Thursday, October 30, 2014

Birmingham Museum of Art/Oscar's Cafe to Host November 7 Open Mic Bards & Brews

A large crowd gathered at Central Library for October's Soul Foods Bards & Brews, part of BPL's Eat Drink Read Write Festival.

Oscar's Cafe at the Birmingham Museum of Art will host an open mic poetry event on Friday, November 7, 6:30-9:00 p.m. Craft beer will be available for sampling courtesy of Blue Pants Brewery and Good People Brewing Company; light refreshments will be served. Music by The Reflections. Attendees must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked.

Special thanks to the Board of the Junior Patrons of the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Bards & Brews is usually held on the first Friday of the month at various locations around town. There will not be a Bards & Brews in December, but on January 9 there will be a poetry slam at Central Library. Check out the Bards & Brews page on Facebook for more information.

This program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Join the Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals for Happy Hour at the Library

The BPLYP will host a mixer at Central Library on Tuesday, November 18, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Attendees must RSVP at 591-4944 or

In addition to showing your support for the BPLYP by attending Happy Hour at the Library, you may also support them by purchasing a Belk Charity Sale ticket. These tickets are available in the administration office at Central Library during regular business hours. Tickets are $5 and the sale is Saturday, November 8. Please be sure to buy your Belk charity ticket today.

Public Libraries in Jefferson County Provide New Resource for Preparing for the Alabama Driver's License Test

The Public Libraries In Jefferson County are providing a new free resource—the Alabama Driver’s Permit Practice Test. The test contains 40 multiple choice questions based on the official Alabama Driver’s Handbook. The test will assist those preparing for the Alabama driver’s license test with knowledge rules of the road and road signs in Alabama.

Every permit practice test presented on the website contains a series of multiple-choice questions. After the learner answers the questions, they immediately see whether the answer was correct or not. This resource does not issue any certificates of any type nor is it a substitute for the actual Alabama driver’s license test. After passing the permit practice tests it is recommended that the test taker check with their local Alabama Drivers Motor Vehicle office to book their exam time and date.

This resource should be especially helpful for young people preparing for the Alabama driver’s license test. However, a person of any age can take the tests. The resource is also available in many languages on the website, simply by clicking “Read Aloud” and then “Translate.”

For more information call your local Jefferson County public library, or visit or

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Resume Writing and How to Dress for Interviews Among Topics to Be Discussed in Job Searching Seminar at Inglenook Library, November 6

Do you want to brush up on your job searching skills, have your resume reviewed for free, and shop for interview clothes in the same place? Well, on November 6 at 9:30 a.m., the Inglenook Library will be hosting a job seminar which will be conducted by representatives of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) JOBS Program. They’ll present job searching skills and techniques ranging from resume writing to interviewing skills. At the end of the program, the representatives will also review resumes and provide tips and/or corrections that will maximize your resume viewing potential. My Sister's Closet, a partner of the YWCA, will also accompany representatives of the DHR JOBS Program to showcase appropriate interview clothing and to sell them at a minimum cost.

Additionally, the Inglenook Library has a plethora of books for you to further your research in leading an effective and productive job search. Check them out below.

The Overnight Résumé: The Fastest Way to Your Next Job 

What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Interviews: Ace the Interview and Land Your Dream Job

This is How to Get Your Next Job: An Inside Look at What Employers Really Want

201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions: The Ultimate Guide to Handling the New Competency-based Interview Style

101 Toughest Interview Questions: —and Answers That Win the Job!

24 Hours to the Perfect Interview: Quick Steps for Planning, Organizing and Preparing for the Interview that Gets the Job

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Library

Find Family History @ Your Library

Recently while visiting with relatives in northern New Mexico, I learned that my grandfather immigrated to the United States from Mexico sometime in the 1920s. No one is sure why he decided to come to the United States so I decided to do some detective work using the resources available at BPL. I don’t remember a lot about my grandfather except I remember him telling me about the day General Pancho Villa and his army arrived in his village.

