Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bards & Brews Serving Up Shakespearean Tribute at Central Library, April 1


Birmingham Public Library's popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series returns Friday, April 1, at the Central Library. Music from Suzanne Beaudry starts at 6:30 p.m., poetry performances begin at 7:00 p.m. The event will be an Open Mic night and is sponsored by the law firm of Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, LLC.

There will be a very special tribute to the Bard himself in celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. The tribute was the brainchild of Kimberly West, an attorney at the firm who also teaches classes in Shakespeare and trial law at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Read more about the event at this link: http://ow.ly/105SUa.

As always, Master of Ceremonies Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins will deftly guide both novice and veteran poets through an evening of verse with topics that can include relationships, politics, social justice, and even the best way to get a ticket to see Hamilton. Beer tasting will be available courtesy of Good People Brewing Company and there will be a few samples of mead provided by The J.Clyde.

Admission is free and open to the public. Attendees must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served beer. IDs will be checked at the door.

The festivities start at 6:30 p.m. with live Renaissance music from Suzanne Beaudry, beer tasting and light refreshments. The poetry begins to flow at 7 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.

For more information, call 205-226-3670, e-mail agraham@bham.lib.al.us or visit the Bards & Brews Facebook page or www.bplonline.org/bardsbrews.

Children's Book Review: The War That Saved My Life

The War That Saved My Life
Bradley Brubaker

Ten-year-old Ada has an untreated clubfoot and an abusive mother. The woman is merciless. She berates her for her disability and forces Ada to crawl on the ground instead of learning to walk. She won’t even allow her outside to attend school. Ada is essentially a prisoner. Her family shares a one bedroom apartment in London at the beginning of World War II. The only good thing in her life is her six-year-old brother, Jamie. Their mother allows him to run unsupervised through the streets, forcing Ada so spend the day lonely and worried about him. When Jamie brings home news that the city’s children are being evacuated to the country, their mother resolves to send only Jamie to safety. Resourceful Ada devises a plan to accompany her brother. She is determined to protect him and escape their miserable living situation and the impending war.

Ada’s escape goes off without a hitch, but when 200 of London’s poorest children show up instead of the expected 70, the authorities scramble to place them in the homes of country villagers. Poor Ada and Jamie don’t realize how pathetic they are until they’re the only kids left without a home. Their fate is sealed when a stern city official places them in the home of Susan, who resists vehemently, saying she’s “Not a nice person.” Despite her protestation, she feeds the children, buys them clothes, takes them to the doctor, and even lets Ada learn to ride a horse. It’s almost too good to be true. In fact, she is certain that it is too good to be true. Ada is the only person in the world who doesn’t want the war to end.

This was a great book. It’s a powerful read for young and old alike. There’s so much to gain from every facet of the story. The historical fiction aspect gives readers a glimpse into the lives of the British children who spent the war in strangers’ homes. On top of that, the story is emotionally compelling while managing to be fun. It’s a great opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. Ada is full of spirit, wit, and compassion. Watching her learn to read and ride and love is a pleasure. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all touchy-feely. There’s some action when the war comes to Ada’s doorstep in the form of spies, bombs, and airplanes. The plot is fast-moving and well-crafted with plenty of adventure to satisfy everyone. I highly recommend it for middle grade readers, teenagers, and adults of all ages.

Mollie McFarland
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Monday, March 28, 2016

North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Members of the North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club 
celebrating their fifth anniversary during the February meeting

Julia Horne, a breast cancer survivor, looks forward to attending the monthly meetings of the North Avondale Branch Library Chapter Chatters Book Club.

On February 23, 2011, the book club held its first meeting chatting about The Help and has continued gathering monthly at the North Avondale Library, discussing African American-themed books recommended by its members or chosen from best-seller lists and talk shows.

Lillie Cole, Kingston Neighborhood Association president and a Chapter Chatters member who at age 79 is the club’s mother figure, says the club is “like family,” celebrating birthdays and expressing condolences when members lose loved ones. “We have members from all over. We are a true melting pot of Birmingham,” she said.

Overall, the members have enjoyed making new friends over the past five years. Through these meetings, friendships have been developed and life experiences have been shared all while discussing a variety of literature by talented, new, and exciting authors. Ellarine Stroud enjoys the club so much that she changes her work schedule to attend monthly meetings.

The club’s members are a feisty bunch ranging in age from the early 40s to 79. The members who gather monthly at North Avondale Library come from cities across metro Birmingham—McCalla, Bessemer, Center Point, Forestdale, and Hueytown. Several Birmingham communities are represented, including Penfield Park, Bush Hills, downtown Birmingham, Huffman, Kingston, Powderly, and North Avondale.

Members of The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatterers are: Omelia Bailey, Georgia M. Blair, Lillie Cole, Gwendolyn B. Welch, Claudia Marks, Julia Horne, LaTonya Reynolds Cox, Ellarine Stroud, Linda D. Cox, Dora U. Sims, Bettie Griggs, Veronica S. Gossom, Lucretia Quinn, and Saundra Ross, library branch manager of the North Avondale Library. They include retirees and working members.

In addition to discussing books, North Avondale Chapter Chatters also occasionally holds talks with authors. Best-selling Birmingham author Vanessa Davis Griggs has visited the club, and author Sherelle Green has participated via conference call and sent a gift bag of new book titles to be used as prizes. Tayari Jones, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award winner, was so impressed that she mailed autographed book plates and book marks for each club member.

Chapter Chatters members Linda Cox, Claudia Marks, LaTonya Reynolds-Cox, and Lucretia Quinn said belonging to the club has been a blessing. “We pray together, laugh, cry and support each other,” they all agreed.

Members of the Children's Picture Book Club discussing
their book of the month during their February meeting
Saundra Ross said she looks forward to hearing the lively discussion at the monthly adult Chapter Chatters Book Club. Marie Nash, library assistant, wanted to start a book club for children so she collaborated with Ross to develop the Children's Picture Book Club. In November, the North Avondale library began hosting the Children's Picture Book Club where a group of neighborhood students meet every second Wednesday after school. They discuss books based on the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

Their first book was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. “The children’s book club is a great way to encourage group reading and to get children to practice their analytical skills,” Ross said. “I’m most proud when they read and then express to me what they’ve learned and how this new knowledge relates to them personally.”

The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, March 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Children's Picture Book Club will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, April 13, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. If interested in attending, call Saundra Ross at the library at 205-592-2082.

Chapter Chatters is among at least seven book clubs that meet monthly in five of BPL’s 19 library branches, including two each at both the North Avondale Branch and the Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

BPL Book Clubs 
North Avondale Branch Library
The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club meets the last Wednesday each month at 10:30 a.m. (except November & December). The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or sross@bham.lib.al.us.

