Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Review:The Broken Girls

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

The Broken Girls
Simone St. James

I completely devoured Simone St. James’s latest novel over the course of a weekend. If you’re a fan of spooky, gothic mysteries get this book immediately. It has all the right elements: an abandoned girls’ school that may or may not be haunted, two murders, romance, an escaped Nazi war criminal, a crooked small town police force, and an overall atmosphere of foreboding.

Most of the novel, which is set in a small Vermont town, takes place in and around the ruins of Idlewilde Hall. Idlewilde was once a boarding school for wayward girls. Girls who, according to the standards of the early to mid-20th century, were in need of stern discipline in order to become proper wives and mothers.

The story shifts from present day back to 1950. In the present day, Fiona Sheridan is a journalist obsessed with her sister’s murder. After 20 years, Fiona is still bothered by the details of how and why her sister’s killer entered the abandoned Idlewilde grounds in order to dispose of her body. Fiona feels compelled to re-visit the site where her sister’s body was found. When she learns that Idlewilde is about to undergo a restoration, she proposes a story about the history of the school and is granted access to the buildings, grounds, and the mysterious family who is financing the project.

The 1950 story follows four students at Idlewilde who form a close bond. We hear each girl’s backstory and learn the circumstances that led to her being exiled to a third rate boarding school. The two stories converge when, during the present day, a body is discovered by the construction workers. Critical to both timelines is the ever present fear that is embedded in Idlewilde. Students, teachers, and townspeople all know the legend of Mary Hand and how she haunts the school grounds and surrounding areas. For as long as the school existed and even after it closed, the presence of Mary Hand has been there, striking fear into anyone who ventures too close.

There is a lot going on in this book, but St. James handles the various plots deftly and without confusion. I was instantly reminded of Carol Goodman’s The Lake of Dead Languages which is also set in an isolated girls’ school and has two timelines. I like The Broken Girls much better. The characters are more likeable, their motivations more believable, and the ending is more satisfying. I’ll definitely be seeking out other titles by this author and hope they are just as engrossing.

Celebrate National Coloring Book Day at Avondale Library August 2

by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library


August 2 is National Coloring Book Day! If you haven’t yet experienced the trend of coloring for adults, now is a great time to start! At Avondale Regional Branch Library, we have drop-in coloring stations for adults that are available every day and ready when you are. We provide colored pencils and a changing selection of detailed coloring sheets, so all you have to do is come in and color. And if you drop into Avondale Library August 2, you can pick up a free National Coloring Book Day 2018 coloring sheet and enter a drawing for a deluxe “Art of Mindfulness” coloring book prize pack!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Get Ready for Back to School (2018-2019)

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library


As the month of August is quickly approaching, parents and students are gearing up for the start of a new school year. Many stores are full of anxious parents attempting to fulfill school supply lists and kids are excited about choosing the newest color binders and pencil pouches they will use over the next nine months. However, each of these things are important, but there are some things that require the family to prepare for mentally and intellectually to achieve those high scores. Here is a list of things parents and children can do to be successful and make the most of the 2018-2019 school year:
  1. Take some time out to go over last year’s curriculum and read with your child
  2. Take the school tour with your child and “Meet the Teacher”
  3. Find out what types of activities are available for volunteering opportunities (PTA)
  4. Organize school calendars, closets, and pantry
  5. Find your local library and sign up for a library card today
  6. Prepare for a fresh start with a positive attitude
Check out the resources available through your local library to help on your journey!
ABC Mouse
Chemistry – Core Concepts
Databases
Digital Learn
Virtual Library

Visit the JCLC catalog for a variety of back-to-school materials.

Southern History Book of the Month: Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”
Zora Neale Hurston
Edited by Deborah G. Plant
Foreword by Alice Walker

Fans of author Zora Neale Hurston are generally most familiar with her famous novel Their Eyes Were Watching God or with her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road.

But another work by Hurston has just been published, even though it was originally written in the 1920s. This was when Hurston traveled to Plateau, Alabama—also known as Africatown—to interview Cudjo Lewis, the last known survivor to have crossed the ocean in the slave ship Clotilda. Like many of his unfortunate brothers and sisters during the nineteenth century, Lewis was abducted from his homeland and faced the harrowing Middle Passage across the Atlantic until he arrived in Alabama and was sold as a slave. His original name, Oluale Kossula, was taken from him and he was given the new name of Cudjo Lewis. Hurston movingly recounts an early meeting and his response to being addressed as Kossula:
Cudjo Lewis
It was summer when I went to talk with Cudjo so his door was standing wide open . . . I
hailed him by his African name as I walked up the steps to his porch, and he looked up into my face as I stood in the door in surprise. He was eating his breakfast from a round enameled pan in his hands, in the fashion of his fatherland.

The surprise of seeing me halted his hand between pan and face. Then tears of joy welled up.

“Oh, Lor’, I know it you call my name. Nobody don’t callee me my name from cross de water but you. You always callee me Kossula, jus’ lak I in de Affica soil!”
During that summer and autumn of 1927, Hurston slowly coaxed out of Lewis the story of his capture and enslavement, his response to Emancipation, and his part in the founding of Africatown: “We call our village Affican Town. We say dat’ cause we want to go back in de Affica soil and we see we cain go. Derefo’ we make de Affica where dey fetch us . . . We here and we got to stay.”

Door of No Return
Throughout the numerous interviews, Hurston follows her instincts as an anthropologist and insists on recording Lewis’ responses exactly as he gives them, in the dialect of English that he speaks. During an early attempt to publish the manuscript, Hurston ran into difficulties; the publisher wanted her to revise his spoken words to “language rather than dialect,” and her refusal to do so may be one reason why she faced multiple rejections, especially during the early days of the Great Depression when no publisher was willing to risk losing money on any book that was not certain to be a popular hit. But by allowing Lewis to tell his own story in his own voice, Hurston captures his terror of crossing the ocean, his bitter homesickness at the prospect of never seeing Africa again, and his sadness as he faces multiple tragedies such as the deaths of his wife and children. At times he is so overwhelmed with grief at his recollections that he insists Hurston go away and come back later. And she does—steadily, relentlessly, patiently, until she sets down the entire story of his life. Barracoon is a remarkable chronicle of one man’s survival in the face of almost unimaginable suffering during one of the darkest periods of American history.

