Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ensley Library Closed Temporarily Beginning June 21 Due to HVAC issues

The Ensley Branch Library will close temporarily beginning Thursday, June 21, 2018, due to HVAC mechanical issues, the Birmingham Public Library announced.

The library has been operating on a shortened schedule of 9:00 a.m. until noon after the air conditioning system stopped working. Ensley Library’s Summer Learning program, MAD Skillz dance class, to be held Tuesday, June 26, 10:00 a.m., has been relocated to the Ensley Recreation Center, 2800 Ave. K, Ensley Branch Manager Alisha Johnson said.

No decision has been made about the teen program Rocking With Checkers, originally scheduled for  Thursday, June 28, 10:00 a.m. An announcement about Ensley Library’s July Summer Learning programs will be released at a later date, Johnson said.

For more information on BPL’s Summer Learning activities, check out the calendar at www.bplonline.org.

About Juneteenth, the Oldest Known U.S. Celebration of the End of Slavery

by Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Director at the Birmingham Public Library

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, African Americans across the United States celebrated Juneteenth, the oldest known national celebration of the end of slavery. Also called Emancipation Day, it marks the day black slaves learned that President Abraham Lincoln had on January 1, 1863, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing them. Most slaves did not receive word of Lincoln’s action until over two years later in June 1865, thus the name Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas
Wikimedia Commons

Many African Americans mark the Juneteenth anniversary much like the Fourth of July with parties, musical entertainment, picnics, and other public events. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute holds Juneteenth celebrations every year. The Birmingham Public Library’s 19 locations have several resources about Juneteenth.

Here are some interesting facts about Juneteenth, courtesy of CNN :

  • 153 – Years since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger (Union Army) first read the proclamation, General Orders, No. 3, in Galveston, Texas, notifying slaves of their emancipation, on June 19, 1865.
  • January 1, 1863 – Date President Abraham Lincoln issued the final Proclamation, freeing those enslaved.
  • 901 – Days in between the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and General Orders, No. 3.
  • 13th – Amendment to the US Constitution that abolished slavery.
  • 3,953,760 – Estimated number of slaves in the United States in 1860.
  • 500,000 – Estimated number of free blacks in the United States in 1860. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, about half were in the North and half were in the South.
  • 15 – States where it was legal to have slaves before the Civil War: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
  • 45 – States with laws or resolutions celebrating Juneteenth.
  • January 1, 1980 – Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas, although it had been celebrated informally since 1865.
  • 45,133,880 – African Americans (one race alone or in combination) in the United States in 2016, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimate.

The Inside Scoop on Ancestry.com

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library


Ancestry.com is probably the best known genealogy database on the market. But did you know that you can access the Library Edition of Ancestry.com free at any public library in Alabama? Keep reading for some research tips and tricks and then make plans to visit your local library to try them out.

Census Records
One of my favorite sources and, arguably, the most important one for genealogists is the U.S. Census. Ancestry has every population schedule currently available for genealogy research (1790-1940) and they are fully indexed. You can search by name, location, age range, etc. You can even search by occupation in the later years. As with any database taken from handwritten documents, expect to find some interesting transcription errors. For instance, I became very curious about John H. Cheney who appears in the 1870 census. The index lists his occupation as retired sea cat. Upon closer inspection of the image on which his name appears, it is obvious that he was a retired sea captain.

City Directories
Like telephone books, but better, city directories from all over the country can be found on Ancestry.com. They have an excellent collection for Birmingham with coverage from 1888-1960 (minus a few years). However, cities such as Denver, CO, Charleston, SC, and Honolulu, HI are among the many others included. City directories pre-date the telephone book and include additional information such as a person’s occupation or place of employment and the name of their spouse. Most also offer the ability to do reverse look-ups if you know an address, but not the name of the person who lived there.

School Yearbooks
Whether you’re looking for an ancestor, interested in the fashions of the day, or just strolling down memory lane, old high school and college yearbooks are a must. Ancestry.com has got a massive collection of digitized and keyword searchable yearbooks from all across the country. I was thrilled to use the yearbooks to locate a picture of someone’s grandfather who was orphaned at a young age and for whom no childhood pictures exist.