The Children's Picture Book Club meets the second Wednesday each month at 3:30 p.m. It is comprised of school-age children. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or sross@bham.lib.al.us.

Powderly Branch Library
The Powderly Library Maturing Minds Book Club meets the third Friday each month at 10:00 a.m. The group enjoys reading both fiction and nonfiction titles. For information, contact Loretta Bitten at 205-925-6178 or lbitten@bham.lib.al.us.

Smithfield Branch Library
Library Learning Adventures meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Yolanda Hardy at 205-324-8428 or yhardy@bham.lib.al.us.

Springville Road Regional Branch Library
The Afterthoughts meet the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion of selected nonfiction work. For titles, contact Kelly at kslaney@bham.lib.al.us or 205-226-4083.

The Reading Roadies meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. They read and discuss fiction titles chosen by the group and welcome all adult and young adult readers. For more information, please contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or kslaney@bham.lib.al.us.

Wylam Branch Library
Wylam Book Group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. Popular fiction and nonfiction books are read and discussed. For more information, contact Jean Shanks at jshanks@bham.lib.al.us or 205-785-0349.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Historic Map for a Historic Visit

In honor of President Obama’s recent and historic visit to Cuba (the first by a sitting president since Calvin Coolidge’s 1928 trip), please enjoy this beautiful map of East Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas from the library’s world class collection of maps and atlases.

Thomas Jefferys, 1794
http://cdm16044.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p4017coll7/id/126

Dating from 1794, this map was the creation of well-known cartographer, Thomas Jefferys and was produced by the London firm of Laurie and Whittle. Occupying offices on London’s famed Fleet Street, Laurie and Whittle were in the business of publishing maps, engravings, and nautical charts from 1794 until well into the 19th century.

Under Spanish rule at the time, this map depicts Cuba’s coastline in great detail. The diagonal lines placed seemingly at random are called rhumb lines and were used to help sailors chart their course. Given these details, we can assume this map was published as a navigational tool that would have been of great use to sailors or explorers.

This is one of many fascinating maps donated to the library by Rucker Agee, a lifelong map collector and enthusiast. The library has also benefited from the donations of fellow collectors John C. Henley, III, James Woordward, and Dr. Charles Ochs. Thanks to their generosity, the Birmingham Public Library houses a truly extraordinary map collection. Please stay tuned as we post more about our maps in anticipation of our upcoming exhibit, Sweet Home: Alabama’s History in Maps. Scheduled to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Alabama’s statehood, this exhibit will tell the story of Alabama from the time of the earliest explorations to the present day.

Mary Beth Newbill
Central Branch
Southern History Department

Be a Shakespearean Actor for an evening!


Drop in to participate in a reading of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing on April 19th
at 5:30pm.

Come when you can, and leave when you must, major parts will be assigned at 5:30, and others at the beginning of each act.

This casual, comedic read-through, in memory of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's death, is sure to be a hoot.

Sitting around a table, we will laugh at and with the antics of Benedick and Beatrice, Hero, Claudio, Don Pedro, and all the others in this play in five acts.

Scripts will be provided, as will a brief historical context. We will start reading at 5:45 and finish up at 7:45, followed by a spoiled ending!


Contact Allie Graham for more information.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Remember, You Are Not Alone—Seeking Help from a Certified Housing Counselor


Most people remember the subprime mortgage crisis that happened from December 2007 through July 2009. Many people lost their homes or ended up with high mortgage payments and did not qualify for refinancing under the stricter loan guidelines. Some may have lost their homes needlessly. There are nonprofit organizations who have certified housing counselors who will work to negotiate a solution with your mortgage holder. This article has two components: introducing you to a certified housing counselor and resources to help you find a counselor.

First, I want to introduce Certified Housing Counselor and Director of the Birmingham Urban League Housing Department, Deborah Spencer. Deborah has 20+ years of experience working as a housing counselor.

Deborah, when should a home owner come to see you?
When they are 30 to 45 days in default of their mortgage.

What are some of the things you can do to help homeowners who are in default on their mortgage or who have had a job loss or layoff?
We try to negotiate with the mortgage company because there are plans for people who have been laid off. We work with the homeowner in default and their mortgage holder to receive one of the following: loan modification, forbearance, foreclose sale, short sale, or a deed in lieu. People who have been laid off can contact Hardest Hit of Alabama to apply for help with their mortgage payments.

What kind of training does a certified housing counselor need to have and who certifies them?
Certified housing counselors are certified by NeighborWorks America which is an organization that receives funding from HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to provide classes and certify housing counselors.

What organizations in Jefferson County provide free housing counseling with certified housing counselors for people facing foreclosure?
Birmingham Urban League, Jefferson County Housing Authority, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham and you can also call United Way at 211 to find foreclosure prevention counseling.

The following is a list of resources to help you understand your situation and the alternatives, please remember that if your house is in foreclosure, you should talk with a certified housing counselor for advice and help.

Books
The Complete Guide to Preventing Foreclosure on Your Home: Legal Secrets to Beat Foreclosure and Protect Your Home Now by Martha Maeda and Maurcia DeLean Houck
Fight foreclosure! : How to Cope with a Mortgage You Can't Pay, Negotiate with Your Bank, and Save Your Home by David Petrovich
Foreclosure Nation: Mortgaging the American Dream by Shari Olefson
How to Use a Short Sale to Stop Home Foreclosure and Protect Your Finances by Robert Irwin
The Mortgage Answer Book: Practical Answers to More Than 150 of Your Mortgage and Loan Questions by John J. Talamo
Save My Home! : 10 Steps to Avoiding Foreclosure by Tom Geller

Websites
The Birmingham Urban League offers foreclosure prevention counseling and new homeowners workshops.

Hardest Hit Alabama will provide mortgage payment help if you have been laid off or had a significant decrease in you income.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham offers monthly foreclosure prevention workshops and individual counseling.

NeighborWorks America manages the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC) and offers NCHEC certification for housing counselors and educators.

RealtyTrac lists the foreclosure rates for all states as of February 2016. This particular link is to the site for Alabama foreclosure rates and lists the top five counties with the highest foreclosure rates in the state. As you can see, Jefferson County is ranked #4 and Shelby County is ranked #3.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a great website for information on housing.

Please share this information; it may be able to save someone from foreclosure.

Maya Jones
West End Branch Library

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Hunt for Scholarships


Recently, my youngest son has applied and been accepted to attend the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. My wife and I are so happy for him as we both are proud alumni of the University of Alabama. We, like many other parents around the state, are on a desperate hunt for scholarships. As the cost of college gets increasingly more expensive, the need for scholarships gets increasingly more important.

