Thursday, October 19, 2017

BPL Closed October 19 for Staff Development Day

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Thursday, October 19, for Staff Development Day. Staff Development Day 2016 was hosted by the Southern Museum of Flight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

by Leigh Wilson, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

October 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. This holiday celebrates two of my favorite things: chocolate and cupcakes! What a perfect reason to celebrate the beautiful fall weather, while counting the days to Halloween and even more chocolate goodies, by enjoying a delicious chocolate cupcake.

Perhaps you would like to bake some cupcakes of your own. These cookbooks from the Birmingham Public Library can lead you to create your own cupcake culinary delights or to have a sweet daydream about chocolate confections:

Better Homes and Gardens Cupcakes: More Than 100 Sweet and Simple Recipes for Every Occasion by John Wiley
Fabulous Party Cakes and Cupcakes: Matching Cakes and Cupcakes for Every Occasion by Carol Deacon
Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat by Martha Stewart
Pure Chocolate: Divine Desserts and Sweets from the Creators of Fran's Chocolates by Fran Bigelow

Who knows, it may inspire you to compete on Cupcake Wars one day or at least enjoy cheering your favorite team on to victory!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Linn-Henley Building Closing at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 18

Central's Linn-Henley building will close at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 18. The Southern History Department and the Archives Department will reopen Friday, October 20 at 9:00 a.m.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Book Review: Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents

Att<i></i>itudes Aren't Free
Attitudes Aren't Free
James E. Parco and David A. Levy

Even though the focus of this book appears in a military setting, the suggestions can be used to build teams in any large work environment. Learning to work together effectively minimizes the disadvantages posed by a group’s large size by focusing on collaboration to complete tasks. Civilian organizations benefit equally by reducing waste of materials, energy and time. To promote these recommendations, it is essential that every team member feel they are a respected, valued part of the team.

People come together from many walks of life to serve our country so the military reflects the demographics of our modern society. Individuals from many different religions, sexual preferences, races, lifestyles and ethnic groups possess different perspectives. To be successful the military must merge these different individuals into one team to meet the goals set down by U.S. armed forces. In a series of essays, “Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces” addresses individual differences through practices that forms a cohesive whole to defend our national interests. The authors do not cover all aspects of each issue but explain how their approach promotes the best teams for the military.

These essays focus on using the perspective of the “other” as a way to draw on the strength of diverse views on topics. How can participants open their minds to the possibilities of what each individual offers to form a cohesive whole that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts? This book provides strategies for starting-point discussions that promote an understanding from the perspective of the “other”.

Other topics of interest:

Southern History Book of the Month: Strange But True Alabama: People, Places, and Things

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Strange But True Alabama: People, Places, and Things
Lynne L. Hall

October is a month for all things strange, wacky, and weird . . . and you’ll find all of these in Strange but True Alabama. This is an enjoyable little book, suitable for browsing at random or reading straight through, and it is packed from cover to cover with bizarre and chilling events and personalities from the Heart of Dixie, along with some amusing tales to lighten the mood.
Check out some of the folk remedies:
Bacon fat taped to embedded glass with draw it out. Watch out; you don’t want to lose a finger to that pack of hound dogs following you around, though.

For itching, especially from poison ivy, mix oatmeal into bath water and plunge in. Add a little butter and sugar, and you’ve got breakfast.
Let’s not even talk about what goes into Grandpa’s favorite cold remedy, or “weed tea” for various ailments. But if you had been Ann Hodges, you’d need something stronger than a cold cure for your ills. Hodges is the only human on record to have been struck by a meteorite. There she was on the night of November 30, 1954, listening to the radio in her home in Sylacauga and minding her own business, when an 8 ½ pound meteorite smashed through her roof and landed on her hip, leaving her with severe bruises and the story of a lifetime.

And speaking of meteors, there’s the famous “night the stars fell” on November 12, 1833. The Leonid meteor shower was spectacular that year, inspiring both wonder and panic on the part of Alabamians who witnessed it:
Thousands of stars plummeted to Earth, setting the Alabama sky ablaze, awing many and frightening others who believed Judgment Day was nigh. Across the state, folks repented their wicked ways, renouncing all manner of sin from drinking and smoking to dancing and gambling.

