Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Solar Eclipse Glasses Are All Gone

Unfortunately, all BPL locations are OUT of solar eclipse glasses. See the image above on how to safely view the solar eclipse without special glasses. Here's a link to a video showing you how to make your own viewer:

Be safe and happy viewing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: Jade Stewart

Author Jade Stewart

About the Author: Jade Stewart, 23, is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, obtaining a BA in English Writing with a minor in French. She is currently attending Columbia University to pursue an MFA in writing. She lives in Irondale, Alabama, with her parents, James and Kimberly Stewart, and brother Christian, 18.
Book: Fate
How to reach the author:,, and
Quote Stewart uses as a guide in life: “No matter the obstacle, always persevere.”

Jade Stewart is a living witness to the power of perseverance and never giving up on your dream. Seven years ago while attending Jefferson County International Baccalaureate (JCIB) High School, the Irondale native came up with the idea of a book about a teenage girl adapting to life in a new school and supernatural forces combating her. Bit by bit while taking rigorous classes at her IB high school and pursing a degree in English at Loyola University in New Orleans, Stewart worked on her novel.

In February 2016—seven years into her writing journey—Stewart self-published her first novel, Fate. Stewart will meet the public as one of 40 authors participating in the 2017 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Central Library. She will sell and sign copies of her book.

Fate is a young adult fantasy novel. It tells the story of Ophelia St. Cloud, a teenage girl from the Bronx who moves to Buffalo with her mom to attend the prestigious Jules Perdot Academy. Thinking she would have the "typical" school year, Ophelia has no idea about the supernatural forces against her, and even more, the powers she has to fight against them. Mixed in with some new friends, "mean girls," and guys who are vying for her attention, Ophelia unexpectedly joins with three less-than-normal classmates to combat the supernatural beings around them.

Aside from the main plot, Fate tackles the issue of bullying and cyberbullying and features multi-ethnic characters with a diverse range of personalities. It teaches readers to not judge by outward appearances and to accept people of all cultures and backgrounds.

Stewart, who plans to pursue a writing career, said she is excited to be participating in the Local Authors Expo for the first time.

“I love that this event promotes reading and appreciation of local authors,” Stewart said. “No matter the obstacle, always persevere.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Celebrate Innovation Week at the Birmingham Public Library

What: Innovation Week at the Birmingham Public Library
When: August 17-24, 2017
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC), 4th floor

It’s August, and that means it’s time for Birmingham Innovation Week. Since 2014, Birmingham’s entrepreneurial minded community has set aside a week each year to celebrate and provide inspiration for those individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses engaged in creative activities that stimulate local economic growth and opportunity. This year, the Birmingham Public Library will be hosting five programs during Innovation Week that promote the resources the library has to help its patrons develop their innovative ideas. Here are the descriptions of the individual programs and the days and times that they will be offered:

Thursday August 17, 2017, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Using Google to Grow Your Business: Getting Started with Social Media and Email Marketing using Google
The Birmingham Public Library is partnering with the City of Birmingham's Economic Development Office and Zeekee, a local digital marketing firm, to offer a seminar aimed at helping small businesses make the most of the free tools and resources available on Google.

Monday August 21, 2017 2:15-3:15 p.m. Webinar: Yes, You Can Start a Nonprofit
If you are interested in starting a nonprofit organization, then you should plan to attend this recorded webinar. Produced by SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the hour-long webinar covers such issues as corporate structure, articles of incorporation, by-laws, board management, and tax exempt status.

Monday August 21, 2017 3:30-4:30 p.m.
BPL Database: Foundation Directory Online Professional
Learn how to navigate the Foundation Directory Online Database. Developed by the Foundation Center, the database provides the most current and comprehensive information available on U.S. grantmakers and their grants that are available for nonprofit organizations.

Thursday August 24, 2017 2:15-3:15 p.m.
Patent Basics
Participants will learn about the different types of patents, why you might need one, and how to begin your patent search. Follow along as we go through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's seven step strategy for patent searching.

Thursday August 24, 2017 3:30-4:30 p.m.
BPL Database: Reference USA for Business
A staff member from the Business, Science and Technology Department will give a hands-on demonstration of the Reference USA database. Reference USA is an excellent business research tool that contains current information on over 24 million companies, 260 million customers, household lifestyle and purchasing habits, and job listings. The Business module can be used for locating your competition and making contacts and the Lifestyle module is good for locating and contacting your customers.

