Thursday, October 19, 2017

BPL Closed October 19 for Staff Development Day

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Thursday, October 19, for Staff Development Day. Staff Development Day 2016 was hosted by the Southern Museum of Flight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

by Leigh Wilson, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

October 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. This holiday celebrates two of my favorite things: chocolate and cupcakes! What a perfect reason to celebrate the beautiful fall weather, while counting the days to Halloween and even more chocolate goodies, by enjoying a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Perhaps you would like to bake some cupcakes of your own. These cookbooks from the Birmingham Public Library can lead you to create your own cupcake culinary delights or to have a sweet daydream about chocolate confections:

Better Homes and Gardens Cupcakes: More Than 100 Sweet and Simple Recipes for Every Occasion by John Wiley
Fabulous Party Cakes and Cupcakes: Matching Cakes and Cupcakes for Every Occasion by Carol Deacon
Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat by Martha Stewart
Pure Chocolate: Divine Desserts and Sweets from the Creators of Fran's Chocolates by Fran Bigelow

Who knows, it may inspire you to compete on Cupcake Wars one day or at least enjoy cheering your favorite team on to victory!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Linn-Henley Building Closing at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 18

Central's Linn-Henley building will close at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 18. The Southern History Department and the Archives Department will reopen Friday, October 20 at 9:00 a.m.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Book Review: Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents

Att<i></i>itudes Aren't Free
Attitudes Aren't Free
James E. Parco and David A. Levy

Even though the focus of this book appears in a military setting, the suggestions can be used to build teams in any large work environment. Learning to work together effectively minimizes the disadvantages posed by a group’s large size by focusing on collaboration to complete tasks. Civilian organizations benefit equally by reducing waste of materials, energy and time. To promote these recommendations, it is essential that every team member feel they are a respected, valued part of the team.

People come together from many walks of life to serve our country so the military reflects the demographics of our modern society. Individuals from many different religions, sexual preferences, races, lifestyles and ethnic groups possess different perspectives. To be successful the military must merge these different individuals into one team to meet the goals set down by U.S. armed forces. In a series of essays, “Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces” addresses individual differences through practices that forms a cohesive whole to defend our national interests. The authors do not cover all aspects of each issue but explain how their approach promotes the best teams for the military.

These essays focus on using the perspective of the “other” as a way to draw on the strength of diverse views on topics. How can participants open their minds to the possibilities of what each individual offers to form a cohesive whole that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts? This book provides strategies for starting-point discussions that promote an understanding from the perspective of the “other”.

Other topics of interest:

Southern History Book of the Month: Strange But True Alabama: People, Places, and Things

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Strange But True Alabama: People, Places, and Things
Lynne L. Hall

October is a month for all things strange, wacky, and weird . . . and you’ll find all of these in Strange but True Alabama. This is an enjoyable little book, suitable for browsing at random or reading straight through, and it is packed from cover to cover with bizarre and chilling events and personalities from the Heart of Dixie, along with some amusing tales to lighten the mood.
Check out some of the folk remedies:
Bacon fat taped to embedded glass with draw it out. Watch out; you don’t want to lose a finger to that pack of hound dogs following you around, though.

For itching, especially from poison ivy, mix oatmeal into bath water and plunge in. Add a little butter and sugar, and you’ve got breakfast.
Let’s not even talk about what goes into Grandpa’s favorite cold remedy, or “weed tea” for various ailments. But if you had been Ann Hodges, you’d need something stronger than a cold cure for your ills. Hodges is the only human on record to have been struck by a meteorite. There she was on the night of November 30, 1954, listening to the radio in her home in Sylacauga and minding her own business, when an 8 ½ pound meteorite smashed through her roof and landed on her hip, leaving her with severe bruises and the story of a lifetime.

And speaking of meteors, there’s the famous “night the stars fell” on November 12, 1833. The Leonid meteor shower was spectacular that year, inspiring both wonder and panic on the part of Alabamians who witnessed it:
Thousands of stars plummeted to Earth, setting the Alabama sky ablaze, awing many and frightening others who believed Judgment Day was nigh. Across the state, folks repented their wicked ways, renouncing all manner of sin from drinking and smoking to dancing and gambling.

