Friday, May 31, 2013

Donations!

Virtually every week someone brings in a box or bag or books for our library. Usually these are put in the book sale. Quite often, however, a title will catch my eye. One such book was Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Gilman. Reading her descriptions of her experiences growing up in New York in the early 1970s, watching and listening to The Partridge Family and the Jackson 5 (including the Saturday morning cartoons of the same name) is hilarious and reminded me of my own childhood. Her description of an increasing larger-than-life show-and-tell (where she eventually changes her name from Susan to “Rhinestone Gilman” and later “Sapphire Gilman” because her initials will be the same) made me laugh out loud. (Judging by my daughter’s actions, five-year-olds
haven’t changed much.) The jacket blurb from Frank McCourt says it all: “Thank you, O Lord for sending us Susan Gilman’s tales.”


Today a patron brought in half a dozen books on dogs and how to care for them. It is my firm belief that animals in general and pets in particular enrich our lives. I was interested to see that one title dealt with caring for dogs that are blind. What’s the point you ask? Compassion, for one. How we treat animals is usually a strong indicator of how well we treat each other, whether the elderly, the young, the infirm, and those who are down on their luck. Perhaps someone soon will have a need to care for an animal that is blind. Hopefully, this book will be a big help for them.

So, bring on those donations! I am interested to see what hidden gems the next batch will reveal.

(All BPL locations will accept book donations. Thanks for your support!)

Submitted by Jonathan Newman
Avondale Library

BPL Hosting Historic House Research Workshop in July

The Birmingham News, August 26, 1980
From BPL Digital Collections

Have you ever wondered who may have lived in your house before your family moved in? Could the previous owner have been a prominent politician or civic leader? The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a workshop on historic house research on Saturday, July 20, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., in the Central Library’s Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium. This workshop does not require registration and is free to the public.

The workshop is sponsored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Birmingham Historical Society. Attendees will learn how to conduct research on historic dwellings in Birmingham and Jefferson County. Linda Nelson, Jefferson County Historical Commission Executive Secretary, will discuss requirements of the Historical Marker Program and other historical designations.

A second component of the workshop will feature BPL Assistant Archivist Catherine Oseas. She will discuss library resources that are useful in researching a historic house. For more information, please contact the Southern History Department of BPL by phone at 205-226-3665 or by e-mail at askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us.

Help Us Send Our Kids to Chicago!


Six Birmingham teens have been accepted to compete at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. These teens have spent at least a year working in their school and at BPL under the guidance of Real Life Poets, a local poetry and spoken word non-profit. Please consider a gift to BPL’s Teen Poetry Initiatives to help them and others continue learning about poetry, performance, personal expression, and public speaking.

Below are a couple of the students who need your help to attend. Click here to contribute.

Justin Wright, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate

"When I write, I try to take on the persona of that person to bring their experiences and hardships into a piece to make them feel that they are not, in fact, alone; that there is someone, somewhere out there who can understand, or at least attempt to understand how they feel. I would also like to start, in the future, some other summer program that is centered on the education and wholeness of the child. It would be a camp based on the idea or setting of a book to provide an enjoyable experience, while at the same time, strengthening educational aspirations. These goals are important to me because my passions are writing and helping people, and I plan to do all that I can to achieve these goals."

 
Miaya Webster, ASFA

"I believe that education is the gateway to greatness and without it, it is much easier to fail. Achieving good grades is not an easy task, but it is an important one. ART speaks and there is no mistake in art. Creativity to me is being oneself allowing the spirit within to be expressed. Creativity is unique with each person. It is not and can not be restricted it must be free. That is creativity to me.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Library’s Bards & Brews Program Heads to North Birmingham

A Bard speaks.
View more B&B photos on Flickr.

Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series will travel to the North Birmingham Regional Library on Friday, June 7, 2013. The library is located at 2501 31st Avenue North. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with live music, and poetry performances start at 7:00. The June session will be OPEN MIC. Emcee Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins will deftly guide both novice and veteran poets through an evening of verse with topics that run the gamut from romantic relationships to the local political scene. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

Craft beer will be available for sampling courtesy of Terrapin Beer 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. However, the next session will be held on the SECOND FRIDAY, July 12, at the Hoover Library located at 200 Municipal Drive in Hoover 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.

Meet Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Board Member Jeniese Hosey

The Young Professionals of the Birmingham Public Library celebrate the rich history and prosperous future of Birmingham's oldest cultural institution. The Young Professionals support the Library financially and culturally and promote its remarkable treasures. By hosting dynamic lectures, special collection tours, and other social events and by volunteering time and skills, the Young Professionals increase public awareness of and access to the Library's resources.

