Monday, February 29, 2016

Children's Book Review: Circus Mirandus (Ages 9-12)

Circus Mirandus
Cassie Beasley

Micah Tuttle is about to lose his best friend and guardian, Grandpa Ephraim, to lung cancer. To make matters worse, his cantankerous Great-Aunt Gertrudis has come to town to tend her brother and she makes Micah miserable. The only bright spot in such a bleak situation is the assurance that Grandpa Ephraim’s stories about a magical circus are true and the circus’s most talented magician owes him a favor. With no time to waste, Micah and his friend Jenny have to locate the Circus Mirandus and make the magician cure his grandfather. Things are never as simple as they seem and setting out to conquer death even more so. Micah and Jenny marvel at the circus’s wonders while they learn that with miracles and magic, you don’t always get what you ask for.

This is a wonderful middle grade reader full of adventure, whimsy, and heart. It’s likely to appeal to both boys and girls, especially those that enjoy a bit of magic. The plot is exciting, if a little sad, and full of longing. While the bulk of the story deals with the reality of loss and death, it balances it nicely with the hope.

Mollie McFarland
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Voter Info for Alabama's March 1 Primary Election

Below are three resources our reference librarians chose to help you find the information you may find useful before you vote tomorrow. 



Voter Guide
BirminghamWatch and Weld For Birmingham, Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, Starnes Publishing, B-Metro, and Kaleidoscope collaborated to offer an interactive, factual, nonpartisan voter guide. It includes candidate profiles, sample ballots, answers about issues, campaign contributor lists, info on where to vote, and more. Good site for biographies of candidates. 

Alabama Votes: The State of Alabama's Official Election Center
Presented by the Secretary of State John H. Merrill, this site covers topics such as voter registration, the dates of the elections, and the voting procedures. There are links to sample ballots and the 2016 voter guide. Good site for sample ballots and voter status. 

League of Women Voters: Alabama Elections
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Good site for information about important issues and where the candidates stand on those issues. 

Central Library to Host Final Small Business Seminar on March 7, 2016


The Birmingham Public Library, in conjunction with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, will host the final Steps to Starting Your Business seminar on March 7, 2016, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminar by contacting Valencia S. Fisher in the Economic Development Office at valencia.fisher@birminghamal.gov or by phoning 205-254-2799.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the local chapter of SCORE. SCORE is a national nonprofit association consisting of volunteers with business skills and experience who want to share their knowledge with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of Americans start and grow their own businesses.

For further information about the seminars or about resources available at the Birmingham Public Library relating to small business development, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshops are Back!

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy

Our first Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop for 2016 will be Nonpopulation Schedules: A Sensible Guide to the Rest of Census, and it will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 10 am in the Arrington Auditorium. You are probably reading the title of the workshop and saying to yourself, “Wait, there are more types of censuses!” The U.S. federal census is the foundation of most genealogical research, but many genealogists overlook nonpopulation schedules as another valuable source of information. This Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop will introduce you to nonpopulation schedules (agricultural census, mortality schedules, social schedules, and even state censuses) and allow you to create a more complete record of your ancestors and the times in which they lived.

Workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us. The class will be held in the Arrington Auditorium (4th floor) of the Linn-Henley building.

Mark your calendars for the rest of the Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshops!
  • Saturday, April 16th@ 10 am, Digital Dixie- Do you have ancestors from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia? In this class, you will discover digital genealogy resources that you never knew existed from these original Southern colonies and learn search strategies to find untapped information and locate your ancestor. 
  • Saturday, July 16th @ 10 am, Let's Talk about It: Oral History- Relatives and family friends are important sources of information. Whom do you want to talk with (everyone) and what do you want to ask (everything). Join us in this introduction to oral history. Learn how to gather information from those who have difficulty remembering or are troubled by the past and reluctant to share it. 
  • Saturday, August 27th @10 am, Jump Into the Gene Pool: Genetics and Your Family History- Discover how genetic research can help you explore your family history. Find out what a gene sample can tell you about what parts of the world your ancestors came from and more. Jump in! 
  • Saturday, October 1st @10 am, Genetic Genealogy Strategies for African American and Native American Research- There is no magic in genetic genealogy and no special tests for African American and Native American research, but there are choices you can make that may enable you to confirm and to go beyond the evidence of the paper trail.

Southern History Department
Central Branch
Birmingham Public Library 

Your Vote, Your Voice

As Black History Month comes to a close, and during this 2016 election year, I’d like to focus on our president, President Barack Obama, and the importance of registering to vote.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a white mother and a black father. Mr. Obama overcame insurmountable odds to become the nation’s first African American president. As commander in chief, Obama has created jobs for thousands, defeated Osama Bin Laden, and implemented a health care plan that provides health care for even the poorest of individuals. President Obama is a shining example of how someone from simple obscurity can rise to hold the highest office in the land. President Obama is our 44th president, and, in my opinion, will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents that has ever served. If you would like to know more about the life of our president, BPL has several adult biographies, juvenile biographies, and DVDs for more in-depth study.

So in the spirit of patriotism and during this election year, please register to vote if you have not done so already. So many individuals have sacrificed so much so that we could have the right to vote. Don’t let this wonderful privilege pass you by. The 2016 Election Day schedule is as follows:

March 1, 2016  – Presidential Preference Primary Election
March 28, 2016 – Primary Election Registration Cutoff
April 12, 2016 – Primary Runoff Election
August 8, 2016  – Municipal Election Registration Cutoff
August 23, 2016 – Municipal Elections
September 19, 2016 – Municipal Runoff Elections
October 4, 2016 – Municipal Runoff Election
October 24, 2016 – General Election Registration Cutoff
November 8, 2016 – General Election

Voter registration forms may be picked up at any BPL location, so do your civic duty, get registered, and go out and vote. See you at the polls.

Andrei Jones
Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Central Library to Host Small Business Legal Strategies Seminar on Thursday, February 25


On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the Central Library will be hosting the SCORE-sponsored small business seminar How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business. The seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, located on the 4th floor of the Linn- Henley Research Library.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=qlarezcab&oeidk=a07ec9rixveb06b329e.

The presenter for the seminar is Josh Andrews, a local Birmingham attorney who specializes in legal issues that are of concern to small business owners and entrepreneurs. A member of the Alabama State Bar since 2008, Mr. Andrews maintains the Legal to English Academy website, an important resource for e-books, webinars, and podcasts aimed at providing answers to business law questions.

Whether you are forming a new business or already running an established business, this seminar will help you develop a plan to protect your assets and investments. For further information, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by phoning 205-226-3691.

On Monday, March 7, the Birmingham Public Library will partner again with SCORE to host the free seminar Steps to Starting Your Business. The monthly series began January 4 and BPL is in discussions with SCORE to add more programs. The seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Topics to be covered in each seminar will include the following:

  • Crafting a vision statement.
  • Identifying sources of funding.
  • Determining the legal structure of your business.
  • Devising a business plan.
  • Investigating sources of business and economic information.