For further information:
Zora Neale Hurston’s Story of a Former Slave Finally Comes to Print
Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America
Slave Ship Clotilda
Wreck of the Clotilda Has Not Been Found
Africatown, Alabama
The Legacy of Cudjo Lewis
Zora Neale Hurston Field Work 1928

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Review: Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature

by Davina Elaine Bell, Social Sciences/Business, Science and Technology Departments, Central Library

Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature
Ayesha K. Hardison

Ayesha K. Hardison’s Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature critically scrutinizes “Jane Crow” in African American literature; the racial and sexual oppression of black women during the Harlem Renaissance through the Black Arts Movement. In “At the Point of No Return: A Native Son and His Gorgon Muse” and “Gender Conscriptions, Class Conciliations, and the Bourgeois Blues Aesthetic,” Hardison evaluates gender discrimination in the writings of Richard Wright and the rules governing black women concerning public respectability and social mobility in the black community based on “pedestal white womanhood.” Hardison examines the convention of “bourgeois blues,” to illustrate the effects of disenfranchisement experienced by black women.

Hardison dispels the myths of the “pedestal figure of femininity as white,” and confronts the treatment of sexual violence against black women in literature in “‘Nobody Could Tell Who This Be’: Black and White Doubles and the Challenge to Pedestal Femininity” and “‘I’ll See How Crazy They Think I Am’: Pulping Sexual Violence, Racial Melancholia, and Healthy Citizenship.” Zora Neale Hurston’s and Ann Petry’s works challenge the exclusivity of white women’s affiliation and the prohibition of black women into the group of “true womanhood.” Curtis Lucas’s Third Ward Newark (1946) surveys and illustrates black women’s experience in the “double jeopardy” effect of sexual violation and the “racial melancholia” due to the inability of the victim to obtain justice.

Hardison moves on to “Rereading the Construction of Womanhood in Popular Narratives of Domesticity” and “The Audacity of Hope: An American Daughter and Her Dream of Cultural Hybridity,” in which she explores Gwendolyn BrooksMaude Martha (1953) and Era Bell Thompson’s autobiography, American Daughter (1946). She uses Maude Martha to dispel the myths glamorizing domestic servitude performed by black women in both the white and black press.

Hardison then examines Era Bell Thompson’s acceptance of “western white utopia” and her rejection of the traditional image of blackness with southern oppression. Hardison contends that Thompson maintains “tacit, exigent diplomacy” in her investigation of Thompson’s experiences of racial and gender discrimination under “Jane Crow” in her career as a reporter and editor with Ebony magazine (Note: Ebony is available online for free in full text through Flipster Magazines to Birmingham residents with a JCLC library card).

Hardison successfully concludes her study acknowledging that while both black men and women suffered under Jim Crow oppression as explored in African American literature, special attention must be paid to both the gender and social injustice black women faced when analyzing African American literature. In “Epilogue: Refashioning Jane Crow and the Black Female Body,” Hardison examines the works of Jackie Ormes, the first African American female cartoonist. Hardison praises Ormes for her use of both visual and textual artistic expression to “eclipse” the subjugation caused by “Jane Crow” oppression with characters who demonstrate black womanhood. Ormes reclaims both the social and sexual validation “Jane Crow” intends to destroy.

﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏﹏

The book Writing through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature
by Ayesha K. Hardison is not available for checkout through the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) system. But wait! Did you know that JCLC offers a service called Interlibrary Loan (ILL) where books (and photocopies of articles and government publications) may be borrowed from outside our system and sent to a library of your choice for pickup?
  • Interlibrary Loan is available to anyone 18 years of age or older with a current, full-use Jefferson County public library card. 
  • Requests can be made in person at any Jefferson County public library, by phone, or online. 
  • This service is free of charge. Occasionally, however, the lending library will charge a fee. The patron may preauthorize acceptance of any fees on the ILL request form and will be notified of any fees before the material is ordered.
For all the details about this convenient service, visit http://www.jclc.org/resources/ill.aspx.

Math and Science Day to Take Place July 28 at Five Points West Library


What: Math and Science Day
When: Saturday, July 28, 2018, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Five Points West Regional Branch Library Main Auditorium
Details: Annual Math and Science Day program conducted by Elinor and Winfield Burks of Science for Kids Ministry and Kwanzaa Year Round. Theme: “What Can Movies Teach Us About Science?” focused on Hidden Figures and Black Panther.

The Annual Math and Science Day conducted by Kwanzaa Year Round, Science for Kids Ministry, and hosted free by the Five Points West Library, will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, 1:00-5:00 p.m., in the Main Auditorium. The program this year will investigate “What Can Movies Teach Us About Science?” The theme points out science in two popular movie hits, Hidden Figures and Black Panther, which are both available for checkout at the Birmingham Public Library.

Elinor Burks, one of the event organizers, said the goal is to showcase to young people science lessons they can learn from movies. “In the movies, the real science goes over our heads. But we want to focus on what these sciences really look and feel like,” said Burks, who along with her husband Winfield hosts the Ensley Science Club for youth at the Ensley Branch Library during the school year.

Burks gave the example of a scene in Hidden Figures where a black woman mathematician played by Tariji P. Henson writes "conic periapsis" on a chalk board as she calculates equations that will precisely get a NASA astronaut back to earth.