If you’d like to learn more, I hope you can attend one of our upcoming classes on the Library Edition of Ancestry.com. There will be one at the Wylam Branch Library on Wednesday, June 27. at 10:00 a.m., and again at the Avondale Branch on Monday, July 2, at 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Go Straight to the Source for OverDrive Troubleshooting Help


There is good news for patrons needing some troubleshooting help with OverDrive! OverDrive is now providing the Public Libraries in Jefferson County with free Front Line Tech Support. What this means is that if patrons are having trouble, they are now able to contact OverDrive directly by email and OverDrive will troubleshoot and help resolve their problem.

Overdrive Front Line Tech Support includes the following:

  • Access to the OverDrive Front Line Tech Support team 24/7/365 via web form and email.
  • Response time via email expected within 8 business hours of receipt, or within 24 hours if received outside of business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday, excluding major holidays).
  • Professionally trained specialists provide support for OverDrive technology-related issues only.
  • Self-service support is also available to users 24/7/365 through extensive and user-friendly FAQ and other written help that is accessible through the library's OverDrive-powered website.

How do patrons contact OverDrive directly?

From downloadable.jclc.org:
  • Scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on Get Support in the Support column at the bottom of the page.
  • Click Contact Support.

From Libby:
  • Open the app and tap on the Libby icon in the top right corner to open the menu.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click Help & Support.
  • The middle prompt says "We would love to hear from you. What's on your mind?" Click A Problem underneath this prompt.
  • Fill in the appropriate information about your problem and follow the prompts.

Monday, June 18, 2018

BPL Spinners Club Spreading Music Appreciation throughout BPL This Summer

Russell Lee to lead blues music discussions during Summer Learning at BPL

Hey music lovers across the City of Birmingham: the BPL Spinners Club is spreading the joy of music throughout library locations across the city as part of the Birmingham Public Library’s 2018 Summer Learning activities.

Next stop: BPL Spinners Club to be held Monday, June 19, 11:00 a.m., at North Avondale Library. Attendees will spend time listening to some of the best in blues and learn interesting facts about various artists. The brainchild of Russell Lee, Library Assistant III in the Arts, Literature and Sports Department, BPL Spinners Club is a music-based program in which attendees will listen to preselected music recordings and then open the floor for brief discussions about them. The club debuted in February and explores a different genre of music monthly. Patrons may bring a light snack and a nonalcoholic beverage.

"I enjoy this opportunity to share the gift of music with patrons in a laid back and relaxed atmosphere,” said Lee, an accomplished pianist. “The Birmingham Public Library continues to offer cutting edge programming that reaches into our communities promoting lifelong learning and educational experiences."

Here is the remaining schedule for BPL Spinners Club during 2018 Summer Learning (All programs begin at 11:00 a.m. and are geared toward patrons at least 18 years old):

June 19 – North Avondale Library
June 25 – Smithfield Library
June 26 – Southside Library
July 09 – East Ensley Library
July 10 – Powderly Library

For more information call Russell Lee at 205-226-3673. The program was a November 2017 recipient of an Innovative and Cool Award of the BPL Board of Trustees, which funds unique programs that benefit library patrons.

Birmingham Public Library Selected for 2018 Inclusive Internship Initiative

by Roy Williams, Director of Public Relations

West End Library summer intern Tamika Green and branch manager Maya Jones

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will participate in a connected learning internship program this summer sponsored by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Through its Inclusive Internship Initiative (III), PLA is sponsoring paid, mentored public library internships for 50 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services. Over the course of the summer, interns and mentors will develop and complete a connected learning project.

BPL has selected Tamika Green as its intern for summer 2018. Green is a 2018 graduate of Parker High School. The selection was made based on her academic standing, application essay, and a letter of recommendation. Green will work closely with her appointed mentor, West End Library branch manager Maya Jones, throughout the internship. Green and Jones will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month for Inclusive Internship Initiative’s summer kickoff event.

This project will have an immediate benefit to the libraries and student participants. Library staff will better understand early career pathways to librarianship and gain appreciation for their role and impact in supporting diversity along those paths. Students will better understand the many ways librarians positively serve their communities, and gain the tools to make decisions about the educational directions that will lead them into library service and leadership. Interns will have opportunities to connect with one another, and mentors across the country, to share what they are learning and doing through live and virtual channels, creating a ripple effect of learning and awareness.

Additional information about the Inclusive Internship Initiative can be found at https://apply.ala.org/plinterns2018.