BPLYP Jeniese Hosey

What is your full name, age, and occupation? Jeniese Harvette Hosey.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Saw's Super Soul Kitchen.

Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? I am an avid reader and a strong supporter of the public library system.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? The Central Library.

Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Where The Wild Things Are, Where The Sidewalk Ends, The Babysitters Club, Sweet Vally High, The Hobbit, I could go on for days...

What genres do you read the most as an adult? Chicklit, Nonfiction, and Fiction.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Junot Diaz, Stephanie Meyer, Lauren Weisberger, Beth Harbison, Curtis Sittenfeld, Zora Neale Hurston...again I could go on for days!

What is your wish for the city of Birmingham? To have a reliable, responsible public transit system that everyone, no matter what their economic standing, feels comfortable using.

Do you have a special talent? If so, what is it? Does shopping count? I think fashion is my talent and my passion.

What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying? "Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction." - Margaret Thatcher

Gifts of a Wordsmith Workshop

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 in the Story Castle on the second floor of Central Library. The next workshop is scheduled for June 4.

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 funds 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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Looking Back at High School

Brownie, 1974
It’s that time of year again. The time when high school seniors all across the country don gowns and mortar boards as they accept their diplomas and say goodbye to their alma maters. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for your high school years or are curious about those of another generation, consider checking out the Southern History Department’s collection of yearbooks from area high schools.

Yearbooks are a great form of social history. Changing fashions in clothes, music, and hairstyles can all be observed, but be warned: viewing old yearbooks can induce peals of laughter and much cringing. Big hair: check. Popped collars: check. Blazers with the sleeves pushed up à la Don Johnson in Miami Vice: check.

Over time, yearbooks have changed a great deal. The earliest ones that we have date from the 1910s and are really more like literary magazines. They have few pictures but lots of poems, short stories, and personal essays. The senior class is usually the only one pictured. Other classes may have group shots, but the students’ names are often not included. Gradually these literary magazines gave way to the type of yearbook that we are more familiar with. Loaded with pictures of every team, club, and activity they are the next best thing to a time machine.

You can search the library’s catalog to see which yearbooks we currently have. Simply enter the school’s name as the author and our holdings will be displayed. Yearbooks can be viewed in the Southern History Department of the Central Library. Our digital collection contains a few yearbooks including some very early Ensley and Phillips High School, as well as a large collection of Jones Valley High School yearbooks. Our collection is built exclusively with donations and is, therefore, not comprehensive. If you’d like to help us grow our collection by donating your annuals from Birmingham or Jefferson County schools, please contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665.

Submitted by M.B. Newbill
Southern History Department
Central Library

Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshop, June 1

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. June's workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 1.

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.

Teens have until Friday, May 31, 2013 to sign-up for a FREE football clinic: Skills and Drills with the NFL's Jerricho Cotchery

 

The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation on June 14 and 15, 2013. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for 2013’s Teen Summer Reading Program, “Beneath the Surface.”

Born in 1982, Cotchery grew up to be an incredible athlete. He excelled at Phillips High School in Birmingham and attended North Carolina State University. The New York Jets drafted him in 2004 and the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to the roster beginning in 2010. Birmingham is proud of this native son and we at BPL are grateful to partner with him for Summer Reading.

Students between the ages of 11 and 17 may sign-up at any BPL location until Friday, May 31, 2013. These unique experiences (including the football clinic and teen tailgate party) are free. The Cotchery Foundation will provide free cleats and swag at the "Skills and Drills" football clinic. While registering at the library, teens will provide their shoes sizes for the cleats.


Jerricho would like to encourage all students ages 11 to 17 to read by participating in the 2013 summer reading program. BPL has had a record-breaking number of participants the past few summers. Space is limited, so visit your nearest BPL location to sign-up today.

In the coming weeks, we'll announce another chance for Birmingham teens to meet Jerricho during some free “Jam Sessions” at BPL locations the week of his visit.
For more information, please contact your nearest BPL location. Jerricho and the Birmingham Public Library both look forward to seeing you soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

See and Hear the Worldwide Reading of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

April 16, 2013 was windy at Palmer Station in Antarctica, a little too blustery for an outdoor reading. So members of the station’s research staff gathered inside, sitting near a big stove, in front of a window that opened onto the white landscape at the bottom of the world and read aloud Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

The reading in Antarctica, like the ones held on every continent that day, came about because of a simple idea: to recognize the 50th anniversary of the day Dr. King began his letter by inviting people around the world to gather and read the letter aloud. When the staff of the Birmingham Public Library sent out the initial invitation, they hoped that a few people in a few places would respond (the conversation included the phrase “maybe we can get five or six”). By April 16, people had responded from more than 250 locations in 33 states of the United States, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. People responded from the Netherlands, South Africa, Ireland, Ghana, Thailand, Germany, Brazil, China, Cameroon, Australia, Taiwan, Israel, Cyprus, Italy, England, Northern Ireland and from a sailboat off the coast of French Saint-Martin in the Caribbean. People responded from schools, libraries, colleges and universities, churches and synagogues, book stores and coffee shops, from city halls, state houses and the floor of the United States Congress. The response is a testament to the universal power of Martin Luther King’s ideals and the eloquence of his Letter.

