Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fun, Interactive Programs for Kids Planned October Through December at Inglenook Library

To keep kids out of trouble and to make the library the most attractive and the most happening place to kids in the community, what do you do? You take the resources that you have, whether they are as small and mundane as a board game or as large as a popular performance, and create fun and exciting programs with twists that will likely keep their attention from the beginning to the end. Well, the Inglenook Library has done just that with three program events that will start in the month of October.

Check out the details below and bring the kids by for a good time.

Fire Station 23 Show-and-Tell
Date: 10/6/14
Time: 3:30pm
Description: During Fire Prevention Week, Station 23 of the Birmingham Fire Department will discuss fire safety tips for the home. They will also do a Fire Truck Show-and-Tell to demonstrate the functions of the fire truck and the roles of firefighters when putting out fires.

Scavenger Hunt Showdown!
Dates: 10/15, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17
Time: 4pm
Description: Children will participate in a bi-weekly Scavenger Hunt Showdown where they will be asked questions from scavenger hunt clues. Whoever answers the most questions correctly will receive a prize.

Bingo Thursdays
Dates: 11/6, 11/20, 12/4, 12/18
Time: 3:30pm
Description: Winners of Bingo Games will receive prizes!

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Library

A Hefty But Informative Page-Turner

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (Random House, 2008, 514pp.)

A vast and weighty novel, The 19th Wife is a fictional treatise on the unique history of polygamy in Utah. Using two different storylines (one in the past, one in the present), it explores the experiences of the major historical players involved in the fracturing of the Mormon church, and beyond. In the historical storyline, we witness the 1875 divorce and excommunication of Ann Eliza Young, the last wife taken by polygamist Brigham Young. Her subsequent quest to end polygamy brings her to the steps of the White House, where she manages to convince President Grant to declare war on Utah's marital "Barbarism."

Fast-forward to present day. In the isolated, polygamy-practicing desert community of Mesadale, one of the town bigshots has been murdered. Suspicion soon falls on BeckyLyn, or Wife #19, as the victim knew her. After she is arrested as the case's prime suspect, the news filters down to her son, Jordan, who was excommunicated from the community six years before when he was caught holding a girl's hand in public. Although he resents his mother for not standing up for him in his time of need, he doesn't believe her capable of murder, and returns to his birthplace to help clear her name.

The 19th Wife is told in a variety of different voices, including that of Jordan, Ann Eliza, and even--for one surprising chapter--Brigham Young himself. Although the novel is ultimately dominated by Jordan's and Ann Eliza's opinions, the author at least takes the pains to avoid white-washing the whole issue. He confronts Jordan's bitterness towards religion with a Brigham Young University student, whose faith fills her with a kind of joy, and allows Brigham a chance (through the pages of a prison diary) to explain himself. Although it's a bit hefty at 500 pages, I found Ebershoff's novel to be an informative and entertaining page-turner, sure to please fans of Jodi Picoult's issue-driven novels, as well as bookclubs everywhere.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Brought the Joy of Giving for Our Library Patrons

Tracey Stitt, teacher at Martha Gaskins Elementary School
As September comes to an end, it has really been an exciting month. We call it benevolent month for library patrons. Patrons had the privilege of receiving replacement cards for free. Who doesn’t like something for free? The most common phrase we heard was “I am glad I came to the library this month in order to get this free replacement card." This matter of goodwill goes a long way with our patrons. Thank you Public Libraries of Jefferson County for September National Library Card Sign-up (and replacement!) Month.

This month also represents Food for Fines month. This is an annual event where you can assist in helping people in need by giving up to ten non-perishable items in place of money (or fines) for local food banks. Of course the holidays are around the corner and there are a lot of people in need in the Greater Birmingham area.

We had a very unique situation at Pratt City library where one of our most dedicated patrons, Tracey Stitt, decided to implement a food drive through her school, Martha Gaskins Elementary. She and two other teachers, Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Spencer, were teaching a unit on weather and the impact of weather on recreational activities, agriculture, the economy, and society. Mrs. Stitt said they learned about weather such as tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods. (Pratt City Library was destroyed by an April 2011 tornado.) Since Mrs. Stitt is an avid library user she, decided to tie that in to the library’s September food drive.

