Monday, June 24, 2019

Sacred Harp Singing Reception for Sacred Sounds of Alabama Exhibit at Central Library June 30

What: Sacred Harp singing reception for Sacred Sounds of Alabama exhibit
When: Sunday, June 30, 2019, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
The Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery
Details: Free and open to the public

The Sacred Harp singers will be at the Central Library on Saturday, June 30, 3:00–5:00 p.m., after the group performs a special singing on the sixth floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse, located just across the street. The all-day singing will celebrate the forthcoming release of Alan Lomax’s field recordings for the Library of Congress. They were made during a singing on the site of the courthouse in August 1942.

We’ll Sing Hallelujah: Sacred Sounds of Alabama is produced by the Alabama Folklife Association and pays tribute to genres of music that have been passed on through generations. The exhibit will be on display in the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery through Monday, July 22, 2019.

We'll Sing Hallelujah displays historic photographs and contemporary images, captured by folklorists working in the state of Alabama, demonstrating the profound heritage of traditional music genres.

“The AFA is honored to bring the exhibit to the library, especially during the year of Alabama’s Bicentennial, when there are so many special programs taking place in the city,” said Executive Director Mary Allison Haynie. “While several sections of the exhibit will be very familiar to many, residents, visitors, and newcomers can learn about Sacred Harp traditions or gain a greater understanding of the many noteworthy honors bestowed on Alabama artists.”

For over 30 years, the Alabama Folklife Association, a partner program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, has supported the research, preservation, presentation, and promotion of Alabama’s folk and traditional arts. Sacred music has played a major role in the work of the organization. Learn more about the Alabama Folklife Association by clicking here.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019 Summer Learning Spotlight: Adult Programs for Week of June 24-28

Adults, did you know the Birmingham Public Library has plenty of fun activities to help you both have fun and learn as part of our 2019 BPL Summer Learning programs?

To find out more about our Summer Learning activities, go to the calendar at our website or click here for a highlight.

Here are 20 programs for adults taking place between Monday, June 24, and Friday, June 28, at nine of our 19 BPL locations:

Avondale Library

Finding African American Records in,,, and FamilySearch, Monday, June 24, 2:00 p.m. Learn how to use BPL's most popular genealogy databases to pinpoint African American records. This workshop will show you tips and tricks to quickly locate records specifically relating to African Americans.

Avondale Book Club Freestyle, Monday, June 24, 6:00 p.m.
The Avondale Book Club Freestyle is book club allows patrons to read any book they like and join fellow book-lovers to discuss what everyone else is reading. For more information or to reserve a spot, call 205-226-4000.

Papercraft Party, Wednesday, June 26, 2:00 p.m.
Explore the universe of paper crafts. Enjoy fun and simple projects with instruction and materials provided. Class size is limited.   For more information or to reserve a spot, call 205-226-4000.

Central Library (Arrington Auditorium)

Intro to Yoga, Monday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.
Join BPL Board of Trustee member Kim Richardson, a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) on Mondays as she introduces patrons to the gentle practice of yoga in a non-judgmental environment. You will learn poses and modifications that will give you confidence to start practicing yoga. You will need a yoga mat, yoga blocks (optional but encouraged), yoga strap or sturdy belt, and comfortable clothing. The class is every Monday night during June and July 2019.

Central Library RLCC (Click on the calendar for class descriptions)

Word 2010 Advanced Part 1, Monday, June 24, 9:15 a.m.
Word 2010 Advanced Part 2, Monday, June 24, 10:30 a.m.
BPL Database: Careers, College, and Financial Aid, Tuesday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.

Ensley Library (including Freegal/Kanopy program June 26 originally scheduled for Wylam Library)

Downloadables, Monday, June 24, 3:00 p.m. 
Bring your own smart phone, iPad or other electronic device and library staff will teach you  how to download and read ebooks or listen to audio books for free. See what BPL's Downloadable Libby or Overdrive sites have to offer.

Get Your Foodie On, Tuesday, June 25, 3:00 p.m. 
Are you interested in food and cooking, but just don't have time to keep up with the latest culinary trends? BPL has resources available to help you "get your foodie on" and stay properly informed. This program will take you on a tour of what's happenig in the world of cooking, nutrition and food culture.