To register, contact Valencia S. Fisher of the City of Birmingham’s Economic Development Office by e-mail at valencia.fisher@birminghamal.gov or by phone at 205-254-2799. For more information about seminars and other resources about small business development available at BPL, contact Jim Murray of Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

BPL Teens Engineer Program to Receive $50,000 Grant from UAB During February 25 Basketball Game

event poster

The BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham, a program of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), will receive a $50,000 grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund grant program during the UAB Blazers men's basketball game Thursday, February 25. The check will be presented on the court to BPL staff during a commercial break. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. at Bartow Arena on the UAB campus.

Lance Simpson, system teen librarian for the Birmingham Public Library, said the grant will help expand the BPL’s teen engineering afterschool program, enabling it to serve more young people in Birmingham. Simpson and Carrie Campbell, grants and special projects librarian, submitted the grant application on behalf of BPL. He said the BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham program is grateful for the UAB Benevolent Fund and UAB employees for supporting their efforts to serve the teens of Birmingham.

“Our teens are very excited, and so are the UAB students with whom we've been working,” Simpson said. “This program will encourage students to push themselves academically, and set them up for great success in future STEM careers.”

The UAB School of Engineering has been partnering with BPL’s Central Library in 2015, coordinating the afterschool engineering program offered for school children in Birmingham, including Phillips Academy. Simpson said UAB’s School of Engineering is providing student mentors to work with the teens participating in the BPL engineering program.

Simpson submitted a video to UAB on December 4 as voting by UAB employees started, sharing the vision and mission of the BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham program. See link to the video here and background on the UAB Benevolent Fund program: https://youtu.be/CUQ6eDwmpgI

The $50,000 from the fund will be used to provide afterschool robotics programs to students at the BPL’s Central, Southside, and Woodlawn libraries during the 2016-17 school year.

Lisa Higginbotham, UAB Benevolent Fund program manager, said in a statement last December UAB is honored to support the BPL Teens Engineer program.

“We appreciate the work BPL does in our community and we look forward to a strong continued working relationship with BPL," Higginbotham said in an e-mail to Simpson.

About 1,500 UAB employees cast their vote for the recipient agency after viewing video presentations from three finalists. The first UAB Community Impact Grant was awarded to Magic City Harvest in December 2014.

“The Community Impact Grant is a unique and engaging opportunity for UAB employees to make their voices heard and make a deep, lasting impact in our community,” Higginbotham said. “For local nonprofits, the significant funding with this grant will allow them to dream big in regard to new programming and efforts to address the challenging community issues of childhood educational success, healthy and active lifestyles, and family economic security.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bards, Brews, & Haiku


Join us for Bards, Brews, & Haiku on March 4 at the Central Library.

Its an open mic event but there will be some haiku poets on hand for the event, including Terri French from Huntsville and Laurence Stacey from Atlanta.

There will be saké tasting along with beer from Band of Brothers. Katie Lott will be performing some musical selections beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Voice Porter will take over the mic at 7:00 p.m. to emcee an evening of poetry and haiku!

Southern History Book of the Month: The Night That Changed Our Lives: The Devil Pushed Me in a Pit but God Pulled Me Out

book cover
The Night That Changed Our Lives: The Devil Pushed Me in a Pit but God Pulled Me Out
Kelly Garner

Two years ago Birmingham was still reeling from the aftermath of a snowfall that would come to be known as “Snowmageddon.” The weather forecast had predicted a light dusting of snow for the Birmingham metro area, with some heavier accumulation to the south of Jefferson County.

The forecast was wrong. Very wrong, much to the dismay of travelers and commuters who were caught in what would be considered a light snowfall in some cities, but in the Deep South our relationship with snow is . . . complicated. In The Night That Changed Our Lives, Kelly Garner shares how his experience with the storm could have ended in disaster for him and his family. Garner, who is diabetic, had been fasting in preparation for a hand surgery and left his home on foot to assist motorists stranded in the storm, figuring that people needed help and he was close to his house so there shouldn’t be a problem. But fasting for the surgery and the effort of pushing automobiles combined to bring on a hypoglycemic episode in which he lost consciousness:
Some have speculated that I simply stumbled and plummeted forty feet off an embankment, hitting my head on the way down the ravine and landing in a dried up creek bed . . . my back happened to find the biggest, flattest boulder in the entire, massive canyon, shattering the vertebrae that made direct contact. With shattered vertebrae, I was nearly paralyzed . . . In this dark, snow-covered ravine, I lay unconscious for more than twelve hours in reportedly eight-degree temperatures all night. It should have been my last.
Once his family realized that Garner was missing, they spread the word on “every possible social media site known to mankind” and a search party located Garner, but locating him was only the beginning of the rescue. He was in pain, suffering from hypothermia, and because of the hypoglycemic episode he had no memory of what had happened the night before. And he still had a long road ahead of him: surgery, rehab, physical therapy, all of which could only partially correct the effects of his injuries. However, the spirit of Garner’s memoir of that night and what followed is one of thankfulness and awareness of blessings:
When I go on my many runs and walks, the route that I take puts me in the exact location of my collapse. I have found myself using this site as a prayer altar. It is a place to reflect on all that has happened . . . it makes me appreciate every little thing I have even more.
After reading The Night That Changed Our Lives, I thought: if I was grumpy about how it took me two and a half hours to drive home that day, I take it all back! This was an inspiring memoir and a reminder that there are heroes among us.

What are your memories of Snowmageddon?

More on Kelly Garner and The Night That Changed Our Lives

Dusting of chaos: The day snow stunned and paralyzed Birmingham

The storm that stuck around: The makings of Alabama's 'Snowpocalypse 2014'”

Alabama’s Snowmageddon 2014 through the eyes of those who are living it

Severe Weather Preparedness

Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Central Library

Monday, February 22, 2016

Registration Open For March 2016 Classes

  Registration is now open for staff and the public for the March 2016 classes.  During this month, we include our popular computer classes, as well as a variety of personal development classes.  All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.

Please note that registration does not necessarily guarantee you a spot in the class. You will receive an email confirming your registration for classes.  You may also call to confirm your registration.

To register for any class, please email us at cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.   You may also download and print a pdf copy of the March 2016 class schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the March 2016 class schedule can also be sent to us as an attachment attachment.

Book Review: Bad Blood: A Memoir

book cover
Bad Blood: A Memoir
By Lorna Sage

Growing up in a “rural slum” in Hanmer, Wales, in the '40s and '50s wouldn’t have been easy for anyone, and Lorna Sage couldn’t begin to fit in. She was socially inept, her family was more than usually dysfunctional, and her grandfather, a priest, had shamed the family with an extramarital affair in the Thirties, and the shame lived on into Lorna’s generation.

Lorna’s family didn’t speak Welsh. They had poor-to-nonexistent social skills. They lived in a dirty environment, but didn’t care too much as there was their dirt and other people’s dirt, the only kind that counted. Her home relied on gas lamps and candles, common in Hanmer at the time. Lorna’s madrassah-like school stressed two things above all, “obedience and knowing things by heart.” The village was characterized by “hierarchy and immobility,” something that Alabamians can recognize.