“While still a child, she identified that a design in a church stained glass window was an isosceles triangle,” Burks said. “Or when fictional Princess Shuri of Wakanda in Black Panther is asked what her future scientific research will be, she says ‘kinetic energy and magnetic levitation.’ We should recognize these areas are real science and translate those into kids’ language.”

During the science camp, engineers of Alabama Power and special guests will show a variety of child-friendly, hands-on chemistry and physics experiments that demonstrate the sciences touched on in the movies. In one project, the watoto (Swahili for children) will construct a hologram projector.
Staff from Home Depot will lead families in building a craft they can take home. A TV weather personality from Birmingham has been invited to talk about weather science.

Parents are asked to remain with their children during the entire math/science program, not drop them off unsupervised. “Parents should do these experiments with their kids at home,” said Winfield Burks of Science for Kids. "Who needs a lab? This is fab.”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

2018 Local Authors Expo: Meet Doug Segrest, Author of A Storm Came Up

Doug Segrest

About Author Doug Segrest
Books: A Storm Came Up (Author House 2011) and The Sea of Mississippi (in progress)
How to reach the author: E-mail Doug Segrest at dsegrest@gmail.comRead about A Storm Came UpFollow Doug Segrest on Facebook and Twitter.
Quote Segrest uses as a guide in life: "I just follow the Golden Rule."Quote from author about being involved in Local Authors Expo: "This will be my second appearance at the Local Authors Expo. I was blown away the first time by the talent of the other authors from across Birmingham and Alabama, the size of the crowd, and how accessible everyone was that day. If you are an avid reader or an aspiring author, this day is a treasure trove of opportunity."
Doug Segrest built a loyal following over two decades as a sports writer in Birmingham, so it should come as no surprise to many that he has expanded his penmanship into novels. Segrest will be among over 30 authors featured in the Birmingham Public Library's 2018 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m., at the Central Library downtown.

A veteran journalist, Doug Segrest loves history. And he loves character-driven novels. In his debut novel, A Storm Came Up, he combines both, dropping three innocents into the chaos and confusion of a small Alabama town caught up in the apex of the civil rights movement. The result is a personal, fast-paced Southern novel that's part suspense and part coming-of-age. The book is well written and historically accurate, drawing strong critical praise from newspapers and readers who have taken the time to delve into the world of fictional Takasaw, Alabama.

Segrest is better known for his work outside of fiction. A long-time sports writer for the Birmingham News and Nashville Banner, Segrest remains a weekly regular on The Zone, ABC 33/40's long-running Sunday night sports talk show, with Jeff Speegle and Ryan Brown. He has also contributed stories to Sports Illustrated and newspapers across the country, from the Chicago Tribune to the Dallas Morning-News. He remains a Birmingham resident, working for a company based out of the Magic City.

He is well into his second novel, The Sea of Mississippi, which is a radical departure from his debut. Set in the future, it's a wild ride into the unknown set in the New South. Segrest has written as vocation and hobby since he was a child, inspired by legends such as John Updike, William Faulkner, and Gay Talese. He's comfortable with the everyday technology of the twenty-first century, but knows that only a good, hardcover book offers true freedom.

"The story races and turns against the backdrop of the slow south—never trite nor predictable. I literally could not put it down. Segrest has the gift of painting the time and place and bringing the people to life in such depth that you feel you are watching a movie in your mind. Don't miss this very strong first novel!"
Meet Segrest and over 20 other authors at the Birmingham Public Library 2018 Local Authors Expo on Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in the Central Library Grand Reading Room. 

Auto Renewal for Library Books, CDs, and DVDs Starts August 1


Good news for patrons needing some extra time with library materials! The Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) is unveiling a new feature that makes manually renewing books, CDs, and DVDs a thing of the past. As of August 1, 2018, any non-digital item checked out at a JCLC location will be renewed automatically at the end of its lending period. You still can renew items manually by using My Account or by calling the library.

There are a few exceptions. Items won't be renewed if:

  • Another patron places a reserve on that item
  • The item has reached its maximum number of renewals (2 for most items)
  • Your account has accrued $5.01 or more in fines
  • The item is not renewable
  • Your account activity has been blocked
  • The item is an e-book

You will be notified by the courtesy email notice that your item has been automatically renewed. If you do not receive courtesy email notices, you will not be notified. You will be alerted with the standard notice, however, when the item is overdue.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

BPL 2018 Local Authors Expo To be Held at Central Library on Saturday, August 11


What: 2018 Birmingham Public Library Local Authors Expo
When: Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library Grand East Reading Room
Details: Authors, publishers, and literary organizations interested in participating will find a registration form and more information here. Registration deadline is July 27. For more information, email localauthorsbpl@bham.lib.al.us or click here www.bplonline.org/localauthors.

Want to meet several authors from across Alabama, buy their books, and learn more about the book publishing process? Then make plans to attend the Birmingham Public Library's annual 2018 Local Authors Expo on Saturday, August 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Central Library East Grand Reading Room.

The free event will showcase authors, including many from the Birmingham area, selling and signing their books and sharing their writing process. Drop by and visit your favorite author, learn more about local authors, buy an autographed book from participating authors and meet one-on-one with them to get tips on publishing your own works.

There will be books across many genres: motivational books, fictional novels, and nonfiction such as inspirational memoirs and stories of overcoming tragedy.

As of July 18, 15 authors and one publisher have registered, and more are signing up every week. The deadline for participating authors to register is Friday, July 27. Booths are $50 per author. Registration fee includes a table to show, share and sell their books, and snacks from BPL’s complimentary hospitality room. Click here for details.

Since 2007, BPL has sponsored the Local Authors Expo to help raise awareness of the work by talented authors in metro Birmingham and across Alabama. Instead of having keynote speeches this year, BPL is putting the entire focus all day on participating authors.