My wife and I recently found out that students bound for the University of Alabama are eligible to apply for student loans that only cover about 19% of the total college bill for one year. What, only 19% of the total bill? That’s right. Back in the days when I attended the University of Alabama, students were able to apply and get student loans that covered 100% of the total cost. Nowadays, things have changed. It becomes the burden of working parents to either get a Parent Plus Loan, or to seek out as many scholarships and grants as possible.

The Student Financial Aid resources page serves as a guide to library resources that may be used to help you locate, evaluate, and utilize information about grants, scholarships, and loans. The page is divided into three sections: library catalog subjects, library databases, and websites. The library catalog subjects will lead you to books owned by one or more of the public libraries in Jefferson County. Library databases may be accessed in a public library or from your own computer if you have a valid library card. Internet websites can be accessed from any computer.

Andrei Jones
Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Southern History Book of the Month: The New Southern Living Garden Book: The Ultimate Guide to Gardening

The New Southern Living Garden Book: The Ultimate Guide to Gardening
Ed. by Steve Bender

We’re seeing the well-known signs of spring in Alabama: nesting birds, blooming flowers, roadside fruit and vegetable stands . . . well, it’s still early for curb markets, but something about this time of year makes even notorious plant killers like me a little more optimistic about trying to grow something. If warm spring days make you feel like digging in the dirt while visions of fresh produce dance through your head, try The New Southern Living Garden Book.

Edited by Steve Bender, AKA “The Grumpy Gardener,”  this book is packed with beautiful color plates and detailed instructions about how to plant and care for practically anything that will grow in a Southern garden. But you might ask, “What makes a garden Southern?” As Bender explains in his introduction to the book, it’s not necessarily what you would expect:
Except for blueberries, blackberries, muscadines, elderberries, persimmon, and some nuts, practically nothing we consider a Southern staple is native . . . how, then, can you reconcile a region where people put native and exotic plants on equal footing and eventually consider them both essential parts of our heritage? It has little to do with science. It has a lot to do with style . . . the best Southern gardens express the personalities of their owners. When all is said and done, whether they like it matters more than whether their neighbors do.
This book has something to offer at every experience level. You may have ambitions to landscape with plants that guarantee your property will be blooming all year, or you may just want to grow your own vegetables. You might want to attract birds and butterflies to your yard—or stop attracting wildlife by growing plants that deer hate. The Garden Book addresses all of these matters as well as common questions such as which plants grow best in shaded areas or which plants can stand up to drought. There is an explanation of the South’s planting zones and when it’s safe to assume that winter is really over.

Even if you’re content to leave the gardening to folks with greener thumbs, the Garden Book is entertaining and informative. You’ll recognize plants you’ve seen all your life and never known by name. And since no garden is without its challenges, there’s also a section on common weeds, plant diseases, and the “Sinister Six” of Southern animals that are the bane of gardeners throughout the region. You may want tips on how to keep these creatures out of your yard whether you have a garden or not.

Whether your approach to gardening is decorative or practical, take a look at The New Southern Living Garden Book, which easily accommodates both viewpoints:
Thus, we see that the Southern garden has come full circle. We started off growing crops and raising livestock. Now we’ve returned. Granted, most of us will never live on a farm, but that won’t prevent us from implementing the good lessons our forebears taught us. Be good stewards of the land. Share its bounty. Enjoy its beauty.
Happy gardening!

For more on gardening in the Southeast:
Southern Living: Garden section
Gardens of the Southeast Region
13 Beautiful Botanical Gardens Around the South
5 Vegetables That Grow Well in the Southeast

Mary Anne Elllis
Southern History Department
Central Library

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book Review: 44 Scotland Street

44 Scotland Street
Alexander McCall Smith

If you’ve been a bit at a loss ever since you finished Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City all those years ago, and can’t forget Mma Precious Ramotswe of McCall Smith’s The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency, you are in luck. When Alexander McCall Smith, at a party in Edinburgh, told the editor of The Scotsman that he admired the way Maupin’s Tales first appeared a chapter at a time in the San Francisco paper, the editor offered his paper to McCall Smith. Nearly one thousand chapters and ten books later the characters of the 44 Scotland Street series are still going to Big Lou’s coffee bar in New Town in Edinburgh, and six year old Bertie is still playing the blues on his tenor sax.

Indeed, the many recurring characters are nearly all still there. Not a lot actually happens in 44 Scotland Street, which is, in fact, a real street of beautiful gray stone Georgian townhouses, divided up into flats, where real Edinburghers live. At number 44 a high-minded anthropologist Domenica MacDonald reigns and entertains her friend Angus Lordie, a portrait painter and poet with a gold-toothed dog named Cyril, who joins Angus at The Cumberland Bar (a real bar) and laps up his mug of beer under the table. Little Bertie Pollock downstairs is oppressed by his well-meaning, Melanie Klein-obsessed mother, Irene, who fills up his days with Italian lessons, saxophone lessons, psychotherapy, and yoga. To Bertie’s intense embarrassment she insists that Bertie wear pink overalls to counteract gender stereotyping. Across the hall from Domenica lives Bruce Anderson, a young man so good looking that he can’t pass a mirror without pausing and smiling at himself. And so on. We become involved in these characters' lives the way we do with our own friends and the gossip of their everyday doings. We become virtual long-time residents of lovely New Town and every new chapter is another bit of every day local gossip.

The 44 Scotland Street series is an easy, relaxing read. If you miss something, a whole chapter, or book, for that matter, no biggie. You can pick the story back up again and keep on reading without feeling you’ve missed an important plot point. The wonderful characters will still be there, more or less the same, much like our friends in real life, who mostly stay the same, and who we care for much the same, chapter after chapter, year after year. The real bonus from reading the 44 Scotland Street series is from coming to know the place, bonnie New Town, and the Scots.

Enjoy.

44 Scotland Street series
  1. 44 Scotland Street
  2. Espresso Tales
  3. Love Over Scotland
  4. The World According to Bertie
  5. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones
  6. The Importance of Being Seven
  7. Bertie Plays the Blues
  8. Sunshine on Scotland Street
  9. Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers
David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

BPL Haiku Contest Winners Announced!

There were nearly 200 entries in total in BPL's 2016 Haiku Contest which ran from late February through early March! Winners from across the state submitted haiku which were judged by members of the Southeast chapter of the Haiku Society of America.

Adult winners received copies of The Best of the Best American Poetry while teen winners received Time You Let Me In along with cash prizes.
A booklet of most of the entries may be read online.