Lorna’s grandpa, an Anglican priest in the Church of Wales, had his affair with a young woman, shaming the whole village, the Sages in particular. Grandma, who seldom talked to her husband anyway, shut down almost all communication with him after she discovered his cheating. Sage uses her grandfather’s diaries to help her construct a narrative of the scandal. A sample diary entry helps illustrate the nonevent that was most of grandpa’s non-scandal career: “Got up for H[oly] C[ommunion]. No one at HC.” Like Father McKenzie in the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” he was often “writing a sermon for no one to hear.” What did he care? Not a lot, apparently. He had the “bad blood” of the title. When he died, his jaw was fixed shut with a handkerchief in the manner of Marley in A Christmas Carol. After he died, grandma saw his ghost on the stairs. She told Lorna it was the sort of “cheap theatrical trick” she expected of him. This is funny. Much of the book is.

Lorna Sage’s parents were odd ducks too. They caused a small scandal of their own because they dated as teenagers and were observed talking in a parked car. No matter that they were chaste. Such things just weren’t done in Hanmer.

Honestly, just being female was a strike against you in Hanmer, North Wales, a Victorian place (with medieval traces) that had long outlived the Victorian age. So getting pregnant before marriage was not a good career move for Lorna. She thus inherited the bad blood of grandpa that skipped her parents’ generation. Though she got married to her boyfriend when they discovered she was pregnant, the damage was done and the family was made to feel guilty all over again. Sage’s account of the isolated Maternity Ward she was sent to vividly shows the shame foisted on all mothers during this time. Handwashing was forbidden. Bathing was rationed. Makeup was “frowned upon.” Babies were kept in a section of this remote building where mothers weren’t allowed. An unmarried mother was permanently sequestered from everyone else as if she were radioactive. The greatest of these is, apparently, shame.

How did Sage cope with all this bloody narrow-mindedness? By reading, mostly. She maintained a strong intellectual life that sustained her and reminded her that there was a bigger world out there. She didn’t triumph over adversity, she just kept plugging away, getting brainier (if not always more practical or sensible). She gradually came to stand against a culture that marginalized her first for being a woman, and second for trying to educate herself. She finally got into a college (most turned her down because she was a woman, or because she was married, or both). If anyone needs reminding of how tough it could be for women before the modern women’s movement got going, this book is a sobering reminder. The memoir was written by a much older Sage who often bears out her name. It’s impeccably literary but always accessible and rightly unsentimental. Sage doesn’t settle scores. Instead she presents her story with understatement and sly wit, trusting that the oddness of the events and the injustices she endured will come through better that way, and they do.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Four Shillings Short to Perform Free Family Concert at Springville Road Library on March 15

Four Shillings Short at Moonlight on the Mountain, Birmingham, Alabama

Four Shillings Short will perform a concert on Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m., at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library. They will perform traditional and original music from the Celtic lands, medieval and Renaissance Europe, India, and the Americas on over 30 world instruments. The husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland, and Christy Martin from California, have been performing together since 1995. They tour in the US and Ireland, traveling from town to town playing at music festivals, theatres, performing arts centers, folk and historic societies, libraries, museums, and schools.

They have tailored their library concerts, which last from 40 to 90 minutes, to be educational as well as entertaining. During the program they will introduce each instrument, talk about its history, and follow with a demonstration in the form of a song or instrumental piece. The group's main objective is to give people, young and old, an opportunity to experience traditional folk and world music.

For more information on Four Shillings Short visit http://www.4shillingsshort.com/.

Birmingham Public Library Mourns the Death of To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee

photo of Harper Lee
Harper Lee, 1926-2016
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee, a native of Monroeville, Alabama, died on February 19. She was 89.

“Lee’s voice in the literary world will be sorely missed,” said Angela Fisher Hall, director of the Birmingham Public Library.

“The Birmingham Public Library joins fans across the world in mourning the death of author Harper Lee,” Hall said. “She was a true icon in American Literature.”

Lee’s family released a statement to the media confirming her death, saying she died in her sleep early Friday, February 19. Though Lee had a stroke several years ago, she had been in good health despite her age recently. Her death caught family and fans off guard.

“This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century's most beloved authors," Hank Conner, Lee's nephew and a spokesman for the family, said in a statement Friday morning. "We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many good people who touched her life, and a generous soul in our community and our state. We will miss her dearly."

Born Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926, Lee became famous for her 1961 book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The book won accolades for its depiction of racism in a small Alabama town. It featured a young white girl named Scout and her father, lawyer Atticus Finch, who defended a black man accused of a horrible crime.

Published in July 1960 by J.B. Lippincott & Co., To Kill a Mockingbird was both a critical and commercial success, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961. A film adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring Mary Badham as the child hero Scout, was also a big hit upon its release on Christmas Day of 1962.

Her book put Monroeville on the world map, with many Lee fans visiting from across the globe. The town holds theater productions of To Kill a Mockingbird annually. Lee, who preferred life outside the public eye, gained national attention after suffering a stroke in 2007. Last year, HarperCollins published Lee’s long-awaited follow-up to To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, Go Set a Watchman, got mixed reviews, but became an instant best seller.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Miss Iwate Gets a Makeover!

Miss Iwate Gets a Makeover!


Miss Iwate will soon be ready for her “big reveal” after a major makeover in Japan. The lovely lass is 89 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 6.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA), is planning an extraordinary Cherry Blossom Festival for March 2016 around the return of BPL’s friendship doll, Miss Iwate. Miss Iwate, who has called BPL home since 1928, went to Japan in September 2015 for long-awaited restoration work and will return to Birmingham just in time for the festival.

Miss Iwate’s Story
Miss Iwate, a doll made by master Japanese doll makers, came to the United States in 1927 as part of a goodwill effort during a period of growing tension between the United States and Japan. Dr. Sidney Lewis Gulick, an American missionary to Japan, organized an effort to raise funds to send dolls to the children of Japan in an effort to ease tensions. About 12,700 dolls American-made dolls were sent to schools across Japan. These “Friendship Dolls” were quite a sensation among Japanese school children and soon became known as the “blue-eyed dolls”. The Japanese were overwhelmed by this gesture of goodwill. 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.

The people of Japan wanted to reciprocate this generous gift. 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. Each doll was accompanied by a complete Japanese tea set, furniture, shoes, and even a passport.

The 58 Friendship Dolls toured the United States before being given to cultural organizations throughout the country. At that time, Birmingham, like many cities of its size, did not have a large cultural institution in which to place Miss Iwate. The Birmingham Museum of Art did not open until 1951. So Miss Iwate (named for Iwate Prefecture), arrived at BPL in July 1928 to great fanfare. Since then, Miss Iwate has served her mission well. Through the years, she has been put on display to the delight of the area’s children and has facilitated knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture.  Accompanying Miss Iwate were 28 letters written by students from Iwate. The letters have been carefully preserved in BPL’s Archives Department.

The fate of the blue-eyed dolls and the Japanese dolls vary greatly. Many of the blue-eyed dolls were destroyed during World War II when the Ministry of Education made it clear that removing the dolls from the schools and burning them was preferable to keeping them. All but 334 dolls have been lost. The Friendship Dolls, however, fared much better. Because they were placed in cultural institutions the same year they arrived, and probably due to the master craftsmanship, more than 40 have survived.

The Birmingham Public Library has treated Miss Iwate as an honored guest since her arrival. However, over time she has experienced some wear and tear and was in need of restoration work.

