Tuesday, July 10, 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/.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Influences of African American Music

by Russell Lee, Arts, Literature and Sports Department, Central Library

During the month of June we celebrate African-American Music Appreciation Month. All genres of music have been influenced by the contributions of African American music in some way or another.

When slaves arrived in America during the 1700s,  they were forced to reinvent the music, rhythms, moans, chants, and even some of the instruments of their homeland. These were often used to send secret codes and messages to one another, which is the main reason drums were banned on plantations by slave owners. Many slaves were forced to learn and play the banjo or fiddle to provide music and entertainment for slaves and plantation owners to try and keep the thought and reality of slavery out of the slave’s minds.

In 1892 Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák traveled to the United States at the invitation of a wealthy music lover. Dvořák was enthralled with the spirituals of African American slaves. He stated, "I am
now satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the Negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.” While in America he wrote his most popular work, “Symphony No. 9” ("From the New World"). Dvořák stated, "It is the spirit of the Negro melodies which I have endeavored to produce in my new symphony.” Dvorak’s themes are thought to be inspired by spirituals he learned from Harry Burleigh, a black man who studied composition at the National Conservatory under Dvořák. The themes of Dvořák initiated the style of American music composed by Aaron Copeland, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Rock, pop, country, and rhythm and blues have all utilized some characteristics of African American music to produce the sound we hear in present times.

Spirituals were derived from field hollers and work songs. From spirituals the evolution of blues, jazz, and gospel evolved blended hollering, shouting, moaning, scatting (wordless singing using syllables or sounds), and melisma (sliding from one note to the next when singing).

Elvis Presley’s big hit “Hound Dog” recorded in 1956 had been previously recorded by female blues belter Big Mama Thornton in 1952. Listening to both versions you can definitely hear the soulful growl and rough sound of Big Mama Thornton in the Elvis Presley version. Elvis was the king but Big Mama Thornton was definitely the queen.

While listening to Janis Joplin or Aretha Franklin you can hear the wailing and hollering similarity of Bessie Smith who possessed a strong voice that could be heard from the stage to the balcony without her using a microphone. Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin both possessed big voices that could fill a hall. They all sang with pathos, passion, and emotion that could bring tears, pain, and other strong emotions.

Listen to George Gershwin’s orchestral composition “Rhapsody in Blue” or his contemporary opera, “Porgy and Bess” and you can hear jazz and blues themes in these great well-known compositions.
It would be hard pressed to say any popular music since the 1900s cannot be linked or traced to some type of influence of the spiritual. The African American Spiritual, from the shores of Africa, to the United States gave rise to blues, jazz, gospel, ragtime, country, folk, rhythm and blues, pop, rap and hip-hop.

2018 Stonewall Book Award Winners and Honorees

The annual Stonewall Book Award is a set of three literary awards (adult fiction, adult nonfiction, children and young adult) for books published in the US that are of exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/
transgender experience.

Sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), they have been part of the American Library Association awards program since 1986, when they were known as the Gay Book Award since its inception in 1971. In 2002 the awards (fiction and nonfiction categories only at that time) were renamed Stonewall Book Award after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, demonstrations and sometimes violent confrontations by individuals in the gay/lesbian/transgender community against the New York Police Department after a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan's West Village.

A panel of librarians selects finalists in each category, and then selects a winner. The winners are announced in January and each receives a plaque and $1000 cash prize during the ALA Annual Conference in June or July. Winners are expected to attend and to give acceptance speeches. This year's conference is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

And the winners are...

Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers
 by Cat Fitzpatrick

Honor Books
Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu
A Place Called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
When I Grow Up I Want To Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community by John Chaich and Todd Oldham

Honor Books
Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton
The Black Penguin by Andrew Evans
LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the Numbers by Bennett Singer and David Deschamps

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Honor Book
As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

Young Adult
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

Honor Book
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Winners 1971-2017

North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club—Seven Years and Going Strong

By Roy L. Williams, Public Relations Director at Birmingham Public Library

North Avondale branch manager Saundra Ross (seated, second from left) and members
of the Chapter Chatters Book Club

Since February 2011, the North Avondale Branch Library's Chapter Chatters Book Club has been a monthly gathering place for adults in the Birmingham area who share a passion for reading.

