Friday, September 22, 2017

Best Sellers Club Revisions

In order to keep the Best Sellers Club relevant and up-to-date, some authors are being dropped from the list. Some of the authors being removed are deceased, and some are either no longer publishing new fiction books in hardcover or do not publish frequently enough.

Authors Added
Jeffrey Archer
C. J. Box
Dan Brown
Lee Child
Laura Childs
Nelson DeMille
Heather Graham
Kristin Hannah
Elin Hilderbrand
Susan Mallery
Jo Nesbo
Thomas Perry
Lynsay Sands
Daniel Silva
Authors Removed
Maeve Binchy
Lilian Jackson Braun
Pearl Cleage
Jackie Collins
Martha Grimes
E. Lynn Harris
Donna Hill
R. M. Johnson
Stuart Kaminsky
Tim LaHaye
Elmore Leonard
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
John Saul

But what exactly is the club all about?
The Best Sellers Club is the easiest way to get the latest releases from your favorite fiction authors. We automatically place reserves for you and let you know when the new title is ready for pickup. It's just that simple!

So how do you join the Best Sellers Club or add/change your favorite author list?
You can fill out a new Best Sellers Club form at your favorite Birmingham Public Library location, or join online at Email additions/changes to

See? Quick and easy! No wonder the Best Sellers Club has been a favorite of Birmingham residents for over 17 years!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Archives Department Closed to the Public September 25-October 9, 2017

Due to maintenance on the heating and air system, the Birmingham Public Library Archives and Manuscripts Department will be closed to the public September 25-October 9, 2017.

We recommend checking the BPL website after October 9 to be sure the work has been completed on schedule.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Exercise Your Brain

by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library

Exercise is good for the body, so it makes sense that exercise would be good for the brain too. Research suggests that challenging your brain with puzzles may help to improve and maintain brain health. In the Avondale Library Adult Department, we’ve set up “Exercise Your Brain” stations with free, fun puzzles to give your brain a workout. Drop by anytime—new puzzles are added weekly. It’s just another way that visiting the library is good for your brain!

Titusville Library Knitting Group

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library

In a world in which technology is so prevalent, it’s important to participate in activities that engage your mind without the use of electronics. Taking up a craft is an excellent way to pass the time, while creating something that yourself or others can use or appreciate. That’s why the knitting/crocheting group meets at the Titusville Library every Thursday afternoon at 3:30. Anyone is welcome to attend, but you’ll need to bring your own supplies. If you’re brand-new to knitting or crocheting, our experienced group members can recommend which supplies are best. They’re passionate about their favorite hobby, and would love the opportunity to connect with other individuals who have an interest in this area. All ages are welcome to attend these meetings, and all skill levels from beginners to seasoned crafters are encouraged to participate. Come join the fun!

Southern History Book of the Month: In the Path of the Storms: Bayou La Batre, Coden, and the Alabama Coast

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

In the Path of the Storms: Bayou La Batre, Coden, and the Alabama Coast
Frye Gaillard, Sheila Hagler, and Peggy Denniston

After several years of relatively tranquil weather during hurricane season, Harvey and Irma have served as brutal reminders of what an active season can do to our coastal areas and islands. In the Path of the Storms is a look at the devastation along the Alabama coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and focuses on the communities of Coden and Bayou La Batre.

Famous for its annual “Blessing of the Fleet,” Bayou La Batre has had plenty of hard experience with storms; nevertheless, Katrina took a heavy toll on the residents:
In the warm, open waters, it [Katrina] reached the status of a Category 5, sending a massive storm swell surging toward the coast. On August 29, 2005, the water came ashore in Bayou La Batre, and in the lore of that place, there were suddenly new stories of terror and survival. Sophol and Chandra Ngam remembered the steady rise of the flood, filling their houses, and still it wouldn’t stop. They waded ashore as the water kept coming, and kept getting deeper, and they knew that soon they would have to swim. But they didn’t know how, and neither did most of their seven children. They began to call out, “No can swim! No can swim!” and finally Ralph Harbison, a neighbor and volunteer fireman, appeared with a boat and carried them to safety.
The nearby community of Coden was likewise devastated, with flood waters forcing the residents from their homes. As a high school student, Coden resident Amber Hill wrote a haunting description of life in the aftermath of a natural disaster:
There was no running water, no gas, no power, and no way of keeping cool . . . My parents and I could not bathe and there was nothing to eat. We nearly starved . . . but food wasn’t our only concern. We had no place to call home anymore. Instead, we were forced to sleep in our old home where mold had begun to grow on the walls. Toward the end of the second week, I couldn’t hold back the tears.
It came as a big surprise to me to find out that Coden and the Bayou have large Asian communities, especially Vietnamese and numerous Cambodians who fled the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge in their native country. Catastrophe is nothing new to them. Koan Ang, a teacher’s aide in the Mobile County school system, recollects that she and her family escaped from Cambodia when her daughter was only fifteen days old, and that affects her response to life after Katrina:
Some still live in FEMA trailers, even after all this time. But I feel we will still keep going and build back this place. In Cambodia, I lost forty-two people in my family during the war. It was a true killing field—forty-two killed in one night. My sister, brother, nephew, all killed in one night. I was in the hospital. I could not control myself. I had lost too much for one time, and it broke my nerves. But I am fine right now.
What problems we have now, we have to compare them to that.
In the Path of the Storms is a sobering reminder of how quickly lives can be changed—or wiped out altogether—but it’s also a testament to courage and the spirit of communities that pick up the pieces and go on.

