Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chris Davis to Host March's Bards & Brews at Five Points West Library


On Friday, March 1, Bards & Brews travels to the Five Points West Regional Library for this open mic event. The Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) popular poetry performance/beer tasting series begins at 6:30 p.m. with live music, and poetry performances start at 7:00.

Performer/comedian/all around artist Chris Davis will host the event in place of usual emcee Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins. Chris is probably best known as a performer in and host of Fresh Ground Comics, a monthly showcase of stand-up comics at The Red Cat coffee shop in Pepper Place. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

Craft beer will be available for sampling courtesy of Highland Brewing Company, and light refreshments will be served. Attendees must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked.

Bards & Brews is usually held on the first Friday of the month at various locations around town. The April 5 session will be held at the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens and will be a SLAM. 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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gifts of a Wordsmith Workshop Scheduled for March 5 at Central Library

John Paul Taylor
Award-winning poet and community activist John Paul Taylor will lead free adult poetry workshops on the first Tuesday of every month 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 next workshop is scheduled for March 5.

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. 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.

Neighborhood Libraries Return to Regular Hours Starting March 4


Beginning Monday, March 4, the neighborhood libraries in Ensley, Inglenook, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam that have been operating under a winter schedule will return to regular operating hours.

The neighborhood libraries will continue to close each day from 12:00-1:00 p.m. for lunch. All are closed on weekends and 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.

Brown Bag Lunch Program Features the G.W. Carver High School Choir



Under the direction of Bobby Stringer, the G.W. Carver High School Choir will sing spirituals and traditional songs from the civil rights movement. The school's drama department will perform excerpts from the play, The Ballad of Birmingham. Wednesday, February 27, noon.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights struggle, the Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the Year of Birmingham, a 12-month series of lectures, documentary films, performances and panel discussions.

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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BPL Teens on Facebook


Teens at Central Library lounge in the teen corner after school.

Are you a teen with nothing to do? Have no worries, BPL has plenty to offer you! If you are looking for a way to express your voice, you can participate in our Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshops, which are held the first Saturday of every month from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Central Library. If you want to hang out with some unusual animals, you can find them at several of our locations. Need help with a school assignment? Come visit us and we will get you on the right track. Want to just hang out with your friends? We have a place for that too. Like football? This summer you can hang out with Jerricho Cotchery from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

To stay up to date with all your local library has to offer, click on the badge below and like us on Facebook.


Submitted by Katie Williams
Youth Department
Central Library

Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshop, March 2

Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshop for grades 6-12 is held the first Saturday of every month, 2:00-4:00 p.m., in the Youth Department Story Castle at Central Library. March's workshop is scheduled for Saturday, March 2.

John Paul Taylor of Real Life Poets, Inc. is the coordinator. For more information, call Taylor at 585-8271 or email him at johnpaul@reallifepoets.org.

"Healthy Living, Healthy Eating" Events at Five Points West and Central Libraries, February 27 and 28


On February 27 and 28, the Birmingham Public Library will partner with Cities For Life and the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation to present "Healthy Living, Healthy Eating.'' The purpose of these events will be to spread the word about a new website, www.mydiabetesconnect.com, and show people how to use it. The website was designed to help promote healthy lifestyles, reduce the risk of diabetes, and encourage diabetes management in Birmingham.

A doctor and a nutritionist will speak at these events. There will also be a 20-minute YMCA exercise class, free T-shirts and pedometers, healthy snacks, and more. Both events are free.

The first event will be held on Wednesday, February 27, at 10:30 a.m. at Five Points West Library, 4812 Avenue W. Another one will be held at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place, on Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Cities for Life is a diabetes management program in Birmingham that is led by the American Academy of Family Physicians with support from Sanofi US. This new website is the program’s most recent offering to help people living with diabetes or at risk for diabetes in the community.

Dr. Andrea Cherrington, of UAB’s Division of Preventive Medicine, will guide audience members through the site and answer questions about how Birmingham residents can locate programs and services near them on: healthy eating, physical activity, healthy families, support and education, healthcare, and research opportunities. A representative from UAB will provide information about free classes and health evaluations at UAB HealthSmart. Cooper Green dietician Ann Heard will give healthy living and eating tips. YMCA instructor Russell Lee will lead an exercise class.

For more information, call 267-6673.

Submitted by Chanda Temple
Director of Public Relations for the Birmingham Public Library

Celebrating Read Across America, March 1

On Friday, March 1, libraries and schools will be participating in the 16th Annual Read Across America. This program focuses on building a nation of readers. There are programs throughout the country to motivate children and teens to pick up a book and read! Read Across America is held every year on the weekday closest to Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2.