We asked people who participated in the readings to share their experiences with us and share images of the day. Many did.

Rosalind K. Goddard of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at Los Angeles City College wrote: “The day was a blustery, sun drenched day that seemed befitting of the occasion. The skies were clear and that clarity seemed to add its own timbre, if you will, to each of the voices. We were so pleased to be able to participate in this amazing commemoration.”

Ned French, who organized a reading in a park in Berlin, Gemany, wrote, “We had a small but attentive gathering at Hochmeisterplatz in Berlin. I had not read or even skimmed the letter in advance, and I have to confess, I was overcome at one point... but I pulled myself back together and really got a lot out of the experience.”

In Taiwan, elementary school students studied the Letter and then wrote their impressions in messages back to Dr. King. Jean wrote, “You have a wonderful dream and tough mind.” Bob was hopeful, writing, “You are so great. Your dream is wonderful. It will come true one day.” Yoyo was direct and paid Dr. King the highest compliment that a person of her age can bestow: “You are so cool.”

To see images and video from the day, visit our Pinterest page at http://pinterest.com/bplonline/letter-from-birmingham-jail-a-worldwide-celebratio/.

Submitted by Jim Baggett
Archives Department
Central Library

Monday, May 27, 2013

Author Ron Cooper Discusses Trail of Tears Book at BPL@Night, May 28

Ron Cooper, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, began walking the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in January 2011 as a personal adventure of self-reflection. Much to his surprise, he quickly became an ambassador for education, a catalyst for further conservation of the Trail, and a symbol of tribal unity and pride. Cooper will discuss his journey and share the best of the thousands of photos he took along the way as he discusses his book It’s My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian’s Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. This special BPL@Night program is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Cooper
While enduring the worst winter in recent memory, in 2011 Ron Cooper walked hundreds of miles retracing the steps of the American Indians forced to move west in the 1830s. A first time author, Cooper has managed his tribe’s bingo enterprise and worked as blackjack dealer. He has been a full-time RVer since 2007 and currently lives in Cherokee, North Carolina with his wife and their two cats. His hobbies are Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, reading, bird watching, hiking and backpacking.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Staff Pick: Here Lies Linc (Ages 8 and Up)

Here Lies Linc 
Delia Ray

This school year, twelve year old Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw (Linc) is embarking on a new life. Up until recently his life had been pretty predictable and happy. Both of his parents were college professors; they homeschooled him with the kids of scholars. His family was strange, sure, but they were happy just the way there were. When Linc’s dad unexpectedly dies he and his mom are forced to reevaluate everything in their lives. For Linc, this means diving headfirst into the dog-eat-dog world of public middle school. When Linc starts school he realizes that blending in like a normal kid might be harder than he expected; his mother, who studies gravestone and burial rituals, and his old life certainly don’t help. Just when he thinks he has everything under control, a class assignment changes everything. Linc’s teacher assigns each student the task of choosing and researching a gravestone in the graveyard beside Linc’s house. Linc and his classmates will have the help of the nation’s leading death and burial expert: Linc’s mother. An unexpected adventure begins when Linc chooses the infamous Black Angel grave and his new friend, Delaney, chooses a grave belonging to a man named Robert Raintree. Linc and his classmates unravel mysteries ranging from the story behind the sinister Black Angel to the unexpected history of Linc’s own family.

This is a chapter book appropriate for middle grader readers. It has a pretty high page count, but the payoff at the end is great. Mysteries are solved, questions are answered, and it’s a very satisfying end. The cover of the book and the spooky title might lead the reader to believe that this is going to be scary if not macabre. Once again the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true. This book has moments of suspense and mystery, but it’s really not that sort of book. Rather than the expected nail-biting ghost story, this is a tale about a boy connecting with the past, his community, his family, and finding himself. As the mystery unfolds, readers will enjoy the clever, thought-provoking, and sometimes touching epitaphs quoted at the beginning of each chapter. It was also neat to note that the Black Angel monument and all of the places described in the book are real locations in Iowa City, Iowa. This book is a great read brimming with adventure, mystery, sincerity, and depth.

