well after 1963. In March 1965, he carried the American flag at the start of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march, which came to be known as "Bloody Sunday.'' Following 1965, he carried the flag on every march anniversary. He was also a barber for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Since Armstrong was a huge supporter of elections, Lee said the library system wanted to show the film before November's presidential elections. Armstrong, who died in November 2009 at the age of 86, never stopped pushing people to go to the polls, Lee said.

"The Barber of Birmingham is just such a moving piece to watch. It says so much to the hopes and the dreams of the people who fought so hard to gain the right to vote and to be the citizens that they wanted to be,'' Lee said. The screenings have been made possible by the Birmingham Public Library, Alabama Public Television, POV, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Black Programming Consortium.

The schedule:
Sept. 12 - Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 2100 Park Place, 12 p.m. (226-3600) (This showing is part of the Brown Bag Lunch Program.)
Sept. 14 - Springville Road location, 1224 Old Springville Road, 10 a.m. (226-4083)
Sept. 18 - West End location, 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW, 6 p.m. (226-4089)
Sept. 24 - Avondale location, 509 - 40th St. South, 6:30 p.m. ( 226-4000)
Sept. 25 - Southside location, 1814 - 11th Ave. South, 12 p.m. (933-7776)
Sept. 26 - North Avondale location, 501 43rd St. North, 10:30 a.m. (592-2082)
Sept. 26 - Titusville location, #2 Sixth Ave. SW., 12 p.m. (322-1140)
Sept. 27 - East Ensley location, 900 14th St. Ensley, 4 p.m. (787-1928)
Sept. 28 - Inglenook location, 4100 - 40th Terrace North, 3 p.m. (849-8739)
Oct. 2 - Springville Road location, 1224 Old Springville Road, 4 p.m., (226-4083) (This one will be targeted toward teenagers.)
Oct. 10 - Five Points West location, 4812 Ave. W, 10:30 a.m. (226-4013)
Oct. 11 - Smithfield location, #1 Eighth Ave. West, 10 a.m. (324-8428)
Oct. 19 - Powderly location, 3301 Jefferson Ave. SW., 10 a.m. (925-6178)
Oct. 22 - North Birmingham location, 2501 - 31st. Ave. North, 11 a.m. (226-4025)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Festival on Display

Eat, Drink, Read, Write display at Birmingham Public Library

Fiction's David Blake's display in the Birmingham Public Library East Building touts the up-coming Eat Drink Read Write Festival (EDRW) with pictures and mementos form his personal travels. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) has partnered with local food establishments to feature various cuisine and drinks, hoping to present an international flare with a down-home feel.

The festival runs September 8-15. For more information or to keep up with the event, you can go to BPL's EDRW site. You can also go to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BirminghamPublicLibrary or search for #EDRW on Twitter. Don't forget to follow @bpl while you're there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back-To-School Web Resources

Well, it’s another school year. I’ve been watching the back to school buying frenzy and thought it would be nice to offer something relatively free or inexpensive. The following websites offer free information and printable materials to students, parents, and teachers.

Back to school with crayons graphic
Disney FamilyFun - Offers printable back-to-school bookmarks, stationary, book and binder labels, homework charts, and kids calendars. Parents, you never have to write another note to the teacher, just print out the form letter, fill in the blanks, and sign.

FamilyEducation – Gives your child printable skill building exercise sheets, homework completion chart, printable back-to-school budget and bedtime routine checklist. They also have puzzles, games, and craft ideas. The printables and activities are divided according to age: toddlers, preschool, kids, and teens.

LD Online: The World’s Leading Website on Learning Disabilities and ADHD - Has back-to-school tips and expert advice for parents and teachers. LD OnLine is a national educational service of WETA-TV, the PBS station in Washington, D.C.

Scholastic.com – A website for students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and librarians, there is something for everyone here. Check out the back to school reading list in the parents section for ages 3-5.

I hope this makes going back to school a little easier (and maybe a little more fun?) for everyone!

Maya Jones
West End Library

The Birmingham Public Library Will Host the Second Eat Drink Read Write Festival, September 8-15, 2012

EDRW poster
The Birmingham Public Library has joined forces with several Birmingham food organizations to present the second Eat Drink Read Write Festival, September 8-15, 2012. Presentations will include good food and good conversation from national and local food and beer experts.