Mrs. Tracey Stitt has been a teacher for 22 years and a library patron for as many more years. She, along with Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Spencer, had their 2nd grade students bring food to support Pratt City’s food drive. These teachers represent innovative thinking and teaching, and the children learned a valuable lesson about giving and its importance.

 Kudos to Mrs. Stitt. Dr.E. Finley is the principal of Martha Gaskins Elementary School.

Deborah Drake
Pratt City Library

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pepper Place Market for Eat Drink Read Write Fest: Saturday, Oct. 4

Pepper Place Market Saturday, October 4
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Pepper Place Market
2817 Second Avenue South

Bring the kids to BPL’s crafts table at Pepper Place Market for food-related art projects. Admission is free and fun times are certain.

On Twitter, join the Birmingham Public Library and Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine for a live chat about food in Southern literature. Follow the hashtags #EDRW and #SouthernLit to join in the conversation. @BPL and @DeepSouthMag will be leading the chat.

We're thrilled to have Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine as part of our festival!

The Eat Drink Read Write Fest is made possible by gracious contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

Food, Music, Writers, and Creativity @ Avondale Park and Library, October 5th

Sunday in the Park with Food Trucks, Crafts, Vendors & Sweet Sweet Music
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Avondale Park
4101 Fifth Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222

Enjoy music and spoken word poetry during the food truck and craft fair at Avondale Park. Vendors will be selling hand-crafted items with a literary twist.

Several popular Birmingham food trucks and local companies will be selling food (Nola Ice, Copper Pot Kitchen, Continental Bakery, Cantina, Saw's Street Kitchen, Dreamcakes and more. Admission is free.

Food Writers Fair in Avondale Library
Sunday, October 5
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Avondale Library
509 40th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35222
Chef Clayton Sherrod (Pic from

Chef Clayton Sherrod of the Lawson State Community College’s Culinary Arts Program and chefs Adam Elliott and Deborah Harris will do a cooking demo of Sherrod’s Bananas Foster. Sherrod will also sell and sign copies of his cookbook Truly Southern.

Chris Bennett of Hollow Spring Farm will speak on foraging.

Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine will discuss food writing and Southern cuisine.

Free admission for all Sunday events thanks to contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

EDRW festival banner

Soul Food Bards & Brews EDRW Kick-Off Poetry Slam, October 3

EDRW festival banner
Join us for Eat Drink Read Write Festival’s kick-off party on Friday, October 3, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Central Library, with poetry, beer, coffee and soul food. Back Forty Beer Co. and The J. Clyde will provide beer samples.


The area’s best poets will compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. Admission is free but it’s $5 to compete. All contestants must perform at least one food-related poem. First place winner will receive $300 and second place will receive $200.

Enjoy Full Moon Bar-B-Que sandwiches and food from Todd English P.U.B. and Earth Fare.

Sample BPL’s new coffee blend from Higher Ground Roasters:

Soft drinks by Coca-Cola. Music by Clutch Band. Must be at least 18 to enter and at least 21 to be served.

This program is made possible by contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bank on Birmingham Financial Program to Be Held at Community Education South, September 30

A sound understanding of banks and banking plays an important part in assuring one’s personal financial health. Acquiring such an understanding, however, takes some time and effort. In the world of banking, there exist different kinds of institutions offering a variety of accounts, products, and investment opportunities. But it is not a matter of one size fits all; which banking services are suitable for you depends upon your particular circumstances, needs, and goals. Therefore, in order to make good decisions about banks, you should try to get good, solid information about what is available so that you can compare their offerings with your priorities.

Bank on Birmingham (BoB) is a local non-profit organization that was created to provide information to the public about banking products and services. The membership of Bank on Birmingham, which consists of both local financial institutions and community organizations, is particularly interested in reaching low and moderate income consumers who have been underserved by the banking industry. Through advocacy, education, and outreach, BoB strives to make better banking awareness a catalyst for increasing the financial self-sufficiency of individuals and families in the Birmingham area.