This program is funded by PLA with support from a pre-professional Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant (grant RE-00-17-0129-17) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2018 Rainbow Books for Kids


The Rainbow Book List Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association evaluates quality books published every year that contain significant and authentic GLBTQ content for children and youth, birth through age 18. For the 2018 Rainbow Book List, 260 books published between July 2016 and December 2017 were studied, and 48 from 18 different publishers made the cut. Out of these, 10 were chosen due to their outstanding merit.

The Top 10

Board Book
Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone; illustrated by Christiane Engel. Two dads and their baby spend a busy day together learning new words.

Middle Grade Fiction
Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker. Grades 5-8. Felix is fused with a fourth dimensional alien and is counting down the days until a potentially fatal experimental surgery to separate them, all the while dealing with his crush on his classmate Hector.

Young Adult Fiction
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. Grades 9-12. After the sudden loss of her grandfather, Marin moves to college, isolating herself from her past. When her best friend Mabel comes to visit during winter break, she is forced to come face-to-face with her grief.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy. Grades 9-12. Blue-haired teenager Ramona works odd jobs to help support her family in a town that hasn’t quite recovered after Hurricane Katrina. Although she identifies as a lesbian, Ramona is thrown for a loop as she realizes her feelings for Freddie, her male best friend.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Grades 9-12. Mateo and Rufus both find out that they are going to die today. Over the course of the day, their stories and lives converge. Starting as a search for a final friendship, the boys develop a relationship far deeper than either of them expected.

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens. Grades 9-12. Billie McCaffrey—artist, preacher’s daughter, and general troublemaker—finds herself in an awkward position when she and her four best friends accidentally burn down a section of their church. The friends, and Billie in particular, find themselves in the spotlight as they work to save the cherished harvest festival and stay out of trouble.

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee. Grades 4-8. In her middle school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Mattie chooses to play Paris because her crush, Gemma, is cast as Juliet.

Young Adult Nonfiction
The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell. Grades 7+. Mardell’s self-published reference book is an introductory text that looks at incredibly complex issues from both theoretical and anecdotal perspectives.

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater. Grades 7-12. Sasha is an agender white teen living in a middle-class suburban neighborhood of Oakland, California, Richard is a black teen living in a crime-plagued part of the city. One afternoon, their paths cross on the 57 bus, with disastrous results. Based on a true story, the book is written in a documentary style.

Graphic Novels
The Backstagers Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV. Grades 7-12. When Jory transfers to an all-boys private school and joins the Drama club in an attempt to make new friends, he discovers the mysterious world of the backstage.

These 10 books are considered by the committee to be exceptional GLBTQ books for younger readers, but you can find the complete 2018 Rainbow Book List at https://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/archives/1270.

Steps to Starting a Franchise Business Seminar Scheduled for June 25 at Central Library


What: Steps to Starting a Franchise Business seminar
Dates:
Monday, June 25, 2018
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Cost: Free but registration is required

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and Birmingham SCORE will begin offering Steps to Starting a Franchise Business, a monthly how-to seminar on franchising, beginning Monday, April 23, 12:00 p.m., at the Central Library. The seminar will explore how franchising can take the risk out of starting your own business and becoming self-employed. Greg Foss, a career transition coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source® and SCORE mentor, will facilitate the seminar.

Topics to be covered in the seminar include: common myths and truths about franchising, the importance of knowing your personal goals before taking the plunge, non-standard ownership options, how to finance your business, how to research and select the right franchise, and resources that are available to help you with your research.

The seminar will be offered at 12:00 p.m. on June 25 and July 24. The seminar is free, but registration is required. Register online through the BPL events calendar or call Greg Foss at 336-501-5695.

For more information about the seminar and other resources for small business development available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us or by calling 205-226-3691.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Kickoff Party Celebrates 2018 BPL Summer Learning

Over 200 attendees, mostly young people, scurried around the Central Library downtown, playing basketball, spin the wheel, and other games at the Birmingham Public Library’s 2018 Summer Learning Kickoff Party. Meanwhile, several adults listened to the blues being played by George Griffin & the Firebirds, a local group providing entertainment.