The winners were:
Adult Entries Youth Entries

Broken crayons,
She drew new universes
On empty walls
-Urainah Glidewell
And there she lies
Flowers as her tombstone
On the unmarked grave
-Katie W.

slowing Niagara
falls down to
a freeze frame
-Michael Virga 
Lying in the pine
I breathe in the cold, fresh air
It pierces my lips
-Maryn M.

curled up winter
cold wraps around
words on pages
-Ashley Burkett
Gold gliding softly down
Burning and captivating reds
Bare wood spires
-Luis P.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Holocaust Education Center, Central Library to Host "The Story of Holocaust Survivor Dora Nesselroth" on March 22


The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC), on Tuesday, March 22, will present "The Story of Holocaust Survivor Dora Nesselroth," as told by Esther Levy, to close out its March series of Holocaust remembrance programs at the Birmingham Public Library. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Building. The BHEC’s annual Holocaust Speaker Series, featuring local and out-of-town speakers, are free of charge, and began on March 2.

Jim Baggett, head of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Central Library, said the Birmingham Public Library has co-sponsored events with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center each March for more than 10 years, and this month’s programs have been well received.

“We can never allow the Holocaust to slip from memory,” he said. “We're always pleased to play a part in sharing this history and helping our visitors understand the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust."

Rebecca Dobrinski, executive director of the Birmingham Education Resource Center, said the BERC is excited to be partnering with the Birmingham Public Library again this year. “It is so important for us to have such a great venue to be able to share these stories with the community and keep the history and lessons of the Holocaust alive for future generations,” she said.

The BHEC is also hosting other events, including the annual Holocaust in Film series at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. The series features UAB History professor Dr. Andre Millard, who will hold discussions following each film. The film schedule, free of charge, closes out on Sunday, April 3, with a 2:00 p.m. showing of Phoenix.

Miss Iwate Resumes Her Role as Birmingham Public Library Friendship Ambassador

Ashley Hudson meets Miss Iwate

Eight-year-old Ashley Hudson and her big sister Allison, 13, were all smiles as they had a private meeting with Miss Iwate, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Japanese Friendship Doll.

“I think she’s very pretty. I love her fan and umbrella,” said Ashley, a second grader at Birmingham’s Phillips Academy, as she squeezed Miss Iwate’s hand.

After a six-month absence in which she went back to Japan to get a makeover, Miss Iwate is ready to resume her mission as an ambassador of friendship with renewed enthusiasm. She originally came to Birmingham in July 1928 as part of a goodwill doll exchange between the children of Japan and the United States.

BPL will hold two big "welcome home" celebrations for her this weekend. The first will be on Saturday, March 19, at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of the Japan America Society of Alabama's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The second will be on Sunday, March 20, at the Central Library.

All events are free; however "An Evening with Alan Pate and Miss Iwate" requires reservations. Please register in advance at www.bit.ly/1RX03cl or call 205-226-3670.

The Birmingham Public Library is very proud of its role as the caretaker of Miss Iwate, said Angela Fisher Hall, director of the 19-branch system.

“We often share the story of Miss Iwate with visitors to the library who have an interest in our special collections, and many visitors ask for her by name. Before our city had its wonderful Birmingham Museum of Art, our library was the hub for culture and learning. It’s good to have Miss Iwate back home so that she can continue her mission of goodwill.”

Mr. Masaru Aoki of the Yoshitoku Doll Company came to Birmingham and took Miss Iwate back to Japan in September 2015, and her restoration was completed by Yoshitoku in October. From December 24, 2015, to March 6, 2016, she was on display at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in Morioka, Iwate, where she was 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 thought to have been lost in the tsunami; however, she was later recovered.

“Miss Iwate looks fabulous after her makeover, and she’s still aglow from the warm welcome she had back in Iwate Prefecture,” said Haruyo Miyagawa, head of the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the Central Library. “As you can see from these photos, she’s happy to make new friends.”

Learn more about Miss Iwate at http://www.bplonline.org/programs/Iwate.aspx.

Below are details on the Miss Iwate homecoming celebration events taking place this weekend:

Saturday, March 19, 1:30-3 p.m., Garden Center, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Linn-Henley Lecture Hall
Cherry Blossom Festival
A "welcome home" reception will be held for Miss Iwate. 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.

Sunday, March 20, Arrington Auditorium, Linn-Henley Building, Central Library 
2:30-3:30 p.m. – Japanese Tea Party
A tea party will be held in the Arrington 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.
4-5:30 p.m. – Alan Pate Lecture
Alan Scott Pate, of Tampa, a noted expert on Japanese Friendship Dolls, will discuss their history and significance. Japanese–style refreshments will be served. The event is free, but please register in advance at www.bit.ly/1RX03cl.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: Mr. Strangelove: A Biography Of Peter Sellers

Mr. Strangelove: A Biography Of Peter Sellers
Ed Sikov

Very few actors can send me like Peter Sellers. As a kid, he’d break me up with his most famous creation, the bumbling French Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther movies. Later I discovered lesser-known characters that were sometimes even more rewarding. A life with Sellers made me a ready audience for Ed Sikov’s biography. It was already discarded by a local library soon after publication, thus dating Sellers and me in one fell swoop.

I was a well-watched fan by the time this bio came along (about 21 movies, not much compared the complete filmography at the end of the book). But I knew little about Sellers’ life. So the stories here were almost all new to me, and captivating they were, too. I’ve always liked to do impressions and accents, but there are levels, and the level at which Sellers operated was so extreme it sometimes caused him great risk. He impersonated officers in WW2 and later a film insider in order to get a needed audition. A live performance in 1949 got him notice when he did a bizarre characterization of Queen Victoria. As Sikov has it, this exceeded We Are Not Amused and presented Victoria “when she was a lad.” Also a surprise to me was Sellers’ career in the war as a jazz drummer and his many years as a seriously overweight man who utterly transformed his body so he could fit the leading man norm. But the thing that made Sellers a national name was his membership in radio’s Goon Show.

I’ve never really been able to get a handle on the Goons, but that’s the thing about Sellers—you can never tell what’s going to grease your skids, his best-known creations or his least-known. So when I learned from Mr. Strangelove that one I liked a lot—I’m All Right, Jack—was a smash, I thought, “Well here at least I’m in tune with the masses.” The latter Panther movies—not so much. But that’s another thing about the man—no two fan’s likes and who cares and dislikes are going to be remotely alike. He was always mercurial and polarizing, his brilliance a matter of great debate. Back to Jack. For his lead role in it, Sellers beat out Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier to win a British Oscar. His most famous era is the late '50s and early '60s, a brilliant run, when you have The Mouse That Roared, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, and the first Panther movies. It’s mostly because of this stretch that’s he’s known today. Sellers’ brilliance put him there, but he was a man with very little self-esteem, and this would be a big part of his undoing. Painfully remembering how excruciatingly hard it was to Make It, and feeling he couldn’t afford to turn any film offer down lest they disappear for good, he accepted every offer, which inevitably meant he signed onto mediocre and even abysmal films. Sikov well illustrates the dynamics of the man—the mood swings, with dismal crashes and Olympian heights. Manic depression like this is rare, especially coupled with such phenomenal talent, and such useless waste. Time and again, I was reminded of the saying that no one goes into movie acting because they are well-adjusted. That observation becomes especially sad when you read Mr. Strangelove and you realize what a shocking understatement it is when applied to Sellers. This is why it’s so hard to convince the unconverted about why Sellers is worth it—there is a lot of junk in his filmography, but there are also films such as A Day At The Beach where it really is worth it to fast-forward through almost the whole dreary movie just to find an astonishing Sellers small role. Most of the better Panther movies are like this, too—tiresome when Sellers is off screen, energized when he is.