But, of course, Judgment Day did not come, and wicked ways have made a remarkable comeback. The meteor shower became known as “the night stars fell on Alabama” and has been memorialized in song and on our car tags.
Naturally, no book about weird happenings in Alabama would be complete without mention of some of the state’s famous hauntings ranging from ghostly Confederate soldiers in a Notasulga graveyard to a student’s ghost at the University of Montevallo. And how about some noteworthy Alabama creatures? There’s an Alabama Animal Hall of Fame in Montgomery, or you can visit the Bluegrass Farms Wildlife Sanctuary/Tigers for Tomorrow in Attala. You can also take your pick of towns with strange names like Bug Tussle, Scratch Ankle, Slapout, and Smut Eye.

So if you like your weird with a side of amusement and a dash of shiver, try out Strange but True Alabama in your October reading list. Entertainment and exclamations of “Only in Alabama!” guaranteed.

For further information:
"Meteor storm muse behind 'Stars Fell on Alabama'"
Alabama Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff
"The True Story of History's Only Known Meteorite Victim"
"The 13 Most Bone-Chilling & Haunted Places in Alabama"
"These 30 Alabama Towns Have Some of the Most Bizarre Names Ever"
Alabama Animal Hall of Fame
Tigers for Tomorrow Wildlife Sanctuary

Monday, October 16, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library

If you've been seeing more pink over the past couple of weeks, it's likely because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Despite the enormous popularity of breast cancer awareness merchandise and the plethora of information that's available, many individuals are unaware of pertinent information about this type of cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but it also has a relatively high survival rate, especially when detected early. Now is a great time to visit your local library for print resources about breast cancer. You can also learn more through the Birmingham Public Library's online databases. Knowledge is power!

Temporary Department Closing in Linn-Henley Research Library for HVAC Maintenance

Due to HVAC upgrade and maintenance in the Linn-Henley Research Library/Central Library, Government Documents/Microforms Departments are closed to the public.

The Government Documents/Microforms Departments will be closed to the public October 11-30, 2017. Equipment for reading and scanning microforms is available in the Southern History Department. Patrons may call ahead (205-226-3665) to have film and/or fiche pulled.

We recommend checking the Birmingham Public Library website for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Board to Interview Two Director Finalists October 16

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Board of Trustees will be interviewing two finalists for its opening for BPL director next week. The two candidates will be interviewed at the Central Library on Monday, October 16, 2017.

Both interviews will take place during a special called board meeting in the Arrington Auditorium/Linn-Henley Research Library/4th floor, and are open to the public. The first candidate will be interviewed at 9:00 a.m.; the second candidate will be interviewed at 10:30 a.m. The BPL Board of Trustees began conducting a national search for the BPL director position in July 2017.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew Exhibit at Central Library, October 20-December 1

What: Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew Exhibit
When: October 20-December 1, 2017
Where: First and Fourth Floor Galleries, Central Library
Details: Free and open to the public during library hours

The Birmingham Public Library’s Central branch is hosting an exhibit paying tribute to blood pioneer Dr. Charles Drew beginning Friday, October 20, 2017.

The exhibit, Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew, will be open from Friday, October 20, through Friday, December 1, 2017, in the First and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Central Library. One side of the exhibit will highlight the life and accomplishments of Dr. Charles R. Drew, the blood banking pioneer who could not donate blood because he was African American. The other side is a timeline of blood science and stigma throughout history and today.

Blood Divided is part of One In Our Blood, a comprehensive, city-wide program of events and exhibitions conceived and coordinated by Birmingham curator Paul Barrett, building on the work of Blood Equality. Blood Equality was launched in 2015 in partnership with Gay Men’s Health CrisisFCB Health, and artist Jordan Eagles’ Blood Mirror project to address discrimination against prospective LGBTQ blood donors and allow everyone an equal opportunity to donate blood.

"We're very proud to partner with GMHC and Jordan Eagles as we further our commitment to highlighting issues of blood equality through our work," said Rich Levy, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Health, the New York agency handling the campaign. "True to our Never Finished principle, this creative partnership lends us an important opportunity to challenge the discrimination based on outdated stigmas around blood donation by building equity for donors, influencing long-term behavior and leaving behind a positive impact."

Book Review: Seeking Sarah

by Saundra Ross, North Avondale Branch Library

Seeking Sarah
ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Brooke seems to be a happy woman with the best life ahead of her but in reality she is not. She has so many people who love her. From her loving father and grandmother who raised her to the man she’s currently engaged to, Trent, her fiancĂ©.