2018 Local Authors Expo – Meet Rhonda Cowan, Author of Those Raisins of Wrath, Alabama

Rhonda Cowan, author of Those Raisins of Wrath, Alabama

Book: Those Raisins of Wrath, Alabama (March 2018)
How to reach the author: Twitter @cowanbr549
Quote Cowan uses as a guide in life: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” - Emerson
Quote from Cowan about being involved in Local Authors Expo: “I am looking forward to my first Author's Expo at The Birmingham Library to meet with those who love to read and others who write!”

Rhonda Cowan of Chelsea has wanted to write a book for many years. In March 2018, Cowan finally gave in to the writing bug and self-published her first novel, Those Raisins of Wrath, Alabama.
The book title is a play on the famous work The Grapes of Wrath but deals with a far different subject. Those Raisins of Wrath is a fiction novel about a young woman missing in the small town of Wrath, Alabama.

When newlywed Elizabeth Locke Cannon was discovered missing in her small Alabama home, the people of Wrath were completely dumbfounded. Things like this just didn’t happen in Wrath. The uncertainly soon turns to dread as reports come in to the sheriff to be on the lookout for three escaped convicts from Texas on the loose, possibly in the area.

Word that the violent escaped prisoners could be hiding out in Wrath sends the rumor mill and speculation running wild that this could be tied to the missing newlywed. Cowan’s book examines the impact this has in the town until the truth of Elizabeth Locke Cannon’s disappearance is finally made clear.

“When writing my story, I wanted it to be enjoyed by people of all ages, so I am hopeful it will be passed around to friends and family for years to come," Cowan said.

Cowan finds inspiration for her fiction everywhere. When not busy writing, she can be found cultivating gardens filled with native plants on her Alabama farm where she lives with her dogs Blue Suede, Little Boy, Peaches, and Daisy.

Meet Cowan and over 20 other authors at the Birmingham Public Library 2018 Local Authors Expo on Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in the Central Library Grand Reading Room. Read more about the event at www.bplonline.org/localauthors.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Steps to Starting a Franchise Business Seminar Continues at Central Library During Summer and Fall


What: Steps to Starting a Franchise Business seminar
Dates and Times: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m.)
Monday, August 27, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m. or 6:00-7:00 p.m.)
Monday, September 24, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m. or 6:00-7:00 p.m.)
Monday, October 22, 2018 (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 be offering Steps to Starting a Franchise Business, a monthly how-to seminar on franchising, beginning Tuesday July 24, 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 again on August 27, September 24, and October 22. The August 27 and September 24 seminars will be offered twice daily for your convenience, at 12:00 p.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. The October 22 seminar will be offered once at 12:00 p.m. 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 205-226-3690.

Book Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land has been much re-read by its many fans. Until recently, this fan had not picked up the book in decades, and about a quarter of the way in, it was better than memory recalled. The scenes were the same, but they seemed to have more depth. As it happens, in 1961 Heinlein was asked by his publisher to reduce its length by 25 percent. Since 1991 the book’s publisher has included all of Heinlein’s original writing. Stranger in a Strange Land has always been one of the science fiction books that one might recommend to serious readers. Its fans can do so with even more assurance now.

Valentine Michael Smith is the stranger. Having been raised by Martians, Michael comes to earth and encounters a civilization so completely different from that of Mars, that all our earthly differences are tiny in comparison. Through adventures he comes under the protection and guidance of Heinlein’s great character, Jubal Hershaw, a cranky, old American original. One feels that Mark Twain must have been a model for Hershaw, a doctor, lawyer, and successful writer who welcomes Smith into his rural enclave. Hershaw is a font of Heinlein’s famous epigrams.

Although Stranger, as it is known to millions, is set somewhat in the future—it has world government and flying cars, and the science part of the fiction is anthropological and social, rather than physics and astronomy. Smith sees the human species through eyes that have been trained by an advanced species other than our own. Heinlein questions what we believe, our philosophy, religion, and science. Heinlein mentions the two plus two equals four is not a truism for the Martians. Religion and sex come under special scrutiny by Michael.

Heinlein’s Jubal Hershaw is a cynical old man, but as a writer he believes in giving readers value for money: insight, laughter, drama, pathos, grief, and passion. This reader has always been convinced that Hershaw was a thinly veiled self-portrait of Heinlein. Like his creation, Heinlein always delivers honest value. Stranger in a Strange Land was named one of 88 books that have shaped America by the Library of Congress in 2012.

Check it out (or be left behind)!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet Summer Camp Held at Central Library

by Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Department

John Paul Taylor of Real Life Poets and participants at civil rights poetry camp

Several area teens gained knowledge about Birmingham’s past and learned how to express their feelings about the city’s role in the civil rights movement through the spoken word, thanks to a weeklong teen poetry camp held at the Central Library July 9-13.

At the conclusion of the camp, participants in the second annual Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet summer camp read their own original poems about civil rights then and now out loud before their peers. Their poems will be recorded and archived in the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department for future generations to hear.

The camp is a partnership between the Archives Department, which houses several artifacts documenting Birmingham’s civil rights history, and Real Life Poets, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that uses spoken word and hip-hop to empower young people to be the voice of the next generation.
The camp “is designed around civil rights then and now with spoken word as the tool,” said John Paul Taylor, founder of Real Life Poets. The civil rights movement and BPL Archives served as the foundation for the written pieces the young people created.

Taylor said writing about civil rights enables teens to learn more about Birmingham’s role in the fight for equal rights for all. He hopes their poems being recorded for BPL Archives educates the youth of tomorrow.

“It gives them the awareness that what I say right now has the opportunity to impact future generations,” Taylor said. “This two-minute poem can have such a profound ability to move people in the future. You get to speak for a population who don’t have the voice or platform like this.”