Submitted by Mollie Harrison
Springville Road Library

If You Liked Fifty Shades of Grey

Book publishers are like Hollywood producers.  When they figure out what people like, they give them more of it.  That's why Fast & Furious 6  is opening this weekend (can't wait to see it) and that's why publishers are scrambling to release the next Fifty Shades of Grey.  Month after month, titles with similar themes are released in hopes that readers will respond with the same interest and enthusiasm.  If you are one of the many people who enjoyed the series by E.L. James, you may also enjoy the following titles and other books by these authors.  The title descriptions are from the publisher.

Bared to YouBared to You  by Sylvia Day  (Crossfire Series #1)

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires.  The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...

 His to Command  by Opal Carew
His to Command
Kate is a modern businesswoman who knows exactly how to run her well-organized world. But underneath her professional exterior lurks a secret that she's been running from for years--a fierce desire to be dominated that both exhilarates and terrifies her. And there's only one man who's ever tempted her to lose control.  Powerful executive Matthew Pearce gave Kate her first taste of what it means to surrender completely at the hands of a dominant man, and she's never been able to forget. Though she's spent years trying to outrun her feelings for him, a chance encounter changes everything . . . and this time she might not be able to escape.

If I Were You If I Were You  by Lisa Renee Jones  (Inside Out Trilogy #1)

The journal comes to Sara McMillan by chance, when she inherits the key to an abandoned storage locker belonging to a woman named Rebecca. Sara can't resist peeking at the entries in the journal . . . and she finds a scintillating account of Rebecca's affair with an unnamed lover, a relationship drenched in ecstasy and wrapped in dark secrets. Obsessed with discovering Rebecca's destiny after the entries come to an abrupt end, Sara does more than observe the players in the woman's life; she immerses herself in the high-stakes art gallery world Rebecca inhabited--and is magnetically drawn to two men.  On a daringly erotic escapade, Sara follows Rebecca's path to fulfill her own hidden longings. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meet Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Board Member Clair McLafferty

The Young Professionals of the Birmingham Public Library celebrate the rich history and prosperous future of Birmingham's oldest cultural institution. The Young Professionals support the Library financially and culturally and promote its remarkable treasures. By hosting dynamic lectures, special collection tours, and other social events and by volunteering time and skills, the Young Professionals increase public awareness of and access to the Library's resources.

BPLYP Clair McLafferty

What is your full name, age, and occupation? Clair Elizabeth McLafferty, 24. I am the patient educator at Alabama Pain Physicians, senior research technologist at HagenTek, personal tutor, and freelance writer.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Saw's Soul Kitchen.

Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? A few months ago, an article on the future of libraries aired on NPR. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be involved in preserving the libraries I knew when I was younger.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? Central.

Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Anything by Neil Gaiman and space- or dinosaur-related nonfiction.

What genres do you read the most as an adult? Science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and nonfiction.

Who are some of your favorite authors? China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and David Sedaris.

What is your wish for the city of Birmingham? Trade the initial excitement about local projects for lasting, sustainable commitment to their growth.

Do you have a special talent? If so, what is it? Creating budgets.

What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying? "Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!" - Ms. Frizzle.

Staff Pick: Code Name Verity (Teens)

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein

On October 11, 1943, when a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, a female spy codenamed Verity is arrested by the Gestapo. Believing she will be tortured and killed, she is surprised to be given the choice of revealing her mission or face execution. Her confession becomes a telling of how she became friends with the pilot Maggie, and why she left Maggie in the wrecked plane. Each new piece of her confession keeps her alive a little longer, and unfolds her story of survival, failure, friendship, and courage.

Okay, I'm gonna gush. I loved this audio. The narration was riveting tome. It was like sitting and listening to someone's real story. Yes, I have a quibble with an accent on the last disc, but if you look at it as Mattie telling the story or Julie, they wouldn't be doing perfect voices. When you cut to the chase, these two women are telling the story. Julie would sing the song the German was singing in her own voice. As a good storyteller, she would know that to try to mimic the accent of the officer it would take you out of the story and make it comical.

I cried listening to this story. If you are listening to someone tell a story, you know it was well told if you feel as if you have been a part of the adventure and you feel their triumph and their pain.

Submitted by Lynn Carpenter
Five Points West Library

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Skies are Clearing for Students Researching Climate Change

Here at the library we see a multitude of high school research topics. Each topic comes with its own challenges. One problem students writing papers about climate change experience is finding reliable sources for research and data. There’s just so much opinion based on political ideology or wishful thinking that sometimes it’s difficult to find raw numbers based on science. And even if the student finds research from a reliable source, it frequently requires a Ph.D. to decipher.

