Friday, June 09, 2017

BPL Closed May 29 for Memorial Day

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Monday, May 29, for Memorial Day.

Summer Reading Kickoff Party at Central Library

Come celebrate the start of Summer Reading 2017 at the Birmingham Public Library's kickoff party! The event is free but tickets are required. Tickets are available at any Birmingham Public Library location. All ages are welcome and activities include games, inflatables, and arts & crafts. Refreshments will be served. The party will be held in the Central Library's first floor Atrium.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Southern History Book(s) of the Month: Gumbo Love and Lulu's Kitchen

by Mary Anne Ellis, Librarian, Southern History Department, Central Library

Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life
Lucy Buffett

Lulu’s Kitchen: A Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life
Lucy Buffett
(Previously published as Crazy Sista Cooking)

It’s a Book of the Month double feature! Now that we’re nearing the end of May, people start (or have already been) thinking about vacation time, beach destinations, and great summer food. These two books by Lucy “LuLu” Buffett are bound to get you in the summertime state of mind with their mouth-watering recipes, tips for the good life—Gulf Coast style—and tidbits of personal history. In Gumbo Love, Buffett recounts how cooking was an activity that caught and kept her attention in a way that school had been unable to do:
I was always turning in assignments late or under the wire. It was more fun to dream, play make-believe, hang out with friends, or listen to music . . . There is now a diagnosis and treatment for my “scatterbrained” habits, but back in the day, when life was happening faster than my little limbs could carry me, I found a kind of solace in the summers I spent in Pascagoula, Mississippi, at the Formica-topped counter of my grandmother’s modest kitchen. Every day I would watch her cook up a massive meal and on most Fridays, a big pot of gumbo. It was the only place where I could “sit still.”
Both books are, as you might expect, loaded with tips about cooking gumbo, including the importance of a good roux as the base, and it’s not a dish for someone who’s in a hurry. LuLu’s Kitchen asserts that “Cooking gumbo can (and should) take all day.” And how do you know when to add the “Holy Trinity” of bell pepper, onion, and celery? “Baby, take it to the edge!”

However, the dishes in these books are not just for summer. Check out Cousin Mark’s Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Gumbo and the menu for Traditional UnChristmas Dinner in LuLu’s Kitchen. Or take a look at the Classic Southern Pound Cake with Strawberries in Gumbo Love, which might also pair well with Easy-Peasy Chocolate Sauce. Cake like that would fetch me any time of the year.

But more than anything else, what caught my attention about these books is the attitude that cooking is fun, an adventure to be approached with excitement. As Buffett points out in one of her “Ten Ingredients for a Bright Life and a Happy Kitchen” in Gumbo Love: "The worst that can happen is you have to throw it away and go out to eat instead—but don’t hold yourself to outrageous standards. Just be you. Cook what you love! Then others will love what you cook."

So kick off your summer with some reading that will put you in that Gulf Coast mood no matter where you live. Put on some music—maybe even by Lucy’s brother, Jimmy—and get ready for some great eating, LuLu style!

For further information:
LuLu’s at Gulf Shores Alabama
Lucy’s Summer Seafood Gumbo (includes roux instructions)
Another roux recipe
A short history of gumbo
Stars Fell on Alabama” (Jimmy Buffett recording)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bards & Brews to Take Place During the June Art Crawl at the Pizitz

Bards & Brews will have a change of scenery for June with our debut performance at the Birmingham Art Crawl on Thursday, June 1, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The monthly spoken-word poetry program will be open air and open mic outside the Pizitz Food Hall at the corner of 19th Street and Second Ave North.

As you check out the amazing visual artists of the Magic City, join us for an unforgettable night featuring many of Birmingham's best poets sharing their work against the backdrop of the city's evening lights.

We are also giving away two $25 gift certificates to Eli's Jerusalem Grill during the event. One will be given away via an Instagram contest and the other via a trivia question at 8:00 p.m. during the event. See the library's post on Instagram for details on how to enter via the app.

This is an open mic event, which means that anyone willing to sign the list can get on the microphone to perform their work or the work of another poet. We are always encouraging new performers to get on the mic at Bards & Brews.

Regular performer Lee J. Green recalls his first couple of times on the microphone at Bards & Brews: "At first it was a little bit scary. You are doing something that is your own and you are performing in front of people.  How will they react?  Everybody was so warm and has been so warm every time that I have gone up there or anyone else has gone up there. It has been such a great experience."

As always, admission is free. So bring yourself, your friends, and your poetry to share and support some great local artists in the process.

The public can make donations to support Bards & Brews online or send a check via mail to Birmingham Public Library, Development Department, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203. For more information about Bards & Brews, call Brandon C. Smith of the Eastwood Branch Library at 205-591-4944 or email him at Follow Bards & Brews on Facebook and look for more news on fundraising efforts on the BPL website.

Join The Afterthoughts, Springville Road Library’s Nonfiction Book Club

by Kelly Laney, Adult Services Librarian, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Do you sometimes read nonfiction and think, Wow, I’d love to talk to someone about this topic? The Springville Road Library has a program just for you. The Afterthoughts Book Group chooses a different topic every month, and then everyone in the group reads one or more books or articles on that subject. We get together on the third Tuesday of every month at 2:00 p.m. to share what we’ve read and then branch out and talk about the subject in general. Most of the time you’ll be interested enough in hearing about another book to want to read it, too. Past topics have included "New Technologies," "Royalty," "Biographies," "Espionage and Spies," "Animal Stories," "Solar System and UFOs," and "Gangsters, Molls, and Thugs."