But, of course, Judgment Day did not come, and wicked ways have made a remarkable comeback. The meteor shower became known as “the night stars fell on Alabama” and has been memorialized in song and on our car tags.
Naturally, no book about weird happenings in Alabama would be complete without mention of some of the state’s famous hauntings ranging from ghostly Confederate soldiers in a Notasulga graveyard to a student’s ghost at the University of Montevallo. And how about some noteworthy Alabama creatures? There’s an Alabama Animal Hall of Fame in Montgomery, or you can visit the Bluegrass Farms Wildlife Sanctuary/Tigers for Tomorrow in Attala. You can also take your pick of towns with strange names like Bug Tussle, Scratch Ankle, Slapout, and Smut Eye.

So if you like your weird with a side of amusement and a dash of shiver, try out Strange but True Alabama in your October reading list. Entertainment and exclamations of “Only in Alabama!” guaranteed.

For further information:
"Meteor storm muse behind 'Stars Fell on Alabama'"
Alabama Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff
"The True Story of History's Only Known Meteorite Victim"
"The 13 Most Bone-Chilling & Haunted Places in Alabama"
"These 30 Alabama Towns Have Some of the Most Bizarre Names Ever"
Alabama Animal Hall of Fame
Tigers for Tomorrow Wildlife Sanctuary

Monday, October 16, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library

If you've been seeing more pink over the past couple of weeks, it's likely because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Despite the enormous popularity of breast cancer awareness merchandise and the plethora of information that's available, many individuals are unaware of pertinent information about this type of cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but it also has a relatively high survival rate, especially when detected early. Now is a great time to visit your local library for print resources about breast cancer. You can also learn more through the Birmingham Public Library's online databases. Knowledge is power!

Temporary Department Closing in Linn-Henley Research Library for HVAC Maintenance

Due to HVAC upgrade and maintenance in the Linn-Henley Research Library/Central Library, Government Documents/Microforms Departments are closed to the public.

The Government Documents/Microforms Departments will be closed to the public October 11-30, 2017. Equipment for reading and scanning microforms is available in the Southern History Department. Patrons may call ahead (205-226-3665) to have film and/or fiche pulled.

We recommend checking the Birmingham Public Library website for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Board to Interview Two Director Finalists October 16

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Board of Trustees will be interviewing two finalists for its opening for BPL director next week. The two candidates will be interviewed at the Central Library on Monday, October 16, 2017.

Both interviews will take place during a special called board meeting in the Arrington Auditorium/Linn-Henley Research Library/4th floor, and are open to the public. The first candidate will be interviewed at 9:00 a.m.; the second candidate will be interviewed at 10:30 a.m. The BPL Board of Trustees began conducting a national search for the BPL director position in July 2017.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew Exhibit at Central Library, October 20-December 1

What: Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew Exhibit
When: October 20-December 1, 2017
Where: First and Fourth Floor Galleries, Central Library
Details: Free and open to the public during library hours

The Birmingham Public Library’s Central branch is hosting an exhibit paying tribute to blood pioneer Dr. Charles Drew beginning Friday, October 20, 2017.

The exhibit, Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew, will be open from Friday, October 20, through Friday, December 1, 2017, in the First and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Central Library. One side of the exhibit will highlight the life and accomplishments of Dr. Charles R. Drew, the blood banking pioneer who could not donate blood because he was African American. The other side is a timeline of blood science and stigma throughout history and today.

Blood Divided is part of One In Our Blood, a comprehensive, city-wide program of events and exhibitions conceived and coordinated by Birmingham curator Paul Barrett, building on the work of Blood Equality. Blood Equality was launched in 2015 in partnership with Gay Men’s Health CrisisFCB Health, and artist Jordan Eagles’ Blood Mirror project to address discrimination against prospective LGBTQ blood donors and allow everyone an equal opportunity to donate blood.

"We're very proud to partner with GMHC and Jordan Eagles as we further our commitment to highlighting issues of blood equality through our work," said Rich Levy, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Health, the New York agency handling the campaign. "True to our Never Finished principle, this creative partnership lends us an important opportunity to challenge the discrimination based on outdated stigmas around blood donation by building equity for donors, influencing long-term behavior and leaving behind a positive impact."

Book Review: Seeking Sarah

by Saundra Ross, North Avondale Branch Library

Seeking Sarah
ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Brooke seems to be a happy woman with the best life ahead of her but in reality she is not. She has so many people who love her. From her loving father and grandmother who raised her to the man she’s currently engaged to, Trent, her fiancĂ©.