All events are free and will feature food tastings, a cooking class, a food documentary, and more. Events will be held at the Central Library, Pepper Place, and the Desert Island Supply Co. in Woodlawn.

"It's going to be a fun way to explore food, literature, books and film," said Shaun Chavis, founder of the Birmingham Foodie Book Club, one of the participants in this year's festival. "There will be opportunities to taste things that you read about here in Birmingham and opportunities to tell your own food stories."

EDRW coordinator and BPL employee Haruyo Miyagawa said last year's festival had a large attendance and proved that food is a topic that's near and dear to many. She said this year's lineup is even stronger. "We're offering something to suit all tastes, whether you're a food activist, a poetry lover, beer enthusiast, or connoisseur of ethnic cooking," she said. "And it couldn't happen without the support of our wonderful partners, who helped us plan programs with wide appeal. EDRW funding was made possible by Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.

Eat Drink Read Write T-shirts are $15 and can be found at the Friends Bookstore on the second floor of the Central Library, The J. Clyde, MIX Bakery and Cafe, Whole Foods Market, and at each EDRW event. Earth Creations of Bessemer made the T-shirts, which are colored with Alabama clay dyes.

The schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Pepper Place Saturday Market, 2829 Second Ave. South
Birmingham storyteller Katie Elkins will perform stories related to food. The Desert Island Supply Co. will lead informal produce-themed writing workshops for children and adults. The library will offer food-related crafts.

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 6 p.m. Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, 2100 Park Place
Reservations are required at http://worldinaskillet.eventbrite.com/
The Birmingham Foodie Book Club Presents The World in a Skillet by Paul and Angela Knipple. This Memphis couple will discuss their book The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover's Tour of the New American South, which focuses on restaurants run by first-generation immigrants in the South. Mr. Chen's Authentic Chinese Cooking of Hoover is mentioned in the book and will cater the event. (NOTE: Printed material for EDRW shows a $12 fee for this program. BPL is now offering this program free to participants.)

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Desert Island Supply Co., 5500 First Ave. North
Reservations are required at http://foodstories2012.eventbrite.com/
Participants will have five minutes to tell a true, personal story about food. No notes are allowed in this challenge, known as "Food Stories.'' Participants approach a mic and reveal stories that truly grab the audience. This entertaining presentation is modeled after National Public Radio's The Moth: True Stories Told Live. Birmingham Originals member restaurants will provide refreshments. Two free drinks (craft beer or wine) will be provided, courtesy of The J. Clyde. A cash bar will also be available.

Thursday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m. Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
Reservations are required at http://eatingalabama.eventbrite.com/
Tuscaloosa filmmaker Andrew Beck will share his documentary Eating Alabama: A Story About Why Food Matters and then lead a discussion about it. The film is about a young couple setting out to eat the way their grandparents did, locally and seasonally. However, they soon realize that nearly everything about today's food system has changed from the past. Birmingham Originals member restaurants will provide refreshments. Two free drinks (craft beer or wine) will be provided, courtesy of The J. Clyde. A cash bar will also be available.

Friday, Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m. Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
The library's popular Bards & Brews monthly poetry performance and beer-tasting event will be packed with activities on this night. Chef Corey Hinkel of MIX Bakery and Cafe will discuss beer and cheese pairings. Chef Chris Dupont of MIX Bakery and Cafe and Cafe Dupont will prepare appetizers, using ingredients donated by Whole Foods Market. There will also be a poetry slam and prizes to the top three winners. Avondale Brewing Co., Back Forty Beer Co., Bell's Brewery, and Good People Brewing Co. will furnish the beer. The Reflections, a band made up of library employees, will perform. Attendees must be at least 18 to attend and 21 or older to be served.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. European Kitchen of Alabama
Reservations are required at http://edrwtamaradler.eventbrite.com/
Brooklyn-based chef and author Tamar Adler will lead a "bring-your-own'' cooking class, where attendees are invited to bring items such as old herbs, leftover pasta, and even fading vegetables from their fridge or pantry. Adler will take the ingredients and make a meal from scratch. Birmingham Originals member restaurants will provide additional refreshments. Two free drinks (craft beer or wine) will be provided, courtesy of The J. Clyde. A cash bar will also be available.