All of Brooke’s life she’s been a good girl. One day Brooke realizes that there’s one love she doesn’t have and that’s when the good girl disappears. After a deep family secret is revealed, and against everyone’s wishes and any obstacles, Brooke goes on a mission to find out why she doesn’t have the one love she wants most—her mother Sarah’s love.

How obsessed will Brooke become with her problem? What kind of out-of-character evil deeds will she do? ReShonda Tate Billingsley does a great job of adding some unexpected twists to the story which keeps it interesting. Seeking Sarah is the perfect title for this book because Brooke will always yearn for the love of her mother.

Seeking Sarah is Billingsley’s latest novel that has many surprises and twists. Please visit the library to check out books by this author.

Links of interest:
ReShonda Tate Billingsley Website
ReShonda Tate Billingsley on Facebook
Reshonda Tate Billingsley at Simon & Schuster

Book Review: The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History

by David Ryan, Business, Science and Technology Department

The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History 
Don Jordan & Michael Walsh

In history class our teachers taught us about the great men behind great events. These are men represented by marble busts and court portraits in museums and galleries. We learned about Julius Caesar invading Britain, King John at Runnymede, and Winston Churchill and the Battle of Britain. Beneath this picture is the word "corrupt" or "moral," beside this statue the word "frivolous" or "serious," and this portrait is labeled "vengeful" or "forgiving." As students, most of us for the sake of simplicity tended to accept these facile labels presented by our professors. However, sometimes a study of the small events following the great reveals a more complex figure. The King’s Revenge by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh is one such study.

On the 30th of January, 1649, King Charles I of England was in the name of revolution decapitated by Puritans and members of Parliament. In time Oliver Cromwell took control and, in the eyes of some, took the throne as well. Many Englishmen and Parliamentarians began to feel they had simply exchanged one tyrant for another. On September, 1658, Cromwell, the man who had overthrown the monarchy “… survived myriad battles, intrigues and assassination plots…was laid low by an insect” and died of malaria. Minus his authoritarian hand, England seemed, at best on the verge of another civil war, and, at worst, slipping into anarchy. So-called Committees of Safety popped up overnight like poisonous mushrooms. Attempted military coups became common. Religious persecution was on the rise. The Rump Parliament stumbled about incapable of grasping the reins of power. Even Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard, the obvious choice for the throne, simply walked out the palace back door without warning. Suddenly, restoring the Monarchy seemed the only path to control, stability, and sanity. On May 8, 1660, Parliament invited Charles II, the son of the monarch they had killed, to return from exile and assume the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Professors usually portray Charles, "the Merry Monarch,” as a bon vivant uninterested in the past,
and living only for the moment. (Particularly if the moment included wine, women, and song.).

Charles II, the Merry Monarch of England
Charles was applauded for the terms of his return. He spoke of restoration of property for victims of the revolution, religious tolerance for all, and critically, a general pardon for all revolutionaries. But there was another darker side to the young monarch not often discussed in the classroom. Before he even sailed from exile back to England he wrote “…we shall therein by all ways and means possible endeavor to pursue and bring to their due punishment those bloody traitors who were either actors or contrivers of that unparalleled and inhuman murder.”

A list, consisting of only seven "exceptions" to the general pardon, was written. The men on the list would be punished for their part in the execution of Charles I. Then five more names were added to the list. Then eight. Then ten. In the blood thirsty atmosphere created by Charles II, it was inevitable that Parliament and those in the new court added even more names to the list. It was equally inevitable that bribes were offered, and accepted, to keep names off the "excepted" list.

There were three types of justice for the regicides. They could be punished with death. In most cases, this entailed partial hanging, followed by disemboweling, and ending with drawing and quartering. A lesser punishment meant they would be bankrupted, their entire wealth seized by the Crown. Or they could receive minor punishments with accompanying minor fines, and live out their lives in comfortable obscurity. Some observers concluded that “the king’s motives…were partly revenge and partly rapine, in other words the royal seizure of the estates of those who were accepted” from the general pardon.

When England was emptied of the regicides spies, kidnappers and assassins were dispatched across the globe to bring the guilty to face the King’s justice. It didn’t matter to Charles II if his father’s murders were hiding under beds in English attics or under straw in a Massachusetts Bay Colony barn. Even a London grave provided neither sanctity nor safety. Oliver Cromwell, long since dead, was disinterred and his head displayed as a warning. The King’s reach extended everywhere—even beyond death.

