Friday, May 18, 2018

BPL 2018 Summer Learning: Teen Programs Include Spoken Word Poetry Camp, Engineering Robotics Camp

What: 2018 Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning, over 400 free activities for kids, teens, and adults being held at 19 locations across the City of Birmingham in June and July 2018.
Details: Summer Learning puts an emphasis on learning through reading to prevent the dreaded "summer slide," a term referring to learning loss that occurs when students are on summer break.

Make plans to attend the 2018 BPL Summer Learning Kickoff Celebration at the Central Library on Friday, June 1, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

The theme for the 2018 BPL Summer Learning program is "Libraries ROCK.” You can register and print out a downloadable calendar for kids, teens, and adults at this link:

Are you a teenager desiring to learn how to program robots or how to create cool objects using a 3D printer? Do you have a child with a gift for poetry who desires to write a spoken word poem about the civil rights movement that’ll be archived for future generations to hear?

Then make plans to participate in the 2018 Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Summer Learning programs for teens. As a new member of the Urban Libraries Council, BPL is joining others in transitioning programs from the traditional Summer Reading program to a Summer Learning program. Summer Learning puts an emphasis on learning through reading to prevent the dreaded "summer slide," a term referring to learning loss that occurs when students are on summer break.

Here is a listing of select teen summer learning programs taking place in June and July:

Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Camp, Monday-Friday, June 4-8, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily, Central Library/Create205 Learning Lab/2nd Floor. Registration required.
Teens Engineer BHM is a partnership between BPL and the UAB School of Engineering. UAB student mentors will teach participants how computer coding, how to program robots and more. Students must bring their own lunch. Registration is open to the first 20 students in grades 6-12. Teens Engineer BHM is also offering several free two-hour engineering programs at libraries across Birmingham in June and July. Teens Engineer BHM is sponsored by grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the UAB Benevolent Fund.

Spoken Word Poetry Camp: Civil Rights Through the Eyes of a Young Poet, Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Central Library/Create205 Learning Lab/2nd Floor. Registration required.
In a partnership between BPL’s Archives Department and John Paul Taylor of Real Life Poets, this camp will talk about Birmingham’s role in the 1960s civil rights movement and compare it to civil rights today. Participants will complete a spoken word poem by the end of the week and perform it as it is recorded into BPL’s digital archives to share with the world. Registration is open now with a 25 student limit. Students must be in grades 9-12.

Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead: How to Make a Tissue Box Guitar, June 11, 3:00 p.m., Inglenook Library 
Teens will make their own guitars out of tissue boxes and discuss how different size strings (rubber bands) vibrate to make sounds. Materials provided.

M.A.D. (Music and Dance) Skillz Dance Co., June 28, 10:00 a.m., East Ensley Branch Library
Winston Strickland, artistic director at M.A.D. Skillz, will teach teens the latest hip-hop dance moves. No experience is necessary.

Rock "N" the Rhythm of the Drums, June 26, 10:00 a.m., East Lake Library
Lavondia Bryant—Square, director of Nathifa’s Dance Co., will teach teens how to move and groove to traditional African drum beats. This program is also being offered at several other BPL locations this summer.

Smithfield Computer Science Club, Thursdays during July (July 5, July 12, July 19 and July 26), 10:00 a.m., Smithfield Branch Library
Teens will code with Scratch and use Google CS First’s Music and Sound to create music videos. Learn what it’s like to be a computer programmer.

Are You a Rock Star? June 21, 2:00 p.m., Pratt City Branch Library. Registration required. 
Hey teens, think you have what it takes to be a rock star? Come show your skills at Pratt City Library’s Karaoke Competition. Prizes will be rewarded. Register in advance by calling 205-791-4997.

Visit the BPL events calendar for a full listing of summer learning events and programs for all ages. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top Albums by Genre at Freegal

Rap & R&B
"Joyride" – Tinashe
"First Weapon Drawn" – Czarface
"Pain & Pleasure" (EP) – Tink
"Total Xanarchy" – Lil Xan

"The Tree of Forgiveness" – John Prine
"Sometimes Just the Sky" – Mary Chapin Carpenter
"Liberty" – Lindi Ortega
"Volunteer" – Old Crow Medicine Show
Dancehall Dreamin': a Tribute to Pat Green – Pat Green

"Virtue" – The Voidz
"When My Heart Felt Volcanic" – The Aces
"A Moment of Silence" – The Funeral Portrait
"Clean" – Soccer Mommy
"Treadmill at the Finish Line" – The Second After

"Both Sides of the Sky" – Jimi Hendrix
"FIREPOWER" – Judas Priest
"Boarding House Reach" – Jack White
Elvis Presley: The Searcher (The Original Soundtrack) – Elvis Presley
"The Stories We Tell Ourselves" – Nothing More