BPL hosts a monthly spoken word program for adults called Bards & Brews.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Liz Reed to Share Publishing Tips at Local Author Workshop July 21 at Central Library

by Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Department

Liz Reed
If you are seeking to get a book published or desire to become an actual author, make plans to be at a Local Author Workshop taking place on Saturday, July 21, 10:00 a.m., at the Central Library, Arrington Auditorium.

Book and magazine editor Liz Reed will speak on the topic “Every Writer Needs an Editor: The Editor’s Role in Honing a Manuscript.” This free workshop will conclude a three-part Local Author Workshops series the Birmingham Public Library began in March to assist area authors in preparation for BPL's  2018 Local Authors Expo taking place on Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., in the Central Library's East Grand Reading Room.

Liz Reed and her husband, Jim, have operated Reed Books in downtown Birmingham for 38 years. Liz Reed is art and layout editor at Birmingham Arts Journal, a quarterly publication. Her husband is the magazine’s general editor. In addition to being a book store owner, Liz Reed has built a reputation as a book editor and independent book publisher. Her company, Blue Rooster Press, has assisted several writers in fine-tuning their books and published several manuscripts for local authors.

Her July 21 Local Author Workshop will share tips for writers who need help getting their manuscripts suitable for publishing. She said the publishing industry has changed dramatically today, with few big publishing firms taking risks on first-time authors. That has led to an explosion of self-published books, which are often filled with mistakes, Reed said.

Reed said the most common mistakes would-be authors make are:

  • Poor cover design: “A good design determines whether people will buy the book or not,” Reed said.
  • Bad content, which Reed calls “speed bumps” that confuse readers. “When a reader has to stop and try to figure out what the writer was trying to say, that is a speed bump,” Reed said. “A good book editor can take out the speed bumps.”
  • Bringing in a manuscript that is not print-ready. Reed shared the story of one prospective author who took a CD to a printer that she thought was ready for publication. “The book was not suitable for printing until seven proofreads later,” Reed said.

Reed is looking forward to sharing advice to help local writers in Birmingham area make their publishing dreams a reality. I’m hopeful that people who attend this workshop will leave with an even stronger desire to publish their own book,”

Summer Beach Reads

by Gus Jones, Fiction Department, Central Library


Summer is officially here and the melting interior of my car is proof. People walk by with plaintive looks on their faces that cry, “Why is it so hot!” My empathetic face responds with, “It’s time for a trip to the beach.” The crystal clear water, sugar white sand, and cool Gulf breeze are the cure for everything that ails you. So go home and grab your swimsuit, the sunscreen, the beach towels, the cooler, and your chair, but you can’t leave until you pack something great to read on the beach. There are a number of lists of best beach reads for summer 2018. Here are a few titles that appear on several lists along with links to the lists themselves. Have a great summer.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
In this new novel from Anne Tyler, central character Willa Drake’s life takes an unexpected turn. After playing many roles defined by the choices of others, she agrees to take care of her son’s injured ex-girlfriend and, in the process, becomes part of a new community and begins to re-write her future. (Southern Living)

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Welcome to the novel of the #MeToo moment—and my favorite book of the summer. Greer Kadetsky falls under the sway of a feminist icon in college and turns her back on everyone—boyfriend, friends, family—to fight for equality, or so she thinks. The activism is inspiring, but most touching is Wolitzer’s brainiac love story between Greer and her hometown boyfriend whose life becomes struck by unexpected tragedy. (Glamour)

The High Season by Judy Blundell
Ruthie Beamish is our hero here—she’s a museum director in the North Folk (that’s Long Island) village of our dreams. Every summer she, along with her family, vacates their inherited beach house to make way for high-paying summer renters (it’s how they afford it in the first place), and this year her temporary tenant brings along a whole lot of drama. Ruthie is forced to navigate a straying husband, a struggling teenage daughter, and a museum board full of socialites drunk on power. (Entertainment Weekly)

Tangerine by Christine Mangan
If you're still thinking about the dark twists of Gone Girl, look no further than this gripping drama about friendship and marriage. Alice Shipley and her husband have moved to Morocco, where Alice is struggling to adjust. An old friend unexpectedly visits Alice, and soon after, Alice's husband mysteriously disappears—leaving Alice to wonder if her old friend is to blame. Trust us, you'll want to read this ASAP, especially since it's already been optioned for a movie starring Scarlett Johansson. (Good Housekeeping)

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
Instead of re-reading The Devil Wears Prada for the hundredth time this summer, try Weisberger's newest offering, which catches up with our favorite frosty assistant, Emily Charlton. She's left Miranda behind to build a career as a publicist to Hollywood's elite. But when she finds herself dealing with a fallen supermodel in Connecticut, she'll realize that Miranda isn't just part of her past, but in fact could become a valuable ally. (Good Housekeeping)

Summer 2018 Book Preview: Best Beach Reads for Vegging Out
25 Must-Read Books That Will Make July Fly By
The 25 Best New Books for Summer 2018 
The 39 Books We're Talking about This Summer
The Best New Books Coming Out Summer 2018
The 40 Best Books to Read This Summer
The 17 Best Books to Read This Summer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Childhood Fondness for Rodgers and Hammerstein and Libraries Inspired BPL Storyteller

by Lynn Carpenter, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution
Todd S. Purdum

It seems as if I’ve always known that Rodgers and Hammerstein were great Broadway musical showmen—I’m not sure how I knew. I learned their songs “Do-Re-Me,” “O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Edelweiss,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “It Might as Well Be Spring” in third grade. I saw The Sound of Music on my eighth birthday but I didn’t know it was by Rodgers and Hammerstein. My love of music and musicals was rivaled only by my love of books and I quickly found the play collections in my school library.

To get into the school building on a cold morning, you could go to the library. With my new love of books in fourth grade, I would check out a book in the morning, read it during the day, check it in at the end of the day, and check one out to read at home that night. Pretty soon I was checking out books to fellow students, shelving books, and reading shelves.

