Thursday, December 08, 2016

Southern Environmental Law Center and Black Warrior Riverkeeper Donate 19 Southern Exposure DVDs to Birmingham Public Library

For the second consecutive year, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Black Warrior Riverkeeper have partnered to donate to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) 19 Southern Exposure DVDs educating the public about Alabama’s natural resources.

Southern Environmental Law Center has donated each of BPL’s 19 locations one DVD copy of the 2016 edition of Southern Exposure, a series of documentary shorts on various Alabama environmental topics by independent filmmakers. Read more about the films at A year ago, SELC and Black Warrior Riverkeeper donated 57 DVDs, copies of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Southern Exposure.

Charles Scribner, executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, said his organization and SELC’s Birmingham office are honored to donate the 2016 DVDs to BPL as an avenue for educating the public. Scribner said partnering with BPL makes Southern Exposure available to many more people.

“Clean water and air are necessities for all, but not everyone has an Internet connection for watching Southern Exposure online,” Scribner said. “Now, everyone can borrow the DVDs for personal viewing or an event with their friends, family, church, school, or civic organization.”

“Throughout the past five years of the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship, these compelling films have been incredibly effective in raising appreciation for Alabama's natural resources and in bringing some of the most urgent environmental issues facing our state into focus," said Keith Johnston, managing attorney of SELC's Birmingham office. "By making the 2016 Southern Exposure films available to the public throughout the Birmingham metro area, we are thrilled that the Birmingham Public Library will continue to educate, entertain and energize our citizens to take action on behalf of Alabama's environment."

Sandi Lee, interim director of BPL, said the 19 libraries in the system are appreciative of the donation, and honored to be a resource to help educate the public about Alabama’s natural resources.
Southern Exposure is a film fellowship program that is actively raising awareness about Alabama's incredible natural resources and important environmental issues that impact all Alabamians, Scribner said. Now in its fifth year, the innovative summer fellowship brings emerging filmmakers from across the country to tell authentic, engaging stories through short documentary films about Alabama's environment and the people who cherish it, from the mountains to the coast.

Sponsored by the Southern Environmental Law Center and made possible through the support and partnership with environmental and conservation groups across the state, Southern Exposure fellows have the opportunity to create inspiring, captivating films that give viewers a sense of how much Alabama has to offer and the importance of protecting its resources.

As a result of these poignant stories depicting the triumphs and challenges facing the state, numerous films from past fellowship years have been selected for screening in juried film festivals around the country. Live screenings and online distribution of the films continue to reach a variety of audiences, in Alabama and across the nation, helping Southern Exposure fulfill the mission to spread awareness, appreciation and inspire action on behalf of Alabama's environment.

Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a Birmingham-based nonprofit whose mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The organization promotes clean water for improved public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout the Black Warrior River watershed. Black Warrior Riverkeeper collaborates frequently with SELC on environmental advocacy as well as the Southern Exposure films. Learn more at

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. Get more details at

Jefferson County Public Library Association Announces Its 2016 Library Champion Award Recipients

BPL honorees (l-r): Marco Morosini, owner of Silvertron Cafe';
Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila Tyson;
Sam Rumore, former BPL Board of Trustee member;
Pat Rumore, former president of the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library;
and Payton Dobbs, Pet Supplies Plus Store.

The Jefferson County Public Library Association (JCPLA) awarded 11 recipients with its 2016 Library Champion Award during its annual holiday luncheon at the Florentine Building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

The purpose of the luncheon is to recognize the outstanding achievements of volunteers and community partners. The Library Champion Award is presented annually by JCPLA. The award recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution(s) to libraries and/or librarianship in Jefferson County, Alabama.