George Griffin & the Firebirds

The June 1 event was the official kickoff of over 400 free learning activities being held at BPL’s 19 locations in June and July to celebrate the joy of reading and help reduce summer slide learning loss while kids are out of school. Attendees received information on Summer Learning and signed up for programs being offered for kids, teens, and adults. They also grubbed down on free hotdogs, chips, snow cones, and other goodies.

A family poses at the photo booth

One of the more popular stations was a photo booth, in which parents, grandparents, and kids took family photos that were printed out within minutes. Both adults and children also took advantage of the free tattoo parlor. Kids and teens competed against each other at the Wii station, playing games such as boxing, bowling, and tennis.

Enjoying a night of music, games, and goodies

As a new member of the Urban Libraries Council, BPL is joining other libraries across the country in switching programs to a Summer Learning program. “It’s quite different from Summer Reading because children are able to have a break and have some recreation but still be in a multifaceted environment where they have the chance to explore and adventure,” BPL Executive Director Floyd Council said in an article featured on the Urban Libraries Council page.

To find out more about BPL’s Summer Learning programs, click on the calendar at www.bplonline.org.

Track It with Beanstack


The Birmingham Public Library is making it easier than ever to keep track of your time spent on 2018 Summer Learning.

BPL is changing the way its 19 libraries record summer learning participation for 2018. Rather than counting the number of books read, BPL will now record time read. Counting time spent reading, or being read to, rather than the number of books read or heard puts the emphasis on the act of reading.

Participants in BPL’s Summer Learning program can record their reading accomplishments via the online app Beanstack, or through the traditional paper reading log. The more participants log in their reading time, the more opportunities they have to win prizes. Encourage everyone to be an “Eager Reader” this summer.

In addition to logging reading time, BPL is offering a variety of learning track activities for participants to complete. Activities include attending a library program, using one of the library's free online resources, reading outside, and telling your librarian a joke.

When you download the Beanstack app, you get these perks:

  • Barcode Scanner: Scan barcodes to quickly add titles to your reading log
  • Reading Session Timer: Record reading sessions to keep track of what you’re reading
  • Reading Stats: View totals and averages of your time spent reading and titles read
  • Family Accounts: Manage each member of your family’s reading log and view their stats

Click here to find out more about the tracking your Summer Learning progress with the Beanstack app: https://bpl.beanstack.org/reader365.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

African-American Music Appreciation Month

by Gus Jones, Fiction Department, Central Library

June is African-American Music Appreciation Month. It started in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter decreed that June would be Black Music Month and it has been celebrated each year since. It was renamed to African-American Music Appreciation Month in a proclamation by President Barack Obama in 2009. The best way to “appreciate” African-American music, of course, is to listen to it. The library has a great collection of music CDs by a number of different artists. In addition, you can use our Hoopla database to borrow albums online for a period of seven days. Furthermore, you can download songs to keep (limit of 3 per week) using our Freegal Music database. If you would like to learn more about the history of African-American music, you may be interested in checking out one of the following titles. The descriptions are from the publishers.

The Story of African-American Music by Andrew Pina
The influence of African Americans on music in the United States cannot be overstated. A large variety of musical genres owe their beginnings to black musicians. Jazz, rap, funk, R&B, and even techno have roots in African American culture. This volume chronicles the history of African American music, with spotlights on influential black musicians of the past and present. Historical and contemporary photographs, including primary sources, contribute to an in-depth look at this essential part of American musical history.




Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: The Apollo Theater and American Entertainment
Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment celebrates the seventy-five year history of the Apollo Theater, Harlem’s landmark performing arts space and the iconic showplace for the best in jazz, blues, dance, comedy, gospel, R & B, hip-hop, and more since it opened its doors in 1934. This beautifully illustrated book is the companion volume to an exhibition of the same name, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with the Apollo Theater Foundation. It offers a sweeping panorama of American cultural achievement from the Harlem Renaissance to the present through the compelling story of a single institution.

Gospel Music: An African American Art Form by Dr. Joan Rucker-Hillsman
Gospel Music: An African American Art Form provides music information on the heritage of gospel from its African roots, Negro spirituals, and traditional and contemporary gospel music trends. The mission and purpose of this book is to provide a framework of the study of gospel music. There are 8 detailed sections, appendices and resources on gospel music which include African Roots and Characteristics and history, Negro Spirituals, Black Congregational Singing, Gospel history and Movement, Gripping effects, Cross Over Artists, Youth in Gospel, and Gospel Music in the Academic Curriculum with lesson plans.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

LGBTQ Stories on Kanopy


To spotlight LGBT Pride Month in June, Kanopy has compiled a documentary collection titled LGBTQ Stories that chronicles the history, arts, and activism of the community.