By the time I hit junior high, the custodian would open the library when I arrived and I would begin the morning operations for the library. This continued through the first half of my sophomore year in high school. We moved, and the new school did not want my help in the library, so I went back to my first love: music and theatre.

In college, I received my bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre and went to New York where I worked at an acting school for children. At last, I had the opportunity to direct some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s wonderful shows—Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, and The King and I. The school didn’t have a costumer, and soon I assumed those duties.

With the intent to save some money to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree in costume design, I returned to Alabama. After several jobs, I began working as a storyteller for the Birmingham Public Library. Storytelling satisfied my yearning to perform. My library skills learned as a child came back to me and I felt at home. With the encouragement from the associate director, my coordinator, and my supervisor, I applied to graduate school and became a professional librarian.

National Public Radio had an interview with Todd S. Purdum, author of Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution. I had to read it. The way these two men changed the face of Broadway forever is just as amazing as the impact of Hamilton today. I had read With a Song in My Heart, Richard Rodgers’ autobiography years ago, but it did not go into the health problems (battles with cancer and alcoholism) that these gifted men fought to bring the world such beautiful and moving stories that deal with subjects that are still relevant today.

The library staff is participating in Summer Learning on Beanstack in our own category to not compete with the public. Last week, I was the staff winner! I have the Beanstack app on my phone and I use the Beanstack link on the website. I like the phone app because I can set it when I start reading and stop it when I’m done and my time is automatically uploaded to the website app. That way, I don’t have to keep track of the time I spend reading. I can also scan the book’s ISBN to enter the titles I have read.

Pratt City, Titusville Library Adult Patrons Paint on Canvas at Palette Party with Cherie Hunt

by Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Department

Cherie Hunt instructing artists at Powderly Library

All summer long, Birmingham artist Cherie Hunt is teaching Birmingham Public Library patrons—even novices—how to paint. Recently, Hunt has brought her Palette Party program to adults at Titusville and Pratt City Branch Libraries. Hunt’s class provides participants step-by-step instructions that take them within an hour from a blank white canvas to their very own canvas masterpieces.

Hunt is offering a few more Palette Party workshops at BPL locations between now and the end of Summer Learning in early August. The dates and locations are listed below:

Palette Party artists show their masterpieces at Titusville Library

Palette Party is among over 400 Summer Learning programs for kids, teens and adults taking place at BPL’s 19 library locations in June and July. Summer Learning is made possible by a generous donation from the Alabama Power Foundation. For more information, click on the calendar at www.bplonline.org. You can also print out a calendar of programs for children, teens and adults.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Job Hunting Is the Worst—But BPL Wants to Help!

by Jenn Seiler-Patrick, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Books on job searching and careers picked by the staff at the Five Points West Library

First of all, looking for a job is hard.

Second, not receiving an interview or not getting the job hurts. As a new librarian with Birmingham Public Library, I just finished a years-long job hunt and am excited to be here, talking to you. So, I know some of that pain you might be feeling and my goal is to let you know you’re not alone; and to tell you about some of the options you have for help.

Our libraries have many books and e-books to help you with your job search, building a new career, or marketing yourself. Our staff can also recommend online resources to help with resumes, cover letters, how to interview, and improving your job skills. Some of your questions may be answered through BPL's Job Searching, Resume Writing, and Career Development page. As always, ask a BPL staff member if you need help finding any book or online resources.

Finally, the library has programs such as the employment readiness bootcamp New Age Online Application Drill/Interview Performance Training on July 23 and the Steps to Starting Your Business workshop on July 17 (this workshop is also scheduled August-October) taking place at the Central Library, which provides an awesome opportunity to learn what employers are looking for.

You can also check out the free classes offered by many of our library locations to help increase your skills with computers. Just visit the BPL events calendar and search the Career & Employment and Computers & Technology categories for upcoming classes.

I wish you strength to continue and hope for success! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for July 17 at Central Library


What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Tuesday, July 17 (3rd Tuesday of each month, July-October 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 Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business from July to October 2018. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library: July 17, August 21, September 18, October 16.

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 Valencia Fisher in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity 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 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.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Central Library Hosting Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet Camp July 9-13

by Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Department at Birmingham Public Library

John Paul Taylor, founder of Real Life Poets

What: Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet
When: Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Where: The Central Library Youth Department Create205 Learning Lab, 2nd Floor
Details: Words are power. The Real Life Poets and the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Archives Department are partnering to teach teens how to put their words on paper and make their own mark on history. We’ll talk about the civil rights movement in Birmingham in the 1960s, then write, sing, and spit verse about the civil rights movement now. Each participant will complete a spoken word poem by the end of the week to be archived in BPL’s digital archives to share with the world. This program is among over 400 Summer Learning activities being offered at BPL’s 19 locations this summer. Summer Learning is sponsored by a generous donation from the Alabama Power Foundation.

On Monday, July 9, a weeklong teen poetry camp kicking off at the Central Library will examine how the civil rights movement in Birmingham transformed the world and teach participants how to express their feelings on paper.

By the end of the week, participants in the second annual Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet will create their own poems about civil rights then and now, and read their pieces out loud. Their poems will be recorded and archived in the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department for future generations to hear.

The camp is a partnership between the BPL Archives Department, which houses several artifacts documenting Birmingham’s civil rights history, and Real Life Poets, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that uses spoken word and hip-hop to empower young people to be the voice of the next generation. John Paul Taylor, founder of Real Life Poets, talked about the camp and what participants can expect.

BPL: What is Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet?
Taylor: It is designed around civil rights then and now with spoken word as the tool. The civil rights movement and archives here at BPL will be the foundation for the pieces the young people will create.