Empire: Original Soundtrack, Season 3 – Empire Cast
Red Sparrow (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – James Newton Howard
God of War (PlayStation Soundtrack) – Bear McCreary
Lost in Space (Original Series Soundtrack) – Christopher Lennertz
Love, Simon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Various Artists

"Don't Let the Devil Ride" – Paul Thorn
"They Call Me Mud" – Mud Morganfield
"Out in the Open" – Steep Canyon Rangers
"Trouble" – Ray LaMontagne
"Legacy" – B. B. King

"No Excuses" – Meghan Trainor
PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I – Pentatonix
"Don't Tell Me" (Deluxe Edition) – Ruel
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert – Original Television Cast
"Us" – Jennifer Lopez

Popular Digital Magazines for Summer Reading

Library retrieval trends show that digital magazines are very popular during summer months because they can be read from any location, whether it be from the beach, park, airport, or backyard. If you've ever found yourself wanting to take home armfuls of those magazines in the grocery store checkout lane, but didn't because you don't want to pay all that money for them, consider reading them through Flipster!

The Birmingham Public Library offers access to the most current and popular magazines through Flipster. The New Yorker, Cooking Light, Prevention, and Ranger Rick were the most downloaded magazines from May to August of last year. The easy-to-use Flipster app makes it convenient to search, shelve, and read on any device.

Free to Birmingham Public Library patrons with a JCLC card. Full text and remote access available.

A Volunteer Goes to Class

by Pat Rumore, president of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library

Computer Commons department head and instructor Maurice Harley teaches a class on
PowerPoint 2010 to adult participants

Today I spent two hours at the Central Library downtown relearning the basic Word 10 word-processing program. I enjoy classes at the library. There are so many and almost always they're both helpful and free.

While waiting for the class to start I talked to other class members. There were various reasons people were attending. One said she needed to create a resume online that she could upload or email to potential employers and job search sites. Another said she needed computer skills to fulfill actual job requirements. I'm taking classes because I'm back to writing things like this blog post and minutes, thank you letters, etc., as a volunteer for the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library. It's great to show up and learn, and then to use what you learned to benefit yourself or an organization you love.

Although I used word processing throughout my work life, the last few years since I retired I haven't had to write many documents. In the meantime, the Word program has been upgraded and I'm out of practice using it. I picked up a flyer at the library about available computer classes and I found two basic classes this week and will attend two advanced classes next week. These classes are held regularly.

Ramsay High School seniors in AP Literature learn about education databases 
from instructor Jim Murray, department head of the Business, Science, and
Technology Department at the Central Library. These resources will help them with
their final term paper of the year.

Today's classes were relatively small, probably 10 students, with an instructor and an assistant who helped students at their computers. Both were friendly, knowledgeable, and well organized. Plus, the handout is very helpful and can be used as a manual when you're actually working on a document on your own.

I learned a lot. I'm planning to attend more Microsoft Office Suite classes at the library, including Excel 2010 basic and advanced classes and PowerPoint 2010.

I really appreciate the library staff members who give classes because they will refer you to other online resources that you can use to learn more and to help you with questions.

Remember one reason the library can give free programs is that people like you and me donate to the Friends Foundation to supplement the library's budget.

For a list of upcoming classes, visit the BPL events calendar or the Regional Library Computer Center blog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Paint Party @ Central Library

We're having a paint party! Please join us for what promises to be a fun and creative evening. Have you always wanted to transform a blank canvas into a work of art? Do you love to be creative and have fun with paint? Well, we have a class for you!

Local artist Cherie Hunt will provide step-by-step instructions for participants to complete their very own canvas masterpiece. Limited to 20 participants. This is an adult program. Please call 205-226-3677 to register.

Libraries Rock!!
Registration Required.
Thursday, June 14-- 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Birmingham Public Library-- Central
2nd Floor, Youth Department Story Castle.

Steps to Starting a Franchise Business Seminar Scheduled for May 21 at Central Library

What: Steps to Starting a Franchise Business seminar
Monday, May 21, 2018
Monday, June 25, 2018
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Cost: Free but registration is required

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

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

The seminar will be offered at 12:00 p.m. on April 23, May 21, June 25, and July 24. The seminar is free, but registration is required. Register online through the BPL events calendar or call Greg Foss at 336-501-5695.

