Thursday, April 27, 2017

West End Library Filmmaking Workshops for Teens Continue on April 29

Denzale Butler at April 22's "Introduction to Cinema" workshop

Hey young people, ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker? Then make plans to be at the West End Branch Library on Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 p.m., for week two of its free filmmaking workshops for teens.

The workshop, Do You Want to Make a Movie? Filmmaking for Teens, kicked off last Saturday, April 22, 2017. The teacher is Birmingham filmmaker Denzale Butler. There is only room for 10 students, so register in advance online or by calling the West End Library at 205-226-4089.

The remaining three classes, all taught between 3:30 and 4:45 p.m, are as follows:
Week Two (April 29) is "ABC’s of Film (Shot Sizes)"
Week Three (May 6) is "ABC’s of Film (Camera Movement)"
Week Four (May 13) is "ABC’s of Film (Composition)"

The teacher will bring a camera to class. However, students are asked to bring their camera phones since they will use them to create shots that create various moods. Teens will acquire a new skill and additional knowledge about an exciting topic. The class will fulfill the components of lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment by introducing teens to filmmaking, according to the West End Library.

See more information at the link below:

Check out some of Butler’s films at

You can also find out more about him on his LinkedIn page:

Cahaba Brewing to Partner with Public Libraries in Jefferson County on Goodwill Wednesday

What: Goodwill Wednesday to support Public Libraries in Jefferson County
When: Wednesday, May 17, 3:00-10:00 p.m.
Where: Cahaba Brewing Company

Every Wednesday Cahaba Brewing Company partners with a non-profit organization at the taproom to enjoy some great beer while also benefiting a good cause. On May 17 the Public Libraries in Jefferson County will be on the receiving end of this goodwill. So stop by Cahaba Brewing Company on this particular Wednesday to enjoy some beer, food, and games and help them support our Jefferson County public libraries.

Cahaba Brewing Company was founded in the summer of 2011 by a group of friends united by their love of craft beer and home brewing. Together, they devised a plan to build a brewery in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama. The group found an excellent location for the brewery in the Pepper Place/Lakeview district of Birmingham on 3rd Avenue South. The 8000 square foot building houses the brewery and tasting room and the building was selected for it's location, layout, and opportunity for expansion.

Southern History Book of the Month: How Me and Amos Won World War I

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

How Me and Amos Won World War I
Dr. Lelias E. Kirby

One hundred years ago this month, America entered World War I. Among the Alabama recruits were Lelias Kirby and his brother Amos, and How Me and Amos Won World War I is the chronicle of their adventures. When I saw the title, I expected a lighthearted treatment along the lines of Edward Streeter’s Dere Mableand Dr. Kirby’s account has its share of humorous happenings, like his take on one of the ever-present scourges of warfare:
Have you ever noticed a photograph of General Napoleon, General De Gaulle or any French soldier? They have one hand inside the lapel of the jacket and the other hand behind the back. They were fighting cooties . . . we scratched our way from Brest, France to Trelaze, a suburb of Orleans where the fifty-second ammunition train was being formed to take ammunition to the Argentan’s front.
Kirby maintains this good-natured outlook throughout most of the book, with tall tales ranging from how he was the inventor of the close-cropped military haircut to how he and his brother worked around the difficulties of being in France and not speaking a word of French:
But that is when I learned there was a universal language. When a pretty girl pokes her lips out, closes her eyes and turns her head sorter sideways, then begins to breathe like she is developing asthma, that means “Kiss Me.” I don’t care what country you are in or what language she speaks.

But the more hideous face of war does find its way into Kirby’s memoir. In Chapter 10, “Going Into Battle,” he tells the story of when he and his companions were finally summoned to the front for what he describes as “34 days of Hell”:
For the first time I began to know what war was like. I shall never forget October 8, 1918 . . . soon the boys began coming from the trenches. They had not been relieved for many days. Winter was coming on and the trenches were filled with mud and water, in places they told us, knee deep. I have never seen such a pitiful sight. They were muddy, wet, unshaved and staggering. They were hungry, thirsty; some crying, every face wore a blank stare . . . Amos said, “Who was it that said war was Hell?” I said “I don’t know who it was but he must have been in the Battle of the Argonne Forest or Bunker Hill.”