What was the reaction from participants last year? Most of them had never done a poem before.
I was most impressed with the level of awareness young people gained in the process. Our young people last year were mostly homeschooled which is a different dynamic. So over the week it was amazing to see how they interacted with each other and were able to talk about these issues. I thought it was a great first experience but I see room for us to improve this year. One of the greatest things was we had a very diverse group. Seeing the civil rights artifacts they brought so much of a different perspective about it. They were able to speak honestly about their viewpoints.

I remember the day they actually recorded their poems, you describe their growth from the beginning of the week to the end. Share your thoughts on that.
That first day it was like pulling teeth to get them to say one thing they liked about themselves or get comfortable speaking publicly. By the end of the week we watched these young people stand up and boldly speak about civil rights. Some were a bit more shy, but even those who still had shyness in them the group was so encouraging it helped them come out of their shell.

When Jim Baggett, head of BPL Archives Department, showed artifacts such as actual slave handcuffs and bomb fragments from the KKK bombing that killed the four little girls in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, it was incredible to see how it captivated young people hearing that for the very first time. Your thoughts?
We live so much in the now many of us don’t look back at our history and how we got to this point. It is not this romanticized, antebellum period that got us here. For a lot of people it was a struggle. Many young people today don’t know about their history. This camp will be very educational for our teens.

Talk about how these poems will be recorded for BPL’s archives so future generations will be able to hear their civil rights poems.
It gives them the awareness that what I say right now has the opportunity to impact future generations. This two minute poem can have such a profound ability to move people in the future. You get to speak for a population who don’t have the voice or platform like this. If you have a teen in Birmingham who wants their voice heard, they should take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this. It’s another tool to express yourself.

Anything to add?
We are appreciative of this partnership with the Birmingham Public Library. Real Life Poets will be going to participate in the national poetry competition Brave New Voices in Houston, Texas, July 15-19, 2018. We need support for this and other programs. Go to www.reallifepoets.org and click on the donate button, or you can go to our Real Life Poets Facebook page. It is tax-deductible.

Real Life Poets is a 501c3 nonprofit organization geared towards using the spoken word and hip-hop to empower our young people to be the voice of the next generation. 

ALA 2018: Eastwood Library's Shawn Caddell Meets Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

by Shawn Caddell, Eastwood Branch Library

Shawn Caddell (right) with author Alexis Marie Chute

This summer I had the pleasure of taking the train to New Orleans, Louisiana, and attending the American Library Association (ALA) Conference and Exhibition for the very first time. While this was not the first professional conference I had attended, it was by far the largest.

One of the things I looked forward to the most was exploring the Exhibit Hall. Prior to leaving for the conference, I viewed the list of vendors that would be in attendance. With over 900 vendors, I created a list of the ones I wanted to visit the most. The list mainly included vendors with whom BPL has partnered to bring databases and apps such as Mango Languages, hoopla, Libby/Overdrive, and BookPage to our patrons.

Once the Exhibit Hall opened, however, I found myself completely overwhelmed. The Ernest Morial Convention Center boasts over 3 million square feet, which equates to about 11 city blocks and a third of that is devoted solely to exhibit space. In other words, the place was huge!

After overcoming the shock and awe of just how large the space was and how many vendors were present, I began my exploration. I had a mango smoothie at the Mango Languages booth, took a selfie with Dr. Hayden at the Library of Congress booth, told a 45-second story in the NOLA Storybooth, and was the last one in line for autographed copies of debut author Alexis Marie Chute’s books. They literally turned the lights out on us!

Additionally, I picked up several ARCs, spoke with representatives of some of the biggest publishing houses about upcoming titles, and picked up loads of awesome goodies and swag.

One of the most memorable experiences I had at this conference was meeting Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden. Meeting Dr. Hayden was particularly special because not only is she a librarian, but she represents two minority groups with which I chiefly identify: women and African Americans. Seeing all that she has accomplished gives me hope that I can do the same, for it is a daunting task to strive for something you have never seen accomplished. It is for this reason that I now have a fuller understanding of what people mean when they say “representation matters.”

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden and Caddell

Another reason meeting Dr. Hayden was particularly notable was because when I told her that I was an aspiring public librarian, she gave me the most wonderful advice on my education and career. She told me to use my work in the public library as a foundation for what I will learn in graduate school. She also let me take a selfie with her. I will cherish that brief yet insightful interaction for years to come.

The following day the "Now Showing @ ALA Film Program" hosted an advanced screening of the public. The film stars Emilio Estevez as a public librarian who bonds with the library’s “regulars,” many of whom are homeless. When a particularly bitter cold snap hits the city, the patrons stage a sit-in and turn the library into a temporary homeless shelter.

I was especially moved by this film’s portrayal of the homeless and ostracized. It opened my eyes to the way we perceive and interact with these patrons—we often lack humility and we respond from a place of fear, disgust, or ignorance. It is my belief that viewing this film will spark the conversations needed to debunk the myths of homelessness and allow us to evaluate the way we view and interact with this demographic.

On the shuttle, I spoke with a lady who works for the Texas Public Library system. She had also seen the public and she began to tell me a sad story about a branch in their system that had been labeled “the homeless branch.” She was near tears when she told me how non-homeless patrons avoided that particular branch. Needless to say, she was eager to recommend this movie to her library director as part of a campaign to elicit empathy for this population.

I think the most enjoyable part of the conference were the impromptu conversations with library staff from other states and who held positions that differed from mine. For instance, I conversed with a library director, a media specialist, and a page. It was very interesting to gain insight into the inner workings of how other libraries are run and staffed.

One thing that really stood out to me was the increase in the use of technology in libraries. There are companies who can, through a series of modifications, make a library run in the absence of staff by creating a specific space that patrons can have afterhours access to check out materials. I thought this was a great idea for patrons who work during operating hours. While it is highly customizable to fit a library’s specific needs, there are certain components that every library must have such as book lockers, security codes, cameras, etc. In other words, to outfit a library with this technology is very costly.