For further information:
Bayou La Batre and the Blessing of the Fleet
Bayou La Batre: Stories of a Seafood Town
Coden and Bayou La Batre after Katrina
Hurricane Safety Resources
“Remarkable” 2017 Hurricane Season

Friday, September 15, 2017

Television Shows Based on Books

Three of my absolute favorite television shows are based on books. When it comes to movies, I have found that reading the book first tends to ruin the movie for me.  The books provide a much greater amount of detail and are better able to flesh out the characters and the story. Reading the book also allows you to picture all of the characters in your mind.  Two specific films I remember being disappointed with were The Firm (John Grisham) and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice).  Simply because of the length of the movies, it was necessary for them to exclude a lot of the details from the books and I didn’t envision Tom Cruise in the lead role in either.  Consequently, or perhaps due to laziness, I have not read the books that these television series are based on.

Shooter (Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter) – USA Network

Point of Impact by Stephen HunterRyan Phillipe stars as Bob Lee Swagger, a marine sniper who is adapting to civilian life in the States after serving for many years.  He is contacted by his former commanding officer, now a Secret Service agent, who seeks his help after learning that there is a plot to assassinate the President.  As a patriot and expert sniper, Swagger agrees to assist in thwarting the assassination attempt, only to discover that he is being set up to take the fall.  The show unfolds as Bob Lee, now a fugitive, seeks to protect his family, find the real shooter, and clear his name.  The book was also adapted into a film starring Mark Wahlberg. 

13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher) – Netflix

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherHigh-school student, Clay Jensen, receives a box of cassettes recorded by his classmate Hannah Baker, who recently committed suicide.  The cassettes reveal the series of events that lead up to her death.  Clay discovers that many of his classmates who are mentioned on the tapes have already listened to them and are paranoid about what he will do with the information.  The sensitivity of the topic and the quality of the acting make for stunning, powerful, and eye-opening television.  Despite the disturbing nature of the events that unfold, you can’t wait to watch the next episode.  I must admit that I did have to pause one episode to regroup before I could continue.   

Bosch (Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly) – Amazon Prime

The Harry Bosch Novels by Michael ConnellyHarry Bosch, played by Titus Welliver, is a Los Angeles homicide detective who has a reputation for going the “extra mile” to solve cases.  This gains him the respect of his fellow police officers, but often lands him in court on charges of excessive force.  Bosch, the son of a prostitute, has spent most of his police career searching for her killer.  His experience growing up as an orphan along with the time he spent in Special Forces in Vietnam has shaped him into the tough, complex, justice-seeking police officer he has become.  Throw in his love of jazz, his teenage daughter, and his ex-wife (former FBI profiler and professional poker player) and this is so much more than a typical cop show.  The cases are intense, the characters are three-dimensional, and the jazz is exquisite.

Event on Comforting Families after Tragedies to Be Held September 23 Next to West End Library

What: Inspire Birmingham – Comforting and Encouraging Your Family Featuring Minister Charlie L. Holley
When: Saturday, September 23, 10:00 a.m.-2:00  p.m.
Where: 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW in lot between West End Branch Library and Cahaba Health Clinic
Details: Join us for an informative and entertaining presentation geared towards families. Family members will be taught how to comfort and encourage each other. Charlie L. Holley’s books will be for sale at a discounted rate of $5.

A Birmingham couple who lost their 13-year-old son from a heart condition will be hosting an event designed to help families cope with tragedy and hard times on Saturday, September 23, 2017, next to the West End Branch Library.

Inspire Birmingham – Comforting and Encouraging Your Family Featuring Minister Charlie L. Holley will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00  p.m at 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW in a lot between the West End Library and Cahaba Health Clinic. During this informative presentation, family members will be taught how to comfort and encourage each other in times of trial.

Inspire Birmingham is being sponsored by Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson and Alabama State Rep. John Rogers Jr. of Birmingham. The event is being organized by CL Holley Ministries Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Charlie and his wife, Cassandra Holley, four years after the tragic death of their 13-year-old son Torrell. While on his last day of basketball tryouts at school, Torrell suddenly collapsed from cardiac arrest and died moments later. The autopsy attributed the collapse to a rare heart condition called ARVD.

Though strong Christians, the couple and Torrell’s younger sister, Kiana, went through very difficult times. They experienced depression and anger, and doubted their faith. As they struggled to find some sense of peace and understanding, Charlie and Cassandra Holley began to notice others around them were also struggling with their own life-altering issues.

Charlie Holley began to write as a way of expressing his struggles and to help others. His first book, When Flowers Fade: Finding Hope After the Death of a Loved One, was chosen for review by a publisher and is currently being re-written. Holley has since written four more books: Forgiveness: Walk Me Through It, The God of My Midnights, Whispers From My Father, and Daily Inspirations From the Scriptures.

Holley’s books will be available for sale at a discounted rate of $5 during the event. Read more about Holley at

Charlie and Cassandra Holley have found their purpose in life: to let others know there is life after tragedies. The couple has spoken before several organizations including churches, hospice, friends, and families who have lost loved ones to homicide.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Central Library to Host Informational Sessions on Miles College’s New Online Course Offerings

by Jim Murray, Business, Science and Technology Department

Representatives from Miles College will be presenting informational sessions regarding the college’s new online course offerings at the Central Library on three dates in September 2017. Topics to be covered in the sessions include the application process, course offerings, credit hours, tuition rates and fees, and financial aid.

What: Informational Sessions about new online course offerings at Miles College
When: Monday, September 18, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor

Miles began offering online programs in the summer 2017 term and programs will continue to be offered in subsequent terms. Currently, online classes are offered in the following subject areas: English, Accounting, Management, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Business Administration, and Computer and Information Sciences. The online offerings will provide students with greater convenience and flexibility in pursuing their studies by giving them the opportunity to complete course requirements at their own pace. Interested students can apply online through or call 205-929-1851 for further information.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Lady V’s Crochet Group at Ensley Library

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

On any given day at the Ensley Branch Library, we interact with patrons in a way that goes far deeper than books. Some of our patrons are regulars who come in and share life’s experiences and struggles, while some are more reserved and their communications linger just on the surface. So we thought that it would be helpful and therapeutic for our patrons to have the opportunity to come into the library, where crocheting is the focal point, and connect with others who may be feeling or experiencing some of the same things or different ones at that moment in their lives.