All of Brooke’s life she’s been a good girl. One day Brooke realizes that there’s one love she doesn’t have and that’s when the good girl disappears. After a deep family secret is revealed, and against everyone’s wishes and any obstacles, Brooke goes on a mission to find out why she doesn’t have the one love she wants most—her mother Sarah’s love.

How obsessed will Brooke become with her problem? What kind of out-of-character evil deeds will she do? ReShonda Tate Billingsley does a great job of adding some unexpected twists to the story which keeps it interesting. Seeking Sarah is the perfect title for this book because Brooke will always yearn for the love of her mother.

Seeking Sarah is Billingsley’s latest novel that has many surprises and twists. Please visit the library to check out books by this author.

Links of interest:
ReShonda Tate Billingsley Website
ReShonda Tate Billingsley on Facebook
Reshonda Tate Billingsley at Simon & Schuster

Book Review: The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History

by David Ryan, Business, Science and Technology Department

The King’s Revenge: Charles II and the Greatest Manhunt in British History 
Don Jordan & Michael Walsh

In history class our teachers taught us about the great men behind great events. These are men represented by marble busts and court portraits in museums and galleries. We learned about Julius Caesar invading Britain, King John at Runnymede, and Winston Churchill and the Battle of Britain. Beneath this picture is the word "corrupt" or "moral," beside this statue the word "frivolous" or "serious," and this portrait is labeled "vengeful" or "forgiving." As students, most of us for the sake of simplicity tended to accept these facile labels presented by our professors. However, sometimes a study of the small events following the great reveals a more complex figure. The King’s Revenge by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh is one such study.

On the 30th of January, 1649, King Charles I of England was in the name of revolution decapitated by Puritans and members of Parliament. In time Oliver Cromwell took control and, in the eyes of some, took the throne as well. Many Englishmen and Parliamentarians began to feel they had simply exchanged one tyrant for another. On September, 1658, Cromwell, the man who had overthrown the monarchy “… survived myriad battles, intrigues and assassination plots…was laid low by an insect” and died of malaria. Minus his authoritarian hand, England seemed, at best on the verge of another civil war, and, at worst, slipping into anarchy. So-called Committees of Safety popped up overnight like poisonous mushrooms. Attempted military coups became common. Religious persecution was on the rise. The Rump Parliament stumbled about incapable of grasping the reins of power. Even Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard, the obvious choice for the throne, simply walked out the palace back door without warning. Suddenly, restoring the Monarchy seemed the only path to control, stability, and sanity. On May 8, 1660, Parliament invited Charles II, the son of the monarch they had killed, to return from exile and assume the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Professors usually portray Charles, "the Merry Monarch,” as a bon vivant uninterested in the past,
and living only for the moment. (Particularly if the moment included wine, women, and song.).

Charles II, the Merry Monarch of England
Charles was applauded for the terms of his return. He spoke of restoration of property for victims of the revolution, religious tolerance for all, and critically, a general pardon for all revolutionaries. But there was another darker side to the young monarch not often discussed in the classroom. Before he even sailed from exile back to England he wrote “…we shall therein by all ways and means possible endeavor to pursue and bring to their due punishment those bloody traitors who were either actors or contrivers of that unparalleled and inhuman murder.”

A list, consisting of only seven "exceptions" to the general pardon, was written. The men on the list would be punished for their part in the execution of Charles I. Then five more names were added to the list. Then eight. Then ten. In the blood thirsty atmosphere created by Charles II, it was inevitable that Parliament and those in the new court added even more names to the list. It was equally inevitable that bribes were offered, and accepted, to keep names off the "excepted" list.

There were three types of justice for the regicides. They could be punished with death. In most cases, this entailed partial hanging, followed by disemboweling, and ending with drawing and quartering. A lesser punishment meant they would be bankrupted, their entire wealth seized by the Crown. Or they could receive minor punishments with accompanying minor fines, and live out their lives in comfortable obscurity. Some observers concluded that “the king’s motives…were partly revenge and partly rapine, in other words the royal seizure of the estates of those who were accepted” from the general pardon.