Freegal/Kanopy, Wednesday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. 
During this one-hour session, learn about Freegal Music and Kanopy, two services available through BPL. Freegal Music service includes millions of songs, Mp3 files that can be played on any device.  The downloaded music file is yours to keep with no due date or expiration date. Kanopy Films is a video streaming platform with over 30,000 films  Android tablets and iPads will be provided.

Five Points West Library

Learn About Henna, Wednesday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. 
Natural Henna artist September Reed shares information on the history of henna and how to create safe, fun henna tattoos.

North Avondale Library

Chapter Chatters Book Club, Wednesday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. 
The North Avondale Chapter Chatters Book Club meets every fourth Wednesday. Join for a spirited debate and good reading.  For details, call 205-592-2082.

Powderly Library

Hoopla, Tuesday, June 25, 2:00 p.m. 
Hoopla is a new digital collection through which BPL gives patrons access to thousands of movies, music, audio books, graphic novels and more. All you need is your library card, a web browser, smart phone or tablet to get started. Android tablets and iPads will be provided.

Springville Road Library

Coffee Conversations & Crafts, Monday, June 24, 11:00 a.m. 
Join us for simple crafts  with other adults through Coffee, Conversations & Crafts, also known as "CCC". Get to know new people, learn something new or practice an old favorite craft. Participants are invited to bring their own projects while socializing. Craft materials and instruction provided, along with lunch. Participation in the crafts is not required. CCC is among many adult programs available at Springville Road Library.

Body Changers,  Monday, June 24, 1:00 p.m. 
Weigh in, receive tips on nutrition and exercise, and be supported in striving to reach your personal goals. You may use your own plan or one provided by your doctor. Prizes and incentives are awarded for successful weight management.

Bend & Stretch, Tuesdays (June 25) at 11:00 a.m. and Thursdays  (June 27) at 1:00 p.m. Gentle exercise for adults based on the National Institute for Aging's Go4Life program. These exercises build strength, flexibility, endurance and balance, and most can be done while sitting in a chair. Sessions end with meditation and light refreshments.

Cards  & Game Party, Thursday, June 27 at 10:00 a.m. Join fellow patrons in playing Poker, Continental, Canasta, Gin, Spades and learn other new card games. Board games are also provided, and patrons are welcome to bring their favorites. Refreshments provided.

Fight Cognitive Decline: Brain Jam!, Friday, June 28, 11:00 a.m.
Learning to play and/or sing music stimulates newly created neurons in the adult brain and can actually fight cognitive decline in seniors. If you have an acoustic instrument, bring it. Simple instruments will be provided by the library. Singers are welcome too. Learn simple tunes and then practice playing and singing together. Light refreshments provided.

Titusville Library

Natural Henna 101, Friday, June 28, 10:00 a.m. 
Natural Henna artist September Reed shares information on the history of henna and how to create safe, fun henna tattoos.

West End Library
Hoopla, Tuesday, June 25, 10:00 a.m.
Hoopla is a new digital collection through which BPL gives patrons access to thousands of movies, music, audio books, graphic novels and more. All you need is your library card, a web browser, smart phone or tablet to get started. Android tablets and iPads will be provided.

Summer Mini-Camps Underway at Five Points West Library: Crochet, Quilting, Wii

Lynn Carpenter of Five Points West teaches patron how to crochet.

The Five Points West Regional Branch Library is hosting free week-long mini-camps during June and July as part of BPL's 2019 Summer Learning.

This week, from June 17 through Thursday,  June 20, the library hosted Camp Crochet. During the eight-hour mini-camp, Five Points West Library's Lynn Carpenter taught young patrons the ancient art of turning yarn into useful objects.

Earlier this year, a story went viral online about an 11-year-old boy who learned how to crochet at age 5 by watching YouTube videos. Today, Jonah Lawson of Wisconsin has 46,000 followers on Instragram and over 2,500 orders for his work online. All Things Considered, a syndicated National Public Radio series that runs on WBHM in Birmingham, did a spotlight on him in February during Black History Month. Read more about the 11-year-old's crochet business.