The United Nations Climate Change Portal represents the final word on climate change research while solving these problems. The site is easy to navigate, current, and covers all aspects of climate change. Research and findings from 38 different international organizations and U.N. agencies can be accessed via this portal. Users can find information about mitigation technology, the economics and politics of climate change and, of course, the science behind the numbers.

Clicking on the tab marked science reveals multiple subheadings including facts. Many teachers like to read a paper supported with cold, hard facts and this screen provides just about any fact a student needs. One reoccurring argument in the climate debate is rather the arctic is melting and if this in turn is leading to rising sea levels. The United Nations Climate Change Portal facts page has the following quick fact on this issue: “Arctic sea ice — Annual average Arctic sea ice extent shrunk by 2.7 per cent per decade. Sea-ice decreases overall in summer by 7.4 per cent. Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years. The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 meters of sea level rise.”

But this portal doesn’t stop at numbers. An added annoyance for students is finding photographs to support their papers. This site includes photographs covering diverse climate topics such as the global seed vault at Longyearbyen, Norway, the retreating Polar ice rim and Switzerland’s decreasing glaciers.

For students researching climate change, folks just wishing to settle an argument, or learn about the latest finding, visiting United Nations Climate Change Portal facts page should do the trick. And don’t forget to visit the libraries many journal databases. You can find a wealth of material on climate change, and just about any other topic, with your library card.

Submitted by David Ryan
Business, Science & Technology/Social Sciences Department
Central Library

Spring into Summer Reading Today


Summer Reading Programs began on May 13 this year at all Birmingham Public Library locations allowing you to get a jump start on reading and library enjoyment. Reading, prize drawings, activities, programs and book discussions, even online, abound and are only just part of the excitement you can expect.

There is something for everyone and for all ages, as Library Summer Reading is no longer just for kids. Adults, as well as children and teens will have the opportunity to participate in programs, activities and reading ideas and suggestions suited just for them and the respective themes match up nicely as well.


Childrens - Dig into Reading

Teens - Beneath the Surface (including Steampunk mania at Central)

Adults - Birmingham’s Beat


Online participation is available, seamless and encouraged at http://www.bplonline.org/SummerReading.aspx.

The Birmingham Public Library’s website offers a portal into all things Summer Reading.

You can:
  • Register for the programs
  • Submit titles read for prize drawings
  • Learn about activities and programs
  • Book chat with others via Facebook
  • Tweet via Twitter

You can participate totally online if you like. In addition to the Summer Reading portal, there are numerous downloadable audiobooks and e-books available. Doing it all online may cost you the opportunity of attending on-site programs, expanding your title browsing, and interacting in person with our friendly staff and library users that are excited about the program and are full of reading suggestions. Many of our patrons opt for a hybrid of online and in person involvement. Either way you go, there is no way to go wrong.

So, what are you waiting for? Join today!

Children, dig deeper.

Teens, look beneath the surface.

Adults, dance to the beat. After all, the beat goes on.

The Birmingham Public Library is grateful for the generous support of the Alabama Power Foundation in funding our Summer Reading Programs.

Let’s all make the most of it and . . .

ENJOY!

Submitted by David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Local Author Tim Hollis Tells the Story of Alabama Tourism at the May 22 Brown Bag Lunch Program


Tourism in the Southeast is often associated with Florida—a state that essentially defined the industry in America. Yet Alabama has a fascinating history of tourism all its own from restored and preserved historic destinations to campy tourist traps and outrageous roadside attractions. Join Birmingham author Tim Hollis, who has traveled from the Shoals to the coast and amassed an unrivaled knowledge of Alabama tourism, as he discusses his new book See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing. Wednesday, May 22, 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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Series for Children - Frye by Angie Sage



Just in time for summer, Fyre is the long-awaited 7th and final installment of the Septimus Heap series. It's a nice trip down memory lane, linking up with moments, characters, and plot points from all the previous books.

The series as a whole is fun and memorable with quirky and loveable characters. It's very much a treasure hunt within a magical fantasy with many adventures to be enjoyed. fans of the series will be pleased with how everything is wrapped up.