After such times as these, Kirby and many of his fellow soldiers hailed news of the Armistice with great relief and joy (and a chocolate pie eating contest). After he returned home, he was frequently asked to give talks on his wartime experiences and these talks—dating from the first one on February 11, 1919—were the basis for what eventually became this book. To someone like me, World War I seems very far away, and I can count on one hand the number of times I have encountered a veteran of this war, but this story told by a fellow Alabamian helped put a face on that conflict for me and made me wish I could have spent some time talking with this particular veteran.

For further information:
U.S. Entered World War I April 6 1917
World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918 [microform]: [Alabama]
Alabama Department of Archives and History—World War I
Trench Warfare
World War I Timeline

Friends Bookstore Volunteers Celebrated during National Volunteer Week

by Pat B. Rumore
Rumore received a 2016 Library Champions award from the Jefferson County Public Library Association and is a Friend of the Birmingham Public Library

Friends Bookstore manager Thracie Pace (center) with two college students
out during the annual holiday sale while on Christmas break. They began
volunteering at the bookstore 
while attending Minor High School.

This week has been National Volunteer Week. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and its Friends Foundation annually celebrate the approximately 100 volunteers who serve throughout our library system by sponsoring a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, held this year at the Central Library.

Today we're spotlighting our largest group of volunteers, a team of about 25 people who operate the Friends Bookstore at the Central Library under the leadership of Thracie Pace and the Friends Council of BPL's Friends Foundation.

The bookstore sells or donates books, movies, and music which have been removed from the library's permanent collection, usually because there are too many copies or they have stopped circulating. The bookstore also receives donations of used books from individuals and groups who are reducing their collections.

Volunteers Hope Cooper and Pat Rumore sorting donations
Volunteers receive the donations and go through them to ensure that the books or other materials are in an acceptable condition to sell or donate to other organizations. They price the materials, then put them out for sale on bookstore shelves. The bookstore volunteers man the counter to ring up sales, not only of books, videos, DVDs, and CDs, but also snack foods and drinks, Friends T-shirts, and materials such as library book bags, pens, pads, thumb drives, headphones, and other things patrons might need during a visit to the library. The bookstore is open six days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and its two shifts a day are manned by volunteers.

Thracie Pace, the bookstore's manager, highlights the impact of the bookstore and its volunteers beyond just the library:

On a monthly basis the Friends Bookstore donates as many as three boxes of books to our senior communities, including Episcopal Place, Greenbrier, and St. Martin's. Many of these lovely seniors have no way to get new reading materials other than by these donations. The Friends Bookstore also delivers books to underfunded schools such as Lipscomb Elementary, which in turn shares these books with other needy schools. The Friends Bookstore actually helps these schools build their own school libraries. Both students and teachers appreciate the donated books, which help in their educational and social development.

Youth Department Head Vincent Solfronk (left) and Pastor
Allen Davis with a load of children's books donated by the

Bookstore volunteers pick up book donations from the handicapped and elderly as well as donation pickups from churches and businesses. If someone needs help getting a donation to the bookstore, we make sure it happens.

Our volunteer program at the bookstore is its own community as well. We have volunteers from ages eight to eighty, and each will tell you how much they enjoy and appreciate their time in the Friends Bookstore. I have worked with high school seniors who've gone on to college but return on breaks to put in an hour or two in the bookstore! Our older volunteers appreciate that shifts are only 4 hours long and available weekly or monthly. This is but a bit of what the Friends Bookstore accomplishes on a regular basis.

Flip through boxes of vinyl, browse through shelves of all
genres, and even do your holiday shopping at the Friends
If you are interested in supporting the Friends Foundation or volunteering at the bookstore, visit us on the first floor of the Central Library and let us know.
Contact Thracie Pace at 205-⁠587-⁠2221 or for information about the bookstore or about how to become a volunteer.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Money Matters – Five Keys to Investing Success Workshop Scheduled for May 3, 2017

It’s never too late to start building a better understanding of your personal finances and begin developing a plan for the future. To assist you in this endeavor, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is partnering with the staff of the Regions Institute for Financial Education at UAB to offer a series of Money Matters workshops at the Central Library on the first Wednesday of each month from July 2016 to May 2017. Please join us at the final workshop in the series to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to help you achieve your economic goals.