NOTE: Different Birmingham Public Libraries will offer EDRW storytimes and after-school events for children. Check out www.bplonline.org/eatdrinkfest for dates, times, and locations for the children-themed events.

For more information:
Website: www.bplonline.org/eatdrinkfest
Email: hm@bham.lib.al.us
Phone: 205-226-3670
Facebook: www.facebook.com/birminghampubliclibrary
Twitter: www.twitter.com/bpl
Twitter hashtag for event: #EDRW

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall Programs at the Springville Road Library

Fall treesDespite the proliferation of social media, many adults still describe themselves as lonely. If you'd like an opportunity to socialize casually in a safe, local environment, as well as be entertained and/or learn a new craft, come to the Springville Road Library this fall.

Beginning in September, we will show a morning matinee for adults at 10:00 every Friday, followed by Zumba at noon. On Monday mornings at 11:00, join our crafting group for adults: Let Us Bee. No experience required, all materials provided, and all adults welcome.

Movies, Zumba, and Let Us Bee programs are free. So come see and be seen! Also ask about the fall series of programs we're offering on growing, preparing, and preserving fresh fruits in urban settings. For more information about all programs, please call the Springville Road Library at 226-4081 or check for upcoming library events on Birmingham365.

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Library

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, H.P.!



Has there been a bigger influence on horror and science fiction writers than Howard Phillips Lovecraft? Born August 20, 1890, Lovecraft turns 122 today. He has influenced contemporary authors Stephen King, Caitlin Kiernan, Bentley Little, Joe Lansdale, and Neil Gaiman. His dark fiction has inspired movie directors John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro. Lovecraft's own influences were Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, Walter de la Mare, M.R. James, and Edgar Allan Poe, whose stories he started reading at age eight.

Lovecraft made a name for himself by writing stories for Weird Tales. His cult following is traced to the 60 stories for this magazine that created the Cthulhu Mythos, which believes that in ancient times Earth was inhabited by fish-like beings called the Old Ones (first mentioned in "The Call of Cthulhu") who worshiped Cthulhu, an anthropomorphic creature that communicates with insane and/or creative people and who will emerge from his underwater prison R'lyeh to rule over Earth again.

Lovecraft's passion in life was writing; he was a prolific writer of short stories and poems, and an estimated 30,000 letters. His novellas include The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness. Some of his most beloved short stories are "Shadow Over Innsmouth," "Dunwich Horror," "The Colour Out of Space," and "The Rats in the Walls." Lovecraft's champion after his death was August Derleth, a friend and writer who started Arkham House publishing in 1939 to keep Lovecraft's work from sinking into obscurity. Lovecraft is more popular today than he was when he was writing, influencing scores of new writers and having homage paid to him and his Cthulhu Mythos with books, graphic novels, games, film, albums, and a musical.

H.P. Lovecraft died March 15, 1937 in Providence, Rhode Island, of cancer of the small intestine.

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman is a beautifully written novel about making difficult choices and how these choices can affect the lives of others. Often, the distinction between right and wrong is not always clear. Themes of isolation, morality, love and relationships are evident in this book. Stedman’s novel, powerful psychological fiction, shows us how we come to be who we are, how we think, and what may influence our decisions.

Tom Sherbourne returns home to Australia after being in the war on the Western Front. He takes a job as lighthouse keeper on the remote island, Janus Rock, and later brings a young wife, Isabel. “On clear summer days, Janus seems to stretch up right to its tiptoes: you’d swear it’s higher out of the water at some times than at others, not just because of the rising and ebbing of the tide.” Stedman writes descriptively about the beauty of the ocean and the night sky. “There are times when the ocean is not the ocean-not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon.” Often, you might look skyward on the tiny island and notice the turning of the light, millions of stars forming constellations and filling the night sky with hope and promise. In the beginning, Tom writes to Isabel about the stars in the night sky and says “the sky gets crowded at night, and it is a bit like watching a clock, seeing the constellations slide across the sky.” You will read about striking landscapes and lavish sunsets.

After having two miscarriages, Isabel hears a strange cry on an early morning breeze. A boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant. All at once, Isabel knows the baby is a beautiful tiny miracle, a gift sent from God. Now, what would you do in this situation? Isabel promises to love the tiny baby and keep it safe.