Jordan and Walsh crack the marble statue of Charles II to reveal a man of many sides: some flippant and bright like a Restoration ball, but others as desperately dark as a Tower cell. They also show that even peace has a price.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Exclusive Interview with Charlotte de Gross, North Birmingham Library's Resident Tarantula

by June Lacanski, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

North Birmingham ZOOBRARY reporting—October’s Pet of the Month is Charlotte de Gross. She wanted to be interviewed this month because October is a scary month, she said, and some people think she’s scary.

Interviewer: Charlotte, if someone asked you what type of living creature you are, how would you answer?
Charlotte: I would say, “Hey Dufus, do you see my eight legs? I sure ain’t an octopus!”

Interviewer: OK, so you are a spider; what type of a spider are you?
Charlotte: I am a Tarantula.
Charlotte poses as a human hairpiece

Interviewer: Well, what type of a tarantula are you?
Charlotte: I am a Library Tarantula!

Interviewer: Alrighty then. How long have you been at the North Birmingham Library?
Charlotte: I came as a little spider in the autumn of 2008. I don’t have fingers, so it is hard for me to count. From 2008 to 2017—is that like 700 years?

Interviewer: Well, no. Anyway, how did you get the name Charlotte?
Charlotte: There is a book about a spider that can spell things in her web. Her name is Charlotte. I never read the book. But I might get to see the movie one day…

Interviewer: You never know… So, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at the library?
Charlotte: Well, one day a frisky creature was messing with my cage. I don’t know, but I think they are called Human Beans or something like that. Anyway, there was nobody watching the Zoobrary and this creature opened my cage. Then he ran away. Heck, so did I! I played in the Kid Department all night. But when morning came, somebody discovered that I was out of my cage. They went absolutely C.R.A.Z.Y. Some goofy Scardy-Breetches picked me up in the dustpan and took me back to my shelf. A dust pan! Now that was insulting! But the silly Human Beans were running around and were even talking about closing the library until they found me. I wasn’t even lost, but whatever…

Interviewer: What is your favorite thing about living at the North Birmingham Library?
Charlotte: Oh, definitely Grubdown! All ages of Human Beans gather around while this pretty Bean picks me up and tells everyone a lot of important stuff about me. Then she lets all the other Beans touch me and some goofy Beans squeal and run around like crazy things. But, what I think is really neat is when someone touches the bottom of my feet to understand how the sticky stuff on the bottom helps me walk upside down if I want. The Beans seem to appreciate me better after Grubdown is over. Then I get a couple of yummy crickets. If I am hungry, I will grab one and go to work on it.

Interviewer: So you eat crickets? Do you just gobble down the whole thing?
Charlotte: Well, I will eat almost any kind of bug. But, first I stun it with my built-in stun gun; then I kind of put a straw into the bug and shoot in a little spit. Then I suck all the juicy stuff out. Yummers!

Interviewer: Ugh, that sounds gross. How long does that process take?
Charlotte: As long as it needs to. And you Human Beans are the ones who eat the gross stuff! I see little Beans come around with small white sticks coming out of their mouth. And when they talk their tongues are red or blue or green or brown. Now that is what’s gross!

Interviewer: One last question: How would you change the North Birmingham Library if you could?
Charlotte: Well, all the nice Library Human Beans would bring a whole bag of crickets every week and let them go. And they would let me out of my cage and all of my old friends could come. And then we could pull every book off the shelf that we wanted and read and read. And we would play every movie we wanted to watch on the TV—like that Charlotte movie. And we could all play games on the computers and write letters and look for spider date sites and stuff…

Interviewer: Oh yeah, Charlotte, I do need to ask you one more question: What is your favorite book?
Charlotte: Now, that is a dumb last question! You think I’m gonna say that book about the spider who wrote things with her web, don’t you? Nope. My favorite book is Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Interviewer: Thank you so much Charlotte. I am sure our readers appreciate your candid responses.

Please join us next month when our interviewer asks, “When did you realize that your dad ate your brother?”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Final Eat Drink Read Write Program Featuring Wenonah High School Culinary Students Scheduled October 10 at Central Library

Don't miss the final program in the Eat Drink Read Write food festival on Tuesday, October 10, 5:30-8:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

During the event students involved in the culinary program will show off their cooking skills by performing a demonstration and food tasting of delectable dishes they have mastered during the school year.