But anyone who’s seen the high marks—the labor leader in I’m All Right, Jack, the three roles in Dr. Strangelove, the Christlike vicar in Heavens Above! (one of the best religious movies I’ve ever seen), the three roles in The Mouse That Roared, Clare Quilty in Lolita, the early Clouseaus and the pinnacle Being There (Chance the Gardener, one of the finest performances by anyone in film history) will almost certainly be an admirer. You do wonder,”How do you get that good?” If Alec Guinness is your hero, how to you equal him? To say that Sellers had an amazing range would be a criminal understatement. Sikov is good at showing us how Sellers did it, and what it cost him. How do you so efface yourself that you can play the role of a street performer right there on the street in London in 1973 and no one recognizes you, the passers-by putting their coins in your hat? (The movie camera was hidden across the street.) And why would you claim contact with a dead person as an explanation of how you can pull off that street performer? There are some plausible answers here. One may be an admission Sellers made, answering an interviewer who asked who the real Sellers was. He said there was no real Sellers.

If you want to know how Peter Sellers got to be perhaps the best-known actor in the world, why he self-destructed and rose again, this book will help you. It’s more than 35 years since his death, and he’s past due for a revival. It’s time to get those DVDs back into print and for all the formats to show him again, failures and all. Sikov shows us why it’s time.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Free Introduction to Grant Writing Workshop to Be Held at Central Library, March 21


If you want to learn the ins and outs of getting a grant, you don’t want to miss Introduction to Grant Writing, a free workshop by Kimberly Richardson taking place on Monday, March 21, at the Central Library. The workshop will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium at the Linn-Henley Research Building.

Richardson is the president and owner of Kimberly Richardson Consulting, LLC, specializing in the provision of federal grant writing, management and technical assistance to municipal, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations in Alabama and nationwide. With over 20 years of grants experience gained from working in the nonprofit and public sectors, Kim has successfully secured funding from every segment of the grant-making community, including government agencies, corporate funders, and foundations.

"Most people think there's something magical about grant writing, but there's really a science to the process,” Richardson said. “Anyone who takes the time to learn the basics will have a much better likelihood of success. After that, you just need to keep writing."

During the Introduction to Grant Writing workshop, Richardson will share quick and insightful methods for successfully developing your grant proposal. Topics will include resources to identify grant opportunities, standard components of a proposal and common mistakes. The workshop is targeted to individuals, representing non-profit organizations, schools, and government or other public agencies. Grants for business start-ups will not be addressed.

Richardson is credited with leveraging her experience to benefit her clients and has secured and successfully managed over $65 million in grant awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace University in Ohio and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. In 2009, she became the first grant writer in the State of Alabama to obtain the Grants Professional Certified (GPC) credential awarded by the Grants Professional Certification Institute, and she is currently the only grant professional in the state holding this distinction.

Richardson recently held a grant writing workshop for a packed audience at the Hoover Public Library. The Central Library workshop is free, but registration in advance is required. Limited spots remained available as of Tuesday, March 15. Register at www.kimrichardsonworkshop.eventbrite.com or by calling (205) 226-3610.

For more information on Kimberly Richardson Consulting, go to www.kimrichardsonconsulting.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, Saturday, March 19


Hazardous household waste will be collected this Saturday from 9:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. (or until capacity is met) at Legion Field-McLendon Park. For more information visit www.AEConline.org/HHW.  If you have questions, email Recycling@AEConline.org or call (205) 322-3126, ext. 102.

The following materials will be collected:
  • Paint, stains, thinner
  • Motor oil
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Batteries
  • Small engines
  • Prescription drugs
  • Ammunition
  • Vegetable oil and grease
  • Paper for shredding

From Page to Stage: Pinocchio — A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Theatre (BCT) and Junior League of Birmingham (JLB), would like to invite you to attend From Page to Stage: Pinocchio — A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of Pinocchio, BPL will be hosting free workshops at several of its area libraries. Children, aged 7 to 12, will learn how stories come alive through the magic of theater. JLB members will coach the children and introduce them to similar literature located in their local library. Each child will receive two free tickets (one child and one adult ticket) to the BCT Pinocchio production in April 2016.

Geppetto is a poor, lonely wood carver wanting nothing more than to have a son of his own. Day after day he whittles a new marionette until, one day, his dreams come true and his marionette, Pinocchio, comes to life! Pinocchio is instructed to go to school but gets easily distracted and finds himself in a lot of trouble. Join us for this classic story full of bright colors and acrobatics about what it is to be family and the true meaning of being a real boy.

Workshop space is limited, so contact your participating library location to register a child for the workshop. Libraries and dates are as follows:

Avondale: Sunday, April 3, 2:30 p.m.
Central: Sunday, April 17, 2:30 p.m.
East Lake: Saturday, April 2, 2:30 p.m.
Five Points West: Sunday, April 3, 2:30 p.m.
Pratt City: Saturday, April 2, 2:30 p.m. – includes visit from Junior League Yummy Truck
Southside: Saturday, April 16, 2:30 p.m.
Springville Road: Sunday, April 17, 2:30 p.m.
West End: Saturday, April 16, 2:30 p.m. – includes visit from Junior League Yummy Truck

Monday, March 14, 2016

Postcards from Miss Iwate #8


前略


Ahh...Relaxing at a hot springs resort...a favorite past time for the Japanese.



草々
Suzuko Iwate

Springville Road Library to Host Celtic/Folk Music Concert by Four Shillings Short, March 15


What: Free concert by Four Shillings Short, a Celtic, folk and world music group.
When: Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Springville Road Library will be hosting a free concert by the popular Celtic/folk and world music group Four Shillings Short. The group is known for its traditional and original songs and instrumentals from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, as well as Indian Ragas, Medieval and Renaissance compositions, and original works. Their sound has been described as “a compelling and inviting musical journey through time and across the seas that is authentic, traditional, spontaneous and as muti-cultural as a U.N. meeting.”