For more information, check out the following websites:

NEA's Read Across America

Seussville

Submitted by Vincent Solfronk
Youth Department
Central Library

Monday, February 25, 2013

Changes in 2014 for the GED


An article posted Saturday, February 23, on AL.com details the changes in store for the GED (General Equivalency Development) test in 2014. The cost will rise from $50 to $120 to $150.  The test will no longer be administered solely by the non-profit American Council on Education. Instead the Council will partner with Pearson Education, a for-profit testing company. The new company will be called the GED Testing Service. The new test will be administered online. Educators are urging students who have begun the process to finish in 2013 because all previous work will be voided in 2014.

The Birmingham Public Library has several resources to help students prepare for the GED. The most useful is the database Learning Express. Learning Express offers practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, eBooks, and information needed to get ready for the GED test. Many other practice tests such as the ACT, TOEFL, Cosmetology, etc are part of the database. Learning Express also offers skills building for all ages from elementary to post graduate.

The library has prepared a Subject Guide for the GED. The guide includes links to local centers offering classes, a list of GED test centers, and a subject search for GED preparation books available at the library.

So if you have been thinking now is the time to pass the test, it is. Take advantage of all the Birmingham Public Library has to offer.

Book Review: The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
Jeanne Theoharis

On February 4, 2013, our nation paid tribute to Rosa Parks on the centennial of her birth. Just over seven years prior, we collectively mourned her passing with much public attention including large turnouts in Montgomery, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. Parks was the first woman to lie in state under the U.S. Capitol’s rotunda and the second African American to do so. A statue of her is slated to be placed in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall just off of the rotunda in the upcoming days. Clearly Rosa Parks is a heroine of mythical proportions. Perhaps much of her legacy has been entrapped in that same mythology as well. Most Americans know that she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus in December of 1955. What is often overlooked is her decades of activism both before and after the famous incident that sparked the 381 day Bus Boycott. Parks is often painted as a meek and mild seamstress who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to remain seated and consequently launch the civil rights movement. This oversimplification overlooks her many courageous efforts and sacrifices and her deeply felt convictions concerning human equality.

On the centennial of her birth date a new biography was released that goes a long way toward correcting the common misconceptions and that also fills in the many gaps in our understanding of Rosa Parks’s contributions and her living legacy. Jeanne Theoharis (political science, Brooklyn College) offers a vigorously researched account that while academic is also quite accessible to interested readers of high school age and above.

The reader learns that Parks was steeped in activist thinking at an early age. She grew up with her mother and her grandparents. Her grandfather was a zealous follower of Marcus Garvey and discussions on revolutionary thinking were frequent in the household. Parks and her husband, Raymond Parks, fought hard to free the Scottsboro Boys who were falsely charged with the rape of two white women. They were also active in the Montgomery NAACP where Rosa Parks served as secretary. All of this activity and more occurred before her refusal to give up her seat on the bus.

The author also includes Parks’s own words to illustrate how she was far from meek and mild. A young Rosa would often sit on the front porch with her grandfather who kept a rifle nearby in case the Klan would show up. Parks was quoted as saying, “I wanted to see him kill a Ku Kluxer.” Her grandmother worried that she would get killed before age 20, if she continued with such talk. A young white man taunted her and she threatened him back with a brick. “I would be lynched rather than be run over by them.” When a white man tried to assault her, she later responded, “How I hated all white people, especially him. I would never stoop so low as to have anything to do with him—if he wanted to kill me and rape a dead body, he was welcome but he would have to kill me first.”

The reader learns that on the day after her defiant refusal to give up her seat, several African American ministers including the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and the, then, relatively unknown Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to help manage the Bus Boycott. Mrs. Parks, herself, worked hard to uphold the boycott while she also experienced many death threats to herself and her family that went on well beyond the boycott. Rosa and Raymond Parks moved to Detroit in 1957.

Even though her endeavors for equal rights in Alabama are largely (and after-the-fact) associated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his non-violent approach to equal rights, her work in Detroit lined up more closely with the black power ideology and left her open to numerous charges of her being “Un-American.” For 20 years Parks worked in the Detroit office of the African American U.S. Representative John Conyers. She continued her life-long efforts to promote the respect of human equality. She continued to speak (slowing down only in the 1970s for a “moment” while illness ravaged and claimed her family).

One other factor that may have played up the false image of her being a meek “accidental heroine” (The New York Times), is the fact that she was personally shy. Regardless of how many honors and accolades she received, she would always appear shy and soft-spoken. Reporters had to ask Parks their questions specifically and directly. A lifetime of death threats could be a main factor as well.

