Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Showers Bring May Flowers


It's that time of year.  From pollen covering cars in a nice layer of yellow dust to rainy days full of the potential of severe storms, spring has finally made its arrival in Alabama. And what better time to start your summer garden than now?

Our collection widely varies with picture books, youth nonfiction, and adult nonfiction. With easy-to-follow gardening instructions and advice, even a novice gardener can easily create a beautiful space in their home or outdoors.  Soak up some Vitamin D, get out in the yard, and start planning your next (or new!) gardening adventure.  Check out our list of books recommended by staff to help you along.

  • The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening with Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers by Kelly Orzel

    The “garden to table” movement is inspiring another generation of gardeners but many of them have questions. How important is composting? Is seed saving really worth it? Focusing on sustainable, organic growing practices and plants, The Backyard Gardener is a comprehensive handbook that will help get them started.

    Kelly Orzel covers everything from soil selection to growing and harvesting. Sidebars such as “garden center survival tips” offer useful advice to help readers build their confidence and know-how. This guide also features photographs of beautiful plant bed designs, propagation techniques, and much more.
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  • Derek Fell's Grow This!: A Garden Expert's Guide to Choosing the Best Vegetables, Flowers, and Seeds So You're Never Disappointed Again by Derek Fell

    What gardeners want most is a bigger and better return on their investment of time and money―maximum yields and superior flavor for edibles, long-lasting blooms for flowers. Derek Fell's Grow This! features expert advice for choosing and growing the top-performing plants (and avoiding the ones that disappoint).

    Derek Fell has grown hundreds of varieties and annually visits gardens and test plots across America, so he's qualified to guide gardeners to the best of the best―more than 600 vegetable, flower, herb, and lawn grass all-stars. He offers honest feedback about plant performance, even when it contradicts favorable public opinion or a grower's claims.
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  • Plants Grow! (I Like Plants!) by Mary Dodson Wade

    Plants are all around us. Learn about the life cycle of a plant, what seeds are for, and more in this colorful nonfiction reader. Young botanists can even watch a seed grow using the included science experiment.
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  • State Flowers: Including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Our State Symbols) by Elaine Landau

    Describes each state's official flower and tells of legends associated with the flower.
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  • Grow It, Cook It by DK Publishing
    More than a cookbook, this innovative book offers a fresh approach to healthy eating by getting children involved in food right from the start. Children will learn that when they eat a carrot, they're biting into a root; salads are made up of leaves; and berries are the fruit and seeds of plants, encouraging an early appreciation of food and its origins.

    The recipes in the book take the homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs and use a variety of cooking methods and store-bought ingredients to transform them into truly homemade meals. All the "crops" can be grown in pots, so young chefs don't even need a large garden to enjoy Grow It, Cook It.
So swing by the East Lake Branch to nab one of these helpful books on starting your own garden, or helping your children create their dream garden!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Only One Week Left to Visit Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History and Government Documents Departments, Central Library

Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps
Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps is on display in the downtown library's fourth floor gallery for one more week. The exhibit has been garnering rave reviews and is a must see for anyone interested in the history of Alabama or the Southeast. Dr. Melinda Kashuba, visiting scholar from California, said it rivals exhibits she has seen in "Chicago and Washington, D.C." The library's Southern History Department worked for almost 2 years putting the exhibit together and is thrilled with the community response.

The exhibit is partially funded by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation and consists of high quality reproductions of 54 maps carefully selected from the library's collection of over 2,000. Beginning in 1545 and continuing through the 1990's, the maps tell the story of Alabama from the Age of Discovery through the territorial period to the modern day. There is also a special section for maps that depict Alabama's abundant natural resources which have played such an instrumental role in the history of Birmingham and the surrounding counties.

If you can't make it downtown before April 30, 2017, and would still like to see Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps you have a several options. The entire exhibit (images and descriptions) is available online. Since the exhibit is part of the statewide celebration of Alabama's bicentennial, it's going to be traveling to libraries and museums of all sizes over the next two years. Its first stop will be Old Alabama Town where it is scheduled to open on May 15, 2017.

Money Smart Week Programs at Inglenook Library

by Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library


According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and to take effective actions regarding the current and future use and management of money. During Money Smart Week, April 22-29, financial institutions, libraries, and other community entities across the county will provide several programs and activities to help communities obtain financial literacy. The Inglenook Branch Library will be amongst those offering pertinent programming. See program listing below.

April 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Wells Fargo Bank: How To Open and Maintain a Bank Account
Shedrick South, personal banker at Wells Fargo, will discuss the importance of a having a bank account and how to use them effectively to save money.

April 26, 10:00 a.m.
Information Systems Security Class

Join Inglenook Library’s own Michael Fagin as he discusses security measures to take to keep online content safe.

On April 28, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Entrepreneurship and Money Management Workshop
Ashlee Taylor, small business consultant, will conduct a workshop on entrepreneurship and money management for both business and personal finances. Highlights of workshop will include:

  • key steps to launching your own business;
  • effective tax strategies for entrepreneurs;
  • mastering a wealth mindset;
  • and simple strategies for creating multiple streams of income.

For more information, please contact Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt Exhibit, May 11-June 25, 2017

Quilts by Marlene Bennett Jones, Boykin, Alabama, 2015

What: Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit
When: May 11-June 25, 2017
Where: First floor exhibit cases and Fourth Floor Gallery at the Central Library
Details: Exhibits will be available during library hours. Opening reception Saturday, May 13, 2017, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery

Featuring quilts by master artists from Gee’s Bend and works by Miller’s Pottery of Brent and Ham Pottery of Selma, the Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit will present two living traditions of the region.

