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
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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Patrons Win Thanksgiving Giveaways from Smithfield, North Birmingham Libraries

Jesse Allen, one of the lucky winners of the Thanksgiving basket giveaway

Three patrons who checked out books at the Smithfield Branch Library during November won Thanksgiving baskets as part of a giveaway at the library November 22.

The winners are: Jesse Allen, who checked out The Color Purple; Charles Smith, who checked out a Willy Wonka book; and Demetrius Hayes, who checked out To Kill a Mockingbird. All three patrons won Thanksgiving baskets from the Smithfield Library that included a turkey, canned goods, bread rolls, celery, tomatoes, and other vegetables.

Allen said he was surprised to find out that he had won one of the Thanksgiving baskets. “I’m really excited because I never win anything,” Allen said. “Thanks to the Smithfield Library. I visit this library all of the time because I live in the community.”

Felicia Cooper’s decision to drop by the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library last week to check out Debbie Macomber’s novel, The Inn at Rose Harbor, has paid off in more ways than just giving her a good book to read.

Cooper’s name was drawn as winner in the library’s “Thanks for Being Our Patron" turkey drawing She received a 12-pound turkey, which Cooper says was unexpected.

“I’m very excited; it’s the first time I’ve ever won anything,” Cooper said in a phone interview. She has been a regular patron of the North Birmingham Library since childhood. “It’s my favorite library,” she said.

Birmingham Public Library Accepting Donations During #GivingTuesday on November 29

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is accepting donations as part of the #GivingTuesday campaign.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Donations help BPL’s 19 locations to serve nearly 1.5 million people a year throughout Birmingham, granting them access to information, programs, and resources at no cost.

BPL has been educating the public for over 129 years, as noted in a national spotlight feature in the Atlantic.

The Robotics Marathon, held recently at the Central Library as part of Teens Engineer Birmingham, is among many free activities held in BPL’s 19 libraries daily. The afterschool program teaches engineering skills to dozens of teens weekly at the Southside, Woodlawn, and Central Libraries.

Because of the generous contributions of people like you, BPL can continue its mission of enriching the lives of Birmingham citizens like Calvester Sanders and the teen engineer participants featured below:

Redmont Hotel employee attends free computer classes at BPL
UAB engineering student teaches teens in afterschool program 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giving Back at the Birmingham Public Library: UAB Engineering Student Allaire Doussan Teaches Birmingham Teens about Robotics

Allaire Doussan and fellow engineering students at a recent robotics program

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) engineering student Allaire Doussan participated in a robotics program at her high school. When she found out the UAB School of Engineering was teaching a summer engineering program at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) last year, she volunteered to be a part of it to help give back to area teens who shared her joy of robotics and engineering.

A year later, Doussan has advanced from volunteer to a paid UAB internship helping teach students who participate in BPL’s weekly afterschool Teens Engineer Birmingham program at the Woodlawn, Southside, and Central Libraries.

“It has been great and rewarding teaching the kids,” said Doussan, a biomedical engineering major. “They seem to really enjoy learning.”

As part of the program, Doussan and fellow UAB students assist Dr. Abi Yildirim, director of outreach for UAB’s School of Engineering, in teaching robotics, soldering, and other engineering-technology skills. She also helped with the October Robotics Marathon Weekend held at the Central Library. Doussan said she has noticed changes in the students since BPL expanded the program to three libraries and added extra equipment such as 3-D printers, thanks to a $50,000 grant the library system won in 2016 from the UAB Benevolent Fund.

“They seem more eager to learn,” said Doussan, adding she wishes her hometown library had a robotics program like this. “At the beginning, they were more skeptical. Now they enjoy it.”

As a UAB student intern, Doussan helps BPL System Teen Librarian Lance Simpson in curriculum development, directly teaching the kids, and sharing advice on how the library can better serve the students. Doussan said the experience will help her future goals as an engineer, especially if she goes into teaching one day.

“Acquiring new skills and perfecting it is helpful in my future career,” Doussan said. “I love working with the kids, seeing them grow and understanding things better from their perspective. I love being able to put a smile on their faces.”

Search "Teens Engineer BHM" on the BPL calendar to see when and where this group meets next.

See the video link below of Lance Simpson’s presentation, which won BPL the UAB Benevolent Fund grant.

Redmont Employee Attends Free Computer Classes at BPL to Improve Job Performance

Calvester Sanders credits free beginner computer classes at Central Library
for taking her from being afraid to use a computer to mastering it on the job

Before June 2016, Calvester Sanders had no knowledge of how to use a computer. Today, thanks to two months of free basic and advanced computer classes she took during the summer at the Central Library, Sanders is no longer afraid to use a computer.

“The classes helped me tremendously,” said Sanders, supervisor of housekeeping at the Redmont Hotel downtown. “Before I took them, I couldn’t even turn on a computer. Now I’m familiar with computers and not afraid of them anymore. I can communicate with my staff using the computer now. I now know how to print out documents.”

Sanders is one of 1.5 million lives touched in a positive way by resources and workshops available for free to the public at BPL’s 19 locations. She is appreciative of her supervisor, Redmont Hotel General Manager Nicole Schrader, who found out about Central Library’s free computer classes and signed her up, knowing the computer skills gained would help Sanders communicate better with her staff.

“If the library still offers those classes, I encourage anyone to go and take them,” Sanders said. “Thanks to the Birmingham Public Library.”

Free computer classes are offered several times a month at many of BPL’s 19 locations. To find the library computer class nearest you, visit the BPL calendar at and under Event Category click on Computers & Technology.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Turkey Giveaway Contest at North Birmingham Library

Check out a book from the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library and you may win a free turkey.

The North Birmingham Library is hosting a contest called “Thanks for Being Our Patron" Turkey Drawing. Adults who check out one adult book or audiobook may enter the drawing. The winner’s name will be pulled on Tuesday, November 22, at 1:30 p.m. Patrons do not have to be present to win.

For more information, call the Adult Department at 226-⁠4025.