Kanopy is a video streaming platform for libraries with one of the largest collections in the world—over 30,000 films. Kanopy is available to Birmingham residents with a JCLC library card.

Book Review: Venice: Pure City

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

Venice: Pure City
Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd is a literary historian with a gift for evoking long gone places and societies, very often different scenes from London’s past. But with Venice, the physical historical places are all still there. The whole city is almost all still there. A Renaissance era workman could walk from one end of today’s city to the other, a two-hour walk, on familiar calle (streets) past familiar buildings. The city that Venetians began building more than one thousand years ago is the city we see today, nearly untouched by war or automobiles. Peter Ackroyd populates the glorious architectural marvel that is Venice, with the generations of Venetians who made it so—their domestic life, their pageants, their conquests, and their industry.

Ackroyd’s Venice: Pure City, is a loose chronological series of essays on essential topics in the city’s thousand-year history. Venetians' struggle against natural elements, the difficulty of building a major city in the middle of a lagoon, these topics are addressed in early essays, whereas essays about the city’s musical traditions are among other seventeenth century topics because of the prominence of Vivaldi. Along the way we meet the beggars and the admirals, the tradesmen and the pets that shared these urban spaces one after another, century after century.

During its long zenith, Venice was an imperial city, controlling all the commerce between Europe and the east, as rich a city as the country of France. While other European powers pillaged one another’s cities, Venetians, secure in their lagoon, fought their wars at a distance and decorated their city with the great art and architecture we see there today. Ackroyd evokes the polyglot of peoples from all over the world, each with their own traditions, living side by side, lives closely regulated by church bells and the strict rules of Venice’s oligarchical republic.

Ackroyd’s essays can be read individually. The reader can pick and choose from a discussion of the Venetian attitude on death, or color and light in Venetian painting, or gang warfare during the Renaissance. Regardless of the topic, Ackroyd’s descriptive powers will captivate the reader.

Check it out.

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for June 19 at Central Library


What: Steps to Starting Your Business seminar
When: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in conjunction with SCORE and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, will be hosting the seminar Steps to Starting Your Business. The seminar will be held in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminar by contacting Valencia Fisher in the Economic Development Office at Valencia.Fisher@birminghamal.gov or 205-254-2799.

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

For further information about the seminar 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.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Central Library Hosting BPL 2018 Summer Learning Kickoff Celebration June 1


What: 2018 Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning Kickoff Party
When: Friday, June 1, 6:30-8 p.m.
Where: Central Library, East Grand Reading Room
Details: The Summer Learning Party will feature carnival-style games, food, and live music by George Griffin & the Firebirds. Attendees are encouraged to pick up free tickets in advance by 6:00 p.m. at any of BPL’s 19 locations, but you can also get them at the door. You can also register online and print out calendars listing over 400 free programs for kids, teens and adults at this link http://www.bplonline.org/summerreading.aspx.

Alabama Power Foundation logo

BPL 2018 Summer Learning is made possible by generous support from the Alabama Power Foundation.

Celebrate Innovation Week at the Birmingham Public Library with Business 101 for Artists Workshop


What: Business 101 for Artists
When: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Cost: Free but registration is required

On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the Birmingham Public Library’s Central location is hosting Business 101 for Artists, a free workshop designed to help artists, writers, musicians, painters, and crafts professionals learn more about business management skills and how to promote their products.

Topics covered in the workshop include overviews of business vocabulary, business models, and business practices such as pricing, marketing, and promotion. Attendees will leave the workshop with a better understanding of their commercial potential and a two-page business plan that is focused on their unique needs as an artist.

Please register for this program online through the events calendar or email Jim Murray in the Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us.

This program is part of BPL’s contribution to Birmingham Innovation Week, which is being held July 6-13, 2018. Innovation Week is a celebration of creatives, risk-takers, and innovators. Through a series of fiercely collaborative events produced by Birmingham’s most pioneering public and private institutions, Innovation Week showcases transformational ideas and ventures evolving in Birmingham. For more information about Innovation Week programs, events, and activities, check the website at https://www.innovationweek.tech/.

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