The Wenonah High Culinary Arts team members, all seniors, performing the cooking demo at the Central Library will be: Asia Tatum, Jordan Young, Drusilla Foster, Juahmun Sturgeon, Janiya Wright, Aaron Harris, and Alejandro Guzman. Another member of the team, Tytianna Day, will help serve attendees. The students will demonstrate a fruit salad with honey dressing, cinnamon sweet potatoes, and a chicken vegetable stir-fry. Attendees will get samples and recipes to take home.

On October 2 students in the Wenonah High Culinary Arts Program visited the nearby Powderly Branch Library to research books on food to prepare for the cooking demo. They also stuck around for storytime and prepared healthy snacks for young patrons.

All ages are welcome. Free admission.

Earlier in October Wenonah High School culinary students Alejandro Guzman, Asia Tatum,
and Juahmun Sturgeon were interviewed on Biz Talk with Roy Williams about participating
in the Birmingham Public Library's Eat Drink Read Write food festival.

The award-winning Wenonah High School culinary team will be featured October 10 at 7:20, 7:50, and 8:20 a.m. on JehJeh Live on Good Day Alabama (Fox 6) about the free cooking demo they will be performing for the public at the Central Library.

Last Cyber Security Made Simple Workshop Scheduled for October 12 at Central Library

What: Cyber Security Made Simple
When: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor
Details: Free but registration is required

The Central Library final Cyber Security Made Simple workshop for small business owners will be on October 12. The program is sponsored by the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development and the local chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a nonprofit organization committed to providing mentoring to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The program presenters will be computer specialists from Sawyer Solutions, a local IT services company.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please contact Andy Mayo in the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development by phone at (205) 254-2774 or by email at

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

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

Money Matters Workshop Series Returns to Central Library Beginning October 18

The Birmingham Public Library is partnering again this year with UAB’s Regions Institute for Financial Education to offer a series of Money Matters workshops to be held each month at our Central location. Each of the workshops covers a different topic, but all are designed to help you gain a better understanding of your personal finances and begin making a plan for the future.

The first Money Matters workshop, "Wise Use of Credit," is scheduled for Wednesday October 18, 2017, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. All workshops will be held in the Youth Department’s Story Castle, which is located on 2nd floor of the Central Library. Representatives from the Regions Institute for Financial Education in UAB’s Collat School of Business will serve as instructors for each of the workshops.

What: Money Matters workshop series
When: Third Wednesday of the Month, October 2017 thru May 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library, Youth Department, 2nd floor, Story Castle

To learn more about the workshop series as well as other personal finance resources available at BPL, contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at or by calling 205-226-3691.

Below is a listing of the Money Matters workshop series by month from October 2017 through May 2018. The workshops are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, with the exception of the one scheduled for December 2017, which will be held on the 2nd Wednesday.

10/18/2017 – "Wise Use of Credit"
11/15/2017 – "Saving for Retirement"
12/13/2017 – "Holiday Shopping on a Budget" (held on 2nd Wednesday in December)
1/17/2018 – "Empower Yourself Financially"
2/21/2018 – "Maximize Your Personal Wealth"
3/21/2018 – "Protect Yourself from Identity Theft"
4/18/2018 – "Understanding Taxes"
5/16/2018 – "Your Credit Report"

Free Computer Classes in October at Central Library

The October computer class schedule is available. All classes are free but registration is required. For class descriptions and to register online, visit the Birmingham Public Library events calendar or call the Computer Commons Department at 205-226-3681.

Monday, October 09, 2017

October Equals Sports

Chicago CubsGolden State WarriorsNew England Patriots

The dog days of summer are finally over.  Even though fall officially started in late September, it certainly didn't feel like it.  In Alabama, I crave October because the weather finally starts to cool down, the sky is a brilliant blue with no haze, and you can finally turn off the air conditioner.  At least, you can turn it off on most days.  In addition to the brilliant weather, I enjoy October because of all the sports on television.  It's a great month to be a sports fan.

College and pro football are in full swing. The Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) are the only undefeated team while five other teams have only one loss.  Alabama (6-0) is still ranked number one and the AP Top 25 has twelve other undefeated teams starting Week 7 of the season.  The NBA has started its preseason with the regular season beginning on October 17th.  Several player moves should make for an interesting regular season.  Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have joined Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.  Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose have teamed up with LeBron James in Cleveland.  Chris Paul left the Los Angeles Clippers to play alongside James Harden in Houston. 