If you have always admired Rosa Parks, you will admire her even more after reading The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Check out this new biography and celebrate Rosa Parks.

Submitted by David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Friday, February 22, 2013

Brown Bag Lunch Program - "The Ballad of Birmingham"



Under the direction of Bobby Stringer, the G.W. Carver High School choir will sing spirituals and traditional songs from the civil rights movement. The school's drama department will perform excerpts from the play, The Ballad of Birmingham. Wednesday, February 27, noon.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights struggle, the Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the Year of Birmingham, a 12-month series of lectures, documentary films, performances and panel discussions.

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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Children's Book Review: Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery

Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery
Judith and Dennis Fradin

In January, 1856, an Ohio community in a collective act of protest and heroism successfully defied the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. At this time the Fugitive Slave Act remained fully enforced in every state of the union, but a slave, John Price, took a courageous gamble for freedom by crossing the frozen Ohio River from Kentucky into Ohio. This book tells a little-known, true story about how hundreds of townspeople in Oberlin, Ohio, came together and stood up for their fellow man based on the belief that all people deserved to be free. Price started a new life in the town until two years later when a crew of slave-catchers arrived and captured him. Even though Ohio was a free state, it still was under the Federal Act that made it illegal to shelter a runaway slave. Residents of Oberlin heard of Price's capture and surrounded the hotel where he was being held to demand his release. A heroic showdown followed with rescuers risking their own freedom and all serving jail time. A full-spread photograph of the Welcome Home celebration on the night that the Rescuers were released notably shows black and white, young and old heroes.

Come Meet Miss Iwate Tonight at Central Library

“Our dearest Miss Suzuko, we are delighted to send you to America in the far distance as the messenger of peace. We hope you will make good friends with the American people.” These were the words spoken to 1,300 school children of Iwate Prefecture in Japan, commemorating the departure of Miss Suzuko Iwate, one of 58 Friendship Dolls leaving in 1927 as gifts and ambassadors to the people of the United States. These two sentences represented the hopes of many in Japan and the United State as relations between the two countries had deteriorated to the point where the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1924, which prevented any Japanese from entering the country.

In 1927, an American missionary to Japan, Dr. Sidney Lewis Gulick, responded to these events by organizing an effort to collect and send dolls to the children of Japan. Since relations between the two governments were declining, Gulick wanted to show goodwill directly to the people of Japan. His efforts were very successful and resulted in nearly 13,000 American dolls, called “blue-eyed dolls”, being sent to Japan and distributed to schools around the country. The Japanese were overwhelmed. Dolls carry a special place in Japanese culture. They are treasured family heirlooms passed on from mother to daughter through generations, and daughters take them into their new households when they marry.
  
Birmingham News, July 20, 1928

The people of Japan wanted to reciprocate this generous gesture. Eiichi Shibusawa, a prominent businessman and educator, led the effort to collect money from children throughout Japan to pay for the making of special dolls to be sent to the United States. About 100 master doll makers were commissioned to create 58 dolls of the highest quality to represent the prefectures, cities, and colonies of Japan. No attention to detail was spared in their construction. They even wore socks and underwear, which was not ordinary practice for Japanese dolls, because of their important mission as ambassadors. Each doll was accompanied by a complete Japanese tea set, furniture, shoes, and even a passport.

Birmingham Post Herald, May, 18, 1967
The 58 Friendship Dolls toured the United States before being given to cultural organizations throughout the country. Miss Iwate arrived at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) in July 1928 to great fanfare. An article in the Birmingham News carried a photo of Miss Iwate and her belongings and quoted library director Lila Mae Chapman declaring that “it is a distinct compliment for the Birmingham Library to have one of the dolls sent here.” Miss Iwate has been on display periodically through the years to the delight of the public.

On February 21st, Miss Iwate will once again be on display at “An Evening with Miss Iwate and Alan Pate,” a program presented by the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Doll Club. Alan Pate, a preeminent authority on traditional Japanese dolls, will speak on “The Long Journey of Friendship: Miss Iwate and the Japanese Goodwill Dolls of 1927.” While in good condition overall, Miss Iwate is in need of some repairs. BPL is raising funds to send her back to Japan to be worked on by master Japanese doll makers, so she may continue her mission of friendship and goodwill.

Click here for more information on Miss Iwate and to make donations towards her conservation.

Click here for more information on "An Evening with Miss Iwate and Alan Pate."

