Friday, April 17, 2015

Programs on Investment Research Scheduled for April 20 and 21 at Central Library


Money Smart Week 2015 offers free events throughout Alabama focused on financial education for all ages and walks of life. The Birmingham Public Library will host two events: How to Use Mergent and Morningstar Databases for Business and Investing Research and How to Get Started with Investing.

How to Use Mergent and Morningstar Databases for Business and Investing Research is scheduled for April 20, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. in the Regional Library Computer Center/Central Library/Linn-Henley building/4th floor. This program will provide novice and experience investors information on how to select and monitor their investments using Mergent and Morningstar. It will also cover how to research a company before purchasing their stock.

How to Get Started with Investing is scheduled for April 21, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. in the Regional Library Computer Center/Central Library/Linn-Henley building/4th floor. Dr. Stephanie Yates, Director of UAB’s Institute of Financial Literacy, will describe the fundamental principle of investment and how a better understanding of these principles can lead to investment success.

In preparation for Money Smart Week, the Business, Science, and Technology Department has also put together a Subject Resource Page on personal finance for your convenience. The information provided is a sampling of books, databases, and websites covering a variety of money management topics including budgeting, credit repair, home buying and selling, insurance, investment, retirement, etc. This subject guide can be accessed from your home, on your mobile phone, or tablet at http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/subjects/Default.aspx?s_page=58.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on all aspects of personal finance. Stop by to check out some of the amazing resources we have to offer!

Are Libraries Still Relevant? A Case Study of the Southern History Department

Some people think libraries are no longer relevant and just a place to store old books that no one reads. We don't think so.  Other people agree and have cited the Southern History Department's Beyond the Basics of Genealogy program as an example of how libraries are a community asset   We want to prove that libraries are relevant by giving you a “behind the scenes” glimpse of what happens in the Southern History Department. This department houses a non-circulating collection that covers each facet of Southern culture, genealogy, and local history. In this department alone, our patrons use over 1,500 books, make over 2,500 copies, and ask over 700 reference questions each month. Yet, most people do not know about the other things the Southern History Department does to serve the community.

Birmingham Cultural Alliance Partnership (BCAP): This award-winning, collaborative after-school program that has served more than 1,650 low-income middle school students and their families. With eight cultural partners, BCAP provides high-quality, hands-on cultural enrichment activities that enhance academic achievement by reinforcing classroom instruction and facilitating parental involvement and family learning. BCAP partners have included the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Birmingham City School system, as well as the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Public Library, McWane Science Center, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Southern Museum of Flight, and Vulcan Park & Museum. BPL has been a partner since the beginning in 2001 with the Southern History Department leading the library’s efforts for four weeks of after-school programming at two middle schools. We do a variety of programs focusing on family history, local history, African American history, poetry, and debate. Additionally, we bring in a few alumni of the Birmingham City Schools to speak about their experiences in school and life.
Mr. Jess Lanier at BCAP

Alabama Library Association (ALLA) - Mary Beth Newbill was part of a panel entitled "Your Tax Dollars at Work: Interesting, Helpful, and Essential Websites from the Federal Government" at the annual convention in Point Clear, Alabama. She presented on useful genealogy websites, such as the National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database. By presenting to other librarians on resources they can use at their home library, this indirectly helps library patrons all across the state.
Alabama Library Association 2015


Digitorium: Mary Beth Newbill and Laura Gentry presented at The University of Alabama's Digitorium, This conference is for digital humanities, and they were part of a panel on "Strategies for Creating Digital Exhibits and Analyzing Archival Materials". Their presentation was entitled, "Digital Exhibits: Finding a Platform that Fits for the Birmingham Public Library".
Digitorium 2015

Digitorium 2015

Other things we have done this month and some of our ongoing activities:
  • Applied for a grant for new microfilm equipment and an overhead book scanner 
  • Taught our Introduction to Genealogy class 
  • Created a digital exhibit on Easter in 1915 
  • Mended books 
  • Conservation and mending of maps 
  • Ordered new books 
  • Answered reference questions in-person, by phone, and by e-mail 
  • Indexed books, newspapers, and periodicals 
  • Created blog posts and social media 
  • Booked upcoming speaking engagements and workshops
What’s ahead on our calendar for the rest of April

Southern History Department
Central Branch
Birmingham Public Library

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Teen Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars




Hazel Grace Lancaster is a smart, snarky young woman who disdains convention, yet loves binge-watching popular TV shows. She’s also permanently attached to an oxygen tank, thanks to the Stage IV thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs when she was 14. In most instances, she’d probably be dead by now, but a recently developed miracle-drug has managed to slow down the tumor-growth in her lungs, thus extending her life for a couple of years. Now just 16, she’s already out of school with her GED, and her social circle is limited to a handful of people, including her parents, a friend from junior high, and regulars from a tedious support group that her parents force her to attend. Fortunately for Hazel, though, the support group is where she meets Augustus Waters, a one-legged survivor of osteosarcoma who, like Hazel, refuses to let cancer define him. The two quickly become close friends, and—over time—something more. John Green’s novel is not only a great, tragicomic love story, but also a monumental salute to the spirit of the terminally ill teenager. Recommended for Ages 14-Up.

Liz Winn
Central Library

Get To Know the BPL Young Professional Board Members: Leah Bigbee



What is your full name, age, and occupation? 


Leah Bigbee, 26, Employer Relations & Marketing Coordinator at UAB.

Why did you get involved with the BPL YP board?

I believe in free and open access to knowledge and learning for all and I believe in the power and necessity of libraries.

As young professionals, I believe we have a civic responsibility to our city and that means supporting the library's efforts to best serve the Birmingham community.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch of the Birmingham Public Library system? 

Avondale

Would you rather read on an e-reader or a book?

I prefer traditional books; it’s a welcome reprieve from the digital overload of daily life.

What is your favorite website or form of social media.

Twitter, Medium, and NPR are my must-haves.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham?

Golden Temple in Five Points.

What book would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

I would love to go hiking and adventuring in Iceland.

Who are some of your favorite authors? 

Donna Tartt, Louise Erdrich, and James Joyce are among my very favorites.

What is your wish for the city of Birmingham?

A collaborative focus and action oriented effort from citizens on equal access for all residents to essential services like education, transit, sidewalks, and libraries.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Registration Open For May Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the May 2015 Computer Classes. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.
To register for a class: ((Please note that registration does not necessarily guarantee you a spot in the class. You will receive an email confirming your registration for classes.  You may also call to confirm your registration)
  1. Complete name, address and phone information. PLEASE PRINT.
  2. Place a check mark in the check box next to the class(es) you would like to attend.
  3. Return the entire form to a staff person in the Public Computer Services department.
  4. You may also send an email to cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or use the online form to register.
May 2015 Classes

New System Teen Librarian Promotes Blending Technology and Art

BPL welcomes new System Teen Librarian, Lance Simpson, to its staff. Lance’s areas of interest and expertise are informal learning environments that focus on the blending of technology and art programming for teens. He's an advocate for the connected learning movement, which focuses on providing experiential learning opportunities for teens that are based in 21st century models for education.

Since starting with BPL in December 2014, Lance has worked with a team of BPL staff members to apply for grants that will fund new learning tools and programming that include 3D printing, sound and video editing, the learning of computer coding languages, and more.

Currently, Lance provides a weekly technology program at the Central Library where, on Mondays, teens have disassembled and rebuilt computers, installed new operating systems, and will soon be working as inventors to design new and exciting input devices for computers using anything that will conduct electricity including bananas, aluminum foil, speaker wire, and even each other.

With the need for more Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM) educational opportunities for teens continuing to rise, Lance hopes to make the library a place where those needs can be met through citywide partnerships with STEM and Maker focused organizations, and by providing unique programs that allow teens to create and explore.

Lance is very excited to be working with the awesome staff and teens at BPL, and is looking forward to an exciting first year!

Young Writers in Birmingham Final Celebration at Inglenook Library

On April 8, 2015, the Inglenook Library hosted a Writing Celebration as the culmination of the writing project that took place at Inglenook K8 School with the 4th grade class. Over 75 people, including Birmingham City Schools interim superintendent, Dr. Spencer Horn, attended.