Major League Baseball has entered the postseason.  In the National League Division Series, the Chicago Cubs face the Washington Nationals, while the Arizona Diamondbacks compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Chicago and Washington have a game apiece but Los Angeles leads its series 2-0.   In the American League, the New York Yankees take on the Cleveland Indians while the Houston Astros lock horns with the Boston Red Sox.  Houston and Cleveland lead each series 2-1. 

As we march through October, enjoy the nicer weather and all the great sports.  The World Series is right around the corner and college basketball returns in November.  Be sure to stop by the library to check out some of our interesting sports titles.

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. Chefs participating in the food panel are: Abhi Sainju of MoMo; Amanshiva Takele of Ghion Hall Ethiopian Restaurant; Kimberly McNair Brock of Bitty’s Living Kitchen/REV Reveal Kitchen; and Eli Markshtien of Eli’s Jerusalem Grill.

$20 admission includes: Samples of signature dishes prepared by the four featured chefs from the Pizitz Food Hall, as well as samples from local restaurants, music, and complimentary beer/wine. Purchase tickets online at a discount on Groupon

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. Speakers: Emily Brown, author, Birmingham Food: A Magic City Menu; Russell Hooks, founder, Happenin's in the 'Ham; Tara Massouleh, assistant editor, Birmingham Magazine; Janece Maze, lifestyle blogger, Eat Drink Savor Life; Rocky Prince, executive chef, Itta Bena Wind Creek Montgomery; Julia Sayers, editor-in-chief, Birmingham Magazine; Justin White, co-owner, Cosecha Urban KitchenFree admission

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, Central Library and online through BPL website, Twitter, and Instagram
Six-Word Food Story Contest
In only six words, tell us your food story using Twitter, Instagram, or email. The judges are storyteller Dolores Hydock and culinary writer Fletcher Harvey. 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

Tell us your short, short, short story about food and you may win a prize.  Here’s the link for rules and details:

BPL’s 2017 Eat Drink Read Write Festival is made possible by donations from the following: Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library, EvaBank, Maynard Cooper & Gale, SweetWater Brewing, Dining Out With Comedienne Joy, Birmingham City Councilor Jay Roberson, Vi's Pies, Kat's Kreations, Taj India, Taco Morro Loco, Tropcialeo, Black Pearl, and US Foods.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Central Library to Host Bards & Brews Poetry Slam October 6

What: Bards & Brews spoken word poetry slam
When: Friday, October 6, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library
Details: BPL’s popular spoken word poetry and craft beer event returns in a poetry slam format as part of the 2017 Eat Drink Read Write festival. Shaheed & DJ Supreme will be performing live at 6:30 p.m. and poetry will begin to flow just after 7:00 p.m. Must be 18 or older to enter and 21 or older to drink beer.

Join us October 6 at the Central Library for the return of the poetry slam format of Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library’s popular spoken word poetry and craft beer event. The Bards & Brews poetry slam will be a part of BPL’s 2017 Eat Drink Read Write festival.

The slam will include cash prizes of $300 and $200 for the first and second place winners. BPL will be observing Southern Fried Slam rules for this event: poets will be competing over three rounds until only two poets remain for the final round. The judges will be chosen from members of the audience.

Sign up list for the slam will begin at 6:30 pm. The renowned hip-hop group Shaheed & DJ Supreme will be performing live at 6:30 p.m. and poetry will begin to flow just after 7 p.m. Free beer samples will be provided for attendees 21 and up by SweetWater Brewing Co., Babalu, and Wishes & Wonders are providing door prizes.

Bards & Brews is free, but attendees must be 18 and older to enter, and 21 or older to drink beer. IDs will be checked.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Genealogy Workshops Scheduled for October 2017

October is Family History Month, and the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department has scheduled many classes to assist patrons doing research, including Google Your Peeps, the last Beyond the Basics of Genealogy class for 2017.