"An Evening with Miss Iwate and Alan Pate"
February 21st at 6:00pm
Arrington Auditorium, Central Library
2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: The Dechronization of Sam Magruder

The Dechronization of Sam Magruder
George Gaylord Simpson

A bunch of intellectuals in the 22nd Century are sitting around talking about what it’d be like to be a person separated forever from the rest of humanity. One gets a chance to do just that—only he didn’t intend to. After radically slowing down his perception of time in an experiment, this happens to Sam Magruder:

…the deceleration was so great as nearly to stop time, and that this hit where I was between time quanta, where there was no present for me to be in. That shoved me wholly into…the time-dimension universe. I bounced right out, but not at the same place.

Sam’s thrown back 80 million years into the Cretaceous Era. Now, instead of lab routines, he’s trying to fend off dinos and find workable food, clothing and shelter. Here’s a bit from his encounter with a Tyrannosaur:

It was a carnivore, and it saw meat….Its teeth were six-inch daggers and gleamed white as it swung its ponderous head to face me….I was literally rooted to the spot….The awful monster launched its charge…

It’s not all action, mind you. There’s a highly involving psychological drive and complexity for such a short book. Sam struggles with a loneliness that transcends all: “a dully aching sadness, for which there is no remedy but death.” Robinson Crusoe had it comparatively easy. Magruder’s narrative ends on a note of hope, or at least resignation: “…I am a man, and a man is responsible for himself.” He buries his carefully-chiseled diary slabs, hoping against the void that perhaps someone in the age of humans will chance upon them. They in fact do; that’s why we have his account. Sam Magruder is, finally, impossibly, in some sense, however indirect, not alone. George G. Simpson, who most feel was the greatest paleontologist of the 20th Century, makes the plot continually defy boredom and keeps the dinosaur science top notch, of course. But he never published this tale. His daughter found the manuscript ten years after his death. I’m very glad she stumbled upon it. It’s a corker and a fine piece of philosophical musing. Action and introspection are finely balanced. Simpson apparently had no idea what a splendid storyteller he was. Perhaps, like Sam, he had faith in the future of his manuscript, a future he wouldn’t see. Or maybe he just forgot all about that bunch of papers.

Submitted by Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program Features the Lawson State Community College Choir


Under the direction of Bessie H. Shelton, the Lawson State Community College Choir will perform traditional and contemporary gospel songs. They'll also perform spiritual and choral arrangements by famous African American composers. Wednesday, February 20, noon.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights struggle, the Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the Year of Birmingham, a 12-month series of lectures, documentary films, performances and panel discussions.

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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

BPL & UAB to Focus on Diabetes Prevention on February 27 and 28


On February 27 and 28, the Birmingham Public Library will partner with Cities For Life and the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation to present "Healthy Living, Healthy Eating.'' The purpose of these events will be to spread the word about a new website, www.mydiabetesconnect.com, and show people how to use it. The website was designed to help promote healthy lifestyles, reduce the risk of diabetes, and encourage diabetes management in Birmingham.

A doctor and a nutritionist will speak at these events. There will also be a 20-minute YMCA exercise class, free T-shirts and pedometers, healthy snacks, and more. Both events are free.

The first event will be held on Wednesday, February 27, at 10:30 a.m. at Five Points West Library, 4812 Avenue W. Another one will be held at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place, on Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Cities for Life is a diabetes management program in Birmingham that is led by the American Academy of Family Physicians with support from Sanofi US. This new website is the program’s most recent offering to help people living with diabetes or at risk for diabetes in the community.

Dr. Andrea Cherrington, of UAB’s Division of Preventive Medicine, will guide audience members through the site and answer questions about how Birmingham residents can locate programs and services near them on: healthy eating, physical activity, healthy families, support and education, healthcare, and research opportunities. A representative from UAB will provide information about free classes and health evaluations at UAB HealthSmart. Cooper Green dietician Ann Heard will give healthy living and eating tips. YMCA instructor Russell Lee will lead an exercise class.

For more information, call 267-6673.

Submitted by Chanda Temple
Director of Public Relations for the Birmingham Public Library

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Teen Book Review: Fever, 1793

Fever, 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson

This book gives you a glimpse into the life of Mattie Cook living in post-Revolutionary Philadelphia. Much like teenagers these days she spends her days avoiding chores and daydreaming about running her family’s business. A balmy and extended summer season brings unprecedented misfortune to the city of Philadelphia in the form of a yellow fever epidemic. No one escapes unaffected and Mattie is no exception. When her mother falls ill with the dreaded malady, she is forced to flee the city with her grandfather where the pair is beset with misfortune. Mattie is forced to pit her wits and courage against unspeakable odds to protect herself, her family, her city, and their future from destruction. Mattie eventually returns to the city and joins forces with a freed slave and the African Free Society as they work to visit and assist the sick and save lives.