Allen Ham
Acclaimed nationally and internationally, the Gee’s Bend quilters are continuing the tradition through their families and community. Sixteen quilts by different women, some of whom will be exhibiting for the first time, will represent the amazing colors and innovative techniques often associated with the textiles produced by several generations over the years.

Folk potter Steve Miller and his cousin Allen Ham grew up working alongside Steve’s father, Eric Miller, in the workplace and shop on Highway 5 in Bibb County. Featured in documentary films, books, and articles, they represent a business dating to the 1850s that began on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Today, they use local clay to make and produce glazed stoneware, utilitarian items, face jugs, and other works of art that are sought after by collectors.

For more information about regional quilting and pottery, visit the Alabama Folklife Association website.

Money Smart Week Programs at Central Library Begins April 24


Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 22 to April 29. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three public programs at the Central Library location:

The A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC)/4th Floor
Karen Haiflich, an independent health benefits advisor, will provide simple, straightforward answers to help participants better understand Medicare and the options available to beneficiaries.

Estate Planning: A Guide to Life Organization
Date: Tuesday April 25, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Participants will learn the basics of estate planning including how to examine their financial needs and assets, organize important papers, and more. The presenter is Nkenge Hyter of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Fact vs. Fiction - Busting the Social Security Myths
Date: Wednesday April 26, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Briana Collins, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Alabama, will provide informed answers to common questions about Social Security and will discuss various aspects of the agency’s different benefit programs.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on budgeting, savings, investing, and much more. So, make plans to stop by and check out some of the amazing resources and services we have to offer! For more information, please contact the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at 205-226-3690.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sow the Seeds of Victory: Birmingham's Victory Gardens

Sow the Seeds of VictorySpring has arrived, and people have started to plant flowers and gardens. One hundred years ago this month, the citizens of Birmingham were planting gardens for a very different reason as the world was engulfed in World War I. There were severe food shortages in Europe as farmers left to serve in the military, and fertile ground had been turned into battlefields.

To solve this problem, Charles Lathop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission for the purpose of encouraging Americans to plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Any idle land including school and company grounds, parks, backyards, or vacant lots could be converted for agricultural production, which would generate surplus food that in turn could then be exported to Europe. The National War Garden Commission formed in March 1917, and the United States entered the war in April 1917.

Birmingham citizens rushed to do their part by planting "victory gardens," and the Birmingham News led the effort with its Plant a Garden campaign as people signed a pledge to have their garden planted by May 15, 1917. There were long lines at McVay’s Seed Company when the company advertised free garden seed as a promotion to support the war effort and also to get people inside the store.

McVay's Seed Company

The Birmingham News, Jemison Real Estate and Insurance Company, and the Birmingham Ice and Cold Storage Company sponsored the 36 cash prizes totaling $600. The judges would visit the gardens by neighborhoods in mid-June to determine the winners. Depending on where you lived in the city determined which sponsor awarded the prize money. As you can see in this newspaper ad, this garden contest was segregated as there were both white and black winners.



Can the Kaiser
By late April, over 300 people had pledged to plant a garden. It was expected that the number would top 500 by the May deadline. Because there were many first time gardeners, Birmingham held canning classes taught by Miss Beatrice Shipp. One of the slogans for the War Garden Campaign was “Eat All You Can, and Can All You Can’t.”

War gardens remained popular throughout World War I, and their popularity dwindled in the years following the war. To learn more about the victory garden movement in World War I, read the history of the National War Garden Commission that was written by its founder, Charles Lathop Pack, at the end of World War I. With the outbreak of World War II, the popularity of victory gardens surged again with new propaganda posters encouraging people to once again plant gardens.

Enjoyed this story? Follow the Southern History Department on Facebook as we explore 100 years ago in Birmingham during the year 1917 each Thursday as part of Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Birmingham Bound: Author Talk and Book Signing with Art Black


What: Author talk and book signing with Art Black, author of Showdown at Rickwood
When: Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. Jim Reed, owner and proprietor of Reed Books, will offer introductory remarks.

Before major league baseball came south, the Dixie Series was the crowning event of the summer for Birmingham sports enthusiasts. Pitting the champions of the Southern Association and the Texas League, the series produced many memorable moments during its heyday from 1920 to 1958. For fans of the Birmingham Barons, however, the contest of 1931 was the most memorable of all.

The dramatic 1931 Dixie Series between the Birmingham Barons and the Houston Buffaloes serves as the backdrop of the newly published book Showdown at Rickwood. Written by local author Art Black, the book focuses not only baseball culture in the Magic City, but explores as well the social and economic climate of the Birmingham district as it was evolving into a major industrial center during the early decades of the 20th century. Through World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the onset of the Great Depression, Birmingham and its citizens weathered the turbulence of national and international events. In the midst of this unrest, many found respite in the calming rhythms of the national pastime.

Please join us on Tuesday, May 2, at the Birmingham Public Library’s Central location to welcome the publication of Showdown at Rickwood and meet the book’s author, Art Black. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jim Murray at 205-226-3691 or jmurray@bham.lib.al.us.

The Birmingham Bound author series recognizes authors who researched their books utilizing the resources available at the Birmingham Public Library. Historians, journalists, and other writers from around the world have produced hundreds of books using the Library’s collections and these books include five recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.

Smart Shopping with Coupons Workshops Being Offered in May at West End Library


If you haven't joined the couponing craze but want to learn more about how to save money while shopping, make plans to take advantage of a series of free workshops being offered in May at the West End Branch Library.

Smart Shopping With Coupons will take place every Tuesday from May 2 through May 23 at 10:00 a.m., said West End Library Branch Manager Maya Jones. The goal of the workshops is to teach participants the basics of saving money using coupons. The classes will be taught by someone sharing couponing knowledge for beginners, as well as patrons interested in learning more about the topic.