Four Shillings Short was founded in 1985 in the San Francisco Bay area. The group’s name comes from a popular quote in Dubliners by James Joyce, a famous Irish novelist and poet born in Ireland in 1882. Originally formed in 1985 by Aodh Og O’Tuama of Cork Ireland, and Ernest Kinsolving of Phoenix, Arizona, the band’s makeup has changed over the years, featuring many San Francisco area Irish, folk, jazz, and classical musicians.

Since 1995, the current partnership of Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin has been the core of Four Shillings Short. The husband/wife duo tour year-round across the United States and Ireland, building a loyal following of fans. The independent artists have released 12 recordings, perform 2150 concerts a year, and are considered modern-day troubadours, traveling from town to town, staying with friends, and camping along the way. Their CDs are available online through CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/FourShillingsShort.

Holocaust Education Center to Host "My Father, a Partisan from Vilna" at Central Library, March 14


The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC) is to present "My Father, a Partisan from Vilna" on Monday, March 14, 6:00 p.m., at the Central Library. The presentation by James Sedlis is a part of a series of Holocaust remembrance programs the center is hosting during the month of March in partnership with the Birmingham Public Library (BPL).

The BHEC’s annual Holocaust Speaker Series, featuring local and out-of-town speakers, are free of charge, and began on March 2. The last program in the series, also to be held in the Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Building, will be on Tuesday, March 22, at 6:00 p.m., as Esther Levy presents "The Story of Holocaust Survivor Dora Nesselroth."

"We have co-sponsored events with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center each March for more than 10 years, and the staff of the Center has put together another wonderful series for 2016,” said Jim Baggett, head of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Birmingham Public Library. “We can never allow the Holocaust to slip from memory and we're always pleased to play a part in sharing this history and helping our visitors understand the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust."

Rebecca Dobrinski, executive director of the Birmingham Education Resource Center, said the BERC is “excited to be partnering with the Birmingham Public Library again this year—this is something our supporters look forward to every year. This year is special because we have two stories we haven't told before. It is so important for us to have such a great venue to be able to share these stories with the community and keep the history and lessons of the Holocaust alive for future generations."

The BHEC is also hosting other events, including the annual Holocaust in Film series that began Sunday at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. The series features UAB History professor Dr. Andre Millard, who will hold discussions following each film. The film schedule, free of charge, is as follows:
  • Sunday, March 13, 2:00 p.m. - Radical Evil
  • Sunday, April 3, 2:00 p.m. - Phoenix

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Join Us in Celebrating the Return of Miss Iwate, March 19-20


Miss Iwate, the Birmingham Public Library's Japanese Friendship Doll, is returning home with a public celebration weekend on March 19-20, 2016, after getting a makeover in Japan.

The BPL is inviting the public to help welcome her back to the city she has called home for nearly 90 years. Miss Iwate originally came to Birmingham in July 1928 as part of a goodwill doll exchange between the children of Japan and the United States.

Miss Iwate will return to Birmingham on Monday, March 14, ready to resume her mission as an ambassador of friendship with renewed enthusiasm. BPL will hold two big "welcome home" celebrations for her. The first will be on Saturday, March 19, at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as part of the Japan America Society of Alabama's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The second will be on Sunday, March 20, at the Central Library.

All events are free; however "An Evening with Alan Pate and Miss Iwate" requires reservations. For more information, visit bplonline.org or call 205-226-3670.

Mr. Masaru Aoki of the Yoshitoku Doll Company came to Birmingham and took her back to Japan in September 2015, and her restoration was completed by Yoshitoku in October. From December 24, 2015, to March 6, 2016, she was on display at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in Morioka, Iwate, where she was 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 thought to have been lost in the tsunami; however, she was later recovered.

Two "satogaeri" (homecoming) celebrations were held for her on February 2 and February 22, 2016, at two elementary schools in Iwate Prefecture, which own the original American dolls from the 1927 doll exchange.

"I just got back recently from Japan where I attended the February 22 celebration, said Haruyo Miyagawa, head of the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the Central Library. “It was so lovely to see Miss Iwate side by side with a blue-eyed doll for the very first time. And the students were very engaged by this story of how children played a role in trying to bring about peace in a turbulent world."

Below are details on the Miss Iwate homecoming celebration events:

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
2:30-3:30 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.
4:00-5:30 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.

Downton Abbey Tea Party to be held at the Central Library on Saturday, March 12


Birmingham area residents will get a chance to pay tribute to the popular PBS television show Downton Abbey Saturday, March 12, at the Central Library. Downton Abbey Celebration Tea Party will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Research Building.

The festive, elegant event will feature English tea and delicious treats, allow library patrons to discuss their favorite episodes and characters, and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6, said Leslie Deason, librarian at the Central Library. Downton Abbey is a PBS British historical drama that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. The show recently concluded a six-year run.

“We will celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey and say farewell to our favorite British television drama,” Deason said. “Downton Abbey first began in the United States in 2011. The show includes interesting characters, beautiful costumes, and the gorgeous set of Highclere Castle. Outstanding cinematography made the period drama simply beautiful to watch.”

“Costumes are encouraged but not required. Please bring your favorite tea cup and saucer,” Deason said.

Prizes will be awarded to the trivia contest winners, best costume, and most unique tea cup. All ages are welcome. A few limited spots are available for this free tea party. To register, e-mail cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line "Downton Abbey Tea." For more information, call Leslie Deason at (205) 226-3680.

Prime Time Family Reading Time Scheduled for April and May at Five Points West Library


It is almost time for our spring series of family programs known as Prime Time Family Reading Time. In April and May, the Five Points West Regional Branch Library will run a series of family programs. At 6:00 p.m. we will start with a light dinner for 25 families. After dinner, the group will divide into preschool and elementary school groups for storytime. A storyteller and a scholar present the stories and discuss them with the parents and children. The purpose of this program is to engage parents and children by discussing the stories and encouraging the families to take the example of sharing the stories home with them. This is also a way for the families to bond by reading and learning together. Hopefully, this program will encourage the families to become active library users for years to come by showing them the resources the library has to offer.

Prime Time Family Reading Time schedule at Five Points West Library, 6:00 p.m.:
April
Monday, April 11
Tuesday, April 19
Tuesday, April 26

May
Tuesday, May 3
Tuesday, May 10
Tuesday, May 17
Tuesday, May 24

Please call the Youth Department (205) 226-4017 at the Five Points West Library for more information.