The honorees are as follows:

Birmingham Public Library
  • Eastern Region: Sam Rumore, former BPL Board of Trustee member
  • Avondale Regional Branch Library: Marco Morosini, owner of Silvertron Cafe
  • West End Regional Branch Library: Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila Tyson
  • North Birmingham and Springville Road Regional Branch Libraries: Pet Supplies Plus Store # 8009 in Roebuck.
  • Central Library: Pat Rumore

Municipal Libraries
  • Homewood Public Library: Fran Jones
  • Hoover Public Library: Former Hoover Council President Jack Wright
  • Leeds Public Library: Martha Hurst
  • Emmet O'Neal Public Library: Lynda Weaver
  • Pinson Public Library: Stanley Moss
  • Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest: Virginia A. Procter

George Stewart and Mary Anne Ellis, librarian in the Southern
History Department at the Central Library
The JCPLA also presented a special award to George R. Stewart, who in October received one of the highest honors in the library profession in Alabama when he was inducted into the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame. Stewart was featured in an article on the University of Alabama website. See link below:

Stewart's career spanned 33 years with the Birmingham Public Library System and an additional four years as director of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. He was a mentor to many at BPL and remains active at BPL as a map consultant in the Southern History Department in the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Bloom County Returns after 25-Year Hiatus

by Lorraine Walker, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
Berkley Breathed

Berkley Breathed is back! If you do not know Breathed, it is possible that you are not a fan of his most famous creation. Over 25 years ago, he made the comic strip Bloom County one of America’s most famous destinations. Featuring all your favorite characters—Opus, Milo, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, Cutter John, and many more—Bloom County has finally come home.

When he left us, the characters were knee deep in the controversial topics of the day. Topics such as Reaganomics, women’s lib, the Moral Majority, and Phil Donohue were fair game. This newest book brings the subjects forward. They now deal with the presidential election, Star Wars, Starbucks, Facebook, and many other issues of today. His take on them is hilarious as well as thought-provoking. You’ll want to get your hands on a copy ASAP.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Southern History Department Closes out 2016 with Introduction to Genealogy Workshop, Announces Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshop Schedule for 2017

The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department gets calls and visitors daily from patrons trying to unravel the mysteries of their family tree. Southern History Department staffers are presenting several genealogy and local history workshops to close out 2016. Also, the department has now set dates for its popular Basics of Genealogy workshop schedule for the first half of 2017. You can go ahead and register to secure your spot and get an e-mail reminder a few days before the workshop.

"Genealogy is a hobby for many people,” said Southern History’s librarian, Laura Gentry. “The Southern History Department specializes in local history and genealogy, and we are here to help you research your ancestors."

Tuesday, December 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Introduction to Genealogy – Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. This class meets on the first floor of the Linn-Henley building in the Southern History Department.

Mark your calendars for the 2017 Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop schedule.

Saturday, January 28, 10:00 a.m.
DNA Genealogy Testing Services
– Explore the offerings of the three major DNA genealogy testing services, and learn how to make full use of their websites.

Saturday, March 4, 10:00 a.m.
Digital Dixie 2 – Do you have ancestors from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Texas? In this class, you will discover digital genealogy resources that you never knew existed from these Southern states and learn search strategies to find untapped information and locate your ancestor.

Saturday, April 8, 10:00 a.m. 
Making Your Sweet Home among Maps: How to Read and Interpret Maps of the Southeastern United States – Do old maps enchant or intimidate you? Do the symbols intrigue or confuse you? This hands-on workshop explores the symbols and mapping conventions used on 19th and early 20th century maps to tell the story of the development of the Southeast. Students will learn how to interpret and analyze information contained on old maps as well as look for hidden meaning behind what was mapped and what was left off the map.

Saturday, June 24, 10:00 a.m.
One for the Record Books: The English Census – Searching for English ancestors? Genealogists know that census records are crucial to family history research, but there are some important differences between the U.S. Federal Census and its English cousin. This workshop will show you how to navigate this important information source.

Workshops are free of charge, but registration in advance is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or Like us on Facebook at

Friday, December 02, 2016

Celebrate the Holidays at the Birmingham Public Library

That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular
December morning, I  keep searching the sky. As if I expected to
see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of  kites hurrying toward heaven.
From A Christmas Memory, illustrated by Beth Peck

People will have plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday mood during the month of December at many of the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system.