As part of its educational initiative, Bank on Birmingham is holding a series of Snack and Learn events at several locations of the Birmingham Public Library during September and October of 2014. Two similar events will be held at Community Education South. These events are scheduled to last about an hour and BoB representatives will be available to share their knowledge on a variety of topics including banking, credit, budgeting, identity theft, home ownership, and small business finance. Light refreshments will be served. Both adults and older youth are encouraged to attend.

The Snack and Learn events are free but registration is required. You can register online on the Events Calendar page on Bank on Birmingham’s website or at the library location where the event is being held:

Community Education South
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Central Library 
Monday October 6, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Avondale Library
Tuesday October 14, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Not Your Grandparents' Catalog

Today I was helping a customer find something to read, using our library catalog. The image that springs into your mind may be the old wooden card catalog with drawers filled with typed cards holding a brief description of the book and its call number. Today’s catalog offers much more.

The Online Public Access Catalog, or OPAC, features all the standard options for searching: keyword, title, author, and subject. The OPAC can be accessed from anywhere that you have access to the Internet. JCLC offers three flavors of library catalog, Classic, Encore, and Kids Catalog. All three offer the familiar searching tools, but Encore is flashier and features many of the online shopping tools used by, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.

The Kid’s catalog provides guides for searching with images and general topics. Also available on kids on line are helpful links to Award Winning books, and Back to School links to Live Homework Help, and databases such as Britannica Learning Zone and Encyclopedia of Alabama.

All three catalogs allow users to log into their library accounts and place holds on books and media that will be sent to a library of your choice. You can review what is currently checked out and what is on reserve, place Inter-library loan requests, and pay for any outstanding fines or fees. The OPAC allows users to search for additional information about an item by providing links to Amazon books, Google Books, and Open Books. All three catalogs will allow searches limited to format such as print, large print, paperback, electronic, video, and audio.

Today’s catalog is a powerful multipurpose research tool that is only limited by your imagination. If you need help learning more about using the OPAC, contact your local library where friendly knowledgeable staff are ready to help you begin your exploration.

William Darby
East Lake Library

Young Adult Novelist Stephanie Perry Moore Brings Book Tour to the Birmingham Public Library, September 22-25

Go ahead and ask because Stephanie Perry Moore has heard the question too many times to count.

Yes, people have told her she looks like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer of The Help fame. And yes, Moore knows Spencer.

The two were high school classmates at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama, where they were both in drama class.

While Spencer has a large following for her acting, Moore has one for her writing.

Moore, who’s written more than 60 books full of heart, sass, and grit, will be in Birmingham on September 22-25 for a fall book tour and talk at several Birmingham Public Library locations. She’ll kick off her tour at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library. (See the complete tour schedule at the end of this release.)

The young adult novelist will target youth in her Birmingham message. She’ll discuss the importance of following dreams, writing books, and how she’s still on a journey of trying to get her books made for television and movies. Her goal is to inspire youth to live their purpose.

“If you are still living, breathing and going, you are supposed to keep striving,’’ says Moore, a married mother of three now living in the greater Atlanta area. “So that means more networking, more education ... and (more) prayer.’’

What is her advice for pursuing a D.R.E.A.M.? She has five tips:

Be Dedicated
When going after a dream, you have to work on it all the time. You can’t put it down and pick it up. You have to prepare for the test and ace it. Athletes practice nonstop. Those 3-point shots just don’t happen. They happen because a person practices.

Be Resourceful
Find a mentor and ask how they excelled and how they failed. Avoid people not doing anything.

Elevate Yourself
Always reach high. If you are making Bs in school, go for As. Keep climbing.

Have an A-plus attitude
Wear a smile even when you feel like frowning. Maintain a positive attitude through disappointment.

Focus on “Me’’
If you make “me’’ important, you will take care of that “me’’ just like you will take care of that dream. Learn to be your own cheerleader.