Upcoming mini-camps at Five Points West Library for patrons aged 10 and up (all 12:00–2:00 p.m.) are as follows (register in advance by calling 205-226-4017):

Camp Code (Monday–Thursday, June 24-27)
This eight-hour mini-camp will explore the fascinating world of computer coding.

Camp Craft (MondayWednesday July 1-3)
This six-hour mini-camp will explore crafts you an do to keep entertained on a rainy day or when it is too hot to go outside. Saundra Ross, branch manager of the North Avondale Branch Library, recently wrote a blog about family crafting fun.

Camp Quilt (MondayThursday, July 8-11)This eight-hour mini-camp will explore the world of quilting from Ancient Egypt to Gee's Bend quilting in Alabama.

Camp Wii (MondayThursday, July 15-18)
This eight-hour mini-camp is pure gaming fun!. We will play Wii video games to our heart's content.

The Atlantic Spotlights BPL on Role Libraries Play in Digital Skills Training

Dominique Agee and Maurice Harley teach computer skills to
patrons at Ensley Library

New York-based The Atlantic magazine spotlighted the Birmingham Public Library System in an article highlighting how libraries around the U.S. are helping provide patrons the digital skills needed in today's society.

The article by Atlantic Re:think, in a series called Ideas on Main, is titled "America Has a Digital Skills Gap. Libraries Can Help Fix It." It went live online on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Writer Jordan Teicher and art director Drew Campbell led a team representing Atlantic Re:think, who spent three days at BPL in mid-May 2019. The Atlantic's focus on BPL's computer training came as a a result of a partnership BPL began with Google after hosting the first Grow With Google workshops in Alabama last August. Since those workshops, BPL has hosted several free Google classes.

Jordan Teicher and Calvester Sanders

Teicher sat in on computer workshops at the Central Library and Ensley Branch Library led by Maurice Harley, BPL training coordinator. He interviewed BPL patrons, including Calvester Sanders, who was promoted to lead the housekeeping staff at the Redmont Hotel thanks to computer skills she gained from free computer workshops at the Central Library. Sanders credits attending free introductory computer classes at BPL for allowing her to overcome a fear of computers and better manage her employees' schedules.

"I don't know why I was afraid of coming into the computer world," Sanders says. "Now I love it."

The Atlantic also interviewed BPL Executive Director Floyd Council and other BPL staffers about the role that BPL can play in helping patrons learn new skills and achieve success.

Since April of 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King mailed a copy of his historic Letter from Birmingham Jail to The Atlantic in New York, Birmingham has shared a long historic relationship with The Atlantic, Council said.

"After The Atlantic featured BPL in November 2016 as a Birmingham treasure, iconic photos of our Linn-Henley Library have become a core part of our branding thanks to Atlantic reporters and photographers," Council said.

As part of over 400 free programs being offered during its 2019 Summer Learning activities, BPL is offering several free Google workshops during the month of July. The classes include how to use Google to search for jobs, Google email, Google Docs, and Google Sheets & Presentation.

#GrowWithGoogle #TheAtlantic

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Steps to Starting Your Business Continues at Central Library July 16

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: 3rd Tuesday of each month, July–November 2019
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in collaboration with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will continue hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business from July to September 2019. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library: July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19.

Each seminar will cover the same topics, but those who are interested are welcome to attend more than one day. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminars by contacting Valencia Fisher in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at or 205-254-2799.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the local chapter of SCORE. SCORE is a national nonprofit association consisting of volunteers with business skills and experience who want to share their knowledge with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of Americans start and grow their own businesses.

For further information about the seminars or about resources available at the Birmingham Public Library relating to small business development, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Unlimited Access, Intellectual Freedom & Prisons

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Library at a federal prison on an island in the Puget Sound, 1928

After reading an article about Georgia prisons and how books have contributed to low recidivism rates, it is apparently clear that more institutions should adopt the idea of acquiring more books and maintaining prison collections.

Historically Georgia, among many other states, have faced years of zero funding and have had to rely solely on donations to keep libraries functioning. Even after books are donated, much of the materials are scrutinized in a manner in which a number of them never reach the prison population. In fact, if a book or magazine includes an excerpt that has potential of inciting a riot, then that material is immediately taken and discarded. Consequently, other information contained in the book is never accessed by inmates as a result of safety concerns.