This is a wonderfully researched and executed historical fiction for teen readers. The yellow fever epidemic was a fascinating and often glossed-over subject in American history, merely warranting a footnote in most textbooks. This book brings to life the horror, desperation, and heroism felt by inhabitants of the nation’s capital. Ten percent of the city’s population was killed as a result of this disease, bringing to mind the Black Death that ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages. This isn’t a book for the faint of heart. Though not gory, this book looks unflinchingly at the realities of the disease and the callousness that unaffected treated those who were infected. Readers get an opportunity to see the growth and maturity gained by Mattie as well as the city of Philadelphia.

Submitted by Mollie Harrison
Springville Road Library

Monday, February 18, 2013

March Computer Class Schedule Now Available

Computer Classes
The Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) March computer class schedule is now available, and registration is open to the public for the free courses. Please note that class times have been changed to 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

In addition to the basic core course (which consists of Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet), we are offering classes teaching email, introduction to social media software, and Apache OpenOffice.org programs. Apache OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source freeware office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. It can rival the older versions of Microsoft Office and can be downloaded and used for any purpose completely free of charge. The RLCC is offering OpenOffice.org classes every other month, alternating with Microsoft Office 2010 classes. (Microsoft Office 2010 classes will be offered in April).

Here are brief descriptions of all classes offered for March 2013:

Keyboarding: This beginner class is designed for people who have not had formal training in keyboarding. It is intended to introduce you to the basics of working with the computer keyboard and the mouse. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.

Basic PC: This beginner class introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, and using a computer. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.

Basic Internet: This beginner class introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.

Email Workshop: This intermediate class is a practical workshop which helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. While there are many different email services available, we have chosen to work with Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, because they are free and are two of the more popular email services available. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.

OpenOffice.org Writer: This intermediate class teaches people how to use the OpenOffice.org word processing program. People will learn how to design and produce text documents that can include graphics, tables, or charts. Word Processing with OpenOffice.org Writer is taught in three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.

OpenOffice.org Calc: This advanced class introduces people to the OpenOffice.org spreadsheets program. People will learn to organize and manipulate data (numbers, text, times, currency, percentages, formulas, etc.), as well as work with a grid, columns, rows, and cells. OpenOffice.Org Calc is taught in two parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course. It is recommended that participants take OpenOffice.org Writer prior to taking this course.

OpenOffice.org Impress: This advanced class introduces people to the OpenOffice.org program used for creating multimedia presentations. People will learn to create slide presentations, using text, images, and effects. The class is taught in two parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course. It is recommended that participants take OpenOffice.org Writer prior to taking this course.

Introduction to Social Media: The March Social Media class will focus on FACEBOOK. This advanced class introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions.  This class focuses on the three most popular social media software: Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course. An email account is needed for this class.

UPDATE 3/7/2013: All computer classes are full. Registration will no longer be take for them.

Submitted by Farah A. Ferguson
Public Computer Services
Central Library

1, 2, 3 Play with Me Returns to Birmingham Public Library




Our popular program, 1, 2, 3 Play with Me, is back! 

Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but it is also a great educational experience for your child. Several branches of the Birmingham Public Library are currently providing a special time and place for you to spend some one-on-one time with your child. The five week program is intended for children between birth and 3 years of age and their parents and/or caregivers. BPL has partnered with Family Place Libraries and Junior League of Birmingham in order to bring this event to our community.

We will have toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. We have also invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your questions about parenting and your child’s health. Remember: you are your child’s first teacher. 1, 2, 3 Play with Me is an opportunity for you and your child to play and learn TOGETHER.

Want more information? Please contact one of the hosting libraries to find out more about this program. Registration is required.





Locations, Dates, & Times:

Springville Road Regional Library
February 7th- March 7th, 2013
Every Thursday at 10 AM
(205) 226-4085

Central Library – Youth Department
February 12th – March 12th, 2013
Every Tuesday at 10 AM
(205) 226-3655

Avondale Regional Library
February 13th – March 13th, 2013
Every Wednesday at 10 AM
(205) 226-4003

Five Points West Regional Library
March 26th – April 23rd, 2013
Every Tuesday at 10 AM
(205) 226-4017

North Birmingham Regional Library
March 27th – April 24th, 2013
Every Wednesday at 10 AM
(205) 226-4026

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Money Smart Series for Adults in February and March


In collaboration with the Urban Development Group, Inc. and Alabama financial institutions and agencies, the Birmingham Public Library is offering free programs to enhance your financial skills and banking knowledge. BPL's Money Smart series is available at the following libraries in February and March:

Protecting Yourself from Financial Fraud and Identity Theft
Monday, February 18
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Avondale Library