Many of our people in our community are living and coping with difficult situations and we can only hope that coming and talking with others will provide some relief from the day-to-day issues of life. We anticipate that our members will appreciate the great aspects of group crocheting, such as teaching and learning together in the community and accessing deeper levels of friendship among one another. We also hope that, in one way or another, this group will inspire and encourage each other to make it through life’s challenges while crocheting a hat or two.

The crochet group is geared towards beginners and all are welcome. We will meet on Tuesday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and refreshments will be provided. The first class is scheduled to begin on September 19, 2017. We hope to see you there!

Free Chinese Language and Culture Classes Begin September 11 at Central Library

What: Chinese Language & Culture classes
When: Bi-weekly Mondays September 11-December 11, 2017
Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Youth Department, Story Castle
Details: Free and open to all middle schoolers

Hey, Birmingham area middle schoolers. Want to learn about Chinese language and culture? Then take advantage of free bi-weekly afterschool classes being offered from September through December 2017 at the Central Library in downtown Birmingham.

The classes are being taught by Shuyin Rao of the Confucious Institute at Alabama A&M University, who is also an instructor at Shanghai Eastern Normal University. In addition to learning about Chinese language and culture, participants will learn various Chinese crafts, said Jiemin Fan, head of the Central Library’s Information Circulation Department.

The class schedule is as follows (Mondays from 3:45-4:30 p.m.):
September 11
September 25
October 9
October 23
November 13
November 27
December 11

For more information about the classes, call Youth Department head Vincent Solfronk at 205-226-3651.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Crash Course in Family History

Family Tree
Researching your family history is one of the fast growing hobbies in the United States, and DNA testing has opened new avenues of research. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone to help you get started in research your family history? The answer is the Southern History Department, who has one of the best genealogy collections in the United States.

This September, the Southern History Department is offering a “crash course” covering everything from, genetic DNA testing, and other genealogy databases to get you started in genealogical research.

Introduction to Genealogy- Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. No registration required.

  • Monday, September 11th, 10-11 am, Vestavia Hills Library 
  • Tuesday, September 12th, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Southern History Department, 1st floor, Linn-Henley building 
  • Sunday, September 24th, 2:30-3:30 pm, Southern History Department, 1st floor, Linn-Henley building 
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. No registration required.

  • Thursday, September 14th, 10-11 am, Birmingham Public Library, Powderly Branch 
The Bases Are Loaded! Genealogical Research with BPL’s Databases- Don’t be left sitting in the dugout. Make use of all our resources in your game plan for family history research. Learn how to locate BPL’s databases and discover the wealth of genealogical information they have to offer. Let us help you knock one out of the park. To register, call the Computer Commons at 205-226-3680 or online.

  • Tuesday, September 19th, 10:30-11:30 am, Computer Lab, 4th floor, Linn-Henley building Library Edition- Participants will be introduced to the Library Edition database in which you can research your family history as well as learn how to search this database to locate your ancestors. You can register online, call us at 205-226-3665, or e-mail us at

  • Saturday, September 23rd, 10-11:30 am, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor, Linn-Henley building 
Have questions or want to register for one of these classes? Contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or e-mail us at  See you soon!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Bards & Brews: Spotlight on Poet Tomika Glenn

Tomika Glenn is a poet who performs music and spoken word poetry under the pseudonym Blaque Diamond. She is a Cleveland, Ohio native and regularly performs at Bards & Brews as well as other spoken word poetry events around Birmingham.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed your poetry in front of a crowd?

It was around 2006 and I was still in Cleveland and I was terrified. I don't remember much about the crowd only that it made me feel like Cleveland wasn't the place for me as a poet. After that I stopped performing for a few years. I didn't perform again until 2011, right before I moved to Birmingham and that experience was about the same.

Who are some of the poets or writers that have had the most impact on you?

Definitely people I've met along the way. They're not "famous" but they're awesome at what they do.

What art or artists (in any medium) are you most interested right now?

I'm reading a lot of blogs Negus Who Read, Very Smart Brothas, Truly Tafakari are just a few. Michael Harriot makes reading enjoyable no matter the topic. I'm loving Aminè! He's definitely making rap fun again. I love music! I listen to all music genres. It just depends on what I'm in the mood for.

Which of you poem's has had an unexpected reaction by an audience?

I have a poem called 'Every 28 Hours' about the unarmed killing of black boys and men by police in America that I performed at Bards once and many in the audience and myself were in tears. We had to take a break before the next poet. Emotions were high that night. I love when my words make people think and feel.

Do you have an ask of the readers of this interview?

Support local artists and support Bards & Brews. The poetry community wouldn't be the same without it.

Do you have anything you would like to promote?

My album Blaque Diamond, Be You, is available for purchase. I'm on all music sharing sites.

Book Review: In Search of Lost Time: Time Regained

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

In Search of Lost Time: Time Regained
Marcel Proust

For those of us who have begun our third act, time is a mystery. We are no longer the same person we were when we were young. Places change beyond recognition. Everyday devices we took for granted, like rotary phones, have disappeared altogether. Over the years, the great bulk of the past grows ever larger, yet becomes less vivid in our minds.

Time Regained, the last volume of In Search of Lost Time, was, largely, written at the same time as Swann’s Way, but was only completed posthumously. Marcel Proust’s masterpiece consumed the last decade and a half of his life. He knew it would. In Time Regained Proust tells us how he came to the insights that led his dedicating all his remaining asthmatic breaths to his work, in a dark room shut up against dust and pollen that could lead to his suffocation.

Time Regained has a simple structure. Like Swann’s Way, it has three major parts: it is set before, during, and after the Great War. In the first part, the narrator returns to the village of his youth, Cambrai, to visit the love of his youth, Gilberte, and they walk the rural lanes that had great symbolic significance for the Narrator as a boy. In the last, post-war section of the book the sickly Narrator re-enters aristocratic society after many years and is astonished at the changes wrought by time.