For more information, call Denise Ford of West End Library at 205-226-4089 or email her at dford@bham.lib.al.us. View details about the workshops at the BPL events calendar.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Registration Open For May 2017 Classes


Registration is now open for staff and the public for the May 2017 classes . During this month, we include classes on a variety of topics including computer skills and career guidance. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) Library. PRE-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 May 2017 class schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the May 2017 class schedule (pdf file) can be sent to us as an email attachment.

West End Library Hosting Filmmaking Workshop for Teens on April 22


Hey young people, ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker? Then make plans to be at the West End Branch Library the next four Saturdays for free filmmaking workshops for teens.

The workshop, Do You Want to Make a Movie? Film Making for Teens, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.  on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The teacher is Birmingham filmmaker Denzale Butler. There is only room for 10 students, so register in advance by calling the West End Library at 205-226-4089.

The workshop has four classes, all taught between 3:30 and 4:45 p.m.:
Week One (April 22) is "Introduction to Cinema"
Week Two (April 29) is "ABC’s of Film (Shot Sizes)"
Week Three (May 6) is "ABC’s of Film (Camera Movement)"
Week Four (May 13) is "ABC’s of Film (Composition)"

The teacher will bring a camera to class. However, students are asked to bring their camera phones since they will use them to create shots that create various moods. Teens will acquire a new skill and additional knowledge about an exciting topic. The class will fulfill the components of lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment by introducing teens to film making, according to the West End Library.

Five Points West Library Hosting Meet & Greet for Authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray


What: A Blessing & a Curse –a book launch/meet & greet for ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray
When: Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Five Points West Regional Branch Library will be hosting a book launch/meet & greet for popular authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray. The event will take place on April 25, 2017. The title comes from the new collaborative novel by Billingsley and Murray.

The book A Blessing & a Curse is about first ladies of the Baptist church and sworn “frenemies” Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Cox Larson Bush, who are stunned to learn they may have more in common than they thought—like who’s their daddy. A Blessing & A Curse has it all: a heated American Baptist Coalition election, a murky murder cover-up, an outrageous reality TV show, and other drama.

Read more about the book by publisher Simon & Schuster at the link below: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Blessing-a-Curse/ReShonda-Tate-Billingsley/9781476748887.

For more information, call Five Points West Library at 205-226-4013.

Birmingham Public Library System Has New Branch Managers at Titusville and Wylam Libraries

Birmingham Public Library's Titusville and Wylam locations have new branch managers. Amanda Jenkins heads the Titusville Branch Library after spending time at the public library in Alabaster. She previously worked part time at several BPL locations, including Springville Road. Selina Johnson now heads the Wylam Branch Library after spending 18 years as a librarian in the Birmingham Public School system.

Amanda Jenkins

Amanda T. Jenkins began overseeing the Titusville Library in late January. Before joining the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), Jenkins served as the circulation department head at Albert L. Scott Library in Alabaster.

A Birmingham native, Jenkins has a bachelor’s in science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master of library and information studies from the University of Alabama. Jenkins has been busy meeting patrons and neighborhood leaders over the past two-and-half months, and is excited to be a part of the Titusville community.

“I've worked part-time for the Birmingham Public Library system in the past, and I loved it. I'm thrilled to begin working in Birmingham again, as promoting literacy and public service are my greatest passions,’ Jenkins said.

Jenkins worked part-time jobs at the Springville Road and Eastwood Libraries, and the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest while earning her master's degree. Upon earning her MLIS, she was employed at Virginia College before joining the Albert L. Scott Library in Alabaster.

Meet Amanda Jenkins:
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction
Favorite television show: Real Time with Bill Maher
Favorite quote that you use as a guide in life: "It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters." – Mother Teresa
How to reach her: Visit or call Jenkins at the Titusville Library, 205-322-1140, or email her at atjenkins@bham.lib.al.us.


Selina Johnson

Selina Johnson began overseeing the Wylam Branch Library on April 3, 2017. Prior to joining the Birmingham Public Library, Johnson served as a school librarian in the Birmingham Public School System for 18 years. A Birmingham native, Johnson received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She received her master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2001.

Upon graduation from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Johnson worked as school librarian in the Birmingham City School System at Glenn Middle School, Martha Gaskins Middle School, and Carver High School.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Birmingham Public Library family. Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive. My hope is to be an integral part of building upon the services and programs that are offered at Wylam Library and to support the Wylam community. This community has such a big heart.” Johnson said.

Meet Selina Johnson:
Hometown: Hoover, AL
Favorite book: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Favorite movie: It’s a Wonderful Life (original 1946 version)
Favorite television show: Queen Sugar
Favorite quote that you use as a guide in life: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
How to reach her: Visit or call Johnson at the Wylam Library, 205-785-0349, or email her at sjjohnson@bham.lib.al.us.

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for May 1 at Central Library


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

Upcoming Date:
Monday June 5, 2017

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 once again be hosting the popular seminar Steps to Starting Your Business in 2017. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the first Monday of each month from February to June, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

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 Andy.Mayo@birminghamal.gov 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 jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Book Review: In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
Marcel Proust

For decades the title of the second volume of In Search of Lost Time was translated as Within a Budding Grove, because the actual title was deemed too suggestive for English speaking ears. The narrator, not named, is describing his early adolescence and his intoxication as he is immersed in the company of girls entering adolescence themselves. Most readers, like the narrator, will be years past the age when flirtation was new to us and youths were our peers, but Proust, the author and presumably the narrator, powerfully evokes those emotions for us as he shares passages from his youth.