Money Matters
Tuesday, February 19 & 26
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Southside Library

Money Matters
Tuesday, February 19 & 26
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Eastwood Library

Protecting Yourself from Financial Fraud and Identity Theft
Wednesday, February 27
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Titusville Library

Smart Shopping Tips
Tuesday, March 26
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Southside Library

Smart Shopping Tips
Tuesday, March 26
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Eastwood Library

Friday, February 15, 2013

Brown Bag Lunch Program - Lawson State Community College Choir Concert


Under the direction of Bessie H. Shelton, the Lawson State Community College Choir will perform traditional and contemporary gospel songs. They'll also perform spiritual and choral arrangements by famous African American composers. Wednesday, February 20, noon.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights struggle, the Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the Year of Birmingham, a 12-month series of lectures, documentary films, performances and panel discussions.

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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.


Gloria Davy, First African American to Sing Aida at the Met, Dies at Age 81


She was the daughter of parents who had come to the United States from St. Vincent, in the Windward Islands. Gloria Davy was born on March 29, 1931. She graduated from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, and in 1951 and 1952 received the Marian Anderson Award. The prize, for young singers, was established in 1943 by Anderson, the first black singer to appear at the Met.

Davy's voice was that of a lirico-spinto (a high voice that is darker and more forceful than a lyric soprano’s). In particular, she was an interpreter of 20th-century music, including the works of Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten, and Paul Hindemith. She was praised by critics for the beauty of her voice, the sensitivity of her musicianship, and the perfection of her pianissimos—the elusive art of attaining maximum audibility at minimum volume. Davy sang with the Met 15 times over four seasons.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1953 from the Julliard School, where she studied with Belle Julie Soudent, Davy embarked on a career as a concert singer.

In January 1954, as a prize for winning a vocal competition sponsored by the Education League, Davy appeared at Town hall with the Little Orchestra Society, singing Britten’s song cycle ”Les Illuminations,” a rigorous undertaking for even a seasoned singer. That May, Davy replaced Leontyne Price as Bess in an international tour of Porgy and Bess, providing her with her first significant stage experience.

When the tour reached Milan, the conductor Victor de Sabata suggested Davy learn the role of Aida for a forthcoming production at La Scala. Though she was unable to sing it there due to political turbulence in Italy which caused the performance to be canceled, she made her debut in the role in Nice, France, in 1957, and later sang it elsewhere in Europe. Before Davy was cast in the role, Aida, an Ethiopian princess, was perennially sung by white singers in dark makeup.

When Davy first sang at the Met, she was only the fourth African American to appear there, after Anderson , a contralto, and Robert McFerrin, a baritone, both of whom made their debuts in 1955; and the soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs, who first sang there the next year.

Davy’s other opera work included appearances with the American Opera Society, a mid-century ensemble in New York, with which she sang the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. In Europe, she appeared at the Vienna Staatsoper and at Covent Garden in London.

For decades Davy made her home in Geneva, returning to the United States periodically to perform and teach; she was on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University from 1984 to 1997.

Though she had planned to be a concert singer, Davy took unhesitatingly to the operatic life. “For sheer joy of singing,” she said in an interview with Opera News in 1958, ”there’s nothing like opera.”

Sleep well, Nubian princess.

Submitted by Russell Lee
Arts, Literature & Sports
Central Library

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jefferson County Public Libraries to Deliver Valentines to Children's Hospital


Librarians Katie Williams and Saundra Ross sort
cards and goodies to send to Children's Hospital.
 
All packed and ready to brighten a child's Valentine's Day.

Since 1983 the public libraries of Jefferson County have made valentines for patients at Children's Hospital. Valentines are made by children and adults who visit our member libraries during January and early February. Many libraries develop special craft programs so patrons have time to create these special cards. This year over 3,000 items were gathered for the project.

The Bham Home and Garden Show is Here and We Are There

The Birmingham Public Library has this GREAT booth at the BJCC's Birmingham Home and Garden Show (February 14th-17th, 2013)!

We're having a "Tech Petting Zoo," where we'll be showing visitors how to download e-books, audiobooks, and music onto your digital devices (as in the pic below). 

On Thursday at 1:45 pm and Friday at 11:00 am, BPL storytellers will be performing on the Garden Stage in the BJCC's South Hall! Bring the kids and enjoy it with us!

If you order your tickets online, make certain to use the promotional code "LIBRARY" for $4 off the regular cost.