In this same vein, I have come to the realization that to be a 21st century librarian, I must be tech savvy and open to technological change. Everything from the way we check out books, to granting internet access, to maintaining our collections, to gathering statistical information relies on technology.

If I am honest, I am somewhat afraid of the extent to which we rely on technology in the library. I say that because one of the greatest joys that I have as a library employee is interacting with my patrons. I can only imagine how boring and long my days would be without recommending a book or hearing how well a patron liked a book I suggested.

I think we are already on our way to a hands-off, self-serve approach in our libraries. I have been a patron at a library within our system that brushed off a patron interaction with me in favor of my using the self-checkout.

While technology can be a good thing, I think we should adopt it in moderation.

I consider myself blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend this conference. It is my earnest hope that BPL will continue to provide staff with opportunities that foster an environment of continued education.

West End Library Summer Coding Camp Exposes Teens to Computer Coding Skills

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

Instructor Keiah Shauku (left) helps a student at the Teen Summer Coding Camp at the West End Library

For two weeks in June, teenagers in western Birmingham gained free exposure to computer coding skills, thanks to a free camp hosted by the West End Branch Library. The Birmingham Teen Summer Coding Camp, held June 18-22 and June 25-29, and a separate Teens Engineer BHM Camp held June 11-15, at West End Library, was sponsored by Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson, West End Manor Neighborhood Association, and Arlington West End Neighborhood Association.

Tyson represents Birmingham’s District 6, which includes West End Library. She is a longtime supporter of programming at West End Library and Titusville Branch Library, which is also in her district. Arlington Manor and Arlington West End neighborhoods have also been longtime supporters of West End Library, Branch Manager Maya Jones said.

The coding camp was led by instructor Keiah Shaku, a Birmingham mother who has been a volunteer for teen programming at the Central Library that her children have participated in. The Teens Engineer BHM was led by mentors from the UAB School of Engineering, which partners with BPL on the program.

Fox 6 News did a feature on the Teen Summer Coding Camp in June. See a link to the Fo6 clip here: http://m.wbrc.com/Clip/14435360/teen-coding-camp

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Celebrate Innovation Week at Central Library with Business 101 for Artists on July 10


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
Details: Free workshop by Octavia Kuransky of Bizart designed to help artists, writers, musicians, painters, and crafts professionals learn more about business management skills and how to promote their products. Attendees will create a two-page business plan. Advance registration is required.

As part of the 2018 Innovation Week observance, the Central Library in downtown Birmingham on July 10 will host Business 101 for Artists, a free workshop designed to help artists, writers, musicians, painters, and crafts professionals learn how to run their businesses better and market their products more effectively.

The workshop instructor is Octavia Kuransky of Bizart, a Birmingham company that hosts workshops designed to equip artists for entrepreneurship success. “This 90-minute workshop demystifies business and will include an explanation of business vocabulary, business models, and business practices such as pricing, marketing and promotion tailored towards the unique need of artists and craftspeople,” Kuransky said. “This is a unique opportunity to network with other artists.” 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.

Kuransky will share tips she gained as a business owner and former program development manager for the Central Alabama Women’s Business Center in Birmingham. She is currently an instructor of the Emerging Leaders curriculum underwritten by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Please register for this program online through the BPL events calendar or email Jim Murray in the Business, Science and Technology Department at jmurray@bham.lib.al.us. Kuransky led similar workshops April 9 at the Avondale Regional Branch Library, June 18 at the Vestavia Public Library, and will instruct one Thursday, June 21, 6:30 p.m., at the Homewood Public Library. .

“If the beauty and life enhancing work of art is to live on in the real world, then artists need real world skills,” Kuransky said. “This includes understanding the business side of art. Bizart is offering this financial skill building through the public libraries because of the accessibility of education through the libraries and the public library commitment to public education, art and culture.”

This program is part of BPL’s contribution to Birmingham Innovation Week, being observed July 6-13, 2018. Innovation Week is a celebration of creative people, risk-takers and innovators. Through a series of 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/.

Book Review: Vegan Diner

by Shea Robinson, Fiction Department, Central Library

Vegan Diner
Julie Hasson

Being a long-time vegan and ambitious cook, I’m always on the hunt for interesting cookbooks to give me fresh ideas for meals and snacks. While the following cookbook is not one I’d reach for on a daily basis, it’s one of my favorites because it offers recipes that are fairly unique to vegan cookbooks.

Vegan Diner tackles the challenging task of recreating classic diner dishes into vegan comfort food. Covering courses from breakfast to dessert, this cookbook offers animal-friendly alternatives with simple recipes. The layout is crisp and stylish with striking full-page color photos illustrating the recipes within a retro diner design.

Some of my favorite dishes from this cookbook include Orange Cornbread Waffles, Biscuits & Creamy Sage Gravy, Diner Donuts, and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. This is a fantastic cookbook for vegetarians, vegans, and those omnivores who simply desire to switch things up a bit. Vegan Diner is jam-packed with recipes of delicious food that can be enjoyed while eating compassionately.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Garage Sale Mania! Helps BPL Staffer Have Manic-Free Sale

by Andrei T. Jones, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Garage Sale Mania! How to Hold a Profitable Garage, Yard, or Tag Sale by Chris Harold Stevenson

A couple of Saturdays ago my wife and I had a garage sale. We didn’t make much money, but we sure had a fun time hanging out together and meeting our neighbors and other passersby.

A book that really helped me in this venture was Garage Sale Mania! How to Hold a Profitable Garage, Yard, or Tag Sale by Chris Stevenson. This book lists all types of helpful hints and tips that we used in our sale. It's an oldie but goodie and well worth checking out if you're thinking of having a summer garage sale.

This particular book is Springville Road Library’s copy, but the Jefferson County Public Library system has many other informative books and DVDs on the subject of how to have a stress-free and successful garage sale.

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