Who was Pancho Villa and why did he need an army? Using the online catalog I checked out these books: Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution by Frank Mclynn; The General and the Jaguar : Pershing's Hunt for Pancho Villa by Eileen Welsome; and Pancho Villa and Black Jack Pershing : the Punitive Expedition in Mexico by James W. Hurst. They provided some understanding of what was going on when he was growing up Mexico and about the colorful character, Pancho Villa.

To learn more about the Mexican Revolution and Cristero War, I went to the library’s databases that are available from the library and at home. From, I selected “Databases” then selected “History” from the subject list. From here I chose History Reference Center which includes full-text articles about US and world history. I searched Britannica Academic Online and Ebsco’s Master File Premier which offers biographical information as well as scholarly research. For biographical information about some of the notable personalities related to the Mexican revolution such as Emilio Zapata, Francisco Madero, and Porfirio Diaz, I searched Gale Biography in Context. With the wealth of family history tools available at BPL, I will continue to unravel the mystery of Jose R. Garcia and learn more about my Mexican ancestry.

William Darby
East Lake Library

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: The 40s: The Story of a Decade / The New Yorker

The 40s: The Story of a Decade / The New Yorker
Edited by Henry Finder with Giles Harvey

Many readers of The New Yorker will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the voice of the magazine, its style and its reporting, are nearly the same as when the magazine was writing the story of the World War II decade. Reading these New Yorker articles, contemporary accounts of world history and the life of the mind of that era, is to consistently remind oneself that the writers didn’t know how anything was going to turn out. We do not have to imagine the shock of Paris at the disintegration of their nation’s defenses in 1940. We can feel it through the writing of the New Yorker journalist, A. J Leibling, in Paris as France fell to the Nazis.

Which of the New Yorker essays we read today will be seen as essential to the history of our day?

Today we enjoy The New Yorker’s essay-form character studies and can enjoy the collection of studies from the 1940s. We meet Le Corbusier, the architectural genius, at the height of his power and fame, as he invades New York to plan the United Nations complex. He compared Manhattan to a rotting fish and said its buildings were too small and too close together. Unknown at the time was that the international movement he led would soon be seen as mistaken.

Contributors to this collection of essays and poetry include many writers still widely admired: Edmund Wilson, Rebecca West, John Hersey, and E. B. White among them. George Orwell, Lionel Trilling, and W. H. Auden offer reviews. Auden, Langston Hughes, Ogden Nash, and Stephen Spender are among the poets included. The great story by Shirley Jackson, "The Lottery," as well as stories by the great writers of a great age for writing: Carson McCullers, John O’Hara, John Cheever, and Irwin Shaw head the list.

This is an ideal book for half hour reads. Each essay gives one so much to ponder that it is difficult to think about reading the book straight through. If you love The New Yorker, you will love The 40s: The Story of a Decade.

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

The Benefits of Senior Activities at the Library

The library is one of few places that our seniors can go to enjoy educational and fun-filled activities. Research shows both the acts of creative expression and social interaction are vital to the mental and physical well-being of senior citizens. Being able to express oneself can actually improve health, both mentally and physically.

Creative activities planned for our senior bring many rewarding benefits:

  • Reinforce essential connections between brain cells, including those connected to memory. 
  • Creativity strengthens morale. It alters the way we respond to problems and helps to keep a fresh perspective which makes us emotionally resilient.
  • Creative activities challenge the brain and can relieve sleep and mood disorders.
  • Reading, writing, and word games increase one’s working vocabulary and help to fend off forgetfulness.
  • Creativity promotes a positive outlook and sense of well-being which boosts the immune system and fights disease.
  • Having an active, creative life makes it easier to face adversity, including the loss of a spouse.

As people age they experience loss, they stop working, kids leave home, and often times they lose a spouse. Our programs bring people together to learn and share new things. We tend to help change the way people think about aging. The negative view is often turned positive as the room is once again filled with laughter and fun. We present opportunities to engage, encourage, and entertain.