As the first volume, Swann’s Way, closed, the narrator, a nervous, sickly boy, is drawn out of his cloistered world every afternoon to the promenade of elegant Parisian courtesans in the Bois de Boulogne, in particular Mrs. Swann, mother of Gilberte, the beautiful girl with whom he is infatuated. Like the first volume, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower has little plot. The young narrator courts Gilberte at her parents' home in Paris. He spends the summer at a seaside resort in Normandy and gains the company of a group of young girls to whom he is attracted. He makes a close friend. But, as we all know, negotiating love for the first time involves volumes of calculation and strong emotion. Proust’s unsparing observation of his own feelings and behavior, and the people and places he encounters, makes his constricted plot and settings seem infinite.

Fin de Siecle Paris was before the day when one would self-identify as gay, but we know, most knew, Proust’s primary loves were men. As we read In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, the reader may remain open to an interpretation that Proust is describing the narrator’s feelings for other boys, not girls. After all, he gives them names which are nearly boys names—Gilberte, Albertine, Andree—and the theme of homosexuality has already been introduced in both volumes.

In the end, as Proust probably intended, it matters little. The novel is about discovering the exhausting pain and exultation of discovering love. And even more so, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower is about the writing itself. Just as one can admire a painting, a van Gogh, for example, for the brush strokes, one admires Proust for his metaphors, which pile one upon another into a glittering portrait.

Check it out.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

TV Series Review: The Feud: Bette and Joan

by Sam Rumore, Springville Road Regional Branch Library


The Feud: Bette and Joan on FX is now up to its sixth episode. I have been watching religiously because it involves the making of one of my favorite movies and two of my favorite actresses. So, I figured it would be a great opportunity to include some resources that the library has that could give some greater context to the show and Hollywood and the movie industry, in general. But first, here’s a little history and context on the show.

Whenever I start something, I like to start with the source material. With that being said, I recommend seeing the movie, Whatever happened to Baby Jane? It stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and is directed by Robert Aldrich. It’s a psychological-thriller-horror film about an aging vaudeville actress who holds her disabled Hollywood actress sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion.

This movie officially started the subgenre of thriller-horror films known as the psycho-biddy films or hagsploitation, which proliferated in the 1960s and on into the 1970s. Psycho-biddy films involved once glamorous older women who have now become psychotic and start terrorizing the people around them.

Examples of Psycho-biddy Films:

Strait-Jacket (1964) – Directed by William Castle. Starring Joan Crawford.
Released from a mental hospital 20 years after having committed the axe murders of her husband and his lover, a woman moves in with her brother, his wife, and her own daughter, who is now 23. When axe murders start occurring, police think she has reverted to her old ways. (Description from DVD case.)




Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) – Directed by Robert Aldrich. Starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotton, and Agnes Moorehead.
Charlotte was a Southern belle preparing to elope with her married lover—until he was murdered. Now, 37 years later, she lives alone in her mansion, slowly going mad as she is haunted by the memory of the unsolved crime and tormented by the local townspeople who believe she killed him. But when her cousin comes to visit, the skeletons begin to tumble out of the closet—and that's when the terror really begins. (Description from DVD case.)

The Nanny (1965) – Directed by Seth Holt. Starring Bette Davis.
Blamed for the drowning death of his little sister, ten-year-old Joey Fane has finally returned home after being institutionalized for two years. Placed once again under the care of his devoted nanny, Joey is soon accused of trying to poison his own mother. But when he swears it was the nanny who committed the crimes, his tormented pleas lead some to wonder: is Joey the disturbed killer everyone thinks he is, or is this dear old nanny hiding some murderous secrets? (Description from DVD case.)
Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969) – Directed by Lee H Katzin. Starring Geraldine Page and Ruth Gordon.
A widow, who was left nothing but a stamp collection by her late husband, begins hiring elderly housekeepers and killing them in order to steal their money. A friend of one of these victims grows suspicious and begins working for the widow to catch her. But will she become the next victim herself?




What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971) – Directed by Curtis Harrington. Starring Shelley Winters and Debbie Reynolds.
Two Midwestern mothers flee to restart their lives in Hollywood after their sons’ high-profile murder trial a la the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. The ladies open a dance studio for young girls. While their business flourishes, their personal lives begin to suffer. One of the ladies becomes dangerously obsessed and jealous of the other with dire consequences for them both.




Bette Davis

One of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history, Bette Davis was nominated for ten Academy Awards (the first person to do so), winning two for Best Actress (Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938)). Davis was known for her versatility and willingness to play unsympathetic characters. Her career lasted from 1929 to 1989.

Selected Filmography
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Jezebel (1938)
Dark Victory (1939)
The Letter (1940)
The Little Foxes (1941)
Now, Voyager (1942)
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
All about Eve (1950)

Selected Books
Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov
Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine
Bette Davis Speaks by Boze Hadleight
This ‘n That by Bette Davis with Michael Herskowitz

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford was an actress during the Golden era of Hollywood. She seamlessly bridged and survived the transition from silent films to sound films. Her popularity rivaled and outlasted her contemporaries, like Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. She was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award three times, winning for Mildred Pierce in 1945. Her career lasted from 1925 to 1972.

Selected Filmography
Possessed (1931)
This Modern Age (1931)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Dancing Lady (1933)
Forsaking All Others (1934)
The Bride Wore Red (1937)
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
The Women (1939)
Mildred Pierce (1945)

Selected Books
Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist; introduction by John Springer
Joan Crawford: The Essential Biography by Lawrence J. Quirk and William Schoell
Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler
Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford by Donald Spoto

How I Finally Came to Appreciate Digital E-Books and Audiobooks

by Lynn Carpenter, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Nathan Pyle/BuzzFeed

My favorite thing to do is read. Now this may not seem unusual for a librarian, but I read in many different ways. I love to cuddle up at night right before going to bed and read for a while. Sometimes it is for 15 minutes, sometimes for five to six hours. I will look at the time and suddenly realize I have to get up in an hour to get ready for work. I find that I am not tired—I am awake an hour later and refreshed as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep.