Mr. Masaru Aoki of Yoshitoku Doll Company came to Birmingham and took her back to Japan in September of 2015. Her restoration was completed in October. The artisan who oversaw the restoration was the son of the doll maker who made Miss Iwate. Since December 24, 2015, she has been on display at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in Morioka, Iwate where she is accompanied by one of the “blue-eyed dolls” of the 1927 doll exchange. This doll belongs to an elementary school in Rikuzentakata which was hard hit by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. The doll was believed to have been washed away; however, she was later recovered. This same doll was set on fire during World War II but was saved, thanks to the intervention of a teacher. Two "satogaeri" (homecoming) celebrations were held for her on February 2 and February 22, 2016 at two elementary schools in Iwate.

Miss Iwate will return to BPL in mid-March, ready to resume her mission as ambassador of friendship with renewed enthusiasm. BPL will hold two big "welcome home" celebrations for her; the first on March 19 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of  the Japan America Society of Alabama's annual Cherry Blossom Festival, and the second on March 20 at the Birmingham Public Library.

Cherry Blossom Festival. Saturday, March 19, Garden Center, Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG)
1:30 to 3:00 p.m., Linn-Henley Lecture Hall, Garden Center, BBG
A “welcome home” reception will be held for Miss Iwate. Students from Phillips Academy, a K-8 school in the Birmingham City Schools system, will recite original haiku. Students from Highlands Day School, a private school in Birmingham, will sing Japanese children’s songs. Koji and Laurie Arizumi, a husband/wife duo, will perform Japanese music.

Tea Party and Alan Pate Lecture, Sunday, March 20, Arrington Auditorium, Birmingham Public Library
·           2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
A tea party will be held in the Arrigton Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Library. The local chapter of the Urasenke School of Tea will perform a tea ceremony.  Children and adults are encouraged to bring their favorite dolls, action figures, etc. Light refreshments will be served.
·           4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Alan Scott Pate of Tampa, Florida, a noted expert on the Friendship Dolls, will discuss their history and significance. Japanese –style refreshments will be served. The event is free, but please register to attend.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday 100 years ago in 1916

You may be familiar with the social media trend of Throwback Thursday #TBT in which users post pictures of a different era on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms and fondly remember what life was like during that time period. The Southern History Department is adapting Throwback Thursday on its Facebook page and giving you a glimpse into what life was like in Birmingham 100 years ago in 1916. The staff of the Southern History Department have scoured the Birmingham newspapers on microfilm to bring you interesting stories, people, places, and advertisements. Here are just a few of the exciting things that happened already in Birmingham by February 1916.
Florence Hotel
 

Boys' Industrial School


Roebuck Springs


This week, we are highlighting a Birmingham first. Here’s a hint: Eddie Rickenbacker was a World War I ace pilot, but prior to the war, he was famous for what?
Eddie Rickenbacker

Find out by visiting Southern History Department's Facebook page. Then, like The Southern History Department on Facebook, and each Thursday, look for a post with the #TBT and #1916Bham on our Facebook page.  We also post about upcoming genealogy classes and workshops and the newest books added to our collection.  

Southern History Department
Central Branch
Birmingham Public Library

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Central Library to Host Small Business Seminar on February 25

SCORE logo

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the Central Library will be hosting the SCORE-sponsored small business seminar How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business. The seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn- Henley Research Library building. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=qlarezcab&oeidk=a07ec9rixveb06b329e.

The presenter for the seminar is Josh Andrews, a local Birmingham attorney who specializes in legal issues that are of concern to small business owners and entrepreneurs. A member of the Alabama State Bar since 2008, Mr. Andrews maintains the Legal to English Academy website, an important resource for e-books, webinars, and podcasts aimed at providing answers to business law questions.

Whether you are forming a new business or already running an established business, this seminar will help you develop a plan to protect your assets and investments. For further information, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Downton Abbey Celebration Tea Party

You are invited to attend an elegantly English tea at Central Library in the Arrington Auditorium on Saturday, March 12 @ 2:00 to celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey.

 We will have tea, enjoy delicious treats, discuss our favorite episodes, talk about our favorite characters and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6. Costume is encouraged but not required. Please bring your favorite tea cup and saucer.  Prizes will be awarded to the trivia winners, best costume and most unique tea cup.
We hope to see you there dressed in your Downton best!



Please send an email to cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line “Downton Abbey Tea ” to register for this event.

For more information, please contact Leslie Deason @ 205-226-3680 or at ldeason@bham.lib.al.us

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Central Library to Host Local Authors Expo February 20, Author Talk by Todd Gerelds and Free Screening of Woodlawn February 21


What: 2016 Local Authors Expo and Book Fair, free event featuring 100 authors selling their books and two workshops on writing a children’s book and marketing your book
When: Saturday, February 20, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What: Book signing/talk by Todd Gerelds, author of Woodlawn, followed by free showing of the movie Woodlawn
When: Sunday, February 21, 2:15 p.m.

Where: Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama, 35203

Note: All author slots have been filled. Attending the Local Authors Expo is free for the general public, no registration required. For more information, contact David Blake at 205-226-3686 or dblake@bham.lib.al.us. Media requests for interviews should go to Roy L. Williams, director of public relations, at 205-226-3746 and rlwilliams@bham.lib.al.us.

If you are an avid reader or want to learn more about how to publish and market a book, then you don’t want to miss the 2016 Local Authors Expo and Book Fair taking place February 20 at the Central Library.

The 10th annual expo, featuring more than 100 local authors, is the perfect opportunity to discover the abundant writing talents found in metro Birmingham, said David Blake, head of the Fiction Department at the Central Library.

“It is a great chance to find the perfect gift for yourself, family, or friends,” said Blake, coordinator of the Local Authors Expo. “Even the hard-to-shop for person will be thrilled to receive an autographed book that is dedicated to them personally. Come join the fun and shop from topics that range from A to Z.”

The diverse offerings include Irene Latham's young adult novel, Leaving Gee's Bend, which will captivate readers and give them insight into state history, quilting, and poverty that is overcome by creative talents, a less conspicuous form of riches, Blake said. Nick Patterson's Birmingham Foot Soldiers offers true accounts of ordinary citizens who put their personal safety concerns aside to fight for a greater cause during the 1960s civil rights movement in Birmingham.

Football fans will get to meet Alabama native Sherman Williams, a running back who played for the University of Alabama and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Williams will have a table displaying and selling copies of his new book, Crimson Cowboy.

Another former Tide running back, Tony Nathan, who played for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, is profiled in Todd Gerelds’s book, Woodlawn. Besides participating in the Saturday Local Authors Expo, Gerelds will return to the Central Library on Sunday, February 21, at 2:15 p.m., for a book talk/book signing and a free screening of the new movie, Woodlawn, that is based on his book.

General fiction books available at the expo will include inspirational, poetry, historic novels, children’s books, and thrillers. Nonfiction books available for purchase include biographies, memoirs, art instruction, dogs, food, health, aging, medicine, nursing, law, and sports, just to name a few.

“This event offers the perfect venue for all writers, people interested in writing, and people interested in books to mingle, share ideas, and network,” Blake said.