The middle portion of the book is given to scenes from World War I Paris. We are accustomed to black and white newsreel images of World War II London during the blitz, but it is a shock to encounter similar images conjured in our minds of a ravaged Paris, which was within artillery range for the Germans throughout World War I. The City of Light was blacked out. Savagery and destruction reigned in the streets. Parisian society was upside down, crass, and made repulsive by war.

By the end of the book, the Narrator, who knew himself to be an artist but who had never found his purpose, is inspired to write about the effects of time. Friends and acquaintances whom he knew to be silly and vain, gain grandeur when apprehended in time. The Narrator, always alert to unbidden memories, comes to understand that the past revealed through unbidden memory is more vivid than original direct experiences because we, especially if we are artists, can infuse these memories with our imaginations. Thus, for example, the whole village of Combrai, as it existed in the Narrators youth, can come alive again with just a sip of tea and the nibbled corner of a madeleine cookie.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for September 11 at Central Library

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Monday, September 11, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Registration required

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 again be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business, from June to November 2017. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Mondays 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: October 2, and November 6. 

Each seminar will cover the same topics, but those who are interested are welcome to attend more than one day. 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 seminars by contacting Andy Mayo in the Economic Development Office at or 205-254-2774.

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 or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Food for Fines Drive and Library Card Swap Scheduled for Month of September

Through the month of September, all public libraries in Jefferson County will be participating in a food drive that helps support local charities by replenishing food pantries in anticipation of the coming holidays.

How does it work?
One dollar in fines will be waived for each food item donated in September for up to $10.00 per library card holder. The donations will go toward fines only, not lost/damaged materials. The drive is open to all who wish to participate. Expiration dates must be visible and legible on all items; expired food will not be accepted.

When and where can donations be made?
Donations will be accepted at all 40 Jefferson County public libraries during September 2017. Visit the Public Libraries in Jefferson County's website for more information.

Food for Fines is held in conjunction with the annual National Library Card Sign-Up Month. In September, cardholders can trade in their old card for a keychain card or receive a replacement for a worn out card without paying the usual $3.00 fee.

From Page to Stage: The Jungle Book – 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: The Jungle Book – A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of The Jungle Book, 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 The Jungle Book production in September–October 2017.

This new adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling story finds a child lost in the Indian jungle, where he is adopted by Baloo the Bear, Bagheera the panther, and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home. This fast-paced retelling keeps you perched on the edge of your seat as young Mowgli comes face-to-face with sneaky monkeys, noisy vultures, and his mortal enemy: the tiger, Shere Khan.

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

Avondale Library – Sunday, September 10 – 2:30 p.m.
East Lake Library – Saturday, September 9 – 2:30 p.m.
Five Points West Library – Sunday, September 10 – 2:30 p.m.
Pratt City Library – Saturday, September 9 – 2:30 p.m.
Southside Library – Saturday, September 16 – 2:30 p.m.
Springville Road Library – Sunday, September 17 – 2:30 p.m.
West End Library – Saturday, September 16 – 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Kicking Off New Sessions of 1-2-3 Play with Me at Four Library Locations

Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child. We are providing a special time and place for you to come to the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with your child. 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, we have invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your 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 Schedule
Avondale  Library – September 6-October 4, 2017 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
West End Library – September 12-October 10, 2017 – every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Library – September 14-October 12, 2017 – every Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Five Points West Library – October 17-November 14, 2017 – every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

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.

Book Review: Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

by Richard Grooms, Fiction Department, Central Library

Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu
J. Maarten Troost

Just as in his previous book that I’ve blogged, The Sex Lives Of Cannibals, Maarten Troost has provided another highly readable travel book on the South Pacific which sports a title that is pulpy, doesn’t give a good indication of the book’s contents, and speaks more of crass publisher marketing than author-chosen design. Once again, this doesn’t matter much because the book is entertaining, funny, and insightful.

After their Tarawa stay documented in Sex Lives, Maarten and his wife Sylvia, now back home in the U.S., have gotten fed up with their hectic and materialistic life here. They miss the Pacific. Not its craziness, danger, and deprivation, but its simplicity, quiet, and relaxed way of life. Knowing you can’t have that second group without the first, Sylvia jumps at a Vanuatu development aid job. Maarten tags along as usual to do his writing thing.

Vanuatu is part of an island nation in the South Pacific, also called Vanuatu. Like Tarawa (part of the nation of Kiribati), it gained its independence a few decades ago and is getting used to modern government. Vanuatu has nine active volcanoes, shark-infested waters, serious poverty, and a fabulously corrupt government. What could go wrong? A lot, but it does have astonishingly pretty beaches, friendly locals, more language diversity than anywhere on earth, and an actual surviving cargo cult. All of these negatives have a positive side and the positives have a negative side, so it can get very nuanced, as well as confusing. Vanuatu has a winning medieval legend that involves two men somehow called Roy and Gary. This reminded me of the peasant Dennis in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I can’t help but be entertained by Maarten’s throw-yourself-in-there approach to foreign countries. On arriving in Vanuatu, he promptly gets himself and Sylvia stuck the first time he drives, does a lot of things without thinking, and often pratfalls. But he makes friends despite himself. He admits he has “no aptitude for the mechanical realm,” something that I can resonate with. You think, if he can do all that and still end right side-up, so could I. At least if I had a forgiving, breadwinning Sylvia equivalent by my side. I did in fact once go to Fiji for a few days as a tourist without any serious mishap, but that’s not the same as living there. On second thought, and taking into account the Troost sliding scale, maybe it was.