My favorite way to read is with a good old-fashioned book in my hands. I love the feel, the weight, the smell of a good book, even if it is a little musty from age.

Lately, I have been reading the epic Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon. These eight books range in size from 650 to 900 pages. I began reading these books in 1992 when the first book was released. I was delighted when it became a series and continued reading them as they were published. When I heard they were being made into a series, I was ecstatic. I had missed the last three books, so I started with them, but while watching the series, I realized I had forgotten a few things. I started the series from the beginning, but the third library book copy had been read so many times, it was falling apart in my hands.

My husband had given me a Kindle when they first came out in 2007. Being a librarian, I felt like a traitor using this new technology. I downloaded a free book of children’s stories (I am a children’s librarian), and read the stories between other books. When the third Outlander book started falling apart in my hands, I found the Kindle to be the answer to my problem. It was light to carry around and in one piece. I read the rest of the series on the Kindle. When USA released the second book on TV, I began the series again because there was so much information in each book I had to refresh my memory. I am about to finish the fifth book, Drums of Autumn. These eight books are the only books I’ve read since 2014 (in the traditional format).

As a member of the American Library Association, I have served on seven audiobook committees. This past year as chair of the 2017 Odyssey Committee*, we received 445 audio books to evaluate. The first audiobook I had ever listened to was John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, as I was going to Destin. It made the drive seem shorter and as I was going through some small towns, the KKK was coming down one street, the NAACP was coming down another street, and the National Guard down a third street—I had to stop and remember: this is a book.

As a member of the committee, I was assigned around 52,000 minutes of listening. That came out to 104 eight hour days. With the audiobooks I could listen while driving in the car, cleaning house, Christmas shopping, during lunch, or crocheting. I listened to 147 books.

At the conference, we picked our winner, Anna and the Swallow Man, the announcements were made, and I got in my car to drive home. I picked up an audiobook I had received at the conference, Put the CD in the player, and listened to a new adventure on my way home to Birmingham.

*The Odyssey Award audiobook is honored as the Best Audiobook production of a book for children or teens produced in the previous year.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Celebrate Central Library During National Library Week

by Pat B. Rumore, board member of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library

Pat Rumore
Say you’re interested in Abraham Lincoln, and you want to read the new historical novel by George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo. You stop by your Birmingham neighborhood library, but the book is not there. But there’s no problem. You can go online and request it and ask that it be delivered to your library. And usually, in a matter of days, you’ll have it.

The above example is just one way in which the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system works. The system has 18 branches throughout the city, all of which serve many purposes in their particular communities, but the BPL system’s beating heart is the Central Library complex downtown.

Central acquires, catalogs, and circulates the books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs that you’re accustomed to finding in the branches. But it also acquires a vast array of electronic media offerings such as downloadable films, e-books, magazines, audiobooks, and music, and it maintains databases available 24-7, at no charge to library patrons. Go to bplonline.org and you can find Hoopla, a streaming service for films, magazines, and audiobooks; Flipster, a digital magazine service; the learning tool Mango Languages; back issues of the Birmingham News, burial records from Red Mountain Cemetery, and so on.

The JCLC vans run three delivery routes five days per week to provide a
county-wide delivery service to patrons. Each year the vans travel 1,413
miles per week or 73,476 miles annually delivering materials.

These and all of the BPL system’s data sources are available to Birmingham residents, and most of them are available to Jefferson County residents. All you need is a card with the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. The cooperative serves 40 libraries throughout the county—including municipal libraries such as those in Bessemer, Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook, and Trussville—and it is based at the Central Library. So are the vans that deliver books and other materials that you request from your local library.

But these services are not all that you can find at Central. In Central's Linn-Henley Research Library, check out the Southern History Department, which is renowned for its book collection, maps, and genealogy resources and instruction. There’s also the Archives and Manuscripts Department, which holds more than 30 million documents and 500,000 photographs of local, state, national, and international significance, including the archives of the City of Birmingham.

At a 2012 Eat Drink Read Write festival, Brooklyn-based chef and author
Tamar Adler leads a bring-your-own cooking class, where attendees brought
anything from their fridge or pantry to see what Adler could make with it.
BPL Flickr

Like its branches, Central is a lending library, and it also hosts a variety of activities for all ages. However, its large two buildings and resources enable it to do some things on a grander scale than most of the libraries in the county. For example, Central annually sponsors a teen poetry initiative, WORD UP!, which draws teens from a five-county area, and a Local Authors Expo and Book Fair. There’s also its monthly Bards and Brews poetry slam competition and local craft beer tasting, and its annual week-long Eat Drink Read Write festival. New this year is the program Teens Engineer BHM, run in conjunction with the UAB School of Engineering, to encourage teens to consider engineering careers.

A volunteer from UAB School of Engineering shows Teens Engineer BHM 
participants at the Woodlawn Branch Library how to design houses.
BPL Flickr

This month’s events calendar illustrates the scope of classes held at Central. Included are “Money Matters” programming on personal finances; “Steps to Starting Your Business,” plus classes on employment with Jefferson County and using Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center, which details more than 2,000 in-demand jobs at nearly 100 industries. Each month also offers computer classes and instruction on how to use the library system's databases.