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 NBA Conference Finals

NBA Conference Finals
ESPN Illustration

The 2018 NBA Conference Finals are almost a repeat of last year’s conference finals.  In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be taking on the Boston Celtics again in an effort to reach the NBA Finals.  Cleveland faced a much tougher road this year on their path to the conference finals.  As a #4 seed they faced the #5 seed Indiana Pacers in the first round.  It took seven games and a valiant effort on the part of LeBron James to secure the victory to move to the second round.  Shockingly, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to sweep the second round series against the #1 seed Toronto Raptors.  That victory gave them a little more time to rest and get ready for a rematch against the Boston Celtics.  The Cavaliers are seeking an opportunity to play in their fourth consecutive NBA Finals. 

Despite acquiring all-star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, the Celtics have been unable to take advantage of his talent and scoring ability due to injury during the playoffs. They faced a first-round challenge identical to the Cavaliers needing seven games to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks.  The second round was also similar to the Cavaliers as the Boston Celtics only lost one game against the Philadelphia 76ers (4-1).  The similar path to the Eastern Conference Finals and the familiarity from playing one another last year set the stage for a great, competitive matchup to reach the NBA Finals.

In the Western Conference, the #1 seed Houston Rockets have played like the top seed throughout the playoffs.  They only dropped one game to both their first round (Minnesota Timberwolves) and second round (Utah Jazz) opponents.  Houston lost in the second round last year to the San Antonio Spurs (4-2) so they were hungry to make their way into the Western Conference Finals.  Also, as the #1 seed, they have home-court advantage against the #2 seed Golden State Warriors, a position the Warriors haven't found themselves in over the last three seasons when they led the Western Conference in wins.

For the Golden State Warriors, it’s Groundhog Day, been there, done that.  They will face a tough challenge against the high scoring duo of James Harden (28.5) and Chris Paul (21.8) who average a combined 50 points per game.  The bright side for Golden State is the return of 2-time NBA MVP Steph Curry who missed the first round due to a knee injury.  He came off the bench during Game 2 of the second round and managed to finish the game with 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Like Houston, the Golden State Warriors only lost one game in the first (San Antonio Spurs) and second round (New Orleans Pelicans).  As in the Eastern Conference, the similar path to the Western Conference Finals should find these teams playing their best with Golden State trying to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year and Houston trying to get there for the first time in over 20 years.

The elephant in the room is a potential fourth consecutive NBA Finals featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.  The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets will do everything they can to prevent that from happening.  No matter who emerges, we will have some exciting basketball games to watch this week.  Enjoy the games.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Summer Learning 2018 Sign-Up Begins May 11, Kickoff June 1

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is excited to present Summer Learning 2018 at all 19 locations. BPL’s commitment to outstanding summer reading experiences for children, teens, and adults is reflected in the many and varied offerings for all ages and interests. The theme for the Birmingham Public Library’s Summer Learning program is “Libraries ROCK!” Participants of all ages will have the opportunity to sign up beginning May 11, 2018. This year as a new member of the Urban Libraries Council, BPL is joining others in transitioning our programs from the traditional Summer Reading program to a Summer Learning program.

During June and July the Birmingham Public Library will present more than 400 FREE programs to deepen reading enjoyment, spark STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) passions, and the opportunity for students to learn through active exploration. In addition to learning activities for children and teens, the Birmingham Public Library will host a variety of programs for adults including computer classes, exercise and dance, arts and crafts, guest lecturers, movies, and book clubs. For a list of summer learning events and programs, visit the BPL events calendar.

The Birmingham Public Library will host its second annual Summer Learning Kickoff Celebration on June 1, 2018, 6:30-8:00 p.m., at the Central Library. This will be a fun event with refreshments, games, music, and activities for the whole family. FREE tickets for the event are available at all 19 BPL locations.

Got a Minute! READ! Birmingham Public Library is changing the way we record summer learning participation for the 2018 program. Rather than counting the number of books read, BPL will now record time read. Counting time spent reading, or being read to, rather than the number of books read or heard puts the emphasis on the act of reading. It equalizes the amount of effort required by participants with varying reading abilities. By counting time, all readers are rewarded equally for their efforts.
Beanstack Tracker app

Participants in the Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning program will have the opportunity to record their reading accomplishments using the online app, Beanstack, or by using the traditional paper reading log. The more participants read and log their reading time, the more opportunities they have to win prizes. We encourage everyone to be an “Eager Reader” this summer.

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

The goal of the Birmingham Public Library’s Summer Learning program is to curb the problem of summer learning loss (summer slide) and to spark children’s interest in reading for pleasure. Our desire is for the library to be a place where everyone will find inspiration by pursuing their interests and learn for fun or just because the spark of curiosity has taken hold of them.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Developing a Business Plan Seminar Scheduled for May 22 at Central Library

What: Developing a Business Plan seminar
Date: Tuesday May 22, 2018
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Cost: Free but registration is required

Crafting an effective business plan is a critical component for ensuring entrepreneurial success. A business plan is not only necessary for securing much needed financing, but it also serves as a vital tool in providing direction and purpose for all your business activities.