Literacy for inmates and all others is based on the fundamentals of unlimited access and choice. Without having these elements as a basis for investment and building in our communities, we lose that which is necessary for survival—learning!

For more information check out these resources from your local library:

Books in Stir: A Bibliographic Essay about Prison Libraries and about Books Written by Prisoners and Prison Employees by Rudolf Engelbarts
Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg
The Prison Problem in Jefferson County, Alabama / a survey by the Prison Industries Reorganization Administration

Monday, June 17, 2019

What to Read Next

by Lynn Hutchins, Circulation Department, Central Library

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? Did you enjoy it? Are you looking for what to read next? If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, try one of these eight books published in the last eight years. One of them might become your next favorite book.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
A breathtaking story set in Atlanta about a man's deception, a family's complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast.

As always, please feel free to stop by the library and visit any desk for more information. We love recommending books and are always happy to help you find a new favorite.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Podcast Discussion Club

What? Podcast Discussion Club
When? Monday, July 8, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Where? Avondale Regional Branch Library Conference Room

Have you ever listened to a podcast and wished you could discuss it with someone else? Well, this is the group for you! This month we're focusing on living a happier life.

Prior to the meeting, listen to the following episodes. Click on the links below to listen. Join us on the meeting date for an interesting discussion.

The Science of Compassion (NPR's Hidden Brain Podcast)
Outer Order, Inner Calm with Gretchen Rubin (Live Happy Now Podcast)

For more information, contact Leslie Deason at 205-226-4000 or

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sims Saturday Sitdown: Life Coaches Help Navigate Life's Journey

by Lynn Hutchins, Circulation Department, Central Library

Angelik and Victor Sims
Join us at the Central Library on Saturday, June 29, and Saturday, July 27, 2:00–4:00 p.m., for the Sims Saturday Sitdown.

Life Coaches Angelik and Victor Sims, and their team will help you find and define the motivation and tools to navigate through this journey called life. The Sims Saturday Sitdown is a community outreach program that highlights and focuses on building individuals and teaching others.

Before you can impact your community, workplace, or world at large, you need to start by taking a look at yourself as an individual. The Sims will host this event one Saturday a month, bringing a new and useful topic to the community during each meeting.


First Session
Saturday, June 29, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Central Library, First Floor Conference Room

Second Session
Saturday, July 27, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library, 4th floor, Arrington Auditorium.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

2019 Summer Learning: McWane Center Visits BPL

McWane Center Visits BPL program held June 12 at Central Library

The McWane Science Center is joining forces with the Birmingham Public Library 2019 Summer Learning to help educate patrons of all ages about the valuable role of science in every day life.

Through a program called McWane Center Visits BPL at various library locations across Birmingham, the McWane Center is celebrating this summer's 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 NASA space flight.

During McWane's June 12 visit to the Central Library, 100 people - including 89 kids from the YMCA Youth Center and other camps - were engaged by fascinating demonstrations of rockets, gravity and surviving in space.

You can still register for BPL Summer Learning by clicking on this link.

For a list of other McWane Center programs and over 400 others being offered as part of BPL Summer Learning, click here

Board Game Review: Terraforming Mars

by Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library

Terraforming Mars
Celebrating the summer learning theme "A Universe of Stories," I wanted to highlight one of the most popular board games with a space theme: Terraforming Mars. In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable. In Terraforming Mars, you play one of those corporations and work together in the terraforming process, but compete for getting victory points that are awarded not only for your contribution to the terraforming, but also for advancing human infrastructure throughout the solar system, and doing other commendable things.

The players acquire unique project cards (from over two hundred different ones) by buying them to their hand. The projects (cards) can represent anything from introducing plant life or animals, hurling asteroids at the surface, building cities, to mining the moons of Jupiter and establishing greenhouse gas industries to heat up the atmosphere. The cards can give you immediate bonuses, as well as increasing your production of different resources. Many cards also have requirements and they become playable when the temperature, oxygen, or ocean coverage increases enough.

This is a game where players have to develop a strategy and work together to make Mars habitable. There is a lot of player interaction and competition, but with no combat or violence. Players will learn what it takes to turn an inhospitable world into sustainable planet. This game and many others can be checked out at the Eastwood Library!

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