Search the JCLC catalog for similar books using these search criteria:

Magic - juvenile fiction
Fantasy - juvenile fiction
Wizards - juvenile Fiction

Library Welcomes Author for a Journey on the Trail of Tears

Ron Cooper, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, began walking the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in January 2011 as a personal adventure of self-reflection. Much to his surprise, he quickly became an ambassador for education, a catalyst for further conservation of the Trail, and a symbol of tribal unity and pride. Cooper will discuss his journey and share the best of the thousands of photos he took along the way as he discusses his book It’s My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian’s Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. This special BPL@Night program is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Cooper
While enduring the worst winter in recent memory, in 2011 Ron Cooper walked hundreds of miles retracing the steps of the American Indians forced to move west in the 1830s. A first time author, Cooper has managed his tribe’s bingo enterprise and worked as blackjack dealer. He has been a full-time RVer since 2007 and currently lives in Cherokee, North Carolina with his wife and their two cats. His hobbies are Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, reading, bird watching, hiking and backpacking.

Still Time to Join in the Discussion on Bullying

Click to enlarge
The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life invite the public to participate in one of the three remaining Alabama Issues Forum on bullying. Forums will be held May 18 through 23 at three libraries in the Birmingham Public Library System. All programs are free and open to the public.

Bullying is an issue that has been brought to the national consciousness with recent events including the YouTube® video of a bus monitor being bullied by middle school students as well as several recent stories of the tragic suicides of students resulting from relentless bullying.

The forums will be held at the following locations:

Central Library (downtown), *May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Corrected Date)
Smithfield Library, May 23, 10:00 a.m.–12:00noon

Nearly a third of students experience bullying each year, and more than 160,000 young people miss school each day due to fears of being bullied. While Alabama continues to make progress related to bullying, the statistics and stories of bullied students are alarming. Reducing bullying incidents will require us working together as a community, and the educational and public safety effects of ignoring this issue are grave.

The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life invite the citizens of our communities to engage in an open forum with the opportunity to carefully weigh different approaches to and perspectives on the issue of bullying. “There is no higher office than the office of citizen, and deliberative forums give citizens a chance to talk through what they hold valuable related to an issue,” says Chris McCauley, Executive Director of the David Mathews Center. “Bullying is an issue that can affect schools, communities, and office environments. It’s up to citizens to think through creative, community-based solutions to address the issue.”

ABOUT THE DAVID MATHEWS CENTER FOR CIVIC LIFE

The David Mathews Center for Civic Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt corporation. Its purpose is to foster infrastructure, habits, and capacities for more effective civic engagement and innovative decision making. More information can be found on the center’s website: http://mathewscenter.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Please check with your local Birmingham Public Library for additional program offerings and program updates. For more information, contact Sandi Lee, Birmingham Public Library, (205) 226-3742 or visit the library’s website at www.bplonline.org. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

BPL Partners with David Matthews Center for Series of Bullying Forums

Click to enlarge
DID YOU KNOW...

Every 30 minutes, a child commits suicide as a DIRECT RESULT of BEING BULLIED

28% of children carrying guns have witnessed violence in their homes

Every 7 minutes a child is BULLIED on a school playground, 85% happen without intervention

More than 85% of teenagers say revenge after BULLYING is the leading cause of school shootings and homicide

26% Female 46% Male involved in fights are due to BEING BULLIED

According to the U.S. Secret Service, 2/3 of 37 school shootings involved attackers who “felt persecuted, BULLIED, threatened, attacked or injured by others prior to the incident
19,000 BULLIED children commit suicide over the course of one year*

Headline News: February 7, 2013 – Bullying Attack Leaves 11-year-old in Coma. These headlines recur daily in our hometowns, in cities large and small around our country and across the globe. What are we doing about it? Are we part of the problem or can we be part of the solution? The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life invite the public to participate in an Alabama Issues Forum on bullying. Forums will be held May 13-May 23 at a number of Birmingham Public Libraries.

Nearly a third of students experience bullying each year, and more than 160,000 young people miss school each day due to fears of being bullied. While Alabama continues to make progress related to bullying, the statistics and stories of bullied students are alarming. Reducing bullying incidents will require us working together as a community, and the educational and public safety effects of ignoring this issue are grave.

The Birmingham Public Library and the David Matthews Center for Civic Life invite the citizens of our communities to engage in an open forum with the opportunity to carefully weigh different approaches to and perspectives on the issue of bullying.

“There is no higher office than the office of citizen, and deliberative forums give citizens a chance to talk through what they hold valuable related to an issue,” says Chris McCauley, Executive Director of the David Mathews Center. “Bullying is an issue that can affect schools, communities, and office environments. It’s up to citizens to think through creative, community-based solutions to address the issue.”

The forums will be held at the following locations:
Eastwood Library - May 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
East Ensley Library - May 14, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Inglenook Recreation Center - May 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Powderly Library - May 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
East Lake Library – May 18, 10:00 a.m.–12 noon
Central Library (downtown) - May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Smithfield Library, May 23, 10:00 a.m.-12 noon

For more information, contact Sandi Lee, Birmingham Public Library, 226-3742.