Also, there is exciting news for patrons. Since FamilySearch has ceased lending microfilm, the Southern History Department has secured increased digital access to the FamilySearch website. This will add exclusive access to approximately 25 percent of the 1.5 million rolls of microfilm already converted to digital images. FamilySearch's increased digital access is only available at Central Library. If you would like to confirm the availability of BPL’s access to a particular digital image, please send the direct web address/URL to

The Southern History Department has also subscribed to the popular Library Edition – Southeast database. This collection contains digital images of microfilmed newspapers from the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Don’t expect full runs of all titles; some titles have very few digitized pages.

In addition, the Alabama Department of Archives and History has partnered with to digitize numerous Alabama newspapers. Library Edition – Southeast database is available in all BPL locations and is also available remotely to Birmingham residents.

For those who use the BPL Archives Department to do research, Archives is closed through October 9 due to maintenance on the heating and air system. Check the BPL website after October 9 to be sure the work has been completed on schedule.

Schedule of genealogy workshops in October:
Monday, October 9, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Vestavia Hills Library
From Cards to Computers: Planning a Research Visit – Finding the resources you need is one of the most important parts of genealogy research. In this class, you will learn the best methods to locate resources quickly, narrow your search, and maximize your time in a library.

Tuesday, October 10, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Bessemer Public Library
Mind Your Own (Family) Business – Did your ancestors own a pharmacy, furniture shop, or other business? Many genealogists know that their ancestors owned or started a business. This workshop will show you how to use city directories, government websites, newspapers, and other sources to learn more about the history of the family business or the company your ancestors worked for.

Tuesday, October 10, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Southern History Department, Central Library
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.

Tuesday, October 17, 9:15-10:15 a.m., Regional Library Computer Center, Central Library
FindMyPast – This hands-on class will introduce you to Findmypast, our newest genealogy database. Findmypast is an ever-expanding collection of over 2 billion historical records from around the world. We will cover some of the most popular record collections and tips on how to make your database searches more effective.

Sunday, October 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Southern History Department, Central Library
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.

Sunday, October 22, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Hoover Public Library
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.

Thursday, October 26, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Avondale Regional Branch Library
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.

Saturday, October 28, 10:00-11:30 a.m., Arrington Auditorium, Central Library
Google Your Peeps – What do you want to know about your ancestors? Everything. The Internet is a great tool for genealogy, but are you using it to its full potential? This workshop will teach you how to create a research template and look for details that will help you discover more about your ancestors using search engines, genealogy databases, and a few other, perhaps surprising websites.

Tuesday, October 31, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Regional Library Computer Center, Central Library
Using – Take a detailed look at the features of, a website that allows you to research your ancestry for free.

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register for workshops held at any Birmingham Public Library location, register online through the BPL events calendar or call the department or branch. To register for an offsite workshop, call the participating library.
For more information, go to Like the Southern History Department on Facebook at

Banned Books and Moral Courage

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

In light of the recent Banned Books Week (September 24-30), libraries should understand the necessity of moral courage and its correlation to intellectual freedom. Over the years, many people have voiced their concerns over which titles should be allowed on the shelves in libraries due to various reasons—racial themes, alternative lifestyles, profanity, sex, violence, negativity, witchcraft, unpopular religious and political views, and any theme judged unsuitable for a particular age group—and these actions have been executed without fully understanding the purpose of libraries and their contribution to communities. All of the aforementioned aspects restrict unlimited access for all and voids the concept of intellectual freedom.

Our libraries give individuals the freedom to read and like or not like something, learn about something that they had no previous knowledge of and, ultimately, books can really change the world!

Celebrate banned books all year round by checking out some from your library. For a complete list of banned and challenged titles and more information on the subject, visit the Banned Books Week Coalition website.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel / by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the Creators of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Practice Speaking Mandarin with Mango's New YouTube Video Series

Mango has released their new Mandarin video series just in time for the start of this year's Mid-Autumn Festival that kicks off October 4. This never-before-seen-content extends beyond Mango's Chinese Mandarin course, providing supplemental real-life conversation skills to help you explore a new language.

Covering tones, structure, pinyin, and more, Mango will be working with a native speaker through everything you ever wondered about Chinese in brief (3-5 minutes) videos that introduce the fascinating complexities of this language.

New videos are out every Tuesday and Thursday, but make sure to subscribe to Mango's YouTube channel so you don't miss the next lesson. Grab some mooncake, and click on the video above to dive into the series.