The show has some great highlights, including celebrity chef Chris Crary (Bravo TV’s Top Chef ), Lifestyle Guru and Master Designer, Chris H. Olsen , the voice of the Crimson Tide Eli Gold and Auburn Tigers announcer Rod Bramblett , as well as Carmen Johnston, garden lifestyle expert for the Southern Living Plant Collection. Here are the show's celebrity bios.

Check out some of these gorgeous gardens to be featured too. 



When visiting our booth, make sure to sign up for BPLinks (our weekly e-newsletter) which will enter you into a contest for gift certificates to the great The Outlet Shops of Grand River. 

So, please do take advantage of your library discount today (and come by our booth during the show to say hello)! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birmingham City Schools Offer Annual Parent Camp



The Birmingham City Schools' Division of Education and Student Support Services Family Involvement Program is hosting its 11th Annual Parent Camp on March 14, 2013 at Lincoln Professional Development Center (901-9th Avenue, North); 8:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. The theme of the camp this year is healthy lifestyles. Workshop topics are: developing a healthy relationship between you and your child through art; developing healthy eating habits and developing healthy finances. All workshops will be very interactive. The guest speaker will continue the theme as he talks about having healthy safe homes and communities. Attendees will walk away with techniques and tips they can use with their children at home to assist with developing healthy lifestyles. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For additional information contact Mechelle Rice-Fields, Family Involvement office at 231.7976.

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program Features The Alabama Movement @ Five Points West Library!!!


Enjoy an excerpt from Sixth Avenue Baptist Church's Annual Black History Concert, directed by Denna Wilkins. Wednesday, February 13, noon. This Brown Bag Lunch Program is hosted by the Five Points West Regional Library.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights struggle, the Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the Year of Birmingham, a 12-month series of lectures, documentary films, performances and panel discussions.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Discuss The Color Purple on February 26 at Avondale's Adaptations Program

Avondale Library will host a discussion of Alice Walker's The Color Purple on Tuesday, February 26, at 6:30 p.m., as part of the branch's monthly Adaptations program. The program puts a cinematic twist to books.

On a Sunday afternoon, library patrons watch the film version of a book as part of a screening party. A few weeks later on a Tuesday night, the audience discusses the book and film versions of the book. The latter discussion is called "The AfterParty.'' The screening party for The Color Purple was held on Sunday, February 10.

"People clapped at the end. Some people were crying. It's a very emotional film,'' said Ellen Shade, circulation manager at Avondale. "When I thanked them for coming, they said, 'No, thank you.' "

The February 26 event is sure to have a similar audience response.

"We have some patrons who come for just the movies, we have some who come for both and we have others who come for just the discussion,'' said Shade. "We keep copies of the book at the front desk to check out and read so it's fresh on people's minds after seeing the movie.''

This is the third year for the program.

"In addition to providing access to literature, libraries are places where people come together to share an experience,'' said Shade. "You can come to share what you love, learn from a book that touches you or learn from a film that speaks to you.''

For more information about Adaptations, contact Shade at 205-226-4000. Birmingham365 has the Adaptations program dates and titles listed through May 2013.

Submitted by Chanda Temple
Director of Public Relations

Monday, February 11, 2013

Birmingham Public Library a Family Place Library presents 1-2-3 Play with Me at the Central Library Youth Department


Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child. We are providing a special time and place for you to come to the library and spend one-on-one time playing with your child. 1-2-3 Play with Me, a five-week program, is for children birth through age 3 and their parents/caregivers. We will have toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, we have invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your questions about parenting.

Join the Central Library Youth Department every Tuesday, February 12-March 12, 2013, from 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Registration is encouraged. Call 226-3655 for more information.

Visit Birmingham365 for the 1-2-3 Play with Me schedule for these BPL branches: Springville Road, Avondale, Five Points West, and North Birmingham.




Submitted by Katie Williams
Youth Department
Central Library

Black History Month Provides an Opportunity to Remember the Dreams of Those Who Came Before Us


Black History Month 2013 recognizes two important anniversaries in the evolution of civil rights in the United States. The theme this year is “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

Issued on January 1, 1863, Lincoln’s renowned proclamation reads in part:

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a proclamation is “a formal order issued by a monarch or other legal authority, and made public.” In reading the above excerpt, one can certainly draw the conclusion that President Lincoln met the OED’s criteria for a proclamation; it is indeed dry, formal, official, and reveals none of the soul searching that went into its writing.

Compare Lincoln’s document with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoken August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington:

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. 

Dr. King’s speech is peppered with biblical allusions and poetic constructions. Whereas Lincoln’s proclamation is a law for American courts and legislative bodies, King’s speech is a dream for mankind. But the pursuit of freedom demands both rousing speeches and dry laws. What all of us sometime forget is that for dreams to remain alive, students and citizens of all ages must study the past thoughts, deeds, and words of leaders like President Lincoln and Dr. King.