Serious writers who wish to sharpen their craft and learn more about publishing and marketing will want to attend two free presentations open to the general public during the Local Authors Expo. The workshops, to be held in the Richard Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Library, will be as follows:

Saturday, February 2010:30 a.m. 
So You Want to Write a Children’s Book
Panel Discussion featuring moderator Irene Latham, joined by Kerry Madden and Jo S. Kittinger. All three are members of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

1:00 p.m.
The Art of Marketing Your Book, led by Greta King of PDMI Publishing


Click on http://www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors/ to learn more about the 2016 Local Authors Expo.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Black Heritage Expo to Be Held at Central Library, February 13

expo flyer

On Saturday, February 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group (BAAGG) will host its Black Heritage Expo at the Central Library.

At the expo, you can experience black history displays, African dance and music, and workshops on genealogy and how to research your African American ancestry. Various vendors will display their wares. The expo will be in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail info@baagginc.org or check out the group’s website, www.baagginc.org.

BAAGG, founded in 1999, is the oldest African American genealogy organization in Alabama, said John Lanier, parliamentarian and one of its instructors. The group’s purpose is to educate African Americans about their ancestry. He said with assistance, many African Americans can trace their family history back to 1870, when former black slaves and their ancestors were for the first time included in the U.S. Census.

Lanier said BAAGG has been a strong partner with the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) for years, taking advantage of its vast genealogy collection to research African American family history.

A number of readily available sources from 1860 to 1870 may enable you to find and to follow your slave and slaveholder ancestors within that critical period of transition. Knowing the best way to build a bridge to that era and how to utilize and assess its records will greatly increase your chances for success in this research.

“Genealogy, the study of family history, is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States,” said Mary Beth Newbill, head of the Southern History and Government Documents Departments at BPL.

“The Birmingham Public Library has one of the best genealogy collections in the country,” Newbill said. “We love being able to offer classes and resources to patrons from all over the world who visit us and want to explore their family history.”

On February 6, BPL hosted a workshop at the Central Library designed to help African Americans connect to their Alabama slave ancestry as part of its Black History Month activities. The Ties That Bind: Connecting to your Alabama Slave and Slaveholder Ancestors was a part of the Central Library's Beyond the Basics of Genealogy series, which holds several events a year. Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us.

Throughout the month of February, nearly 70 Black History Month programs and activities are being held at many of BPL’s 19 library locations. See a listing online at http://www.bplonline.org/calendar/.

Friday, February 12, 2016

To Boldly Go…

collage of some African American science fiction/fantasy writers mentioned in the blog article
l-r: Charles Chesnutt, Nalo Hopkinson, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due,
David Durham, L.A. Banks, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler

I have always read science fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels. By the time I entered junior high school, I was an avid science fiction and fantasy reader. It was the excitement and possibilities of other worlds and civilizations that grabbed and held my attention. As the title of this article suggests, I didn’t just restrict myself to reading science fiction and fantasy, I watched it as well. I always wondered why there weren’t many black science fiction and fantasy writers and it always made me sad when I would think about it.

Fast forward thirty years...there are now several black science fiction and fantasy authors who have made a name for themselves in these genres. Because it’s Black History Month, I thought this would be a timely topic. Please remember, if we don’t have some of these author’s works in our collection at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), we would be happy to do an Interlibrary Loan and acquire the book for you. Also, please note that these authors are not all African American authors, some are African, African Canadian, African Caribbean, or multiracial.

L.A. Banks (Leslie Esdaile Banks, 1959-2011) authored the popular Vampire Hunters series with heroine Damali Richards. She also wrote the Crimson Moon series featuring werewolf Sasha Trudeau, the Dark Avengers series with vampire Odette, and the Dark and Light series with half-angel/half-human Celeste Jackson. Be sure to read her last novel Shadow Walker, the continuation of the Vampire Hunters series.

Steven Barnes is the author of the Insha’Allah series where Islamic Africans are the masters and Europeans are the slaves. Barnes co-authored the Dream Park series with Larry Niven and the Heorot series with Jerry Pournelle. He has written several standalone science fiction novels. His most current work is not science fiction but is one of the Tennyson Hardwick novels co-authored with his wife, Tananarive Due, and actor Blair Underwood.

Jennifer Marie Brissett is the author of Elysium (2013), which was nominated for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

Maurice Broaddus wrote the Knights of Breton Court series, an urban retelling of King Arthur.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) won the Nebula Award for her novel Parable of the Talents (1999) and short story “Speech Sounds" (1984). She won both Hugo and Nebula Awards for her short story “Bloodchild” (1984 & 1985). She is known for her Patternist series, Xenogenesis series, and Parable series. Her most famous book, Kindred (1979), features Dana, an African American woman, who is transported from 1976 to a time before the Civil War.

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932) is considered by some to have written fantasy when he wrote The Conjure Woman, and Other Conjure Tales. His Uncle Julius, similar to Uncle Remus, told fantastic tales that included magic and conjuring.

Samuel R. Delany is a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for his short story/novelette “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1970). He won Nebula Awards for novels Babel-17 (1966), The Einstein Intersection (1967), and short story “Aye, and Gomorrah” (1968). He published the novel Dhalgren in 1975 to much acclaim and criticism. At more than 800 pages, it was considered a groundbreaking work in science fiction. Delany has also written a series of “sword and sorcery” short story anthologies titled Return to Nevèrÿon, Flight from Nevèrÿon, Tales of Nevèrÿon, and Neveryóna. Nevèrÿon is a civilization populated by people of brown or black skin who are more advanced than the slaves they own who are light skinned with yellow hair.

W.E.B. Dubois (1868-1963) wrote the science fiction short story “The Comet” in 1920. A comet destroys life on earth and seemingly only two people survive: a black man and white woman. Dubois also wrote a short story “Jesus Christ in Texas” where Jesus comes back to a modern-day Waco, Texas, and reminds everyone about his teachings and only the black man seems to understand the reminder.

David Anthony Durham is known for writing historical fiction: Gabriel's Story (2001), Walk Through Darkness (2002), and Pride of Carthage (2005). His recent novels, the Acacia Trilogy: Acacia: The War with the Mein (2007), Acacia: The Other Lands (2009), and Acacia: The Sacred Band (2011), take place in the fantasy land of Acacia where the king has been assassinated and now his children must rule.

Tananarive Due has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award for The Between (1995) and My Soul to Keep (1997). Her African Immortals series, which is about vampires, includes: My Soul to Keep, The Living Blood, Blood Colony, and My Soul to Take. Check out her “zombie” series which includes Devil’s Wake and Domino Falls.

Seressia Glass is author of the urban fantasy Shadowchasers series: Shadow Blade, Shadow Chase, Shadow Fall.

Andrea Hairston won the 2011 James Tiptree, Jr. Award for her novel Redwood and Wildfire.

Nalo Hopkinson is known for her science fiction that takes place in Jamaica and the Caribbean. She has been nominated for the James Tiptree, Jr., Hugo, and Nebula Awards for her novels.

N.K. Jemisin is author of the Inheritance trilogy, Dreamblood series, and Broken Earth trilogy. Her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010) was nominated for the Nebula Award, Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

Karen Lord has written three science fiction novels: The Best of All Possible Worlds, The Galaxy Game, and Indigo.

Brandon Massey usually writes horror or thrillers but some of his work can include elements of science fiction and fantasy.