This week is National Library Week. It is a time to acknowledge the important role that libraries and librarians continue to serve in our society. Both citizens and governmental leaders in Jefferson County often seem to forget the critical role played by the Central Library in our large and successful county-wide system since most people experience their libraries at the branch or municipal level. It is time to celebrate Central and remind everyone that it needs our continued support to maintain its special services and programs which enhance the other libraries in the county.

(You can support the Central Library by joining the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library at friendsofthebpl.org or by sending a donation to the Friends Foundation of BPL at bplonline.org under Support the Library, Library Foundation.)

Pat Rumore received a 2016 Library Champions award from the Jefferson County Public Library Association and is a board member of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Google Workshop Scheduled for April 13 Has Been Canceled


The Google workshop, Put Your Business on the Map with Google, scheduled for April 13 at noon at the Central Library has been canceled. Check back with the BPL event calendar for upcoming Google workshops.

National Library Week Coupon April 9-15, 2017



If you have ever researched a paper, checked out a bestseller, or attended a special program, you know what a great resource your library is.

Across Jefferson County, 40 libraries in the City of Birmingham and the county provide a variety of free resources for the public far beyond being a place to rent books, DVDs and music. Between Sunday, April 9 and Saturday, April 15, the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system will join the 40-member Public Libraries in Jefferson County in celebrating 2017 National Library Week.

Libraries in cities, schools, college campuses and towns across the country use National Library Week to remind the public about the contributions made by libraries, librarians, and their staff to make a positive difference in communities big and small. In today’s economy, libraries offer free resources to help people find jobs and learn new skills. With free resources like books, magazines, DVDs, and computer and Wi-Fi access, people can do better in school, tackle projects, learn new ways to improve their health, or start a business.

This week only, libraries in Birmingham and Jefferson County will also allow patrons to download a $5 coupon to pay off past due fines (does not count toward lost materials). See attached coupon link at http://www.jclc.org/coupon.aspx. The $5 Fine Coupon is also available at your local Birmingham and Jefferson County libraries.

"We hope library cardholders utilize National Library Week to explore enjoyable ways to use their local library Sunday, April 9-Saturday, April 15,” said Pat Ryan, Executive Director of The Public Libraries in Jefferson County. “We also encourage those from our community that aren’t yet library cardholders to come get a library card during this exciting week!"

Central Library to Host Informational Program on Bankruptcy April 11


What: Dispelling the Myths and Misunderstandings about Bankruptcy
When: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 5:45-6:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Building, Regional Library Computer Center,4th Floor,
Details: Free and open to the public

Just the mention of the word “bankruptcy” can strike fear and dread in the hearts of even the most fiscally fit among of us. The term carries with it connotations of failure, carelessness, irresponsibility, and worst of all, financial ruin. Although these connotations are hard to shake from our minds, they are not completely accurate. Both our economy and our laws have evolved in recent years and have created changes that should encourage us to reassess our understanding of bankruptcy. Dispelling the myths and misunderstandings that we hold onto regarding bankruptcy are the necessary first steps in this reassessment.

To help the community become more informed on this topic, the Birmingham Public Library will host the program Dispelling the Myths and Misunderstandings about Bankruptcy. The presenter is local attorney Dan Crane. In his presentation, Attorney Crane will cover the following:

  • An overview of bankruptcy law and creditors’ rights
  • The advantages of filing for bankruptcy
  • When is the appropriate time to file
  • The steps involved in the filing process
  • Rebuilding your financial standing after bankruptcy

For more information about this program and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or 205-226-3691.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Artist Steve Skipper Signing Copies of His Memoir April 11 at Powderly Library


What: Author Visit and Book Signing with Steve R. Skipper
When: April 11, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Powderly Branch Library

Steve R. Skipper, a Homewood native and artist whose celebrity clients include University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, will be signing copies of his new memoir on April 11 at the Powderly Library.

The book, Dream On: A Journey to Deliverance, is an amazingly true story many can identify with and draw strength from as they struggle to break through their own personal, professional, and spiritual barriers. Skipper, 58, talks about his growth from an impoverished childhood as a teenaged gang member to become one of America’s most prolific and honored painters and sketch artists. Throughout the book, Skipper shares his spiritual faith and how God transformed his life.

A self-taught artist, Skipper credits encouragement from his brother for pursing his chosen career. His works have hung in the Professional Football Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the U.S. Capitol, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant Museum as well as in the National Art Museum of Sport, in NCAA headquarters, and in many other venues nationwide. They also grace the walls of private collectors and sports notables worldwide.

A year ago, Skipper released an artwork called DNA Ingrained that includes scenes of the attack on civil rights marchers crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and pays tribute to heroes in the movement and trailblazers including President Barack Obama. He donated a copy of the painting, one of only 250 prints being made, to the Powderly Library. The painting also hangs in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

DNA Ingrained has received many endorsements, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who suffered severe head injuries when attacked on Bloody Sunday, and comedian Bill Cosby. Skipper, who has pieces among Cosby’s personal art collection, said Cosby, is the one who gave him the painting title, which means “The DNA of our ancestors is engrained in the concrete on Edmund Pettus Bridge."

Money Smart Week at Central Library April 24-26


Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 22 to April 29. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three public programs at the Central Library location:

The A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC)/4th Floor
Karen Haiflich, an independent health benefits advisor, will provide simple, straightforward answers to help participants better understand Medicare and the options available to beneficiaries.