I did say earlier that the title isn’t accurate, and that’s true, but there is perhaps a kernel of truth here. Maarten hones in on kava in Vanuatu. Kava is derived from the root of a South Pacific pepper plant. This plant has the same scientific name as the stuff that I used to buy over the counter to help me sleep at night, but I guess processing and the matter of what part of the plant you use can make a world of difference. All it did is make me sleep more soundly and feel way too sluggish in the morning which is why I dropped it. There’s no substitute for travel, I guess. And no one ever mentioned it to me in Fiji. Guess I don’t have the Troost touch. This drink is at the center of almost all significant South Pacific social occasions. Maarten thinks it’d be rude not to partake of this mild euphoric beverage, which looks like dishwater and tastes terrible. Sylvia joins in too, but Maarten gets into it in a typically incautious way. It doesn’t cause him to be anti-social, just makes him, for a few hours, become one with, say, that leaf on that tree over there. Sylvia, as always, is patient. But when Sylvia finds herself pregnant, the couple discovers that Fiji is a better place to give birth. This leads to her getting a job in Fiji, and once again Maarten tags along.

When Maarten is establishing the new base in Fiji, he finds one night that his harmless walk has attracted quite a few prostitutes. He really is innocent, I think. Stuff like this just happens to him. Cultural misunderstandings, you see. His natural guilelessness gets him out of this and other Fijian confusions, and that’s part of the fun of the book. Not long after the couple is ensconced in a house, they wake up one morning to find their backyard has totally disappeared. No one had told them about Fijian mudslides. They have a son who adapts better to island life than even his parents. Everyone wants to hold him and say nice things to him, and everyone does. It’s the Fijian way. But not everything is copacetic. The Indians in Fiji don’t trust the native Fijians and vice versa, and all sorts of social discord, including a coup, has come out of this, but the hostility’s much better now that most of the Indians have already left Fiji. But, says a learned local, it was never the Indians anyway; it was the Fijian chiefs who used them as pawns in one of their many political machinations. It’s too bad the Indians (which is to say most of the educated middle class) are gone now, he says. But, then again, maybe the well-informed local has it wrong. There are different schools of thought. Fiji will probably keep on keeping on. One thing I admired when I was a tourist in Fiji is how everybody really seemed to get along. Not so much anymore. Troost helps me to at least begin to understand the Fijian fissures, which confound him as they confound me.

As with Sex Lives, Maarten Troost has come up with another travel book which combines breezy narrative with serious analysis, lad behavior with growing-up accounts, humor and seriousness, astonishing scenery, local gossip, and the picaresque spirit. It also lets you know why Vanuatu kava is better than Fiji kava.

A Romantic Journey Photography Exhibit Begins September 2 at Central Library

What: Photography exhibit A Romantic Journey by Bre Conley Saxon & Rachel McElroy
Where: Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery
When: September 2-October 14, 2017, during library hours. Meet the Artist opening reception is Sunday, September 10, 2:00-5:00 p.m., in the Fourth Floor Gallery.
Details: Exhibit features photographs that Birmingham photographers Bre Conley Saxon & Rachel McElroy captured during a trip to Italy. Free and open to the public. Call Jiemin Fan at 205-226-3601 for more information.

A new exhibit featuring photographs in Italy by two Birmingham photographers will kick off Saturday, September 2, in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library. A Romantic Journey depicts photographs that Bre Conley Saxon of Say Bre Photography and Rachel McElroy of Rachel McElroy Imagery captured during a trip to Italy.

A description of the exhibit: 
A Romantic Journey by Bre Conley Saxon and Rachel McElroy

It seems an impossible task to write one statement for two artists. While we share a subject—the Italian landscape—our eyes, emotions, motivations, experiences, and even our equipment differed. For Bre, her collection of photographs encapsulates A Romantic Journey. She experienced Italy with her husband and best friends, while also photographing Tuscan weddings. Her images reflect the Italian fairytale—beautiful brides, sparkling wines, and rainbows over golden landscapes.

For me, however, I embarked on my Italian adventure after facing heartbreak. Viewing Italy through my lens transported me from the pain. Photographing felt like meditation—it was incredible, and seemed to heal me. The magical Light, the vibrant city-life, new friends, the powerful Dolomites, the poppy fields, the wine, the best pasta ever… In a way, I guess, I also experienced A Romantic Journey.

We present this collection to show the Love we captured.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Children's Book Review: Ms. Bixby's Last Day

by Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
John David Anderson

We all have those special teachers that we’ll never forget. They might not come along often, but everyone has at least a couple growing up. Ms. Bixby was one such teacher. Her sixth grade students were enjoying their last year before middle school when they’re blindsided by the news: Ms. Bixby is sick. So sick that she will have to leave them the month before school dismisses for the summer. Her students are shocked and devastated, but Ms. Bixby is calm enough to soothe everyone’s nerves. On her last day teaching, her students were going to throw her a farewell party, or more like a “see you later” party. But she didn’t show up. Without the chance to wish her luck or give her a gift, three best friends set out to find their teacher and give her the last day of school that she deserves.

The premise of this story may sound downright depressing, but it’s not what it seems. All at once it was funny, poignant, sad, and light-hearted. Told from the point of view of the three sixth grade boys, this book does a wonderful job of putting the reader in the shoes of each distinct character. Topher is creative. He’s always making up new words, wild stories, and a surprisingly accurate taxonomy of teachers. Steve is a genius. He practically has a photographic memory and he’s capable of memorizing huge swathes of information in a short amount of time. Brand is just your typical kid. Not great at anything, but not bad either. Through the eyes of these characters, the story goes from maudlin to wonderful. As an adult, reading this gave me a powerful dose of nostalgia. I imagine most grown-ups would feel the same. Young readers, both boys and girls, are likely to connect with the characters and the relatable way in which they’re written. This is a great back to school read for kids (and parents) who are trying to get into the swing of things for the new school year. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bards & Brews Returns to Central Library on September 8

Emcee Brian "Voice Porter" Hawkins addresses a B&B crowd

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Event
Where: Central Library
When: Friday, September 8, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Details: Free and open to the public 18 and older; must be 21 and older to sample beer. IDs will be checked.