Walter Mosley is most known for his Easy Rawlins series but he is also a wonderful science fiction and speculative fiction writer. Check out the following books: Blue Light (1998), Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World (2001), The Wave (2005), 47 (2005), and Inside a Silver Box (2016). Also read his short novels in the Crosstown to Oblivion series.

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author who writes science fiction that takes place in Africa. She has written three books for teens: The Shadow Speaker, Zahrah the Windspeaker, and Akata Witch. She is also the author of several science fiction books for adults: Binti, Lagoon, The Book of Phoenix, and Who Fears Death.

Phyllis Alesia Perry’s novel Stigmata (1998) explores the life of Lizzie who inherits a family quilt that allows her to experience the past lives of her enslaved ancestors. Her second novel, A Sunday in June (2003), is a prequel to Stigmata and takes place in Alabama.

George Samuel Schuyler (1895-1977) was a journalist and author best known for the science fiction novel Black No More: Being an Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free, A.D. 1933-1940 (1931) where a procedure is invented that will turn black people white.

Nisi Shawl is a short story writer and has contributed to various science fiction publications. She won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 2008 for her short story anthology Filter House.

I hope this list of authors and their works will interest you in trying a new genre.

Maya Jones
West End Branch Library

Thursday, February 11, 2016

BPL Young Professional Board Member Profile: Latasha Watters


What is your full name, age, and occupation?

Latasha Denise Watters, 30, Customer Service Coordinator at Zyp Bikeshare

Why did you get involved with the Birmingham Public Library Young Professional Board?
I have a background in scholarly publishing and a masters degree in library and information services. I love the library and the smell of books, so I figured why not participate in something that gives me joy.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch of the Birmingham Public Library system?
It would have to be fifty-fifty between the Central Branch and the North Birmingham Branch. I get books from downtown and movies from North Birmingham.

Would you rather read on an e-reader or a book?
I prefer the smell of books and the feel of them. I do have books on my iPad but they are kinda just sitting there at the moment.

What is your favorite website or form of social media.
I use Facebook. A lot.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham?
I've only been back in Birmingham (lived in Tuscaloosa for more than ten years) for a year now.  I don't have a favorite.

What book would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
A Wrinkle in Time by M. L'engle (geez, this is tough...honestly, I'd have a ton of books on an e-reader).

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
Scotland

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Jasper Fforde, J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alan Bradley...I could go on and on.

What is your wish for the city of Birmingham?
Fix these rough streets. I fear for my car every time I drive it.

Online Databases Great for That Last-Minute Project Your Kid Just Told You About

Help! It’s 10:00 on Sunday night and my child has a report due in the morning!

Parents, don’t despair. Although we certainly don’t advocate waiting until the last minute, with a library card and an Internet connection, your child can actually make that deadline.

We’re seeing a lot of folks doing Black History reports this month, but the databases are great sources for all kinds of reference work—including financial, business, automotive repair, genealogy, legal, medical, and social. The Internet is a powerful tool, but there are no laws or rules regulating the content. You might get lucky with a Google search and get to some accurate and current information, but why gamble with your grade? Using the library’s free resources you are guaranteed the information you need will be current, accurate, and (critically important for school papers) citable.

Search databases by subject, audience, name, and accessibility. You’ll be amazed at the types of information available through your virtual library: legal forms, practice tests for school and job certification, biographies, newspaper backfiles, genealogy resources, business plans, encyclopedias, and language instruction, just to name a few.

TIP: If you need images or information for Black History projects, use the African-American Studies Center or African-American History Online. If you need biographical information, you can use Biography in Context. All of these resources are available through the public computers at your libraries, too, if you don’t have Internet access; but if you’re outside a library, you’ll need your library card to log in. As always, if you have questions, please ask our staff for help in accessing the correct information (that is what we do, after all).

The only downside is that your child probably won’t get the recommended daily allowance of sleep that night. Maybe next time they could tell you on Sunday afternoon!

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Postcards from Miss Iwate #7


前略

My “Welcome Home” party at Senmaya Elementary School in Iwate. The school’s “blue-eyed dolls” are with me. Aren’t the kids adorable?

草々
Suzuko Iwate

Andrew Glaze (April 21, 1920 – February 7, 2016)

Alabama poet, playwright, and novelist Andrew Glaze died on Sunday February 7th at the age of 95. The 7th Poet Laureate of Alabama, Glaze was inducted as part of the first class of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, which included Harper Lee and Zora Neale Hurston.
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston

A Birmingham resident, Glaze was the focus of an exhibit, Daze of Glaze, that at the Central Library from November 6th through the end of last year. His work was also featured at the November 2016 Bards, Brews & Haiku.

Survived by his wife and children and a full and diverse body of work, a full posting about Glaze, his work, and decades long career was published last October.

An obituary by the Associated Press is available on al.com.

Allie Graham
Central Library
Arts, Literature, Sports

Monday, February 08, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Inviting Students to Participate in WORD UP! Spoken Word Competition

photo of three WORD UP! 2015 winners
The 2015 WORD UP! winners left to right:
 Trinity Packer, Shades Valley High School (3rd place)
Whitney McWilliams, Alabama School of Fine Arts (2nd place)

Miaya Webster, Alabama School of Fine Arts (1st place)

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is inviting young poets in Jefferson County to participate in WORD UP!, a poetry slam for students enrolled in high schools—or homeschooled—in Jefferson County.

The ninth annual event will be held on Sunday, April 10, at 3:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library. The slam is sponsored by BPL and Real Life Poets, a non-profit creative writing organization based in Birmingham. Students in grades 9 through 12 write and perform an original work of poetry inspired by a theme selected by the WORD UP! planning committee. The theme for WORD UP! 2016 is “Speak Out!”

Visit the WORD UP! webpage for details at http://www.jclc.org/wordup.aspx.

Each participating high school holds a preliminary contest, and the winners from each school compete in the WORD UP! competition. The deadline for schools to sign on to participate is February 19. For more information, call 205-226-3670 or e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us. Each school should designate a staff person, usually a teacher or school librarian, to be the WORD UP! liaison.

The contestants are judged on content and performance by a panel of three judges and compete for cash prizes. The first place winner receives $300, second place $200, and third place $150.

“These young poets put an incredible amount of work into this slam and learn invaluable lessons about public speaking—how to engage an audience, use body language effectively, and stay composed under pressure,” said Haruyo Miyagawa, WORD UP! coordinator and head of the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the Birmingham Public Library. “These skills will really benefit them in future academic and career pursuits.”

Teen poets can up their game by attending free workshops leading up to the slam. The January 30 session will be led by Tina Mozelle Braziel, and the February 27 session will be led by John Paul Taylor. Both sessions will take place from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. in the Story Castle on the second floor of the Central Library. Registration is recommended. For more information, call 205-226-3670 or e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us.

For those students determined to go even further, BPL and Real Life Poets will help sponsor a spoken-word team to compete in next year’s Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Competition, a worldwide standard in spoken word poetry competitions for teens since 1998. Brave New Voices 2013 was held in Chicago, and for the first time in the history of the festival, a small but dedicated group of Birmingham-area teens who called themselves Team #KnowDisclaimer competed and did well enough to go on to the semi-finals, a feat almost unheard of by first time teams.