Tom is very meticulous, detail oriented and wants to report the man and baby immediately. However, Tom can detect that Isabel has formed an attachment to the infant. Tom is uneasy about the situation but agrees that they will raise the baby as their own. Over time, Isabel becomes even more attached to baby Lucy. However, he did not know exactly how attached she would become and how far she would go with her love for this baby. Lucy, it seems, was a tiny miracle. Isabel and Tom work very hard and time passes. Eventually, Tom and Isabel take Lucy and return to the mainland. They discover that their choices have far reaching consequences.

You will certainly find yourself thinking about this book and the characters after you finish. Stedman writes descriptively about the characters and wild landscape. He writes with emotion, leaving you with questions about choices that are made and feeling as though you really know the characters. Perhaps we affect the lives of others more than we know. This book is thought provoking, deeply moving and heartbreaking. Actually, you will feel a whole range of emotions. I absolutely loved the detailed descriptions of the sky and landscape. I enjoy a book that is thought provoking and one that leaves you with questions. As with any good book, you will feel as if you are somewhat changed after you finish.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves literary fiction, psychological fiction or novels about relationships.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"A Reputation Worth Campaigning For": Richard III and the Judgement of History

How many kings have their own fan club?

Next Wednesday, August 22nd, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field, in which Richard the Third became (as of this date) the last English king to die in battle and Henry Tudor began his reign as Henry the Seventh. Even now, more than five hundred years after the decisive battle, controversy rages around the man who died on the field but lives in the arguments of hundreds of his defenders who claim that Richard Plantagenet is the target of one of the worst smear campaigns in history.

In popular culture, the Richard-as-villain image is supported by Shakespeare’s brilliant drama: Richard the nightmare, the “bottled spider” and “poisonous bunch-back’d toad” with a twisted soul and deformed body to match is one of the Bard’s most chilling characters and has been memorably portrayed by actors such as Laurence Olivier, Ian McKellen, Antony Sher, Kenneth Branagh, and Kevin Spacey. This Richard is a schemer of the first order, audacious enough to court a woman and carry out her seduction practically over the coffin of her dead father-in-law, not to mention arranging to have his young nephews murdered in their beds in the Tower of London.

However, as Richard’s defenders are quick to point out, literature is not history. Henry the Seventh was the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth the First and Shakespeare was definitely not going to lose his living (or his life) by giving Richard any credit. The divide between Richard’s detractors and his defenders can be traced back to the period immediately following the battle, in which the York city records note that “. . . King Richard late mercifully reigning upon us was through grete treason . . . piteously slane and murdered to the grete hevynesse of this citie.”

Today, Richard’s defenders and/or anyone with a general interest in the king and his historical period can join the Richard the Third Society, which in its Mission Statement encourages research into Richard’s time and the facts concerning his life and accomplishments. The original Society is based in the UK but has an American branch as well. In response to why such an organization should exist, the Society’s patron, who is the current Duke of Gloucester (one of Richard’s titles during his lifetime), states that
“even after all these centuries the truth is important. It is proof of our sense of civilised values that something as esoteric and as fragile as reputation is worth campaigning for."

Richard III---monster, martyr, or simply man of his time? You decide.

For more on King Richard and his world:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Birmingham Public Library to Expand Newly Named Architecture & Design Collection

Alabama Power building
Alabama Power Company Building,
designed by Warren Knight & Davis, built in 1925

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) announces an ambitious and ongoing effort to expand its newly named Birmingham Architecture & Design Collection, which is part of the library’s Department of Archives & Manuscripts. The project is a proactive effort to acquire materials documenting the most significant historic and contemporary buildings, designed landscapes, places, and communities in the Birmingham area as well as representative work of the most significant architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, and developers based in the Birmingham area.

The mission of the Birmingham Architecture & Design Collection is to serve as an authentic record of the significant architectural and design heritage of the Birmingham area through collecting, preserving, promoting, and providing access to records of the built and landscaped environment of the city and surrounding region. With this collection, the Archives supports the research of scholars, design professionals, teachers, students, professors, home and building owners, and the interested public.

In addition to building plans and photos, the collection will grow to include oral history projects, neighborhood history projects, and public programs and lectures that highlight the Archives holdings. The Archives will work with other local collecting institutions, design and professional organizations, and community organizations.