Here is Moore’s Birmingham tour schedule:

Monday, September 22
Central Library, 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
Springville Road Library, 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 23
Powderly Library, 10:00 a.m.
Titusville Library, 1:00 p.m.
West End Library, 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 24
Smithfield Library, 10:00 a.m.
Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Library, 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 25
Five Points West Library, 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Library, 4:00 p.m.

For more information on Moore, please visit

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tailgating Time

If you were raised in the south, Friday night lights and SEC games are the norm. Of course, you have to decide if you are an Alabama or Auburn fan at birth. Yes, crazy as it seems, this state has some pretty diehard fans.

College football rules the south on Saturdays. We can’t forget our Friday night high school games. But, it can’t compete with college football and tailgating. Tailgating involves sharing deep fried fish, ribs, hamburgers, and hot dogs with old friends and making new ones.

Since all things have a beginning, it is believed that the first tailgating was held in 1861 at the Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. Of course, they weren’t playing football, but in fact cheering for soilders in blue or gray.

Charles Goodnight in 1866 after the Battle of Bull Run is credited with taking a U.S. Army wagon and transforming it into a portable feed wagon. Since cowboys were always on a range, Goodnight created the chuck wagon. It was named after a cheaper cut of beef. This was the beginning of portable cooking on wheels for the ranching industry. The chuck wagon setup is reminiscent of today’s setup for tailgating.

It wasn’t until 1869 that the tailgating centered around a sporting event between Princeton and Rutgers at an intercollegiate football game. The game was more like today’s version of rugby, which consisted of 25 players, playing three different positions. Each team would have two men that would hide in the back field, waiting to score, while 11 other men operated as defenders, the remaining 12 were called bulldogs.

So, at your next tailgate party, don’t forget to have a few essentials to make this a great outing: folding tables, garbage bags, ice cooler, beverage of choice, canopy, grill, food, and chairs. Get some great tailgating tips from these books available in the library system.

Felita Hawkins
East Lake Library
Southern Region Coordinator

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New from the Southern History Department: Book of the Month

This is the beginning of a new series from the Southern History Department: “Book of the Month.” Read on to discover things that you didn’t know existed—or if you did know, you didn’t expect to find them in our collection. Without further ado, our first item is . . .

Texar’s Revenge or North Against South
By Jules Verne

When most people hear the name Jules Verne they think of books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or A Journey to the Center of the Earth. But did you know Verne wrote a novel about the American Civil War? Originally published as Nord Contre Sud (North Against South) in French, the novel has various titles in English translations. The straightforward North Against South became a subtitle in the first American edition, with Texar’s Vengeance as the title, which was then changed to Texar’s Revenge. One can only speculate about the motives of the translators and publishers who made the changes; the revenge element seems more immediate and gripping than the general “north against south,” especially to readers for whom the Civil War would still be a vivid memory when this novel was published in 1887.

The heart of the story is the feud between Texar and his adversary Burbank. Texar is a pro-slavery Southerner and Burbank is a Northerner and anti-slavery advocate, a natural object of suspicion in the community near Jacksonville, Florida where the novel takes place. Apparently Burbank has caused legal problems for Texar in the past and the vindictive Southerner takes every opportunity to wreak havoc in the life of his Northern enemy; Verne makes it clear early in the novel that Texar is not the forgiving sort:

“Texar was then about thirty-five . . . A Spaniard by birth, he did not hide his origin. His hair was black and coarse, his eyebrows thick, his eyes greenish, his mouth large, with thin indrawn lips, as if it had been made by a sabre-stroke, his nose short, and his nostrils like those of a wild beast. His whole physiognomy denoted craft and violence . . .

“Nevertheless, if Texar was better known than respected, that did not prevent his exercising a real influence in the county, and particularly at Jacksonville, although it was, it is true, among the least reputable inhabitants.”

Apparently the responses to the novel ranged from lukewarm to derisive due to Verne’s inaccurate grasp of Civil War history. Nevertheless, the existence of Texar’s Revenge shows us a completely different side to the Jules Verne who is best known as one of the founders of science fiction.

To examine this title for yourself, visit us in the Southern History Department of Birmingham Public Library.

Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Central Library