Workshop: Five Keys to Investing Success
When: May 3, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

For more information about the workshop series and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at or by calling 205-226-3691.

Springville Road Library Stitched Art Drawing Set for May 1 during Crafts Program

What: Stitched Art Drawing
When: Monday, May 1, 12:00 p.m., during Coffee, Conversations and Crafts program
Where: Springville Road Regional Branch Library
Details: Tickets for the stitched art are $1 apiece or 6 tickets for $5. You can buy them at the library through the morning of May 1 or from any CCC member. You do not have to be present to win.

Time is running out to buy tickets for a stitched art drawing taking place at the Springville Road Library on May 1 during its popular Coffee, Conversation and Crafts (CCC) adult program.

The hand-stitched, framed art was created by a Birmingham area artist and donated to the Springville Road Library to raise money for its adult programs. The stitched art was on display during the 2017 craft fair held April 2 at the Springville Road Library.

For more information, contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or Go to the BPL events calendar to view upcoming library programs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Showers Bring May Flowers

It's that time of year.  From pollen covering cars in a nice layer of yellow dust to rainy days full of the potential of severe storms, spring has finally made its arrival in Alabama. And what better time to start your summer garden than now?

Our collection widely varies with picture books, youth nonfiction, and adult nonfiction. With easy-to-follow gardening instructions and advice, even a novice gardener can easily create a beautiful space in their home or outdoors.  Soak up some Vitamin D, get out in the yard, and start planning your next (or new!) gardening adventure.  Check out our list of books recommended by staff to help you along.

  • The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening with Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers by Kelly Orzel

    The “garden to table” movement is inspiring another generation of gardeners but many of them have questions. How important is composting? Is seed saving really worth it? Focusing on sustainable, organic growing practices and plants, The Backyard Gardener is a comprehensive handbook that will help get them started.

    Kelly Orzel covers everything from soil selection to growing and harvesting. Sidebars such as “garden center survival tips” offer useful advice to help readers build their confidence and know-how. This guide also features photographs of beautiful plant bed designs, propagation techniques, and much more.

  • Derek Fell's Grow This!: A Garden Expert's Guide to Choosing the Best Vegetables, Flowers, and Seeds So You're Never Disappointed Again by Derek Fell

    What gardeners want most is a bigger and better return on their investment of time and money―maximum yields and superior flavor for edibles, long-lasting blooms for flowers. Derek Fell's Grow This! features expert advice for choosing and growing the top-performing plants (and avoiding the ones that disappoint).

    Derek Fell has grown hundreds of varieties and annually visits gardens and test plots across America, so he's qualified to guide gardeners to the best of the best―more than 600 vegetable, flower, herb, and lawn grass all-stars. He offers honest feedback about plant performance, even when it contradicts favorable public opinion or a grower's claims.
  • Plants Grow! (I Like Plants!) by Mary Dodson Wade

    Plants are all around us. Learn about the life cycle of a plant, what seeds are for, and more in this colorful nonfiction reader. Young botanists can even watch a seed grow using the included science experiment.
  • State Flowers: Including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Our State Symbols) by Elaine Landau

    Describes each state's official flower and tells of legends associated with the flower.

  • Grow It, Cook It by DK Publishing
    More than a cookbook, this innovative book offers a fresh approach to healthy eating by getting children involved in food right from the start. Children will learn that when they eat a carrot, they're biting into a root; salads are made up of leaves; and berries are the fruit and seeds of plants, encouraging an early appreciation of food and its origins.

    The recipes in the book take the homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs and use a variety of cooking methods and store-bought ingredients to transform them into truly homemade meals. All the "crops" can be grown in pots, so young chefs don't even need a large garden to enjoy Grow It, Cook It.
So swing by the East Lake Branch to nab one of these helpful books on starting your own garden, or helping your children create their dream garden!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Only One Week Left to Visit Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History and Government Documents Departments, Central Library

Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps
Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps is on display in the downtown library's Fourth Floor Gallery for one more week. The exhibit has been garnering rave reviews and is a must see for anyone interested in the history of Alabama or the Southeast. Dr. Melinda Kashuba, visiting scholar from California, said it rivals exhibits she has seen in "Chicago and Washington, D.C." The library's Southern History Department worked for almost two years putting the exhibit together and is thrilled with the community response.