To help you learn how to craft an effective plan, the Birmingham Public Library is partnering with SCORE and BBVA Compass bank to offer a seminar, Developing a Business Plan, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at the Central Library. The seminar will be taught by local small business specialists from BBVA Compass. The seminar is suitable for both those who are thinking of starting a business and those who want to grow their existing business. Seminar topics will include the following:

  • My Business Priorities
  • How Lenders and Investors Use Business Plans
  • Writing My Executive Summary
  • Writing My Company Description
  • Defining My Management and Organization
  • Understanding the Market
  • Performing a Competitive Analysis
  • Describing My Product or Service Line
  • Building My Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • Developing Financial Projections
  • Building my Business Plan

Register online through the events calendar or email Jim Murray in the Business, Science and Technology Department at

Genealogy Classes in May at Central Library

Three genealogy classes are scheduled for May at the Central Library. Introduction to Genealogy and Library Edition are free and open to the public. The Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop “Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier”: Military Records in Family History Research is free of charge, but registration is requested. Additional workshops will be announced this summer.

Saturday, May 12, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Central Library, Southern History Department, 1st floor, Linn-Henley Research Library
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. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census. Free and open to the public.

Sunday, May 20, 2:30-4:00 p.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor, Linn-Henley Research Library
Beyond the Basics of Genealogy – “Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier”: Military Records in Family History Research –Did one of your ancestors go to war? Explore the major repositories and databases for military records and discover how they can contribute vital information for your family history research. Free but registration requested. Register online or call 205-226-3655.

Monday, May 21, 2:15-3:15 p.m., Central Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th Floor, Linn-Henley Research Library Library Edition – Participants will be introduced to the Library Edition database in which you can research your family history. Learn the tips and tricks about how to search this database like a librarian. Free and open to the public.

Central Library to Host Celebration Tea in Honor of the Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

What: I Sip My Tea with Royalty
When: May 20, 2018
Time: 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library/Youth Department/Story Castle/ 2nd floor
Details: Free and open to all ages, but registration is required.

On May 20 the Central Library will host a tea in celebration of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will marry on May 19, 2018, at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England.

Participants will enjoy tea and light refreshments as we view highlights from the royal wedding, as well as selections from British documentaries. Please remember to bring your favorite tea cup and saucer.

This will be a fun and festive event in which participants can also test their knowledge of royal trivia.

All ages are welcome. Attendance is free but registration is required. Register online through the Birmingham Public Library events calendar or call 205-226-3670.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Local Author Workshops – "Setting the Scene" with Speaker Jim Baggett Will Be Held at Avondale Library May 19

Jim Baggett, archivist at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), will hold a free workshop on May 19 at the Avondale Regional Branch Library. "Setting the Scene" is part of BPL's free Local Author Workshops series aimed at helping local authors learn how to write and market their books.

In July editor Liz Reed will help writers with the steps to take to get their book published and promoted.

Schedule of workshops:

May 19, 2018, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Avondale Regional Branch Library, “Setting the Scene” with speaker Jim Baggett
Join BPL archivist Jim Baggett to learn about historic photos, maps, and documents available in the BPL Archives and Manuscripts Department that can help writers create rich, authentic, and accurate historical settings so that readers feel like they are living inside the pages of your book.

July 21, 2018, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, “Every Writer Needs an Editor: The Editor's Role in Honing a Manuscript” with speaker Liz Reed
Book and magazine editor Liz Reed will discuss the ways a good editor can help an author improve and promote their book. Topics will include content editing; decisions about paper, design, and binding choices; maximizing your time by creating a production schedule; marketing; and much more.

Final Money Matters Workshop Scheduled for May 16 at Central Library

Update: The previous start time of 12:00 p.m. has been changed to 11:00 a.m. for the May 16 workshop.

The Birmingham Public Library is partnering again this year with UAB’s Regions Institute for Financial Education to offer a series of Money Matters workshops to be held each month at our Central location. Each of the workshops covers a different topic, but all are designed to help you gain a better understanding of your personal finances and begin making a plan for the future.

The final Money Matters workshop, Your Credit Report, is scheduled for May 16, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., and will be held in the Youth Department’s Story Castle, which is located on 2nd floor of the Central Library. Representatives from the Regions Institute for Financial Education in UAB’s Collat School of Business will serve as instructors for each of the workshops.

What: Money Matters workshop series
When: Third Wednesday of the month, October 2017 thru May 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library, Youth Department, 2nd floor, Story Castle

To learn more about the workshop series as well as other personal finance resources available at BPL, contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at or by calling 205-226-3691.

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