Bards & Brews returns to the downtown library for an open mic event on September 8. There will be beer and spoken word poetry, as well as a musical performance by SamU'Elle Blackspeare.

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 may include relationships, politics, social justice, and the availability of eclipse glasses for 2024.

Local craft beer will be available to sample at the event. The J. Clyde will be serving the beer.

SamU'Elle Blackspeare will begin performing at 6:30 p.m. and the poetry will begin just after 7:00 p.m.

Join us!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vocational Readiness Workshops in September

by Jim Murray, Department Head, Business, Science and Technology Department

What: Vocational Readiness workshop series
When: Every Friday in September 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor
Details: The series consists of four workshops:  (1) Vocational Introduction Readiness Workshop, (2) Resume Builder, (3) New Age Online Application Process, and (4) Interview Bootcamp

Choosing a career is not any easy undertaking. Likewise, once you’ve chosen a career, finding a job can be a pretty difficult task as well. When you consider that throughout your lifetime you spend more hours at your job than you do anywhere else, you really need to put the time and effort into making good decisions in regards to career selection and job searching. This is not only true for young people who are entering the job market for the first time, but also for adults who are either reentering the job market after an absence, looking for a new job, or are contemplating a career change. If you fall into any of these categories, then you should plan to attend the Birmingham Public Library’s Vocational Readiness workshops.

A series of four Vocational Readiness workshops will be held at the Central Library on every Friday in September. Each of the workshops will cover a different part of the job searching process, but participants are encouraged to attend all four because each builds on the content presented in the previous one. Here are the descriptions of the individual workshops and the days that they will be offered:

Vocational Introduction Readiness Workshop provides an individual assessment of personal and professional goals, aspirations, and skills to help determine your best job fit. 1st Friday of each month (September 1)

Resume Builder is designed to assist individuals with creating an effective resume that will function as a powerful tool in achieving gainful employment. 2nd Friday of each month (September 8)

New Age Online Application Process offers tips and suggestions to guide all job seekers in successfully completing online employment applications. 3rd Friday of each month (September 15)

Interview Bootcamp teaches techniques to help you emphasize your skills, overcome objections, and build rapport with your job interviewer. 4th Friday of each month (September 22)

The workshops presenter is Tina Thornton. Tina is a professional counselor and founder of Gem Kreations, a nonprofit organization committed to assisting those who have experienced adverse circumstances realize their full personal and professional potential.

For more information about the workshops, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at or by calling 205-226-3691.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Review: MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II

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

MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II
Peter Eisner

I got three passports, a couple of visas
You don't even know my real name
"Life During Wartime" –Talking Heads

I’m always interested in how people react in the face of war and the moral questions that follow such conflicts. Will they listen to their "better angels" and fight the good fight, pull the covers over their head and wait for the black clouds to pass, or will they work with the Devil?

Some have dubbed Manila the Pacific Casablanca, but there was nothing glamorous about the city, the oppressors, or the choices Filipinos had to make. MacArthur’s Spies by Peter Eisner is the story of Claire Phillips, an American of complex citizenship living in Manila during the occupation, who faced these moral options and chose to fight the good fight.

Phillips was not at first glance an obvious choice for a heroine. Even prior to the war she had been the type of woman who naturally adopted a secretive, deceptive existence. Peter Eisner points out that “throughout her life she changed her name so many times that even the FBI and the courts couldn’t keep up with her. She had been married at least three times in seven years,” but the number of divorces she filed is uncertain. She was not terribly creative with her numerous aliases; she tended to use variations based on the last name of one of her husbands and her first and middle birth names. (Claire Phillip’s known aliases: Clara Mabel De La Taste a.k.a. Clara Synder a.k.a. Clara Delataste a.k.a. Mabel C. Enette.) It’s possible that when living in Oregon she lied about her race in order to marry. However there’s no indication that she was an evil person committed to a criminal life. Why the quotidian deception about facts as basic as her name, race, and marital status? We may never know for certain, but there is no evidence that it was anything other than second nature to her. There are times in history that call for this type of nature.

In 1942 Manila was a city occupied by the victorious troops of the Rising Sun. Curfews, food rationing, and brutality at the hands of roving Japanese soldiers were the norm. There was precious little military intelligence concerning Manila flowing back to MacArthur. There was even less food, medicine, clothing, and compassion for the men and women in Japanese POW camps in the Philippines. Claire Phillips adopted yet another name, another persona, in an attempt to alleviate both situations. She opened a night club called the Tsubaki Club that catered to Japanese officers and Claire became “Madame Tsubaki.” Her hostesses would circulate through the club plying Japanese officers with alcohol while they themselves drank diluted cocktails, or lemonade. In between drinks and dances the young ladies would learn when units of the Imperial Japanese Navy were leaving port, and where ground unit commanders were moving. Phillips would collate the information in the early morning. Then through a complex series of cut-outs and couriers the information would make its way up into the jungle-covered hills where a man named Charles ‘Chick’ Parsons waited anxiously. Sometimes he waited for weeks.

Parsons, a U.S. Navy officer, had actually been in Manila when it fell to the Japanese, but in one of the more audacious lies of the Pacific war, he remained and passed himself off as a diplomat of Panama. The ruse worked long enough for him to transport himself and his family out of a Manila on a diplomatic ship. But once in America MacArthur insisted that Parsons return and supervise the growing spy ring and guerrilla movements growing from the remnants of the U.S. military, Philippine insurgents, and survivors of Japanese atrocities. When Parsons returned to the island, Claire Phillips was one of the intelligence assets he came to depend upon.

In addition to her intelligence work she also developed a clandestine ring of locals who smuggled in food, clothing, and basic medicines to the POWs languishing in the hellish Camp O’Donnell. When possible she even wrote letters to individual prisoners to bolster their spirits. One can only guess how many soldiers, marines, and civilians she saved with this improvised operation.