(left to right) Dr. Spencer Horn (Birmingham City Schools interim
superintendent), Dr. Jayln Wells (UAB professor and director of UAB
Writing Center), Mario Lumzy (Inglenook K8 School principal), and
Karnecia Williams (Inglenook Library branch manager)

The writing project, termed Young Writers in Birmingham, consist of a partnership between Inglenook K8 School, UAB Writing Center, and Inglenook Library. Dr. Jacyln Wells, UAB professor and director of UAB Writing Center, and her students conducted four weeks of writing workshops by providing students with a list of topics to write on including things that they like most about Inglenook K8 School. Mario Lumzy, principal of Inglenook School, and 4th grade teachers facilitated the workshops and provided needed assistance. Writings were refined as the weeks proceeded and five of the students’ writings were chosen to be published in a beautiful and organized newsletter that was designed by Dr. Wells and her students. The newsletter, titled Take a Look at Inglenook, highlights the activities at Inglenook School as well as the events and resources at the Inglenook Library.

Students whose writings were published - (front, left to right) Jamarion
Carter, Rahkena Nall, Keyairuh Bennett, Marquis Kennan 
(back, left to right) Jalen Henley, Mario Lumzy (Inglenook K8 School principal),
and Dr. Spencer Horn (Birmingham City Schools interim superintendent)

Stop by the Inglenook Library to take a look at the Inglenook K8 School newsletter and check out the other resources that are available.

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Library

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Exhibit at Birmingham Public Library Sure to Delight Crossword Puzzle Fans

Cover of one of Shelton's crossword books
Attention, crossword puzzle fans! An exhibit of unique crossword puzzles, Ever a Cross Word, is currently on display at the Central Library of the Birmingham Public Library in the First Floor Gallery. Created by Bob Shelton, who has been a crossword puzzle aficionado for most of his adult life, the exhibit features some thirty panels of 1) the most unique puzzles he has ever solved and 2) the best puzzles he has created. Each panel is 16” x 20", color coded and enlarged for easy viewing. He has targeted libraries as the most suitable venue for their showing. The exhibit can be viewed during regular library hours in the First Floor Gallery until May 29, 2015. Also on display are eight books of crosswords that Shelton created containing what he terms “new theme” puzzles. They are new in that, unlike standard crossword “themes” with a handful of related material, most of these clues refer to the titled theme.

Shelton described in a statement how his obsession took hold and blossomed:

“My interest in crossword puzzles began in junior high school. I would cut out the daily puzzle from the morning newspaper and take it to work during study hall… After many years I discovered there were actual books full of these creatures, and to this day I solve crosswords constantly: New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, etc.

One day during a dreary faculty meeting I began making a simple grid and trying out basic words that would cross-reference easily. I then began collecting sample empty puzzle grids of 15 x 15 squares. I found an article on the subject that had been reprinted in the National Crossword Aptitude test puzzle that encouraged the solver to complete it in fifteen minutes. I completed the puzzle in eight minutes, and figured I was fairly adept. The cross-relationship of solving others’ material and making my own gradually took hold. I sent a few to the New York Times, but Mr. Shortz felt my clues were too direct (note: Will Shortz is the puzzle director for the New York Times.) As their puzzles were noted for vague and misdirected clues, I was not surprised. I became more interested in the quality of the ANSWERS rather than the nature of the CLUES.

In constructing early puzzles, I realized I wanted a special aspect to be present. It came in the form of the titled THEME of each: all of the ones I had worked included only a handful of entries related to the selected theme. I would strive for at least half the entries to connect. The result was NEW THEME PUZZLES, and to this date I have published eight books of such. Movie titles, movie lines, actors, famous quotes, authors, books, sports & athletes, famous places—the font of raw material was endless. Due to the breadth of such thematic coverage, I encourage the use of internet resources in solving.

Shelton was a longtime Professor of Art at Birmingham-Southern College and retired in 2005. Among his many achievements, Shelton has had numerous selections of his artwork in juried exhibitions and many cash and purchase awards. He has had gallery exhibitions in New York City. Several corporations have commissioned his work. He wrote two textbooks—based on his development of film courses—which were published by Mellen Press of New York.

Celebrate National Library Week @ the Birmingham Public Library, April 12-18


Ever since April 1958 the American Library Association has sponsored the National Library Week to call attention to the great impact libraries have on individuals and organizations in our society. Not only does it honor libraries and librarians but it also honors the many patrons (customers, if you will) who support these institutions that offer a plethora of knowledge and information that uplifts the user at no personal expense other than the small portion of their tax dollars that help support it.

The mission of the Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life long learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment.

Our focus is truly on you and we invite you to celebrate with us this week (and every week) by visiting us in person and/or online.