When England was emptied of the regicides spies, kidnappers and assassins were dispatched across the globe to bring the guilty to face the King’s justice. It didn’t matter to Charles II if his father’s murders were hiding under beds in English attics or under straw in a Massachusetts Bay Colony barn. Even a London grave provided neither sanctity nor safety. Oliver Cromwell, long since dead, was disinterred and his head displayed as a warning. The King’s reach extended everywhere—even beyond death.

Jordan and Walsh crack the marble statue of Charles II to reveal a man of many sides: some flippant and bright like a Restoration ball, but others as desperately dark as a Tower cell. They also show that even peace has a price.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Exclusive Interview with Charlotte de Gross, North Birmingham Library's Resident Tarantula

by June Lacanski, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

North Birmingham ZOOBRARY reporting—October’s Pet of the Month is Charlotte de Gross. She wanted to be interviewed this month because October is a scary month, she said, and some people think she’s scary.

Interviewer: Charlotte, if someone asked you what type of living creature you are, how would you answer?
Charlotte: I would say, “Hey Dufus, do you see my eight legs? I sure ain’t an octopus!”

Interviewer: OK, so you are a spider; what type of a spider are you?
Charlotte: I am a Tarantula.
Charlotte poses as a human hairpiece

Interviewer: Well, what type of a tarantula are you?
Charlotte: I am a Library Tarantula!

Interviewer: Alrighty then. How long have you been at the North Birmingham Library?
Charlotte: I came as a little spider in the autumn of 2008. I don’t have fingers, so it is hard for me to count. From 2008 to 2017—is that like 700 years?

Interviewer: Well, no. Anyway, how did you get the name Charlotte?
Charlotte: There is a book about a spider that can spell things in her web. Her name is Charlotte. I never read the book. But I might get to see the movie one day…

Interviewer: You never know… So, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at the library?
Charlotte: Well, one day a frisky creature was messing with my cage. I don’t know, but I think they are called Human Beans or something like that. Anyway, there was nobody watching the Zoobrary and this creature opened my cage. Then he ran away. Heck, so did I! I played in the Kid Department all night. But when morning came, somebody discovered that I was out of my cage. They went absolutely C.R.A.Z.Y. Some goofy Scardy-Breetches picked me up in the dustpan and took me back to my shelf. A dust pan! Now that was insulting! But the silly Human Beans were running around and were even talking about closing the library until they found me. I wasn’t even lost, but whatever…

Interviewer: What is your favorite thing about living at the North Birmingham Library?
Charlotte: Oh, definitely Grubdown! All ages of Human Beans gather around while this pretty Bean picks me up and tells everyone a lot of important stuff about me. Then she lets all the other Beans touch me and some goofy Beans squeal and run around like crazy things. But, what I think is really neat is when someone touches the bottom of my feet to understand how the sticky stuff on the bottom helps me walk upside down if I want. The Beans seem to appreciate me better after Grubdown is over. Then I get a couple of yummy crickets. If I am hungry, I will grab one and go to work on it.

Interviewer: So you eat crickets? Do you just gobble down the whole thing?
Charlotte: Well, I will eat almost any kind of bug. But, first I stun it with my built-in stun gun; then I kind of put a straw into the bug and shoot in a little spit. Then I suck all the juicy stuff out. Yummers!

Interviewer: Ugh, that sounds gross. How long does that process take?
Charlotte: As long as it needs to. And you Human Beans are the ones who eat the gross stuff! I see little Beans come around with small white sticks coming out of their mouth. And when they talk their tongues are red or blue or green or brown. Now that is what’s gross!

Interviewer: One last question: How would you change the North Birmingham Library if you could?
Charlotte: Well, all the nice Library Human Beans would bring a whole bag of crickets every week and let them go. And they would let me out of my cage and all of my old friends could come. And then we could pull every book off the shelf that we wanted and read and read. And we would play every movie we wanted to watch on the TV—like that Charlotte movie. And we could all play games on the computers and write letters and look for spider date sites and stuff…

Interviewer: Oh yeah, Charlotte, I do need to ask you one more question: What is your favorite book?
Charlotte: Now, that is a dumb last question! You think I’m gonna say that book about the spider who wrote things with her web, don’t you? Nope. My favorite book is Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Interviewer: Thank you so much Charlotte. I am sure our readers appreciate your candid responses.

Please join us next month when our interviewer asks, “When did you realize that your dad ate your brother?”

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