Very few of us are totally good or evil. This was true of Claire Phillips. But Peter Eisner shows us that regardless of what social or moral conventions she may have flaunted, she provided invaluable aid to General MacArthur and prisoners of war and that she, along with many others, fought the good fight.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Re-Reading the Classics As Adults

by Kelly Laney, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

You know those lists of recommended “must reads” that include classic works of literature? I used to go through one of those occasionally and check them off: “Read that, read that, read that…” and smugly considered myself to be fairly well-read and on top of my game. I mean, after all, a lot of us read these musty oldies in high school, right, so why waste any of our precious later years on re-reading them?

But our book club at the Springville Road Library, The Reading Roadies, has a tradition of reading at least one classic work of fiction every year. (This year’s pick is Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, if anyone would like to join us for the discussion on September 18 at 6:30 p.m.)

Last year we picked Wuthering Heights, and I made an interesting observation. I remember thinking Heathcliff was the bomb and Cathy was fabulous—when I was in high school. As an adult, I just wanted to slap the fool out of both of them and tell them to get over themselves. Who would have thunk my perspective would change over the decades?

What I’m trying to say is, whether it’s a book you’ve read a long time ago and enjoyed, or one you’ve never gotten around to but want to see what the fuss is about, pick up a classic at your local library and give it a go. You may be surprised by either the author’s genius or your own mellowed insight. I’d recommend anything by Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Mary Shelley, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Charlotte Bronte, Isacc Asimov, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, Alexandre Dumas, Richard Wright, or a host of others. Who knows? I might even try Of Human Bondage again . . .

No. No, I won’t.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Southern History Book of the Month: Greetings from Alabama: A Pictorial History in Vintage Postcards

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Greetings from Alabama: A Pictorial History in Vintage Postcards
From the Wade Hall Collection of Historical Picture Postcards from Alabama
Wade H. Hall with Nancy B. Dupree and Christopher Sawula

Remember postcards? They don’t get much attention now when you can take a selfie with your smartphone and send it to your friends so they have instant coverage of your vacation. But this time of year I always think of the family trips we used to take in an era before the new school year started in August, and Greetings from Alabama is a nostalgic look into a time when postcards were treasured souvenirs.

Remember the Wigwam Village on the Bessemer Super Highway? There are now few examples left of this charming motel chain, but the postcard of Wigwam Village no. 5 will give you a look at how it was set up and why children probably clamored to stay there. For the dedicated road trip fan who seeks out unusual accommodations, there are still Wigwam-style lodgings available; one of these is on the famed Route 66. But if you prefer fancier surroundings, take a look at the shot of the Thomas Jefferson Hotel in Birmingham, complete with its rooftop docking station supposedly intended for airships—a memento from a time when no one could foresee the Hindenburg disaster.

Wigwam Village no. 5

Along with famous buildings and monuments there are also quiet rural shots in these postcards. One that tugs at my heart is a scene of the Magnolia River in Baldwin County, Alabama—the setting for many of our family vacations. But not far from that page is a grim reminder that the warm months lasting into the fall are also hurricane season; there is a card depicting the wreckage of St. Anthony Street in Mobile after the September 27 hurricane in 1906.

Magnolia Springs before...

...and after a 1906 hurricane.

Hall’s book is organized by counties, along with sections that are simply noted as “South Alabama” or “Central Alabama.” It is a great example of what I call a “browse” book; you can open it anywhere and find something interesting, skipping around as it pleases you. The date range is from the 1800s well into the 20th century and it’s fascinating to compare old structures with their present-day appearance (or absence) and speculate about what might be written on the backs of some of the cards.

I still buy—and send—postcards when I travel. After a look through Greetings from Alabama you may want to do the same. Just be sure to keep some of the best for your own personal collection.

For more information:
Wade Hall Postcards at Troy University
Greetings from Alabama on Alabama Public Radio
Wigwam Motel at Birmingham Rewound
1906 Hurricane in Mobile
Hindenburg Crash: The End of Airship Travel
Thomas Jefferson Tower—Restoration

Eat Drink Read Write Starts October 1 at Central Library

The Birmingham Public Library’s Eat Drink Read Write festival is a culinary and literary experience that highlights Birmingham’s burgeoning food landscape. The 2017 festival brings together food, culinary arts, and literature in a fun and engaging format.

Come and sample amazing dishes from all over the globe and hear the wonderful stories behind them!

Sunday, October 1, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Central Library 
Food Stories: A Cultural & Culinary Journey
How do cultural experiences inform culinary creations? Join chefs from the Pizitz Food Hall as they discuss their culinary journeys and the experiences that shaped their palates and inspired their passions. Sample “off menu” selections created especially for the evening. REV Birmingham’s Dion Gordon moderates the discussion. $20 admission. Purchase tickets online.

Monday, October 2, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Arrington Auditorium, Central Library 
Grow It & Eat It! Instant Garden
Yard too small for a garden? No yard at all? You can still have a garden! From corn in a five-gallon bucket to salad in a pot, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) will show you how to grow food in the most unusual spaces. Free admission

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Arrington Auditorium, Central Library 
WHAT WAS THAT?! Social Media + Food Trends Panel Discussion
From sushi donuts to rolled ice cream, food sharing on social media sparks trends. Join local food bloggers and Joy King, TV host of Dining Out with Comedienne Joy, to discuss the influence of social media on food in Birmingham and the nation. Free admission

Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Lakeview Entertainment District
Lakeview Progressive Taste and Trivia
Embark on a progressive trivia contest in Birmingham’s Lakeview District. Visit restaurants and bars where trivia and treats await you. Prizes and special drinks, too. This is a guaranteed fun-filled evening! Questions will focus on Birmingham history, Lakeview cuisine, and humorous local facts. Hints will be available the week prior at all participating establishments and Birmingham Public Library locations along with teasers on social media. Admission for individuals is $20, $100 for team of 4 (includes commemorative T shirt)—must be at least 21 to participate. Purchase tickets online.