The book club meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month for lunch and a lively discussion of African American-themed books recommended by its members, or chosen from best-seller lists and talk shows. Birmingham Public Library's Summer Learning adult programming includes two North Avondale Chapter Chatters meetings that are open to the public: Wednesday, June 27, and Wednesday, July 25.

The July program will be truly unique: a book discussion incorporating a hands-on painting experience based on the book and led by Birmingham artist Cherie Hunt. Participants will leave with their own hand-painted masterpiece. The class is limited to 20 adults; advance registration is required by calling 205-592-2082.

The Chapter Chatters Book Club’s members range in age from the 40s to early 80s, and come from cities across metro Birmingham—McCalla, Bessemer, Center Point, Forestdale, and Hueytown. Several Birmingham communities are represented, including Penfield Park, Bush Hills, downtown Birmingham, Huffman, Kingston, Powderly, and North Avondale.

Marie Nash leads a discussion of The Youngest Marcher
by Cynthia Levinson at an April 2017 Children's Picture
Book Club meeting
In addition to discussing books, Chapter Chatters also occasionally holds talks with authors. During the May 2018 meeting, members spoke with Cydney Rax about her new book A Sister’s Secret. Best-selling Birmingham author Vanessa Davis Griggs has visited the club, and author Sherelle Green has participated via conference call and sent a gift bag of new book titles to be used as prizes. Tayari Jones, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award winner, was so impressed that she mailed autographed book plates and book marks for each club member. Saundra Ross, library branch manager, said she looks forward to listening to the different viewpoints and the personal stories book club members share each month.

Marie Nash, library assistant, wanted to start a book club for children, so she collaborated with Ross to develop the Children's Picture Book Club. In November, the North Avondale Library began hosting the Children's Picture Book Club where a group of neighborhood students meet every second Wednesday after school. They discuss books based on the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Their first book was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

"The children's book club is a great way to encourage group reading and to get children to practice their analytical skills," Ross said. "I'm most proud when they read and then express to me what they've learned and how this new knowledge relates to them personally."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Beanstack Mobile App Updates: Badges and Bye-Bye "History"

A new version 1.3 of the Beanstack mobile app is now available for both Apple and Android phones. It includes badges now popping up when readers reach a milestone, plus a separate section where the reader can find all of his or her earned badges and prizes.

A change was made to the text that appears in the app based on users' feedback. Specifically, the word "History" has been changed to "Archive" to better communicate the "put it aside" function of that list of books. Similarly, changes have been made to the phrases "Mark Title As Completed" (now "Count Title as Completed") and "Move to History" (now "Move from Reading to Archive") to clarify the function of those actions.

Additionally, a bug was fixed whereby books weren't being counted in the web app if the Completed button was not toggled off and then back on.

Here's a list of "New Stuff" in the Beanstack app:

  • Badges! Receive notifications in Beanstack Tracker when badges are earned. Previously earned badges and badge statistics can also be viewed. To find badges: tap Highlights in the bottom bar, Achievements, then Badges.
  • Statistics have a new home! With the addition of badges, statistics now live under Highlights. Tap Highlights in the bottom bar to view statistics. 
  • Improved log searching: ability to search by author was added.
  • Improved data refreshing: data refreshing is now faster and happens more frequently.
  • Bug fixes and UI fine tuning. 

The Beanstack team is next taking on adding reading programs to the mobile app. It's a complex series of interactions that they expect to take at least a month. The result will be the app continuing to more closely resemble the core functions of the Beanstack website.

In the meantime, they're also working to make it more clear and easy to log a previous reading session. The Beanstack team will continue to make tweaks to the app based on what they're learning from users feedback. So keep the suggestions coming!