For more information about the Innovation Week programs 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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back to School...Again

Back to School

This year, I did not take tax-free weekend, all those television commercials or department store fliers seriously.  Even the parents who came in to register their children for school online didn't give me a clue.  Unlike all the students who made the journey back to school this week, the new school year literally crept up on me.  I kept seeing children throughout the day in the library and I thought the opening of the school year was weeks away.  Every year it gets a little earlier.  The Facebook photos of people's children going back to school really should have tipped me off.

As a student, I personally did not enjoy going back to school.  It meant the end of my opportunity to sleep late every morning, particularly as a teenager.  My grandmother was up every morning at first light and it drove her crazy how long I wanted to stay in bed.  She would start banging pots and pans in the kitchen to wake me up, but it didn't phase me.  Finally, she would simple yell upstairs for me to get up.  My grandmother didn't have any specific chores for me to do, she just wanted me out of bed.  I am still not a morning person, but I manage to make it to work on time each day.  I admire the discipline it takes for students to drag themselves out of bed, get ready for school, eat, and perhaps walk to school or the bus stop.  Students of America, I salute you.  Now put the phone down and try to learn something.

During the school year, we will see many students and parents here in the library.  We have an abundance of resources to assist students with their schoolwork.  In addition to resources that assist with coursework (books, DVDs, databases, downloadables), we also have materials on study skills, time management, test-taking skills, coping with stress, and academic achievement.  Furthermore, the library offers an online tutoring service through which provides free tutoring for students in a variety of academic subjects.  They also provide AP, PSAT, SAT, and ACT test prep.  Please take advantage of the many resources available at the library and I hope you have a great school year.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database

by Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

A Project of the Birmingham Public Library Archives

The Alabama Decorative Arts Survey, begun in 1985 and directed by the Birmingham Museum of Art, was a nine-year state-wide search for 19th and early 20th century ceramics, quilts, coverlets, furniture, carvings, paintings, photographs, metals, textiles, and grave markers created by Alabama artisans.

The records of the survey are now preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives and the Archives has created an online, searchable database containing digitized photographs and information for hundreds of objects. The database will be expanded to include additional objects as funding becomes available.

Explore the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database at

The creation of this database was made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mind Your Own (Family) Business

Family Store

This Saturday, August 12, at 10:00 a.m., the Southern History Department will offer another workshop in our popular Beyond the Basics of Genealogy series. This fast-paced workshop will focus on how to research your ancestors' occupation, place of employment, or family-owned business. Given how much time we spend at our jobs and careers, knowing what our ancestors did for a living gives us a much fuller picture of what their lives were like on a day-to-day basis.

We'll take a look at some familiar sources (city directories, census records, newspapers) and show you how to use them to piece together the history of a business or simply determine what your ancestors did for a living. We'll also be looking at the Alabama Secretary of State's Business Entity database which can be useful for finding out when and where a small business was established.

As we all know, genealogical information can turn up in the strangest places. Was your ancestor an inventor? Was he or she ever granted a U.S. patent? Did they work for the federal government? The railroad? We'll take a look at some easy to use online sources that can answer these questions for you.
Work was an integral part of our ancestors' lives. We're very excited about this upcoming workshop which aims to help patrons take their research in a new direction and give them a better understanding of their ancestors and the communities in which they lived.

The workshop is free of charge, but registration is requested. You may register online through the BPL events calendar. For more information, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or at

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: Doug Segrest

Author Doug Segrest

Books: A Storm Came Up (Author House 2011) and The Sea of Mississippi (in progress)
How to reach the author: e-mail Doug Segrest at or visit him at,, or twitter: @dsegrest
Quote Segrest uses as a guide in life: “I just follow the Golden Rule.”
Quote from author about being involved in Local Authors Expo: “This will be my second appearance at the Local Authors Expo. I was blown away the first time by the talent of the other authors from across Birmingham and Alabama, the size of the crowd, and how accessible everyone was that day. If you are an avid reader or an aspiring author, this day is a treasure trove of opportunity.”

Doug Segrest will be one of over 30 authors featured in the Birmingham Public Library’s 2017 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

A veteran journalist, Doug Segrest loves history. And he loves character-driven novels. In his debut novel, A Storm Came Up, he combines both, dropping three innocents into the chaos and confusion of a small Alabama town caught up in the apex of the civil rights movement. The result is a personal, fast-paced Southern novel that’s part suspense and part coming of age. The book is well written and historically accurate, drawing strong critical praise from newspapers and readers who have taken the time to delve into the world of fictional Takasaw, Alabama.