Students from Birmingham City Schools, Jefferson County Schools, Mountain Brook High, Hewitt-Trussville, Tarrant, and independent schools such as Alabama School of Fine Arts and Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, are among school systems throughout Jefferson County that have been represented in past WORD UP! slams.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Kicks Off New Sessions of 1-2-3 Play with Me on February 9

event poster

Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is providing a special time and place for parents to visit the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with their babies or toddlers. This five-week program involves children birth through age 3 and their parents or caregivers. The library will have age-appropriate toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, BPL will invite special guests from the community to join parents/caregivers each week to answer questions about parenting.

1-2-3 Play with Me emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitates early intervention, and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy. 1-2-3 Play with Me is the signature event for Family Place Libraries and is a community project grant recipient of the Junior League of Birmingham, said Janine Langston, western region coordinator for the Birmingham Public Library.

“So often we see children playing in the library, but Family Place, and especially 1-2-3 Play with Me, makes it okay for parents to play too,” Langston said. “Thanks to interactive and self-selected play, the library is a destination place for many families. It is a place where parents and children feel at ease and can bond and learn together through play. Library programs like 1-2-3 Play with Me provide a positive early learning experience designed to strengthen families and prepare children for school.”

Here are the following BPL locations and dates offering 1-2-3 Play with Me:

Central Library – February 9-March 8 –  every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
Avondale Branch Library – February 10 – March 9 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Branch Library – February 11-March 10 – every Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Five Points West Branch Library – March 22-April 19 – every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
North Birmingham Branch Library – March 23-April 20 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Event to Be Held Friday, February 5, at Central Library

event poster

WHO: Birmingham Public Library
WHAT: Bards & Brews Poetry Performance/Beer Tasting
WHEN: Friday, February 5, 2016, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Central Library, 2100 Park Place
TIME: Music starts at 6:30 p.m. and poetry performances begin at 7:00 p.m.

 Birmingham Public Library's (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series will host an open mic event Friday, February 5, at the Central Library.

Usually held the first Friday of each month, the event will feature free craft beer provided by Sweet Water Brewing Company. The J. Clyde will handle the pouring. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with live music from Susan Lawrence, beer tasting, and light refreshments. The poetry begins to flow at 7:00 p.m. with Brian "Voice Porter" Hawkins serving as host.

The event is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Admission is free and open to the public; however, attendees must be at least 18 to enter and 21 to participate—ID is required.

“Bards & Brews open mics are a great way to unwind at the end of the week with good drinks and good poetry,” said Allie Graham, a librarian in the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the Central Library. “The poetry can be a bit lower-key than at the slams with more diversity in styles and performers. From young first-timers to seasoned professionals, it’s a great way to start the weekend.”

Poets wanting to participate need to sign up beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday or e-mail agraham@bham.lib.al.us. The next event in the series (Bards, Brews & Haiku) will be Friday, March 4, at the Central Library. For more information, call 205-226-3670, e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us, visit the Bards & Brews Facebook page, or go online to www.bplonline.org/bardsbrews.

Downton Abbey Celebration Tea Party

You are invited to attend an elegantly English tea at Central Library in the Arrington Auditorium on Saturday, March 12 @ 2:00 to celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey.

 We will have tea, enjoy delicious treats, discuss our favorite episodes, talk about our favorite characters and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6. Costume is encouraged but not required. Please bring your favorite tea cup and saucer.  Prizes will be awarded to the trivia winners, best costume and most unique tea cup.
We hope to see you there dressed in your Downton best!



Please send an email to cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line “Downton Abbey Tea ” to register for this event.

For more information, please contact Leslie Deason @ 205-226-3680 or at ldeason@bham.lib.al.us

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Birmingham Public Library Locations Hosting Variety of Black History Month Programs and Activities

Our Quilts, Our Souls, Our Heritage is one of the many special events
scheduled during Black History Month at the Birmingham Public Library

There will be plenty of opportunities to learn about African American history at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) during Black History Month in February.

At the West End Branch Library on February 24, Lawson State Community College Adjunct History Professor Gregory Wilson will present The Harton Family: A Photographic Journey, a program highlighting how a student discovered her ancestral family through a Birmingham Public Library exhibit curated by Andrew Nelson in 2012.

The Central Library's Beyond the Basics of Genealogy program on February 6 will present The Ties That Bind: Connecting to your Alabama Slave and Slaveholder Ancestors. On February 19, the Powderly Branch Library will host Healthy Soul Food Cooking with Chef E.

Also on February 19, the Springville Road Regional Branch Library will present Common Threads: Our Quilts, Our Souls, Our Heritage, a 10 a.m. discussion by Phyllis Lawson of her book, Quilt of Souls, followed by a lunch and free heirloom quilt workshop by Gees Bend quilter Marlene Bennett Jones.

Below see a listing by date a variety of black history month programs taking place at several BPL locations throughout February (for other activities not on this list go to www.bplonline.org):

Tuesday, February 2
10:30 a.m. – Celebration of African American History and Culture, Powderly Branch Library. Feature story: A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

3:30 p.m. – MLK Dream Catchers program, Smithfield Branch Library. Objective: Helping children find the inner MLK in them by each child adding a hand to a large dream catcher.

Wednesday, February 3 
10:00 a.m. –  Celebration of African American History and Culture, Smithfield Branch Library. Feature story: A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

4:00 p.m. – Black History Month Art Project, Springville Road Regional Branch Library. Kids and teens are invited to work together to create an awesome photo mosaic in honor of Black History Month. The finished project will be displayed all month in the Children's Department.

Friday, February 5
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American History and Culture, Wylam Branch Library. Feature story: A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

Saturday, February 6
10:00 a.m. – The Ties That Bind: Connecting to Your Alabama Slave and Slaveholder Ancestors, Central Library. A number of readily available sources from 1860 to 1870 may enable you to find and to follow your slave and slaveholder ancestors within that critical period of transition. Knowing the best way to build a bridge to that era and how to utilize and assess its records will greatly increase your chances for success in this research.

Beyond the Genealogy workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department at (205) 226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us.

2:00 p.m. – Movie and popcorn, Five Points West Branch Library. Feature film on African American family about the power of prayer.

Monday, February 8
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, West End Branch Library. Feature story: Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson

4:30-5:30 p.m. – Black History Research Computer Class, Five Points West Regional Branch Library, grades 5-12 only. Registration required at 205-226-4013

4:30 p.m. – African American Poetry Read, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library. All Ages (adults, teens, tweens). Come read original or published African American pieces. Light refreshments.

6:30-7:30 p.m. – African American genealogy program, Avondale Regional Branch Library

Tuesday, February 9
10:30 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Powderly Branch Library. Feature story: Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson

3:30 p.m. – MLK Dream Catchers program, Smithfield Branch Library. Objective: Helping children find the inner MLK in them by each child adding a hand to a large dream catcher.

6:00 p.m. – Family Night Celebration of African American Heritage, Five Points West Regional Branch Library. Embrace African American culture through story, song, dance, and play. “Fanga, Alafia, Ashe Ashe.” Registration is required by calling 205-226-4013

Wednesday, February 10
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Smithfield Branch Library. Feature story: Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson

10:00 a.m. – Join Wylam Branch Library for a game of Black History Jeopardy. Light refreshments will be served.