Our topic for June’s meeting is "History of Civilization through Architecture and Archaeology," so any book dealing with any human civilization that discusses buildings or archaeological digs counts. So far we have someone doing Colonial Williamsburg, ancient Egypt, life in the Middle Ages, and Celtic civilization. You can be sure there will be a lively discussion as we hear about the way different people lived and make comparisons.

If you like book clubs but prefer one that meets at night, check out The Reading Roadies. This is a (mostly) fiction book club that meets on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. June’s selection is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. We try to pick books we would not normally select in order to stretch our reading horizons. This year we are reading books by Jodi Picoult, Gustave Flaubert, Michael Crichton, Ian McEwan, Joanne Harris, and Catriona McPherson.

Please call Kelly Laney at the Springville Road Library at 205-226-4083 for more information. Reading Roadies will meet next on June 19 at 6:30 p.m.; The Afterthoughts will meet on June 20 at 2:00 p.m. Visit the BPL event calendar for upcoming Springville Road Library programs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Card-Making Classes For Adults & Teens

Card-Making at Central Library
Youth Department Storycastle
Monday, June 12, 2017
2:00-3:30 p.m.

Do you love the look of homemade greeting cards? Are you looking for a way to explore design and express your creativity? Well, look no further.  Join us for a fun and creative class as we make simple yet pretty homemade cards. We’ll have fun combining various papers, colors and designs to make unique creations. We are teaching card-making skills at Central Library and various BPL branches. Join us this summer to make a personalized card for a family member or friend.

Please see our schedule listed below for more information.

Registration required. Limit 12 participants.

Note: Teens are welcome with adult supervision in class.


For more information about the card-making classes at BPL branches, call the library branch manager. To register for the Central Library card-making class, contact Leslie Deason at (205) 226-3677 or email her at


Card-Making Classes For Adults (Teens welcome with an adult)

Date                            Time                Library
June 5              10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.       North Birmingham
June 6              10-11:30 a.m.              Powderly
June 9              10-11:30 a.m.              Springville Road
June 12             2-3:30 p.m.                 Central Library Youth Department Storycastle
June 13            2-3:30 p.m.                  Southside
June 14            10-11:30 a.m.              Wylam
July 12             2-3:30 p.m.                  Avondale
July 24             3-4:30 p.m.                  Woodlawn

Gentle Yoga Class

Gentle Yoga Class
Monday, June 19, 2017
11:00-12:30 p.m.
Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Youth Department Storycastle

Are you interested in a gentle exercise class that will calm your mind and heal your spirit?

Join us for a relaxing session of gentle yoga. Yoga can relieve stress and calm the mind. Yoga instructor, Marie Blair, will focus on what's going right with the body helping adults develop strength, flexibility and balance inch by inch. To register, please email us at

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Resegregation of Schools, 2017

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents

Becoming Less Separate?
With the proliferation of U.S. charter schools, school redistricting, and dialogue about school vouchers, the question surfaces: Is this the resegregation of schools in the U.S.? Over sixty years after 
Court order of desegregation of U.S. schools, why is this discussion still relevant?

A quote from Natalie Y. Moore, author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, sums up the concern of many. “If we’re going to effectively address race relations, we have to address our separateness.”

Simply Google the term “resegregation” and you get over 97,000 hits. Books, newspaper, professional and academic articles abound on resegregation for those who are interested. Listed below are just a few of the library's books and government documents on the topic.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for June 5 at Central Library

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Monday, June 5, 2017
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 the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, will once again be hosting the popular seminar Steps to Starting Your Business in 2017. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the first Monday of each month from February to June, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Each seminar will cover the same topics, but those who are interested are welcome to attend more than one day. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminars by contacting Andy Mayo in the Economic Development Office at or 205-⁠⁠254-⁠⁠2774.

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

For further information about the seminars or about resources available at the Birmingham Public Library relating to small business development, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Teams on a Collision Course

Cleveland CavaliersGolden State Warriors

We are one round away from the NBA Finals.  Throughout the playoffs, fans and commentators alike have been talking about the inevitability of a rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.  The other teams in the playoffs have disagreed, but none have been able, so far, to prevent this rematch from happening.  As of today, the Golden State Warriors are 11-0 in the playoffs and one game away from a 3rd straight trip to the Finals.  In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 10-0 in the playoffs and will play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight.  They are two games away from their 3rd straight appearance in the NBA Finals. 

As you can see, both Cleveland and Golden State swept the first two rounds of their respective playoff series.  To be fair, each team was tested and there were some very close games resulting in their victories.  However, their ability to recover from deficits (25 points for Cleveland against Indiana, 25 points for Golden State against San Antonio) to win games is extremely deflating to their opponents.  Not to mention games in which they simply dominate their opponents (Cleveland’s 44-point victory over Boston, Golden State’s 36-point victory over San Antonio).  The inability of other teams to sustain big leads and come away with a victory has made it seem impossible to beat Cleveland and Golden State.

That's why a rematch seems like a foregone conclusion. These teams are rolling through the early rounds of the playoffs because they want to play each other again.  They are watching each other’s games to look for signs of weakness.  Each team has proven that they can beat the other in the Finals (Golden State, 2015; Cleveland, 2016) and they want an opportunity to break the tie.  The media has been playing up this rivalry since the beginning of the season.  As a basketball fan, I have been hoping for this.  Rivalry games are the best and the quality of play will be phenomenal.  At this pace, we will probably know in the next couple of days if we are in for Round 3, winner-takes-all, Golden State vs. Cleveland in the NBA Finals.  The NBA Finals begin June 1st.  Will you be watching?