*Source: Bullying: What is it: How Do We Prevent It? An issues guide for Alabama Issues Forums David Matthews Center for Civic Life

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Registration Open for June RLCC Computer Classes

computer classes
The Regional Library Computer Center June 2013 Computer Classes 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. This month, we are teaching programs from Microsoft Office 2010 and featuring Facebook in our “Introduction to Social Media” course.

The following classes are slated for June 2013:

Beginner Classes
  • June 3 – Keyboarding: Introduces 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.
  • June 4 – Basic PC: Introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, etc. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
  • June 5 – Basic Internet: 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.
Intermediate Classes
  • June 10 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Word 2010, a word processing application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is recommended that participants to take all three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • June 19 – Email Workshop: Helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.
Advanced Classes
  • June 17 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to PowerPoint 2010 presentation software. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • June 24 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Microsoft Excel 2010, a spreadsheet software in the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • June 26 – Introduction to Social Media – FACEBOOK: Introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions. 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.
For more information, please call (205) 226-3680 or (205) 226-3681. You may also email the Public Computer Services department at cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Brown Bag Lunch Program - See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism


Tourism in the Southeast is often associated with Florida—a state that essentially defined the industry in America. Yet Alabama has a fascinating history of tourism all its own from restored and preserved historic destinations to campy tourist traps and outrageous roadside attractions. Join Birmingham author Tim Hollis, who has traveled from the Shoals to the coast and amassed an unrivaled knowledge of Alabama tourism, as he discusses his new book See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing. Wednesday, May 22, 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. For more information call 226-3604 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Book Review: Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music

Songs In The Key Of Z: The Curious Universe Of Outsider Music
Irwin Chusid

I checked this book out of the library so many times over the years that I finally bought my own copy so I could finally underline all the intentionally and unintentionally hilarious bits, jaw-dropping anecdotes and biographical gems in this seriously weird account of music people so far out of the mainstream it makes your usual musical diet seem safe and bland by comparison. This is music, in the words of author Irwin Chusid, “so wrong - it’s right,” so “bad it’s even better.”

The musicians here aren’t underground or avant-garde, because those categories presuppose a high degree of self-awareness. They’re further out than that. Not better per se, just further out. They usually don’t want any part of the conventional—or even semi-conventional—musical world. They’re mostly untrained musically. They’re frequently mentally ill, though often they’re just very eccentric. In some ways, musical outsiders are the equivalent of outsider artists. The strains of wildness, scariness, innocence, childlike behavior and unself-consciousness that are common in outsider art are typical here, too.

There are chapters on relatively well-known artists (Syd Barrett, Tiny Tim), but almost all of the entries are on little-known or totally obscure musicians. Even with the two above, Chusid focuses on the non-limelight parts of their careers. All things considered, Captain Beefheart seems too popular a choice for such a book. That’s part of the fun, and frustration, of Chusid’s trying to stake out a new category – you argue with him. Chusid freely admits it’s maddeningly hard to define “outsider” at times, and we just had a century where it was the norm for artists to claim outsider status as a badge of pride. Still, though, most everyone here is, to put it cautiously, well and truly out there by any definition I can think of.

The Celebrated Cherry Sisters
Though there’s plenty of eccentricity, and even full-blown mental illness here, this isn’t really a disturbing book (though the cover is). On the contrary, there’s a lot of that innocence I mentioned earlier, as well as sincerity, even sweetness of a sort. Then there’s that priceless region where you don’t know if the artist is putting one over on you or not. There’s no better example of this than the Cherry Sisters. Forgotten today, they were the toast of Broadway during the turn of the 20th Century. Critics compared their voices to that of monkeys and said their, well, vocalizing was childish and ridiculous. Audiences yelled at them, and threw so much rotten vegetables that the Sisters had to work behind a screen. They were, in the words of one writer, a “strange mixture of Puritanism and exhibitionism.” One sister reportedly punched out an unsympathetic male journalist. But Oscar Hammerstein minted money with “IOWA’S FAMOUS SONGBIRDS.” Apparently, once the Cherry Sisters made it big, they apparently deliberately chose not to be forthright about why - or even whether - people hated them. Sadly, they never recorded. When they retired to a farm in Iowa, they wore men’s clothing, took up guns and bragged of never having been kissed, let alone married. I withhold comment.