“Birmingham and its suburbs have a rich range of buildings, parks and neighborhoods that reflect the work of the design professions and their clients over the decades,” suggests Philip Morris, a champion of good design in the Birmingham community. “The urban core has an especially concentrated balance of preserved historic architecture and newer designs that reinforce its sense of place. This important component of the city’s culture and character needs to be documented and disseminated, and Birmingham Public Library Archives is the right institution to do this.”

Since the founding of BPL’s Department of Archives and Manuscripts in 1975, a collection of drawings, photographs, documents, and research materials related to the city’s architecture and design heritage has gradually accumulated over time. This collection includes many significant resources such as the city’s founding documents and plans, historic architectural drawings and blueprints of some local structures, and documentation of Jefferson County residences between 1938 and 1975.

Realizing that the collection has the potential to become an even greater resource for the city, the Archives Department initiated the project to expand the collection of architecture materials relating to Birmingham’s architecture and design heritage. With the generous support of a small group of engaged citizens and dedicated architects, landscape architects, designers, and historians, the department formally named the Birmingham Architecture & Design Collection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Woodlawn Community to Celebrate Get to Know Your Neighbor Day

Ned Flanders imageThe Woodlawn Neighborhood Association will be hosting Get to Know Your Neighbor Day on Saturday, August 25, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. in Willow Wood Park Recreation Center (5312 Georgia Road, Birmingham, AL 35212).

The Woodlawn neighborhood invites people from their area to come out and get to know others in the community. Several representatives from various community organizations, including the Birmingham Public Library, will have tables set up to distribute information to those in attendance. Bring your own bagged lunch and have a picnic. Drinks will be provided to the public.

Pam Jessie
Woodlawn Library

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eat Drink Read Write Festival: Birmingham Foodie Book Clubs Presents The World in a Skillet

EDRW logo
The Knipples of Memphis will lead a discussion of their book, The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover's Tour of the New American South, which focuses on restaurants run by first generation immigrants in the South. Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking of Hoover is featured in the book and will cater the event.

Event: Birmingham Foodie Book Club Presents The World in a Skillet
Presenters: Paul and Angela Knipple
Place: Central Library
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
Reservations required: http://worldinaskillet.eventbrite.com/

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program Features Lou Adler Discussing the Art of Screenplay Writing

Lou Anders
Join us as Lou Anders, editorial director of Pyr books, discusses how an approach to screenplay writing—based on the three-act classic formula but rooted in character rather than plot—can serve novelists in plotting their manuscripts. If your literary ambitions lie in screenwriting or novel writing (or both), come and benefit from the experience of this Hugo-Award winning editor in the science fiction/fantasy field.

Lou Anders is the editorial director of Prometheus Books' science fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr and has edited anthologies such as Masked, Swords and Dark Magic, and Sideways in Crime. He has published over 500 articles in such magazines as Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, DeathRay, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max. He is the 2011 Hugo Award winner for Best Editor and his articles and stories have been translated into Danish, Greek, German, Italian and French. Wednesday, August 15, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Central Library, Linn Henley Research Building, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BPL To Start Hosting Monthly Adult Poetry Classes

John Paul TaylorAward-winning poet and community activist John Paul Taylor will lead free adult poetry workshops on the first Tuesday of every month through November 2012 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Gifts of a Wordsmith will take place on the library's second floor in the Story Castle.

The class will cover how to get your thoughts down on paper, overcoming writer's block, copyright issues, self-publishing, how to perform, and more. Future classes will be held the first Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at the Central Library. The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library will fund the workshops.

Taylor is one of the founders of Real Life Poets, a nonprofit creative writing program based in Birmingham. This summer he presented two workshops as part of BPL's adult summer reading program. Participants enjoyed the adult classes so much that they wanted to see them continue.

"We offered it this summer and the people wanted it back. That's why I wanted to do it,'' Taylor said. "We know it works. But it's cool when your community says, 'This is valuable.' ''

Some of the participants from this summer's adult poetry class will join Taylor and a diverse group of poets in performing at Railroad Park on Sunday, August 26, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., as part of "Flow Tactics on the Tracks,'' a free poetry and music event. Different community vendors, including BPL, will be present. Taylor also teaches a youth poetry class on the first Saturday of every month, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

For more information on the adult poetry class, contact Taylor at johnpaul@reallifepoets.org or 205-585-8271. The Real Life Poets website is www.reallifepoets.org. The BPL contact is Haruyo Miyagawa, 205-226-3670. Her email address is hm@bham.lib.al.us.