Estate Planning: A Guide to Life Organization
Date: Tuesday April 25, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Participants will learn the basics of estate planning including how to examine their financial needs and assets, organize important papers, and more. The presenter is Nkenge Hyter of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Fact vs. Fiction - Busting the Social Security Myths
Date: Wednesday April 26, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Briana Collins, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Alabama, will provide informed answers to common questions about Social Security and will discuss various aspects of the agency’s different benefit programs.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on budgeting, savings, investing, and much more. So, make plans to stop by and check out some of the amazing resources and services we have to offer! For more information, please contact the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at 205-226-3690.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Book Signings by DJ Legend Roe Bonner Scheduled April 12 at Titusville and Smithfield Libraries

Roe Bonner and fan on 2015 visit to West End Branch Library

Birmingham disc jockey legend Roe Bonner will visit two Birmingham Public Library (BPL) locations on Wednesday, April 12, to promote his book, Behind the Mic: The Rise and Fall of Personality Radio.

From 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 12, Bonner will give a talk/book signing at the Smithfield Branch Library. He will host a second talk/book signing at 2:30 p.m. at the Titusville Branch Library.

Bonner holds the title for being the longest running DJ for WENN radio station. He gives a unique insider perspective on how millionaire businessman Dr. A.G. Gaston came to own WENN, and built it into the number one station in Alabama. Copies of his books will be available for purchase at both Titusville and Smithfield Libraries.

Book Review: Lost In The Funhouse: The Life And Mind Of Andy Kaufman

by Richard Grooms, Fiction Department, Central Library

Lost In The Funhouse: The Life And Mind Of Andy Kaufman
Bill Zehme

A meek little man onstage puts a record on a child’s record player. It’s the Mighty Mouse theme. He stands silently by. When the refrain comes up, he joins in: “Here I come to save the dayyyyyyyyyyyy!” The chorus finishes, and he returns to silence. The audience is puzzled at first, but soon catches on. Even his standing gets laughs. Each time he joins the refrain, the laughs get bigger. The sketch ends with overwhelming applause.

When I saw this on Saturday Night Live in 1975, I suspected a new era in comedy had begun. Ever since, I’ve re-watched old Kaufman routines, read all the biographies, kept the flame alive. Bill Zehme’s book is as good as any of the accounts of Kaufman’s life. He spent six years doing research, trying to separate fact from myth, and it usually pays off. Occasionally, the usage is clumsy (“He felt anxious, knew not why…”) but it’s overall a solid piece of writing and should be read by anyone more than casually interested in Andy Kaufman.

Andy Kaufman spent much of his childhood acting out dramas alone in his bedroom, creating his own TV shows. It wasn’t entirely unlike Rupert Pupkin in the basement in the movie The King Of Comedy. But, being a dutiful son, he went to college and made the dean’s list. Still, it was the sixties, and when Andy signed up for Transcendental Meditation courses, it changed his life. The training would give him the astounding concentration and memory that would serve him well throughout his career.

Andy (most fans find it unnatural to refer to him as anything but Andy, and I’m following suit) didn’t save his acting for stage work alone. His characters spilled into his regular life. A coworker remembers him doing what he’d later realize was the Foreign Man character in the men’s room. “And I thought, well, I guess he’s the real thing. I mean, there was no reason to put on a foreign accent for me alone in the men’s room. Then he went out and did the act and I realized I’d been had.” Andy fooled legions of people in this way. Comedian Richard Belzer said: “He was a performance artist before the term existed.” But Andy didn’t consider himself a comedian. Ultimately, conventional terms didn’t apply to him. Nor did unconventional ones. Still, comedian seems as good as any, at least comedian in the new, Kaufman-broadened sense. He was always funny, or trying to be.

One of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen, still funny more than twenty years after I first saw it, is the SNL audition tape of Andy doing a yokel. Zehme has it that a “mushmouthed hillbilly” drawls “Fasterna-speedn-bullet-mo-pahrfulna-loc’motive-abletuh-leap-tawl-buildnsna-sanglebown…it’s Suprymayn…” This and other phonetic accounts preserve the intonation (though I’d spell it “SOOPmain”) and comic thrust. It’s necessary to use phonetic spelling to convey the flavor of Andy’s characters with their distinctive voices. Also included are bits I’ve never encountered outside of this book (and these are vital to the Kaufman hordes as Andy is poorly documented on film), such as a Foreign Man-narrated joke about a “little boy named Jesus—not the same Jesus that live in de church, you know.” It’s a measure of Andy’s talent that these pieces, even written down, still retain much of their original punch. Written accounts of comedians’ sketches usually don’t come off, but they do in this book.

Who was the real Andy Kaufman? Everyone wants to know that, and it’s not easy to figure out, as Andy was a famous dissembler. I don’t know if knowing the real Andy is knowable. Andy so buried himself behind his characters, his mirrors and fantasies that we’ll probably never know the real him. Still, you want Zehme to make a good job of it and he does, concluding that “the real real him was the existential puppeteer who decided what would happen whenever people were looking.” That’s as good an answer as I’ve read anywhere, but there are other, equally good answers. Robin Williams said you could look at Andy and realize no one was driving.