Friday, October 6, 2017, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Central Library 
Bards & Brews Spoken Word Poetry Slam
Spoken word poets from across Alabama compete for cash prizes, while attendees sample SweetWater craft beer and the sounds of hip hop artists Shaheed & DJ Supreme. Performance artist Voice Porter hosts this showcase of homegrown talent. Free admission

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 5:30 p.m., Central Library
Wenonah High School Culinary Arts Program
Teens in the award-winning Wenonah High School Culinary Arts Program will present a cooking demonstration and tasting featuring delectable dishes mastered during the school year. Meet our future chefs and restaurateurs! Free admission

August 30-September 30, 2017, Online and Through Social Media
Six-Word Food Story Contest
In only six words, tell us your food story using Twitter, Instagram, or email. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Friday, October 6, at the Bards & Brews event. See BPL website for details and send us your very, very short story. Free submission

Hoopla Coming Soon to a TV Near You!

Hoopla will soon be available for Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire—making hoopla even more accessible for patrons.

With no wait lists, hoopla content is always available, and with these new additions you will have the ability to stream over 33,000 movie and TV selections directly through your televisions.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Try It at Home!

by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library

At the Avondale Regional Branch Library we are very excited to announce the launch of the Avondale Crafting Collection—patrons can now check out the paper bead winders, knitting looms, and jewelry-making tools that we use in our adult craft programs!

All items must be picked up and returned at the Avondale Library Circulation Desk. Call 226-4000 or drop by the circulation desk for more information.

Upcoming Craft Programs
Wednesday, August 23, 2:00 p.m. Fiber Arts on Fifth Avenue – Knitters, crocheters, and other "fiber artists" of all skill levels can bring their supplies to this informal group to share tips and ideas. The library will have a limited supply of needles and yarn available on a first come, first served basis.

Wednesday, August 30, 2:00 p.m. Wildcard Wednesday: Adventures in Art – Join us for a fun art project and complete your own masterpiece to take home. Instruction and materials are provided. We’ll be painting watercolor leaf silhouettes.

Wednesday, September 6,  2:00 p.m. Club Create – Come together to create something new. We'll tackle a new craft project each month. All adults are welcome. Instruction and materials are provided. This month we'll be sewing button bookmarks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2:00 p.m. Art Party – Starting this month, Art Party programs will meet the second Wednesday of the month, with a different project offered each time, and participants will complete their own works of art. Materials and instruction are provided. This month we'll experiment with fired ink art.

Wednesday, September 20, 2:00 p.m. Books & Beads – Join us for our monthly jewelry-making adventure. Each participant will complete a jewelry project to take home. Adults of all skill levels are welcome. Materials, tools, and instructions are provided.  We'll be making seed bead bookmarks.

All programs are free but space is limited, so register online through the BPL events calendar, call 226-4000, or drop by the circulation desk to reserve your spot. We also offer drop-in adult coloring stations that are available anytime.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Central Library Hosting Corporate Meet & Greet on August 24

Who: Birmingham Public Library
What: Corporate Meet & Greet reception
Where: Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
When: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Details: Attendance must be confirmed no later than August 21 to Tiffanie Jeter at 205-226-3747 or

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a meet and greet reception for Birmingham's business, nonprofit, and community leaders on Thursday, August 24, 2017, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Central Library. This event will include music and light refreshments.

The purpose of the Corporate Meet and Greet is to promote the library's education programs, technology services, exhibits, and signature events that are available to assist business owners and nonprofits as well as the general public. The event is also designed to introduce business/nonprofit leaders desiring to partner with or make donations to the Birmingham Public Library 19 locations across the city. Donations to BPL are tax-deductible.

BPL staff will have stations sharing information about the Learning Center and Teen Zone that host programs such as the Teen Engineers BHM afterschool program, the Southern History Department that offers free genealogy classes, and the Archives Department that assists researchers doing books around the globe.

This BPL Corporate Meet & Greet is sponsored by the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library, Rusty’s Bar-B-Q, Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Scheduled for Saturday, August 19

When: Saturday, August. 19, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
About the 2017 Local Authors Expo: Event featuring over 40 authors selling their books and sharing writing/publishing tips for the public. Keynote speakers are Chandra Sparks Splond (10:30 a.m.), author of nine books, and Nia Mya Reese, 8, (1:00 p.m.) author of the best-selling children's book How to Deal With and Care For Your Annoying Little Brother

Want to meet 40 authors from across Alabama, buy their books, and learn more about the book publishing process? Then make plans to attend the Birmingham Public Library's annual Local Authors Expo this Saturday, Aug. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place in downtown Birmingham.

The free event will showcase authors, including many from the Birmingham area, selling and signing their books and sharing their writing process. Drop by and visit your favorite author, learn more about local authors, and get tips for publishing your work. There will be books across many genres: motivational books, fiction including young adult fantasy, and nonfiction such as inspirational memoirs and stories of overcoming tragedy.

The 40 Authors with books at the 2017 Local Authors Expo are as follows:
Shirley A. Aaron
Ed Abernathy
Kathy-Ann Alexis
Scott Blasingame
Franky A. Brown
BJ Burgins
C.D. Collins
John. B. Davis
Gwendolyn DeLaine
Byron De'Vinner Story
Tymetric Dillon
Patricia Eleby
Alethea & Eddie Fells III
Kenneth Friday
Mark Hart
Carol McVay Hull
Richard S Jaffe
LaJuan Jones
Lucy B. Jones
Peter Kirchikov
Tondra L. Loder-Jackson
Billy McDonald
Betsy Lowery
Shirley Mitchell
Brittany Nicole
Jack Owens
Jamie Porter
Twylia Reid
B. Wayne Seals
Nancy Seay
Doug Segrest
Dr. Akeam A. Simmons
Betty Smith
Jerelyn Sneed
Lyn Stafford
Joe Stahlkuppe
Jade Stewart
SL Stoutermire
Carlos B. Taylor
C. Duane Wheeler
Sherman Williams

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