Birmingham To Host Federation of Genealogical Societies National Conference

FOGS workshop logo
Interested in family history? Wondering where you might be able to attend a staggering number of genealogy workshops over the course of a few days? Well, wonder no more. Beginning on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Birmingham will host the national conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies at the BJCC. Everyone, not just those who belong to the member societies, is invited to the four-day conference. This year’s theme is “Learn. Connect. Succeed.” Almost 160 workshops are scheduled beginning as early as 8:00 a.m. on some days and going well past 5:00 p.m. Many notable speakers in the genealogy world will be on hand, such as Elizabeth Shown Mills, J. Mark Lowe, John Phillip Colletta, Christine Rose, and Alabama’s own Robert Davis.

A huge variety of sessions is on the schedule. Many courses are offered on such tried and true topics as military records, DNA testing in genealogy, searching courthouse records, and using the census. Some of the more esoteric sessions are about how the weather affected our ancestors, locating ancestors using academic archives, and documenting federal employees. Those researching African American or Native American ancestry might be interested in following one of the special tracks dedicated to these specific areas. It’s not all about work, though. An evening social is planned for Wednesday, August 29, at the Alabama Theatre and another is on Thursday, August 30, at Sloss Furnaces. There is also a farewell brunch on Sunday, September 1.

Of course attendees will also be eager to take advantage of the resources in the Library’s Southern History Department. We are excited about seeing many new faces and introducing them to our world class collection.

To see a complete list of sessions and to register, check out www.fgs.org.

Event: National Conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies
Host: The Alabama Genealogical Society
Place: BJCC
Date: August 29-September 1, 2012
Times: FGS 2012 Conference Program
Cost: Registration fees

M.B. Newbill
Southern History Department
Central Library

Book Review: Shiloh


The 150th commemoration of the Civil War is taking place through 2015. There were several major battles with horrific casualties, but one that was fought in 1862 was the most devastating up to that point. (It eventually became the seventh most costly.)

This was the battle of Shiloh (TN), April 6-7, 1862. The Confederate armies were led by Generals A. S. Johnston and P. T. Beauregard. Generals U. S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Don Carlos Buell led the Union troops. The Confederates had 40,000 troops to the Union’s 65,000. After the two days of fighting, 1,700 men on both sides were killed, including General Johnston. A total of 16,500 were wounded. *

The novel Shiloh by Civil War historian Shelby Foote approaches the events of this battle using six main characters: three Confederate soldiers and three Union soldiers. The Confederates are represented by an aide-de-camp for Johnston, a rifleman, and a cavalry scout. The Union soldiers are an adjutant, a canoneer, and a “Squad.” Each soldier participates in a different phase or area of the Battle of Shiloh.

The Union canoneer, Private Otto Flickner, for example, is in a location where his battery must regroup at least three times. He discovers he is too tired and discouraged to continue fighting after several hours. Flickner, like many others he has seen, walks away from the action, tired and scared. He joins others who have walked away, who aren’t ashamed to call themselves cowards. Re-thinking his actions, Flickner eventually decides to return to the fighting.

Sergeant Jefferson Polly is a scout for Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry. He discovers that Buell will surprise the Confederates with reinforcements he brings in during the night of April 6-7. Polly’s narrative combines the “present,” his scouting expedition, and the past, as he tells about his own life and his encounters with Forrest.

This combination of detailed historical fact with six points of view gives perspectives that most likely did exist among real soldiers. They came from different backgrounds but with one purpose: to fight for their side, even though they might question why they were fighting at all. And each experiences in some way the personal effects of war: shock, disillusionment, fear, pain, and death.

*Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction, James McPherson

Michelle Andrews
Government Documents Department
Central Library

Monday, August 13, 2012

BPL’s Archives Department Offers Free Speaker’s Bureau

Jim Baggett speaking at a library event
BPL Archivist Jim Baggett speaking at Bessemer Public Library

If you are in charge of putting together programming for your club, school, or organization, consider the Archives Speaker's Bureau the next time you need a compelling program on local, state, or regional history. From stories of historical intrigue like “John Wilkes Booth is Not Dead!”: Birmingham’s Louise Wooster and the Strange Afterlife of Lincoln’s Assassin to programs about art and literature like The Aesthetic of 19th Century Journalism: Newspaper Engravings as Works of Art, the Archives Speaker’s Bureau’s lecture selection is diverse to fit a variety of audiences.