Walk through the doors of any of our 19 locations and expect world class service and amazing resources. If for some reason what you need is not there, take advantage of the county-wide courier service that will bring materials you reserve to a public library convenient to you. And remember, the 19 Birmingham Public Libraries cooperate with 20 other nearby libraries under the umbrella of the Public Libraries of Jefferson County. Materials can be shifted about for your convenience and your library card is valid at all locations. Birmingham and Jefferson County are undeniably blessed with outstanding library services. Take advantage.

The Infinity of Knowledge, Prague Municipal Library
Photo: David Blake

You can even visit the Birmingham Public Library without even leaving your armchair. Simply visit us at http://www.bplonline.org. Here you will find access to the county-wide Catalog where you can search for materials and reserve them. You can manage your own library account and even set up a chart of your reading history.

Other resources are available on our home page as well.

BPL subscribes to databases that offer scholarly articles not available on the Internet at large. These subscription rates would be prohibitive to many individuals but are free to our library members and most of these are available from your home. BPL’s signature Digital Library offers digitized photographs and documents from our outstanding Archives Department. This collection will continue to grow, but already much is available including items pertaining Birmingham’s presence in the Civil Rights Movement and more.

Want to study another language? Try Mango. You don’t have to pay for a subscription; the library already does. Tap in et bonne chance.

We have downloadables galore. We have audio and e-books available from our partnership with OverDrive. TumbleBookLibrary is available on our website and offers e-books for kids. Music lovers will want to embrace Freegal and you can even access some of your favorite magazines on Flipster.

Fans of social media should take to our homepage and discover the Birmingham Public Library’s presence in a larger world. Check out our links to the BPL Blog, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook,, and of course be sure to “Like" us.

Display window at Central Library for National Library Week 

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 15. All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be celebrating with cookies and lemonade from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.

The theme for National Library Week 2015 is:

Unlimited Possibilities

@

Your Library

Find out for yourself. Check us out.

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Monday, April 13, 2015

$5 Fines Coupon Offered During National Library Week to Show Our Appreciation


Celebrate National Library Week with a $5 coupon. National Library Week is April 12-18, 2015. This coupon good for up to $5 off your overdue charges. If you have ever researched a paper, checked out a bestseller, or attended a special program, you know what a great resource your library is.

Friday, April 10, 2015

National Siblings Day

Carla Perkins (r), children's librarian at the Avondale
branch, 
and her sister, Janine Langston, librarian and
coordinator of 
BPL's western region

I am blessed to have a sister who is truly one of my best friends. I’m not saying we haven’t had our share of spats as all siblings do, but I can honestly say there hasn’t been a day when I didn’t love her. I have so many wonderful childhood memories that it is impossible to know where to begin: eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts in our footie pajamas, snuggling close to Mama in the big bed as she read us bedtime stories, riding the ocean waves on an inner tube with Dad, and the list goes on. Weather you find yourself blessed or tortured by a brother and/or sister, April 10, National Siblings Day, is the day to let them know how you feel. If you don’t have siblings or find yourself unable to see them today, find someone who is like a brother or sister and celebrate. Siblings Day can be observed in many ways including sending a card, going someplace special, or reading a good book. Sis, I love you and this day is for you!

Siblings Bibliography
The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Brothers and Sisters: Family Poems by Eloise Greenfield
Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
What Sisters Do Best: (and) What Brothers Do Best by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Carla Perkins
Avondale Library

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Heavy Rotation

I’ve written two previous blogs on this site about my favorite repeat-viewing movies, "Movies Built To Last" and "Can’t Wear ‘Em Out." But I still had to leave off titles that are just as vital to me as those I already covered. Like the previous films, these are the ones I turn to when I don’t want to see anything new and do want to see something reliable, that holds up very well, that will reveal new facets and depth, that’s still fun. Cinematic comfort food, if you will. I will. Here goes something. Like last time, I’ve put the number of times I estimate I've seen the movie at the end of each entry.

Excalibur (1981). John Boorman dared to direct a straight King Arthur movie only six years after Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Naturally he had to avoid all the lead weight that movie satirized so well. He did that and infinitely more. It’s a revelatory take on the Grail legend and hasn’t dated one whit since its release. It didn’t have a large budget or any of the special effects we take for granted now, but it still looks ravishing. It focused on script and acting like these projects should but seldom do. The performances are top-caliber British. Nicol Williamson as Merlin is traditional and a fine critique of traditionalism. Nigel Terry as Arthur shows grand breadth. Helen Mirren and Patrick Stewart perform some of the first roles that got them noted as film actors. The Wagner soundtrack converted me to Wagner. One critic called it glorious and it is. I can’t understand why this film isn’t more popular. About 8 times.