Lynn Piper Carpenter
Five Points West Regional Branch Library

SCORE Seminar on Cyber Security for Small Businesses to Be Held at Central Library, March 14


On Monday, March 14, 2016, the Central Library will host a program for small business owners titled "6 Ways to Secure Your Business Data."  The program will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the library’s Linn-Henley Research Building. The program is sponsored by the local chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a nonprofit organization committed to providing mentoring to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The program presenters will be computer specialists from Sawyer Solutions, a local IT services company.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event;jsessionid=70AB1A818D06C1531B7C600ABFE32CC4?llr=qlarezcab&oeidk=a07ec9zob8i2b6a060f.

Starting and operating a small business has always been a challenging undertaking, but adding to that challenge these days is the 21st century problem of cybersecurity. Frequently, small business owners think that, due to the size of their operations, they will not fall victim to the same kind of data hackers and online intruders that threaten big corporations. A recent survey conducted by Nationwide Insurance Company, however, indicated that nearly 65% of small businesses in the United States have experienced a computer information security breach. Still, many small business owners continue to operate under the assumption that they are not a cyber-target and, therefore, do not take the necessary steps to properly secure their IT systems. Unfortunately, the consequences of this oversight can be devastating.

Since forming as an LLC in the Birmingham area in 2011, Sawyer Solutions has provided data security services and consultation to a variety of businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to security concerns, Sawyer Solutions is also engaged in providing its clients with a full range of IT services, including network infrastructure management, hardware and software maintenance, website design, database construction, and data recovery.

Jim Murray
Business, Science and Technology Department
Central Library

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Get Rhythm at East Lake!

From ancient times to present day, drums have played a vital role in every culture. The oldest documented drum comes from 6,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). African tribes used drums as a way to carry complex messages back and forth. “Drum circle” as a term originated in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s as a term for groups of individuals who gather to sit around and play music.


Drum circles have evolved as a way of therapy, meditation, and fellowship - and even alternative therapy for diseases; as with all instruments, cooperation and learning to play as a cohesive unit are essential to good music. Sharing the magic of drumming with us here at the East Lake Branch Library is John Scalici, a drum circle leader based in Birmingham.

Scalici is an award winning teaching artist, author, internationally recognized facilitator, musician, and a member of the John C. Maxwell Team of certified speakers, coaches, and trainers. Though he empowers himself through drumming, his passion lies in empowering others through rhythm.

The event, "Get Rhythm," runs Wednesday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m., and a number of instruments will be provided. Check out the event on the East Lake Branch Facebook page at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/530402740475604/

John's website, Get Rhythm Programs, can be found here.

Be sure to Like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest events and happenings at the East Lake Branch Library - especially as we approach Summer Reading!


Christina Tidmore

Richardson Elected to Lead Library Board for Second Year, City Council Reappoints One and Approves Three New Trustees

At its February 2016 meeting, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) trustee board elected Kimberly Richardson as its president and Georgia Morgan Blair as its vice president. A member of the board since 2013, Richardson will lead the board for a second year. She appointed Gwendolyn R. Amamoo to serve as the board’s parliamentarian—Amamoo is also the board’s immediate past president. Additionally, the Birmingham City Council reappointed Judge John Scott Vowell to a second five-year term and named three new library trustees—Willie S. Davis III, Eunice Johnson Rogers, and James A. Sullivan.

About the Board President and Vice President

Kimberly Richardson is the president and owner of Kimberly Richardson Consulting, LLC, specializing in the provision of federal grant writing, management, and training to municipal, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations. With over 20 years of grants experience gained from working in the nonprofit and public sectors, Kim has successfully secured funding from every segment of the grant-making community, and her portfolio includes projects from Alabama to South Africa. She is credited with leveraging her experience to benefit her clients and has secured and successfully managed over $65 million in grant awards. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace University and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. She is the author of The Official Federal Grants Prep Guide and is the only grant professional in the State of Alabama to be awarded the Grants Professional Certified (GPC) credential awarded by the Grants Professional Certification Institute.

Georgia Morgan Blair is a Miles College graduate and also attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is retired after having worked as a placement interviewer and social worker. Blair has volunteered with organizations including Birmingham Public Schools (Jones Valley PTA, treasurer); Jones Valley Neighborhood Association (secretary); Alabama Literacy Council (volunteer); Jefferson County Progressive Democratic Council, Inc. (secretary and member); Our Lady of Fatima (PTO president and vice president); Our Lady of Fatima (school board member); NAACP, Junior Achievement; and the Miles College Boosters Club. Her professional memberships include Alabama Retired State Employees Association; International Association of Personnel in Employment Security; American Library Association; Southeastern Library Association; Public Library Association; and the Alabama Library Association. Blair is the recipient of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America award for ten years of service, as well as the Junior Achievement award for five years of service. Blair is married to Lewis Blair and is the mother of one son, Gregory L. Blair.

The City Council Reappoints One

The Honorable John Scott Vowell was first appointed as a trustee of the Birmingham Public Library in January 2011. His second appointment will end December 2020. Born in Calhoun County, Alabama, he was educated in the public schools of Anniston, Jacksonville, and Calhoun County, Alabama. Vowell received his BS degree from Auburn University in 1959, and a JD degree from the University of Virginia in 1961. From 2003 until his retirement from the bench in 2013, he served as presiding judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Birmingham. Previous positions have included circuit judge, civil division, Tenth Judicial Circuit (1995-present), and general civil trial practice in Birmingham (1961-1994). He is a member of the American Bar Association, National Conference of State Trial Judges; Alabama State Bar Association; Birmingham Bar Association; Inns of Court, Birmingham Inn (past president); American Judicature Society; American Judges Association; Alabama Pattern Jury Instruction Committee (civil); Alabama Circuit Judges Association (president elect); chairman, Alabama Circuit Judges Judicial Education Committee; fellow, Alabama Law Foundation; and the American Law Institute. John Scott Vowell is married to Cameron McDonald Vowell. They have one son, John Scott Vowell Jr.


The City Council Approves Three New Trustees

Willie Samuel Davis III currently serves as program assistant for Youth Management Information System and event center manager for The Dannon Project, a nonprofit organization located in downtown Birmingham serving youth and adults through multiple outreach programs, including reentry and educational programs. Prior to joining The Dannon Project, Davis worked for Xerox Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama, for nearly 15 years as equipment financial analyst and community involvement coordinator. Currently, he serves as vice chair on the executive board for Community Kitchens of Birmingham and the Exchange Club Family Skills Center Young Leadership Board; and on the junior board for Impact Family Counseling. Davis is a member of Birmingham Museum of Art Junior Patrons, Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals, and a volunteer for New Pilgrim Bread of Life Ministry. Some of Davis’s former board commitments include American Lung Association’s Leadership Board, board of director for Children’s Village, Ronald McDonald House Charities Young Leadership Board, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Leadership Council, and United Way Young Leaders Society. He has received multiple awards and recognition for his continued commitment to the community. Davis exemplifies a passionate spirit towards community improvement and is a proven leader. Davis is the product of the Birmingham School System and is a graduate of Holy Family High School and Talladega College. He is a resident of District 6, a member of New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Titusville, and a devoted uncle to his nieces, Madison and Melanie, and nephew William Drake.