We also offer instructive talks for groups that want to preserve their organization’s or family’s history. Handle with Care: Preserving Your Family Papers and Photographs introduces the fundamentals of home archiving—basic and inexpensive things you can do to ensure that your family letters, scrapbooks and photographs are preserved for the future. Old School Scrapbooking explores scrapbook keeping and keepsakes—visiting cards, photographs, letters, poems, theater programs, paper dolls, newspaper clippings—that people treasured and saved. Visit the Archives website for a full list of lectures.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Featured Item Lists

Featured Lists

Quite often, patrons come into the library and ask us if we have a list of our new materials.  In the past, most departments printed a list of their new materials and kept them in binders.  Patrons would ask us to check the status of titles and if checked out, we would place the items on reserve for them.

Our current library catalog allows us to create those lists online and make them available with the click of a mouse.  These are called Featured Lists and they highlight a variety of new materials including books, music, DVDs, and audio books.  Since these lists are on the catalog, you get real-time information about the status of an item.  If the title you want is checked out, you can click a link from the record (request this title) and place the item on reserve.  We love to see you in person, but this allows you to browse new materials from the comfort of your home.  Several libraries and Central Departments have featured lists on the catalog, so be sure to look through everything.  From the home page of the catalog (see below) look under Quick Links in the yellow box and click on Featured Item Lists.  Happy searching!

Library Catalog


Friday, August 10, 2012

Children's & Teen Book Sale Starts Today

Children's area in Friends Bookstore
The Friends Bookstore at Central Library is having a two-day sale of children's, juvenile, and young adult books on Friday and Saturday, August 10-11, from 9:30-5:30. The sale will take place in the Friends Bookstore and the Youth Department Story Castle.

For $6 you will receive a Friends book bag which you can fill with all the sale books it will hold. This is a great opportunity for teachers, school librarians, day care workers, literacy programs, and homeschoolers to stock up on fiction and nonfiction books. And parents who love reading to their children. And grown-ups who like reliving their childhoods. Come one, come all!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Birmingham Public Library Employees Help Patrons with Resumes

Staff member
Syretta Powell helps a BPL patron in the Computer Commons

Mary and Salmon Pullum were en route to a big job fair in downtown Birmingham this morning, when something stopped Mary cold.

While reviewing her husband's resume, Mary found some mistakes. She wondered how they could get them fixed and get them fixed fast. Mary remembered how her daughter had spent recent afternoons, using the computer at the library near their Trussville home. Just like how her daughter had worked on the library computer near their home, Mary figured she could do the same at the Birmingham Public Library's Central location.

Mary said she was pleased at what she found today.

"They've been wonderful. They are very knowledgeable,'' she said of the staff in the Computer Commons area on the third floor of the Central location. "This is our first time here.''

The couple worked on the resume for about an hour before leaving for the job fair, which Congresswoman Terri Sewell presented at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Registration opened at 9 a.m. and the fair was to continue until 3 p.m. today.

The Pullums weren't the only ones working on resumes this morning. People started lining up outside of Central as early as 8:30 a.m. to use the computers to work on resumes or print resumes.

"We have busy days every day. But today is a lot busier than normal because of the job fair,'' said Syretta Powell, a Library Assistant II.

"To be honest with you, this is triple the number of patrons we normally have. Ninety percent of the people we've helped today, have actually been in to fill out resumes for jobs.'' (By 2 p.m., they had helped at least 50 people with resumes.)

Hugh Hardy, a Library Assistant III, said patrons have also been in to work on web-based job applications and order government-issued phones.

Hugh, Syretta and co-workers NaTasha Carpenter and Sky Booker have been answering questions all morning about resume formats, templates and more.

"It's probably going to be like this until 3 p.m.,'' Hugh said. "You get a good feel of how many people don't have a job, just by looking at the number of people coming by this morning. I heard the line for the job fair was wrapped around the (BJCC.).''