The exhibit is partially funded by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation and consists of high quality reproductions of 54 maps carefully selected from the library's collection of over 2,000. Beginning in 1545 and continuing through the 1990's, the maps tell the story of Alabama from the Age of Discovery through the territorial period to the modern day. There is also a special section for maps that depict Alabama's abundant natural resources which have played such an instrumental role in the history of Birmingham and the surrounding counties.

If you can't make it downtown before April 30, 2017, and would still like to see Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps you have a several options. The entire exhibit (images and descriptions) is available online. Since the exhibit is part of the statewide celebration of Alabama's bicentennial, it's going to be traveling to libraries and museums of all sizes over the next two years. Its first stop will be Old Alabama Town where it is scheduled to open on May 15, 2017.

Money Smart Week Programs at Inglenook Library

by Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library

According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and to take effective actions regarding the current and future use and management of money. During Money Smart Week, April 22-29, financial institutions, libraries, and other community entities across the county will provide several programs and activities to help communities obtain financial literacy. The Inglenook Branch Library will be amongst those offering pertinent programming. See program listing below.

April 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Wells Fargo Bank: How To Open and Maintain a Bank Account
Shedrick South, personal banker at Wells Fargo, will discuss the importance of a having a bank account and how to use them effectively to save money.

April 26, 10:00 a.m.
Information Systems Security Class

Join Inglenook Library’s own Michael Fagin as he discusses security measures to take to keep online content safe.

On April 28, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Entrepreneurship and Money Management Workshop
Ashlee Taylor, small business consultant, will conduct a workshop on entrepreneurship and money management for both business and personal finances. Highlights of workshop will include:

  • key steps to launching your own business;
  • effective tax strategies for entrepreneurs;
  • mastering a wealth mindset;
  • and simple strategies for creating multiple streams of income.

For more information, please contact Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt Exhibit, May 11-June 25, 2017

Quilts by Marlene Bennett Jones, Boykin, Alabama, 2015

What: Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit
When: May 11-June 25, 2017
Where: First floor exhibit cases and Fourth Floor Gallery at the Central Library
Details: Exhibits will be available during library hours. Opening reception Saturday, May 13, 2017, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery

Featuring quilts by master artists from Gee’s Bend and works by Miller’s Pottery of Brent and Ham Pottery of Selma, the Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit will present two living traditions of the region.

Allen Ham
Acclaimed nationally and internationally, the Gee’s Bend quilters are continuing the tradition through their families and community. Sixteen quilts by different women, some of whom will be exhibiting for the first time, will represent the amazing colors and innovative techniques often associated with the textiles produced by several generations over the years.

Folk potter Steve Miller and his cousin Allen Ham grew up working alongside Steve’s father, Eric Miller, in the workplace and shop on Highway 5 in Bibb County. Featured in documentary films, books, and articles, they represent a business dating to the 1850s that began on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Today, they use local clay to make and produce glazed stoneware, utilitarian items, face jugs, and other works of art that are sought after by collectors.

For more information about regional quilting and pottery, visit the Alabama Folklife Association website.

Money Smart Week Programs at Central Library Begins April 24

Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 22 to April 29. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three public programs at the Central Library location:

The A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC)/4th Floor
Karen Haiflich, an independent health benefits advisor, will provide simple, straightforward answers to help participants better understand Medicare and the options available to beneficiaries.

Estate Planning: A Guide to Life Organization
Date: Tuesday April 25, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Participants will learn the basics of estate planning including how to examine their financial needs and assets, organize important papers, and more. The presenter is Nkenge Hyter of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Fact vs. Fiction - Busting the Social Security Myths
Date: Wednesday April 26, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Briana Collins, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Alabama, will provide informed answers to common questions about Social Security and will discuss various aspects of the agency’s different benefit programs.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on budgeting, savings, investing, and much more. So, make plans to stop by and check out some of the amazing resources and services we have to offer! For more information, please contact the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at 205-226-3690.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sow the Seeds of Victory: Birmingham's Victory Gardens

Sow the Seeds of VictorySpring has arrived, and people have started to plant flowers and gardens. One hundred years ago this month, the citizens of Birmingham were planting gardens for a very different reason as the world was engulfed in World War I. There were severe food shortages in Europe as farmers left to serve in the military, and fertile ground had been turned into battlefields.