Black Narcissus (1947). Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece is about a group of nuns sent to staff a remote Himalayan convent. The monastery there failed. We don’t know why. Can the nuns do better? Deborah Kerr plays the head sister who has to make this work and it’s the best thing she ever did. The nuns move in. The wind howls. The village nearby presses in. Nothing can be done, it seems, without local help, especially from a handsome jack-of-all-trades. In the convent, discipline can’t be maintained. There is enormous tension between repression and expression. Who could guess that a G-rated movie about convented nuns could be one of the sexiest movies ever? The psychological terrain is strictly hothouse. Very little is shown, much is implied. The story arc is exhilarating and tempestuous. Beautifully photographed with fantastically rich color that you’d expect from this duo. About 5 times.

Fellini Satyricon (1969). By this time in his career, Fellini’s name had become so well known that his movie titles in America started off with it. And by this time, he was pulling out all the stops on his cinema organ. Designs were fantastical. So were stories. Everything was shot in the studio so that the master could have no checks on his visions. Danilo Donati’s sets and costumes on Satyricon were incredible, taking full advantage of late-sixties freedoms (they don’t look dated). Almost any still from this movie could work as a painting. Some have called it excessive, but you have to open the floodgates to do justice to imperial Rome at its most opulent and decadent. Based on the ancient novel by Petronius, the story follows the picaresque adventures of two friends/rivals as they tour this hallucinatory world, a world that is seductive as well as repellent. It’s finally unknowable in the best sort of way, proud in its ancientness. About 6 times.

Koyaanisqatsi (1982). When I saw this on its initial release, I went with two friends. One fell asleep almost immediately, the other after a few minutes. It galvanized me, though, seducing me and winning me over. No telling how it’ll affect you. Eighty-six minutes of images and soundtrack. Godfrey Reggio, the director, said the intent was to make a movie where the visuals and the soundtrack were equally important. There’s no plot, story, dialogue, script, intended message. Not a drama, not a documentary, either. Deliberately open-ended, a code for viewers to unlock however they wish. The first time a full-bore experimental film made it to the mainstream audience, or something like it. Images are slowed down to various speeds and speeded up likewise for maximum effect. Philip Glass’s hieratic, relentless music inspired the act of picture-making and was in turn inspired by it. All this created a sound-image marriage unlike anything that has ever existed in cinema. This coupling, and the perfect Ron Fricke editing that was also a part of the indivisible whole, make for an experience (and it is an experience first and foremost) that is by turns hallucinatory, celebratory, elegiac, rollercoaster. Many people watch it over and over again. When it was out of print it fetched crazy prices. No problem with access now. Jump in—don’t just watch it. About 10 times.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department

Birmingham Public Library to Host Two Money Smart Week Events, April 20 and 21


Money Smart Week 2015 offers free events throughout Alabama focused on financial education for all ages and walks of life. The Birmingham Public Library will host two events: "How to Use Mergent and Morningstar Databases for Business and Investing Research" and "How to Get Started with Investing."

"How to Use Mergent and Morningstar Databases for Business and Investing Research" is scheduled for April 20, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. in the Regional Library Computer Center/Central Library/Linn-Henley building/4th floor. This program will provide novice and experience investors information on how to select and monitor their investments using Mergent and Morningstar. It will also cover how to research a company before purchasing their stock.

"How to Get Started with Investing" is scheduled for April 21, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. in the Regional Library Computer Center/Central Library/Linn-Henley building/4th floor. Dr. Stephanie Yates, Director of UAB’s Institute of Financial Literacy, will describe the fundamental principle of investment and how a better understanding of these principles can lead to investment success.

In preparation for Money Smart Week, the Business, Science, and Technology Department has also put together a Subject Resource Page on personal finance for your convenience. The information provided is a sampling of books, databases, and websites covering a variety of money management topics including budgeting, credit repair, home buying and selling, insurance, investment, retirement, etc. This subject guide can be accessed from your home, on your mobile phone, or tablet at http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/subjects/Default.aspx?s_page=58.

When considering your personal financial goals, the Birmingham Public Library is a good place to go for free and authoritative resources on all aspects of personal finance. Stop by to check out some of the amazing resources we have to offer!