Activities kick off Saturday, December 3, at the Southside and West End Branch Libraries with the first of several library performances of From Page to Stage: A Christmas Carol: The Musical – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children. On Sunday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m., BPL continues a holiday tradition with Irondale storyteller Dolores Hydock’s popular one-woman performance of “A Christmas Memory,” the Truman Capote holiday classic. This time, Hydock’s event will have a special treat: slices of fruitcake for the public from Birmingham Breadworks.

Springville Road Regional Branch Library will host its Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 4, with refreshments from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and the Seasoned Readers performing at 4:00 p.m. Also, patrons who find the elves on the shelves and solve the mystery of the missing Santa at East Lake Branch Library will get a chance to enter to win a Christmas gift. Enter now at East Lake Library; winners will be selected on Wednesday, December 21.

All BPL locations will be closed for the Christmas holiday Friday, December 23, through Monday, December 26.

To see a list of December programs at all BPL locations, visit the event calendar at and click on "Seasonal" in the Event Category.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dolores Hydock to Peform Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" at Central Library, December 4

What: "A Christmas Memory" performed by Dolores Hydock
When: Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

The Christmas season doesn’t really begin until you have experienced Birmingham storyteller Dolores Hydock’s incredible one-woman performance of "A Christmas Memory," Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama.

As an added treat Birmingham Breadworks will join us to share their own fruitcake creations. In "A Christmas Memory" Capote lovingly describes making fruitcake with a favorite relative. Birmingham Breadworks will offer a new twist on an old holiday favorite.

For more information on the program contact Jim Baggett at or 205-226-3631.

And catch up with Dolores Hydock at

There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments.

Learn more about Birmingham Breadworks at

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Money Matters – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud Workshop Scheduled for December 7

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 on the dates below to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to help you achieve your economic goals.

When: First Wednesday of the month
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

12/7/2016 – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud (This program has been rescheduled for December 14)
1/4/2017 – Dealing With Debt
2/1/2017 – Where to Invest Your College Money
3/1/2017 – Your Credit Report
4/5/2017 – Saving Through Tax Refunds
5/3/2017 – Five Keys to Investing Success

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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lives Touched by the Birmingham Public Library: Adrienne Stroud Moves from Homeless to Homeowner Thanks to Assistance from BPL

Adrienne Stroud talking to staff at the Business, Science and Technology Dept.

Adrienne Stroud was homeless for over two months during the summer of 2014. Today, she is a homeowner. Stroud gives much of the credit to Birmingham Public Library (BPL) staffers who provided assistance and access to information that helped turn her life around.

“The Birmingham Public Library helped me find a homeless prevention program to get off the streets, and put me in touch with people who help those who’ve lost jobs,” Stroud said. "A lot of people aren’t aware you can call the library to get information and take advantage of valuable programs for free.”

Stroud is one of 1.5 million lives a year touched in a positive way by resources and workshops available for free to the public at BPL’s 19 locations. Stroud in particular credits Jim Murray, head of the Business, Science and Technology Department at the Central Library, and Robert Jones, a librarian in the department, for taking time out to help her.

“A lot of people use the Yellow Pages,” Stroud said. “I am legally blind so I called the library to find resources I needed. The library was an invaluable resource for me that helped me move from a homeless shelter at the Salvation Army to become a homeowner.”

Stroud is now in her 18th month of taking classes at Lawson State Community College, and has also taken some coursework at Miles College, thanks to educational assistance programs for students she learned about from BPL. She said has built friendships with BPL staff like Murray and Jones, whom she still keeps in touch with today.

“I feel as if the Birmingham Public Library is a part of my extended family,” Stroud said.

See videos and more information about how to help BPL assist patrons like Stroud at View BPL's homelessness resource page at Also. consider making donations to BPL as part of #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving taking place on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.