To solve this problem, Charles Lathop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission for the purpose of encouraging Americans to plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Any idle land including school and company grounds, parks, backyards, or vacant lots could be converted for agricultural production, which would generate surplus food that in turn could then be exported to Europe. The National War Garden Commission formed in March 1917, and the United States entered the war in April 1917.

Birmingham citizens rushed to do their part by planting "victory gardens," and the Birmingham News led the effort with its Plant a Garden campaign as people signed a pledge to have their garden planted by May 15, 1917. There were long lines at McVay’s Seed Company when the company advertised free garden seed as a promotion to support the war effort and also to get people inside the store.

McVay's Seed Company

The Birmingham News, Jemison Real Estate and Insurance Company, and the Birmingham Ice and Cold Storage Company sponsored the 36 cash prizes totaling $600. The judges would visit the gardens by neighborhoods in mid-June to determine the winners. Depending on where you lived in the city determined which sponsor awarded the prize money. As you can see in this newspaper ad, this garden contest was segregated as there were both white and black winners.

Can the Kaiser
By late April, over 300 people had pledged to plant a garden. It was expected that the number would top 500 by the May deadline. Because there were many first time gardeners, Birmingham held canning classes taught by Miss Beatrice Shipp. One of the slogans for the War Garden Campaign was “Eat All You Can, and Can All You Can’t.”

War gardens remained popular throughout World War I, and their popularity dwindled in the years following the war. To learn more about the victory garden movement in World War I, read the history of the National War Garden Commission that was written by its founder, Charles Lathop Pack, at the end of World War I. With the outbreak of World War II, the popularity of victory gardens surged again with new propaganda posters encouraging people to once again plant gardens.

Enjoyed this story? Follow the Southern History Department on Facebook as we explore 100 years ago in Birmingham during the year 1917 each Thursday as part of Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Birmingham Bound: Author Talk and Book Signing with Art Black

What: Author talk and book signing with Art Black, author of Showdown at Rickwood
When: Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. Jim Reed, owner and proprietor of Reed Books, will offer introductory remarks.

Before major league baseball came south, the Dixie Series was the crowning event of the summer for Birmingham sports enthusiasts. Pitting the champions of the Southern Association and the Texas League, the series produced many memorable moments during its heyday from 1920 to 1958. For fans of the Birmingham Barons, however, the contest of 1931 was the most memorable of all.

The dramatic 1931 Dixie Series between the Birmingham Barons and the Houston Buffaloes serves as the backdrop of the newly published book Showdown at Rickwood. Written by local author Art Black, the book focuses not only baseball culture in the Magic City, but explores as well the social and economic climate of the Birmingham district as it was evolving into a major industrial center during the early decades of the 20th century. Through World War I, the Roaring Twenties, and the onset of the Great Depression, Birmingham and its citizens weathered the turbulence of national and international events. In the midst of this unrest, many found respite in the calming rhythms of the national pastime.

Please join us on Tuesday, May 2, at the Birmingham Public Library’s Central location to welcome the publication of Showdown at Rickwood and meet the book’s author, Art Black. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jim Murray at 205-226-3691 or

The Birmingham Bound author series recognizes authors who researched their books utilizing the resources available at the Birmingham Public Library. Historians, journalists, and other writers from around the world have produced hundreds of books using the Library’s collections and these books include five recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.

Smart Shopping with Coupons Workshops Being Offered in May at West End Library

If you haven't joined the couponing craze but want to learn more about how to save money while shopping, make plans to take advantage of a series of free workshops being offered in May at the West End Branch Library.

Smart Shopping With Coupons will take place every Tuesday from May 2 through May 23 at 10:00 a.m., said West End Library Branch Manager Maya Jones. The goal of the workshops is to teach participants the basics of saving money using coupons. The classes will be taught by someone sharing couponing knowledge for beginners, as well as patrons interested in learning more about the topic.

For more information, call Denise Ford of West End Library at 205-226-4089 or email her at View details about the workshops at the BPL events calendar.