Loretta Bitten
Powderly Library

Monday, October 27, 2014

Southern History Department's Book of the Month: Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Cookery

Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Cookery
Madame Elizabeth Kettenring Bégué

If you’re a fan of brunch or “second breakfast,” have a look through this cookbook and learn the history and recipes of one of the most famous restaurants ever to serve that meal. For many years in the nineteenth century, Bégués was an institution of New Orleans cookery and was famed for serving up “a Gargantuan feast that began at 11:00 o’clock in the morning and never ended until about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.” It would take a lot of walking through the Quarter to burn that off, assuming you could rise from the table afterwards.

The restaurant began as a coffee house under proprietor Louis Dutrey and at that time his wife, Elizabeth Kettenring, looked after the kitchen and was already turning out the kind of food that brought the customers in droves after they had finished their morning duties. When Dutrey died, Elizabeth married a butcher named Hypolite Bégué and by 1880 the restaurant, now named “Bégué’s,” was flourishing as a New Orleans institution and well on its way to being famous outside of New Orleans as well.

In her novel Saratoga Trunk, Edna Ferber has the heroine of the novel, the lovely and scandalous Clio Dulaine, indulge in breakfast at Bégué’s, where she divides her time between sampling the rich dishes and covertly eyeing the door to see if she has been followed by the handsome Texas cowboy Clint Maroon—all under the severely disapproving eye of her maidservant. “Yes! Burst your corsets! Stuff yourself!” With the restaurant offering selections like bisque of crayfish, veal omelets, shrimp and rice jambalaya, and floating islands with chocolate cream, it’s a mystery how any corsets in New Orleans survived this era.

Today the building that once housed Bégué’s is occupied by another restaurant, Tujague’s. Madame Bégué died in 1906 but many of her recipes have been preserved, to the good fortune of food-lovers everywhere. We are assured in this cookbook, by none other than Madame herself, that “the recipes herein given are original and of my own creation and are followed by me in the preparation of the dishes named.” You can’t ask for better credentials than that. Read, enjoy, and perhaps attempt to re-create these mouth-watering dishes. But before eating, be sure to remove your corset.

Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Central Library

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Recent news stories involving domestic violence have drawn renewed attention to this important issue. Although these current stories have involved sports figures, domestic violence is a crime that may be experienced by anyone.

Major legislation addressing domestic violence is contained in the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, introduced by then-Senator Joe Biden. It appears as Title IV in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (September 13, 1994). The Act includes sections on federal penalties for sex crimes, such as mandatory restitution, and a grant for a national domestic violence hotline. The law also adds sections on interstate domestic violence and grants for rural domestic violence and child abuse enforcement and for community programs on domestic violence.

The law was reauthorized in 2013 as the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (March 7, 2013).

Several websites, publications, and contact numbers contain very helpful information:

Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1-800-650-6522
Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
Intimate Partner Violence
National Crime Victimization Survey
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Michelle Andrews
Government Documents
Central Library

What I Learned from Nancy Drew

I have dyslexia and was lucky enough to be in a school system that checked for this in 1966 when I was in third grade. I took some special classes and by fourth grade I was an avid reader. I started reading Helen Fuller Orton’s mysteries and when I had read all of those in the school’s library, I graduated to Nancy Drew. When I had finished all of the Nancy Drews in the school’s library, I started buying them at Kmart for $1.59 each. I earned money babysitting for children in the neighborhood at fifty cents an hour.

I collected the entire 64-book set of the Nancy Drew books in hardback and about the first five in paperback. Through the years, something will come up in conversation or reading and I’ll think, ”I learned that in a Nancy Drew book.” For example:  In The Secret of the Golden Pavilion, we learn that the silversword plant only grows in one place—the Haleakala Crater on the Hawaiian island of Maui—and on the island of Hawaii, there is a fern forest with ferns the size of trees; in The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes, Nancy learns how to play a chanter, a part of a set of bagpipes, and explains how bagpipes work; in The Mystery of the Fire Dragon, Nancy learns of dragon lore and that dragons with five claws are royal. You just never know when a Jeopardy answer can be solved with a Nancy Drew question.