3:15 p.m. – I was a Civil Rights Kid: An Oral History about Birmingham, Alabama. With Winfield and Elinor Burks, Ensley Branch Library.

3:30 p.m. – Game Day Friday, Black History Trivia, Inglenook Branch Library.

Thursday, February 11
10:30 a.m. – Cinema in Black, Titusville Branch Library. 1963: The Year That Changed Everything: As Told by the People Who Were There. Hosted by Leo Taylor. Snacks will be served.

3 p.m. – Screening of a Black History movie, title to be determined, Woodlawn Branch Library.

Friday, February 12
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Wylam Branch Library. Feature story: Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson.

Saturday, February 13
10:00 a.m. – African American sports movie, Southside Branch Library. This movie shows an aspect of local and national black history which the Birmingham and baseball community will appreciate.

10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Birmingham African American Genealogy Group (BAAGG) Black Heritage Expo, Central Library. At the expo, you can experience black history displays, African dance, music, youth in genealogy, and various vendors. The expo will be in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley building. For more information, contact Birmingham African American Genealogy Group at baagginc@gmail.com.

Monday, February 15
3:30 p.m. – African American Reading Circle, Titusville Branch Library. Celebrate African American literature by reading aloud your favorite books, poems, and stories. Refreshments will be served.

5:45 p.m. – Monday Night African American Movie Night for Adults. Light refreshments. North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

Tuesday, February 16
10:30 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Powderly Branch Library. Feature story: Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson

3:30 p.m. – MLK Dream Catchers program, Smithfield Branch Library. Objective: Helping children find the inner MLK in them by each child adding a hand to a large dream catcher.

3:30 p.m. – Young Leadership Tuesday – Feature on Black History-themed book, Inglenook Branch Library.

Wednesday, February 17
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Smithfield Branch Library. Feature story: Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson

10:30 a.m.-noon – Active Living @ Your Library, Five Points West Regional Branch Library. Participants will test their knowledge in a game of Black History Jeopardy

11:00 a.m. – Wylam Book Group discussion of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. Through the story of 15-year-old Hattie Shepherd, Mathis tells of the struggles of African Americans who chose to move from the rural South to the industrial North looking for better lives. This period of American history is called The Great Migration. The book is an Oprah 2.0 Book Club selection, a New York Times Notable Book, an NPR Best Book of the Year, and a Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year. Light lunch will be served. Call the library if you would like a copy of the book reserved for you.

4:00 p.m. – Art Attack for Kids - A lesson in Pointillism, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library. Patrons create art exposing important people and places in African American history.

4:00 p.m. – Let Freedom Ring storytime, feature stories about the heroes of African American history, Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

4:00 p.m. – African American Inventors - hands-on learning tool allowing students to experiment with notable inventions by African Americans, Springville Road Regional Branch Library. Children in elementary schools are invited to learn about and make crafts based on contributions made by African American inventors.

Friday, February 19
10:00 a.m. – Healthy Soul Food Cooking with Chef E, Powderly Branch Library. Registration required: Call 205-925-6178.

10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Our Quilts, Our Souls, Our Heritage, an heirloom quilt workshop by Marlene Bennett Jones, Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Wylam Branch Library. Feature story: Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson.

1:30 p.m. – The Day George Crum Invented Potato Chips, North Avondale Branch Library. Learn about George Crum’s 1853 invention while he was head chef at the Cary Moon’s Lake House in Lake Saratoga, N.Y. This biographical, fun, fact-filled discussion is for school-age children.

3:30 p.m. – Black History movie showing of historical African American film, Inglenook Branch Library.

Saturday, February 20
2:00-4:00 p.m. – Join Five Points West Regional Branch Library for a live concert featuring S.M.I.T.H. Entertainment playing some of the great hits by African American recording artists.

Sunday, February 21
3:00 p.m. – Sunday Matinee with popcorn at Five Points West Regional Branch Library featuring the 2015 live adaption of the 1975 Broadway musical featuring Dorothy, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man.

Monday, February 22
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, West End Branch Library. Featuring African American folk and fairy tales.

3:30 p.m. – African American Teen Trivia Challenge, Titusville Branch Library.

3:30 p.m. – Guess Who Invented These Great Inventions? Scavenger Hunt, North Avondale Branch Library. Lonnie Johnson is best known for inventing the Super Soaker toy water gun. Have fun learning about great inventors and their inventions while participating in this scavenger hunt. All ages.

6:00 p.m. – Got to Dance African Jazz!, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library. Patrons of all ages are invited to dance and learn a new African jazz routine.

Tuesday, February 23
10:30 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Powderly Branch Library. Featuring African American folk and fairy tales.

3:30 p.m. – Young Leadership Tuesday, featuring Black History-themed book, Inglenook Branch Library.

Wednesday, February 24
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American History and Culture, Smithfield Library. African American folk and fairy tales.

10:30 a.m. – Active Living @ Your Library, Five Points West Regional Branch Library. Participants enjoy popcorn and a 2015 American thriller film starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut.

3:15 p.m. – Movie and Popcorn, Woodlawn Branch Library. Feature film about the historical events in Selma, Alabama.

3:15 p.m. – Movie and Popcorn, Powderly Branch Library. Feature film about the historical events in Selma, Alabama.

3:30 p.m. – Harton Family: A Photographic Journey, West End Branch Library. This presentation by Gregory Wilson, adjunct history instructor at Lawson State Community College, highlights a former student of his Afro-History class, Sherriell Poole. Poole discovered her ancestral family in a photograph that was part of a Birmingham Public Library exhibit curated by Andrew Nelson in 2012. Titled Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1910-1935), the collection of photographs represented more than 850 glass plate negatives that offered a visual record of everyday life in rural Alabama preserved in the BPL Archives. The Shackelford photographs offer a rarely seen depiction of an African American family taken around 1910 or earlier.

Thursday, February 25
1:30 p.m.  – African American Storytelling: “Goin' Someplace Special,” North Avondale Branch Library. Travel back in time to a southern town during the 1950s to learn about a young girl’s struggle to visit a place where all are welcome. For young school-aged children.

Friday, February 26
10:00 a.m. – Celebration of African American history and culture through literature, song, dance, and play, Wylam Branch Library. Featuring African American folk and fairy tales.

Monday, February 29
4:00 p.m. – Wenonah High School Choir Presents Negro Spirituals, Powderly Branch Library.

6:00 p.m. – Reception and program recognizing Black History, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library.

All Month Long Activities
Black History Month Trivia – During the month of February, test your knowledge of Black History by answering the weekly questions on the activity board in the Five Points West Regional Branch Library Youth Department. Participants may enter their name into a weekly drawing for prizes.

Children will create characters calling for unity of all people worldwide for the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library’s children's bulletin board that will be displayed throughout the month of February.

Black History puzzle sheets for North Birmingham Regional Branch Library’s Teen Brain-Tease Trivia contest all month long. Children are invited to work on a special Black History word sheet for prizes.

Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt, available for participants in the Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

A Black History Month Scavenger Hunt at East Lake Branch Library.

Visit http://www.bplonline.org/locations/ for information on Birmingham Public Library locations.

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