Andy wasn’t always in fine form. The Intergender Wrestling thing wore thin for me after a while, and the connected My Breakfast With Blassie is tedious. Heartbeeps, Kaufman’s only feature drama, is famously unwatchable and I can’t get more than about twenty minutes into it. Kaufman probably wouldn’t have minded these criticisms, which are widely shared, because he himself demolished his own career on several occasions. He famously did so live when he bombed onstage in a routine and a heckler savaged him. Only Andy knew the heckler was his creative partner Bob Zmuda, but it was so real that once when performing this, a man with a gun threatened to shoot Zmuda. The comic Sinbad was utterly taken in as well, ashamed that, in a milieu where people are always doing made-up things, he didn’t catch on. This was a Kaufman goal: to embarrass the audience. Once the audience grew wise to the sham, Kaufman would invent a new routine. When Andy announced in the mid-eighties that he was dying of cancer, no one, not even Zmuda, bought it. But it was real this time. Or was it? Zmuda is convinced the death was faked, but it took him decades to come to this conclusion. Andy’s own doctor, at the funeral, poked Andy’s body when no one was looking. It was a dummy, he says. But was that really Andy’s doctor? Would coming back now, after more than thirty years later, work? He kept topping himself, always finding new convolutions, always succeeding dramatically, always fooling people, even those who knew he did pranks for a living. Would a return to life now clear that impossibly high bar? Maybe he could go into pest control or something. Driver Ed. Just not tell anybody anything. Just be undercover forever. For someone who claimed to hate all things highbrow (My Breakfast With Blassie was meant to be a parody of My Dinner With Andre), Kaufman expanded comedy and theatre into new and radical dimensions. He really was the ultimate avant-gardist. He just did it in a field not associated with the avant-garde, did it with a lighter touch, and so wasn’t usually seen as such.

Lost In The Funhouse is the best biography of Kaufman to start with. It’s the most conventional and thorough one. All the other accounts are well worth it too. I thank you, Mr. Zehme for nailing some mercury with a pitchfork. It couldn’t have been easy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Bards & Brews Returns to Avondale Library April 7


The Birmingham law firm of Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt is sponsoring this week's Bards & Brews in honor of William Shakespeare—"The Original Bard"—on Friday, April 7, 2017, at the Avondale Regional Branch Library.

It will be the third monthly Bards & Brews held this year to help raise funds to keep BPL’s poetry event alive. The event, which combines spoken word with craft beer, is in need of extra money to offset the costs after a grant that provided funding the past six years expired. Poet Lee Green and longtime host Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins are among a dedicated group of community supporters working with BPL staff to save Bards & Brews

Like the Bards & Brews held at the Central Library the first Fridays in February and March, the April 7 one at the Avondale Library will also be a “pay as you can” event with donations accepted at the door. Entertainment will be provided at 6:30 p.m. by Etc. Bham with poetry beginning at 7:00 p.m. Craft beer will be provided by the Avondale Brewing Co. The J. Clyde will be pouring the beer. Kim West of Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt said her firm "takes a lively interest in the cultural life of Birmingham, and is proud to promote poetry and spoken word performances at the Birmingham Public Library during April, Shakespeare's birthday month."

Birmingham Public Library Development Director Olivia Alison said she appreciates the law firm stepping up to sponsor this Friday's Bards & Brews. "Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt also sponsored our April 2016 Bards & Brews tribute marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. We are delighted to partner with the firm again this year."

Any other organization or individual interested in becoming a sponsor of Bards & Brews or other BPL programs can contact Olivia Alison at 205-226-3613 or oalison@bham.lib.al.us. You may also make donations at www.bplonline.org/about/contributions/ or send donations to Birmingham Public Library, Development Department, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203.

For more information about Bards & Brews, call Brandon C. Smith of the Eastwood Branch Library at 205-591-4944 or email him at bcsmith@bham.lib.al.us. Follow Bards & Brews on Facebook and look for more news on fundraising efforts on the BPL website at www.bplonline.org.

Money Matters – Saving Through Tax Refunds Workshop Scheduled for April 5, 2017


Today's program is canceled because of inclement weather. Please check back for updates about the possible rescheduling of this program. 

It’s never too late to start building a better understanding of your personal finances and begin developing a plan for the future. To assist you in this endeavor, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is partnering with the staff of the Regions Institute for Financial Education at UAB to offer a series of Money Matters workshops at the Central Library on the first Wednesday of each month from July 2016 to May 2017. Please join us on the dates below to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to help you achieve your economic goals.

When: First Wednesday of the month
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

Dates/Workshops
4/5/2017 – Saving Through Tax Refunds
5/3/2017 – Five Keys to Investing Success

For more information about the workshop series and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Springville Road Coffee, Conversation and Crafts Group to Host Drawing for Stitched Craft May 1


If you did not attend the Springville Road Regional Branch Library’s annual craft fair on April 2, you still have time to support its adult programming by buying tickets for its stitched art drawing taking place on Monday, May 1, 2017, during the Coffee, Conversation and Crafts (CCC) adult program.

The hand-stitched framed art was created by a Birmingham area artist and donated to the Springville Road Library to raise money for its adult programs. Tickets for the stitched art are $1 apiece or 6 tickets for $5. You do not have to be present to win. For more information, contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or kslaney@bham.lib.al.us.

The 2017 craft fair featured handmade quilts, crocheted and knitted blankets, hats, Easter baskets, custom jewelry, leather, flowers, and other items. Many of the booths were manned by participants in Springville Road Library’s Coffee, Conversation and Crafts program.

Read more about the fair at http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2017/03/springville-road-library-craft-fair.html.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Science Club @ Ensley Library

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Winfield and Elinor Burks (top) and members of the Science Club

Over the past 8 months the Ensley Branch Library has been hosting a Science Club for our afterschool kids and the participants seem to love it! Two of our very dedicated and gracious patrons, Winfield and Elinor Burks, devote their time and energy to come in and conduct experiments and give back to the community. The Science Club was created to engage the students with hands on experiments and teach them “How Things Work” in Science and Math. This fun and informative program allows our students to have fun while learning some very valuable information. Kids can also do these experiments in the comfort of their own home by following the written instructions provided to them.

This program has been a great way to motivate many of our kids to think critically while introducing them to new subjects. Not only is Science Club incredibly fun, it is an excellent form of mental exercise. In addition completing the experiments, this time allows the staff members to interact with our kids on a more personal basis. We get the perfect opportunity to ask those key questions, take suggestions from those we serve and improve or change our services to better accommodate their needs.