Eunice Johnson Rogers is the daughter of the late Howard Johnson and Odessa P. Johnson. She graduated with honors from Bessemer High School. With a degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University, this Birmingham native was a trailblazer at a time when few African American women could be found in the field, and she was a charter member of the Birmingham, Alabama, chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Eunice worked for nearly 20 years for BellSouth before becoming the CEO of NRS, which was chartered in 1996. She has served on several local, regional, and national committees both professionally and civic based. For 18 years, she was a member of the City of Birmingham Planning Commission where she eventually rose to the office of chairman. Currently serving as the chairman of the board of the Alabama Asset Building Coalition, she is working to promote financial stability for individuals and families. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Upsilon Eta Omega Chapter where she has served as assistant financial secretary and works on several committees. She is a member of the New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church of Eastlake where she serves in various capacities. Her greatest love and gift of church work is teaching Sunday school. She is the proud wife of Bernard Rogers Jr., the mother of two children, Dr. Tamara Rogers and Daniel Rogers, and has two granddaughters. An avid reader, Rogers was first exposed to libraries in elementary school and has continued to vigorously explore the world of books throughout her life.

James A. Sullivan is from the small town of Maplesville, Alabama. He currently works at Alabama Power Company as a senior buyer in the Purchasing Department. In recent years, he became inspired and founded Sullivan’s High Aspiration and MILLEN Forward. He takes great pride in his businesses: High Aspiration, a business in which he specializes in buying, selling, and leasing residential real estate; and MILLEN Forward, a nonprofit that sparks the conversation and action among millennials to identify entrepreneurial ventures in the community and abroad. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a Master of Science in Management from Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama. He has affiliations with the Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals, the Birmingham Change Fund, Associated Investors of Alabama Inc., and he is a member of The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys networking, business mentoring, real estate investing, spending time with family, drawing, and painting.

The Library’s Trustee Board includes:
Kimberly Richardson, President
Georgia Morgan Blair, Vice President
Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Parliamentarian and Immediate Past President
Willie S. Davis, III
Patty Pilkerton
Eunice Johnson Rogers
Dora Sims
James A. Sullivan
Judge John Scott Vowell
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch

Dr. Regina Ammon, President of the Friends (Advisory Board Member)
Angela Fisher Hall, Library Director
Sandra Vick Lee, Deputy Director

Remembering the Holocaust - "Remember Their Voices," March 9


The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC) is to present “A Survivor Speaks” at the Central Library on Wednesday, March 9. The noon presentation by Denise Lewis is a part of a series of Holocaust remembrance programs the center is hosting during the month of March in partnership with the Birmingham Public Library (BPL).

The BHEC’s annual Holocaust Speaker Series, featuring local and out-of-town speakers, are free of charge. The upcoming programs, to be held in the Arrington Auditorium in the Linn-Henley Building, are as follows:
  • Monday, March 14, 6:00 p.m. – Dr. James Sedlis: "My Father, A Partisan from Vilna"
  • Tuesday, March 22, 6:00 p.m. – Esther Levy: "The Story of Holocaust Survivor Dora Nesselroth"
"We have co-sponsored events with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center each March for more than 10 years, and the staff of the Center have put together another wonderful series for 2016,” said Jim Baggett, head of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Birmingham Public Library. “We can never allow the Holocaust to slip from memory and we're always pleased to play a part in sharing this history and helping our visitors understand the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust."

Rebecca Dobrinski, executive director of the Birmingham Education Resource Center, said the BERC is “excited to be partnering with the Birmingham Public Library again this year—this is something our supporters look forward to every year. This year is special because we have two stories we haven't told before. It is so important for us to have such a great venue to be able to share these stories with the community and keep the history and lessons of the Holocaust alive for future generations."

The BHEC is also hosting other events, including the annual Holocaust in Film series that began Sunday at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. The series features UAB History professor Dr. Andre Millard, who will hold discussions following each film. The upcoming film schedule, free of charge, is as follows:
  • Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m. – Radical Evil
  • Sunday, April 3, 2 p.m. – Phoenix

Birmingham Public Library Announces March Dates for Its Popular Coloring for Adults Workshops


The Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s popular Coloring for Adults workshop dates for March have been set. The Springville Road Regional Branch Library will offer Coloring for Adults on Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. The Five Points West Regional Branch Library will host Coloring For Adults on Wednesday, March 9, at 10:30 a.m. Free colored pencils, coloring sheets, crayons, and light refreshments will be provided at both workshops.

Other dates and times at BPL locations in March are as follows:
Thursday, March 17, 1:00 p.m., Springville Road Library
Tuesday, March 22, 5:30 p.m., Central Library, Story Castle, 2nd Floor
Tuesday, March 22, 6:30 p.m., Springville Road Library

Coloring For Adults offers a relaxing activity that has proven popular since its debut in early November, said Leslie Deason, a librarian at the Central Library. Deason said she came up with the idea a year ago after noticing adult coloring gaining popularity among patrons, with coloring books for adults becoming bestsellers on sites like Amazon.com.

“Coloring For Adults serves the mission of our library to serve the public,” Deason said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our patrons to come in, relax and do something creative. It’s been very successful so far. We will continue having additional programs as long as the interest lasts.”

Here is a link to a video AL.com photographer Joe Songer took of a Central Library patron drawing a portrait during a Coloring For Adults program in January 2016:
http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/02/adult_coloring_workshops_at_bi.html#incart_river_home

Monday, March 07, 2016

Neighborhood Libraries Return to Regular Hours Starting March 7


Seven of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system’s branch locations will resume their regular spring and summer hours on Monday, March 7, 2016. Neighborhood libraries including East Ensley, Ensley, Inglenook, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam will maintain this schedule through the first Monday in November. The hours of operation will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., and from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. On Wednesdays, the libraries operate from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. All other BPL locations will maintain their regular schedules.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Fill-A-Bag Book Sale at Central Library, March 6-13



The Friends Bookstore located on the second floor of the Central Library is moving to the first floor near the Information and Circulation desk and will be closed March 14-28 for the move. Visit the bookstore in its current location March 6-13 and  fill a bag for $10. All gift shop items will be 10% off. What better way to help the bookstore than to clear our shelves and fill yours!

Friday, March 04, 2016

Registration Open For April 2016 Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the April 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 April 2016 class schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the April 2016 class schedule can also be sent to us as an attachment.