In order to use the library computers, patrons must have a valid library card or a PC Card, both issued at the Information/Circulation Department on the first floor. There is no charge to use the computers. There are also materials on the third floor, which is where the Business, Science and Technology Department is located. For more info, call 226-3680. Resume assistance is also available in the Regional Library Computer Center on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley building. Call 226-3402.

Chanda Temple
Communications and Public Relations Department Head

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Birmingham Bound Presents The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America by Edward Blum

Edward Blumbook cover

Birmingham Bound
Author Talk and Book Signing Hosted by the Birmingham Public Library Archives
The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America
Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey

NOTE: The article title in the September 7 newsletter shows the date of this event as September 14. That is an error. The event takes place on Tuesday, September 18.

Join nationally known religious scholar Edward J. Blum as he discusses his new book The Color of Christ. How is it that in America the image of Jesus Christ has been used both to justify the atrocities of white supremacy and to inspire the righteousness of civil rights crusades? In The Color of Christ, Blum and Harvey weave a tapestry of American dreams and visions—from witch hunts to web pages, Harlem to Hollywood, slave cabins to South Park, Mormon revelations to Indian reservations—to show how Americans remade the Son of God visually time and again into a sacred symbol of their greatest aspirations, deepest terrors, and mightiest strivings for racial power and justice. The Color of Christ uncovers how, in a country founded by Puritans who destroyed depictions of Jesus, Americans came to believe in the whiteness of Christ. Some envisioned a white Christ who would sanctify the exploitation of Native Americans and African Americans and bless imperial expansion. Many others gazed at a messiah, not necessarily white, who was willing and able to confront white supremacy. The color of Christ still symbolizes America's most combustible divisions, revealing the power and malleability of race and religion from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama.

"A powerful and groundbreaking book. Blum and Harvey masterfully probe how a sacred icon can be a tool at once of racial oppression and liberation. A must-read for those interested in American religious history, this book will forever change the way you look at images of Jesus."
-Publishers Weekly

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Edward J. Blum is professor of history at San Diego State University.

Event: Birmingham Bound Presents The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America
Presenter: Edward J. Blum
Place: Central Library
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Registration: Not required

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Using a Character-Based Screenwriting Formula for Novel Writing

Lou Anders
Join us as Lou Anders, editorial director of Pyr books, discusses how an approach to screenplay writing—based on the three-act classic formula but rooted in character rather than plot—can serve novelists in plotting their manuscripts. If your literary ambitions lie in screenwriting or novel writing (or both), come and benefit from the experience of this Hugo-Award winning editor in the science fiction/fantasy field.

Lou Anders is the editorial director of Prometheus Books' science fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr and has edited anthologies such as Masked, Swords and Dark Magic, and Sideways in Crime. He has published over 500 articles in such magazines as Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, DeathRay, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max. He is the 2011 Hugo Award winner for Best Editor and his articles and stories have been translated into Danish, Greek, German, Italian and French. Wednesday, August 15, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Central Library, Linn Henley Research Building, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor.

Voter Registration Deadlines at Birmingham Public Library

Register to vote
Did you know that you can register to vote at any public library in Alabama? The next time you're at your local library, take some time out and register to vote, or change your voter registration.

Municipal Elections on August 28, 2012
The deadline for submitting a voter registration form at any Birmingham Public Library except Central Library is August 15; the deadline at Central Library is August 17 at 4:00 p.m.

General Elections on November 6, 2012
The deadline for submitting a voter registration form at any Birmingham Public Library except Central Library is October 24; the deadline at Central Library is October 26, 4:00 p.m.

For more registration options and information on voting in the upcoming elections, visit the Alabama Votes website.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Fill-A-Bag Children's & Teen Book Sale, August 10-11

Children's area in the Friends BookstoreThe Friends Bookstore at Central Library is planning a two-day sale of children's, juvenile, and young adult books on Friday and Saturday, August 10-11, from 9:30-5:30. The sale will take place in the Friends Bookstore and the Youth Department Story Castle.

For $6 you will receive a Friends book bag which you can fill with all the sale books it will hold. This is a great opportunity for teachers, school librarians, day care workers, literacy programs, and homeschoolers to stock up on fiction and nonfiction books. And parents who love reading to their children. And grown-ups who like reliving their childhoods. Come one, come all!