Book Review: Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
Graham Robb

Great cities have large and famous stories. Here, in Birmingham, we have the story of Lou Wooster’s funeral cortege, carriages of the city’s leading families, empty, but in attendance for the brothel madam who had cared for those stricken by a cholera epidemic. We have stories of the courage of the Reverend Shuttlesworth, the civil rights legend, who faced several targeted bombs. We were also scandalized by the unsolved murder of Virginia Simpson, a local, prominent patron of the arts. (Richard North Patterson and Bernard Feld have written historical novels based on this crime.)

Paris is a great city and it has had its share of stories for a very long time. Author Graham Robb opens this collection of Paris’s stories at the Palais Royale, legendary for urban delights of every kind. Invading armies set aside their arms for the promise of complete gratification at the vast Palais Royale. Sex and death are the stuff of urban legends here.

Robb soon introduces us to the architect of the city of the dead, Charles-Axel Guillaumot. Over the millennia Paris had been built with the excellent limestone carved out of mines under Paris itself. During the eighteenth century, the Left Bank began caving into these vast, ancient underground quarries. Guillaumot built a city under Paris to support the streets and structures above. Construction continued through monarchy, the Directorate, the Consulate, the Empire, and the Restoration. This underground city, "the Catacombs," was filled with human bones and skulls when Paris was cleared of many of its cemeteries to make room for the living.

Graham Robb won the prestigious Whitbread prize for his biography Victor Hugo and saved his best Hugo stories for that volume, but in this work he relates the accounts of the very first Metro riders, including Marcel Proust, popping up from Metro stations into distant neighborhoods. Later we find the reclusive Proust eating his ritual meal at the Ritz during the World War One bombardment of Paris, later arriving home with shrapnel in his hat. During World War Two, Hitler tours the monuments of the newly occupied Paris, empty and prostrate. In this account, Hitler was instructing his architects on his dreams of surpassing Paris in his own native capital, Berlin.

Robb won the Grande Medaille de la Ville de Paris following the publication of this adventure history.

Highly recommended for lovers of Paris and for lovers of the very best gossip.

Do tell.

Check it out.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Rocket Building for Teens!

by Maya Jones, West End Branch Library

Dr. Preston Scarber Jr.
Come join us at the West End Branch Library this month for a rocket building workshop for teens. The workshop will be taught by Preston Scarber Jr., PhD, PE.

Dr. Scarber received his PhD in physical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1998. He has worked at UAB as a research engineer and is currently working at the Vista Engineering Group. He has presented programs for the West End Library in the past, and we recently contacted him and asked if he would be interested in presenting a program for West End Library teens. He suggested rockets, explaining that teens love rockets and they can learn physics and mathematics while having fun.

The workshop takes place on Wednesdays, October 4-25, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The workshop will teach physics, the scientific method, Newton’s Laws of Motion, a brief history of rocketry, rocket design, the mathematics of rockets, aerodynamics, propulsion, and rocket building and testing. This workshop includes plenty of hands-on experience in building rockets and scientific experiments.

The Rocket Building and More! classes are limited to 15 participants and registration is required. Register online through the BPL events calendar or call the library branch at 205-226-4089.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Celebrate National Pizza Month with Some Pizza and Books

by Carla Perkins, Avondale Regional Branch Library

If you are looking for an excuse to enjoy a slice or two of pizza, look no more. October is National Pizza Month and it’s time to celebrate!  Although pizza has been around since 997 AD in southern Italy (a primitive version of today’s masterpiece), it was the returning soldiers who fought in Italy during World War II that brought a hunger for the pie home with them and spurred its popularity in America. Today we should all pause and take a moment to thank Indiana pizzeria owner Gerry Durnall. In an effort to support and promote his growing business, Durnell created the magazine Pizza Today, which ultimately led to National Pizza Month. National Pizza month is enjoyed by pizza lovers across the United States and in much of Canada. There are an estimated 63,000 pizzerias and 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month. The figures equal the consumption of about 45 slices of pizza per person in the U.S. each year and that we Americans devour 100 acres of pizza per day, or 350 slices per second—that’s a LOT of Pizza. Thin, thick, or stuffed we just can’t get enough!
From Pete's a Pizza

Statistics provided

“Pizza-Reading” Menu
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch
Pizza Pat by Rita Golden Gelman
Lorenzo, the Pizza Loving Lobster by Claire London
World Pizza by Cece Meng
Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
“Hi, Pizza Man!” by Virginia Walter

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