Links of Interest:
The Nancy Drew Unofficial Home Page
Nancy Drew Sleuths
Beyond Nancy Drew: A Guide to Girls' Literature

Lynn Piper Carpenter
Five Points West Library

Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase Will Be on Display Through October 31

The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state will be on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library. The free exhibit will be in the library’s Fourth Floor Gallery.

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill.

For information about the library exhibit, call 226-3670 or send emails to

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Final Session in Bank on Birmingham Financial Series to Be Held at Community Education South, October 28

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:

Final Session:

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Food Drive at Five Points West Library Helps Central Park Baptist Church Food Bank

The Five Points West Regional Branch Library began as the Central Park Library in the mid-1930s. It moved from upstairs at Fire Station number 24 to the Central Park Recreation Center to the Central Park Library Building on Bessemer Road to the Britlings Cafeteria Building on Avenue V to its present location at the Five Points West Library. It houses the Literacy and Outreach Office.

The Food for Fines Drive here at the Five Points West Library (FPW) was a major success! Patrons from all across the city and county donated canned foods and non-perishable items during the month of September. A maximum of $10.00 in fines could be waived for 10 non-perishable food items donated.

FPW Circulation Department staff—Andrei, Darrell, Nese, and Tammie—boxed up the items to donate to the Central Park Baptist Church Food Bank, 1900 43rd Street, Ensley. The Central Park Baptist Church has been a part of this neighborhood for over 50 years and we have been donating our canned goods to Central Park Baptist Church food bank for at least 10 years. Ms. Tracy, one of our faithful patrons, is the secretary and contact person for the food bank.

What a wonderful pleasure to know that the can goods that we collected here at the Five Points West Library are going to a worthy cause to help local families in need.

Andrei Jones
Five Points West Library

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dalai Lama Events at Birmingham Public Library Scheduled for October 14-23

To help the public learn more about the Dalai Lama prior to his Birmingham visit in late October, the Birmingham Public Library will offer several free programs and resources.

The following locations will feature free screenings of the documentary 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama:

Wednesday, October 15, 12:00  p.m., Central Library
Tuesday, October 21, 12:00 p.m., Avondale Library
Tuesday, October 21, 6:30 p.m., Springville Road Library
Wednesday, October 22, 6:30 p.m., East Lake Library
Thursday, October 23, 10:00 a.m., Smithfield Library
Thursday, October 23, 11:00 a.m., Titusville Library

A resource list about books and DVDs on His Holiness will be available at Birmingham library locations in October.

Part of Human Rights Week will include the city's A Celebration of the Human Spirit Film Festival, a two-day film festival with movies that celebrate the human spirit, the quest for freedom, and the power of individuals to change the world. Walden Media will host free screenings on Friday, October 24, at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and on Saturday, October 25, at the Alabama Theatre.

One of the movies is The Giver, a 2014 film based on Lois Lowry's young adult novel of the same name. The book was the winner of the 1994 Newberry Medal and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Lowry will attend the Friday, October 24 screening. The book is also one that the Birmingham Public Library gave free to patrons this fall as part of its Read It Forward campaign. Libraries in downtown Birmingham, Ensley, North Birmingham, Five Points West, Woodlawn, West End, Wylam, Avondale, and Titusville still have free copies of the book.

The four Walden Media films are free, but attendees must register in advance via EventBrite. Here's the schedule:

Friday, October 24, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Birmingham Museum of Art, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, October 24, The Giver, Birmingham Museum of Art, 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 25, I Am David, Alabama Theatre, 2:00  p.m.

Saturday, October 25, Amazing Grace, Alabama Theatre, 7:00 p.m.