For those interested in pursuing such an endeavor, the Birmingham Public Library can provide a wealth of resources. We have books, DVDs, audiobooks, and computer databases that focus on African-Americans and African-American history. If you are not sure where to begin your study, you may want to get some direction by consulting our subject guide for African American History Month. Here you can find frequently requested African-American book titles, as well as extensive annotated lists of reference books, databases, magazines and newspapers, and internet websites.

The library’s databases deserve special mention. You don’t even have to leave your house to use them. Just grab your library card and visit www.bplonline.org, and click on “Databases.” Notice under “Subject List,”on the left hand side of the page, the term “African American.” Of the three databases included, my favorite is African-American History Online. The developers of this database have put together an impressive array of information that includes biographies, timelines, and articles covering the African-American experience. On the front page is a heading for Topic Centers that groups the databases’ material according to important events and topics, primary sources, and key people. For instance, “1955-1971 Civil Rights Protest and Progress” will lead you to a piece about the Birmingham demonstrations, Malcolm X, and a copy of Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech.

This database even has a tab, Images and Videos, perfect for homework assignments. (I don’t have homework assignments and this is still my favorite feature). For a sampling, click on “Go to Video Gallery” on the right hand side of the front screen. On the next screen you can watch a video of Angela Davis being interviewed in Moscow, African American soldiers drilling for combat during W.W.II, or Dr. King marching with demonstrators in Selma, Alabama.

But don’t limit your search to just one of the library’s databases. Many figures from African American history can also be found by clicking on “Biography” in the “Subject List” of databases. Biography in Context has more than one million historic and current figures. There is also a featured video section on this database. This month in honor of Black History Month, you can watch a video highlighting the artists and writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

So, in February (and all year long), log on to www.bplonline.org to learn more about African-American history. Keep the dreams of those who came before us alive and growing by reading their words and viewing their deeds.

Submitted by David Ryan
Business, Science and Technology Department
Central Library

Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic at the YMCA Youth Center

Teens, get your poetry on at the Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic every 3rd Saturday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.at the YMCA Youth Center, 2400 7th Avenue North (near Phillips Academy). Admission is free. The sessions are for high school students only. To sign up to perform or for more information, e-mail johnpaul@reallifepoets.org. This month's program is scheduled for Saturday, February 16.

Flow Tactics is sponsored by The Real Life Poets, the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services, YMCA Youth Center, and the WORD UP! Student Poetry Slam Committee of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for Jefferson County high school students hosted by the Birmingham Public Library.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Going To The Dogs!


Next week marks the 137th anniversary of the Westminster Kennel Club's Annual All-Breed Dog Show. This year's show will air on television on Monday and Tuesday, February 11th-12th. For more information on the show and the television schedule, check the Club's website:

Westminster Kennel Club

Tune in and root for the pooch of your choice!

And for more information on dogs, don't forget to visit your local public library. If you're thinking of adopting a dog or choosing any other kind of pet, the library has numerous books and videos that can assist you. Let us help you pick the right pet for you!

Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History
Central Library

Friday, February 08, 2013

Read It Forward - The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963


In honor of Birmingham's celebration of 50 Years Forward, Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring Read It Forward - The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963. Birmingham Public Library will have copies of the book available the Central Library and at each branch location. You may pick up a copy, read it, post a comment on the website and then pass it on to a friend to read.  

The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a story of a family whose roots are in Birmingham but live in Flint, Michigan. In the summer of 1963 they travel to Birmingham to visit Grandma. They witness first hand the dramatic events that changed the course of American and world history. The story is told by ten-year-old Kenny. His point of view makes for an emotionally satisfying reading experience. A good read for all ages, especially appropriate for families. The video below is a short introduction to the story. Watch it now and visit the library to get a copy for yourself.


 
"Read It Forward” is a special project of the Birmingham Public Library. This community-wide reading program is designed to encourage reading throughout the City of Birmingham. The Read It Forward concept is based on the book Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, which is a story about an eighth grader who decides to change the world by doing a good deed for someone and then asks that person to "pay it forward" by doing the same for others.

Thanks to everyone who came to the 2013 Local Authors Expo


An all-around fantastic time was had last Saturday at BPL's Local Authors Expo. Many thanks go to the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library for once again sponsoring this event, and to all of the authors who attended. Several participants have blogged about the day's events, including Amy Leigh Strickland and Steve Gierhart at Ardent Writer Press. Many photos of the Expo can be found on the BPL Flickr page. We're already looking forward to making next year's Expo even bigger and better than this one!


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