EP released September 1959
Florence Foster Jenkins, who came not from the sticks but high society, had a similar career in the forties. After a traffic accident, she found she could hit amazingly high notes. Her pitch was once described as “non-existent.” She apparently never got vegetables thrown at her, probably because she played posh venues such as Carnegie Hall. You didn’t do that sort of thing there. What the audience did do was applaud and whistle so loudly that some of their numbers could laugh out loud and, it was hoped, not be heard by Florence. More polite ones would stuff handkerchiefs in their mouths.

Then there are the celebrities who should’ve known better. Just because William Shatner, Patty Duke and Telly Savalas had the clout to release well-distributed records doesn’t mean they should have.

Malinda Jackson Parker
By no means is everyone here risible. Far from it. There are very serious and highbrow musicians to be had; there’s an enormous range of musical styles included. I’m glad that Chusid included the endearing Congress-Woman Malinda Jackson Parker of Liberia. On the spinoff cd, also called Songs In The Key Of Z, she warns of the dangers of “Cousin Mosquito,” singing the word “ ‘cousin’ 204 times within the song’s three minutes and 27 seconds.” This isn’t tiresome, it’s plain charming. She’s a female Mister Rogers with great force and staccato. More than endearing, she’s lovable. This is one public service announcement I’ll never forget.

Did Alabama’s own outsider artist superstar Howard Finster also do outsider music? Who knew? It wasn’t a total surprise that there would be at least one native Alabamian in Chusid’s book. An outlier, eccentric state can’t help but produce beyond-the-rim musicians from time to time.

One minor complaint. On a few occasions, Chusid’s tone is clumsy. In trying to convey the oddness of the personages, he can exaggerate or even condescend, which is odd, because his overall thrust is to reveal the inherent value of the subjects. Their eccentricity is so articulate that it usually needs a restrained commentary.

Harry Partch
Not all of this music, I hope, will remain obscure forever. Tiny Tim got married on Carson in front of millions, but almost his entire career was in oblivion. If there’s any justice, this human encyclopedia of American popular song will one day be recognized as a national treasure. Harry Partch’s 43-tone scale and the instruments he built to go with it will always limit his appeal, or will it? You can, after all, play his music on conventional instruments, and Partch has gotten some well-deserved after-death recognition. The Shaggs made it into a Rolling Stone magazine poll of the most influential alternative rock musicians of all time. Most of Wild Man Fischer’s output is out of print, but that doesn’t mean some of it isn’t forbiddingly pricey. Obscure doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. Still, much of this music is worth hunting down. Whether this material is sublime or terrible, it’s usually captivating and often mesmerizing.

In the end, maybe the most salient characteristic of these misfits is that they are “happy making their music,” in the author’s words. When you read about that joy, and listen to it later, you may drop your inhibitions and realize that the world is wider than you thought it was.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Genealogy At Its Worst: Researching Convict Records Workshop


Convict lease prisoners inside the barracks of an unidentified Jefferson
County work camp. The prisoners were kept shackled at all times. This photo is
from the Thomas Dukes Parke Papers of the Birmingham Public Library Archives.

How can convict records help with your research? Or do you think perhaps this is research that cannot possibly have anything to do with you and your family? Well, think again! Librarian, archivist and lecturer Frazine Taylor will lead a workshop to discuss vagrancy laws and examine daily convict labor reports, applications for employment and inmates’ correspondence for clues to family information. The workshop titled "Genealogy At Its Worst: Researching Convict Records" is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. This workshop is free and open to the public.

Vagrancy, the offense of a person not being able to prove that he or she is employed, was an innovative and insubstantial fabrication used at the end of the nineteenth century by the state legislature of Alabama and other southern states to put unsuspecting persons in the legal system. It was enforced by local sheriffs and constables, and cases were decided by mayors and notary publics, recorded messily or not at all in court records, and most telling—in a time of substantial unemployment among all southern men—was enforced almost exclusively on black men. Approximately 2,500 men were being detained against their will at more than two dozen labor camps across Alabama. Records were kept on these men and in some cases their families.

For additional information, visit the website at www.bplonline.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

ABOUT FRAZINE TAYLOR

Frazine Taylor has over twenty years of experience as a librarian, archivist, lecturer and writers. During her time as Head of Reference with the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), she became an expert on Alabama records and particularly African American ancestry. She has traveled extensively and once served as a Peace Corps volunteer and administrator serving in the Fiji Islands and the South Pacific. Taylor received a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Atlanta University. She is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Taylor is the President of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage, Chair of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission, a member of BBAAGHS and of the Society of Alabama Archivists, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Historical Association. She is the author of Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide (2008) and researched Tom Joyner’s and Linda Johnson Rice’s family roots and ties to Alabama for the PBS series African American Lives 2.