Segrest is better known for his work outside of fiction. A long-time sports writer for the Birmingham News and Nashville Banner, Segrest remains a weekly regular on The Zone, ABC 33/40’s long-running Sunday night sports talk show, with Jeff Speegle and Kevin Scarbinsky. He has also contributed stories to Sports Illustrated and newspapers across the country, ranging from the Chicago Tribune to the Dallas Morning-News. He remains a Birmingham resident, working for a company based out of the Magic City.

He is well into his second novel, The Sea of Mississippi, which is a radical departure from his debut. Set in the future, it’s a wild ride into the unknown set in the New South.

Segrest has written as vocation and hobby since he was a child, inspired by legends such as John Updike, William Faulkner, and Gay Talese. He’s comfortable with the everyday technology of the 21st Century, but knows that only a good, hardcover book offers true freedom.

A Sample of Reviews for A Storm Came Up
"Doug Segrest may write sports for a living, but he has found his calling—novelist. In this, his debut novel, he captures the tenor and the times of the sixties South as few have done. Preachers and sheriffs who are Klansmen, good people, everyday people, trying to do the right thing, some fearfully but steadfastly and, of course, bad people doing really bad things...southern terrorists, if you will. Doug Segrest brings those times to life once again in an evocative story told in an evocative style."

“His sense of place and personality is superb, as are his characters and their development. In reading this book, you get to know these people, you admire them and they inspire you, you laugh with them and cry/ache with them. Others you abhor. This is very much a human odyssey and the characters, though fictional, are real, as real as the people were in that day and time.”

"This book captures the intensity of the times. Following three young boys, Brax, Moses, and Andy into adulthood, revealing how troubling times shaped their futures. This is a thrilling book that will captivate you from beginning to end. A must read!"

"The story races and turns against the backdrop of the slow south—never trite nor predictable. I literally could not put it down. Segrest has the gift of painting the time and place and bringing the people to life in such depth that you feel you are watching a movie in your mind. Don't miss this very strong first novel!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: SL Stoutermire

Author SL Stoutermire

Books: Strength: It’s What I Found When I Removed My Makeup; I Said Yes
How to reach the author: e-mail SL Stoutermire at or visit her website at
Quote SL Stoutermire uses as a guide in life: Psalm 138:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 – Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 8 The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.

SL Stoutermire will be one of over 30 authors featured in the Birmingham Public Library’s 2017 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

SL Stoutermire was introduced to books at a very early age by her role model and aunt. She fell in love with books and would read everything she could get her hands on. The library was the greatest place to be. She would lose herself in the books she read. She always considered herself a reader, but never thought she would be adding to the wonderful world of books.

Stoutermire has endured personal pain most people couldn’t cope with; she had ten miscarriages. But she and her husband survived it, and are now proud parents of seven children. In her new inspirational book, Strength: It’s What I Found When I Removed My Makeup, Stoutermire describes personal trials she has overcome in life and the process she went through to find her way back to God. She goes into details about physical, emotional, and social difficulties she faced.

“I had no plans to write a book, especially one that spoke of my life in any way,” Stoutermire said. “God led me to this book. He placed it in my heart and allowed the Holy Spirit to pour it out of me.”

During her journey, Stoutermire realized how so much of her life was pretense. No one knew the personal battles she dealt with nearly every day.

“Every time someone asked, ‘How are you doing?’ I did what we all do,” she said. ”I gave a generic response, ‘I'm doing well.’ The truth was, I wasn't good at all. I was so lost. I felt as if I couldn't share what I was going through with anyone because, well, you just don't do that. Right?”

In the book, Stoutermire says that is where the makeup comes into play. Everyone uses makeup in a metaphorical way to cover up issues so that they can appear picture perfect.

“What we end up doing is denying ourselves the opportunity to get help and give a testimony for God,” she said. “That's what I did for a very long time. I metaphorically hid behind the makeup. Once I started to remove the makeup, I discovered my true self. I discovered God in new ways. He led me to who I was called to be in Him. He told me that I had to go out and share my testimony regardless of how uncomfortable it was for me in the beginning.

Join Stoutermire at the Local Authors Expo as she follows God’s instructions and gives her testimony. “It's okay to not be okay. I'm encouraging everyone to remove the makeup,” she said.

Stoutermire has co-authored another book, I Said Yes, which is being released on August 12, a week prior to the Local Authors Expo, and will also be available at her book signing table. The book is co-written with a group of fellow entrepreneurs who all overcame their fears or roadblocks to become amazing entrepreneurs. Stoutermire also has three more books scheduled to be released later this year and two more coming out in 2018. She’s also a contributing writer for an Alabama publication.

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