Book Review: In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits

by Richard Grooms, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits

You probably couldn’t ask for a more various collection of portraits than In Focus. From formal to casual, exotic to mundane, sublime to horrific, celebrity shots to peasant pics, old to contemporary, this collection seems to have it all.

“The Strange and Exotic” (chapter 2) has many notable pictures. A rural Russian family from 1917 stares blankly at the camera (save one boy, who’s wisecracking). We know their world will be devastated soon and this makes their stance all the more poignant and fragile. Do they have any idea of what will befall them? On another front, can a young woman carry off a mustache? Yes, if that’s what her people deem normal. An Ainu daughter sports her traditional over the lip tattoo as she delicately holds a flower. She provides a contrast to traditional Japanese concepts of femininity, 1922. So does a geisha from a more contemporary time. She primly holds a cigarette as she realizes she’s been caught in what she thought was a private moment. Teddy Roosevelt and hunting party display a jaguar they’ve just killed and apparently gutted. The cat’s head is well in front of the party and faces us. It’s sticking out its tongue, raspberry-style, as if it has the last word, subverting the macho poses behind it.

The definition of portrait is used broadly in this book. Included is a group of severed heads posted in Nanking in the '20s to dissuade lawbreakers. More conventional portraits are also here, as is seemingly everything in between. Tribal people address the camera in widely varying ways. A woman from Nauru, festooned with fishes that seem to be flying around her naked torso, looks sternly at us. She’s nobody’s fool. In contrast, two flirty young women from Algeria seduce the camera. I could never have guessed where they were from. The eyes of the girl on the right look almost Chinese. The 1914 date adds distance and hence confusion.

The “Away From Depression and War: The 1930s and 1940s” chapter goes heavy on the light and silly. The photos here were meant to offer a respite and diversion from hard times. The text assures us that not only National Geographic tried to cheer us up during these decades, it was just the way magazines were then, and some of this norm was a strain of propaganda. So: Look what you can do with vulcanized rubber!

“Cheerful Kodachrome Days,” which covers the '50s and '60s, could also be called “The Strange and Exotic.” Lobsterettes in Maine, happy snowmen, models modeling beef at Swift headquarters, while a mounted pig’s head smiles approvingly down from its wall perch. Who cares about Dali & Co. from the '20s? The '50s were the height of Surrealism as far as the evidence here shows. These decades didn’t run short on diversion either.

As you go through the collection, you see patterns and poses repeat themselves. No special attention is drawn to this, and that’s fine, as it makes the repeats surprising and subtle. A Tahitian woman, showing us her right side, recalls a sub-Saharan “Favorite Wife” we saw awhile back. That woman is in the same position, also shows us her right side, and she has a similar serious and confident look. The African woman is steely, while the Tahitian woman is almost seductive, but they parallel each other over the decades, across cultures, and over the span of the book. They never met, I’m sure, but they somehow meet here. In like ways, other men and women and groups meet in In Focus.

Toward the end of the book, the array of portraits has become dizzying. It’s good that the book doesn’t take itself too seriously and owns up to its fakeness and glitz. Sometimes the contrast in approaches and subjects is almost overwhelming. I’d rather spend time with this than The Family of Man.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ensley Library Closed Temporarily Beginning June 21 Due to HVAC issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Inside Scoop on Ancestry.com

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Go Straight to the Source for OverDrive Troubleshooting Help

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

Overdrive Front Line Tech Support includes the following:

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

How do patrons contact OverDrive directly?

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

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

BPL Spinners Club Spreading Music Appreciation throughout BPL This Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birmingham Public Library Selected for 2018 Inclusive Internship Initiative

by Roy Williams, Director of Public Relations

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 Rainbow Books for Kids

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

The Top 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Kickoff Party Celebrates 2018 BPL Summer Learning

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

George Griffin & the Firebirds

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

A family poses at the photo booth

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

Enjoying a night of music, games, and goodies

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

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

Track It with Beanstack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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