Thursday, December 20, 2018

BPL Hosting Five Holiday Concerts in December

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting five holiday concerts to help patrons get in a festive mood.

The concerts will take place at the Central, North Birmingham, Powderly, and West End Libraries. The concerts are among nearly 100 free holiday events and workshops being held at 19 locations across Birmingham between now and Christmas. Click here for the listing of BPL holiday programs.

Schedule of concerts:

Neighborhood Christmas Extravaganza, Thursday, December 6, 6:00–8:00 p.m., Powderly Branch Library
Celebrate the holidays with a concert featuring Regi Yarbrough & Company.

Holiday Gala Featuring Music by Fee-Fee Redmon, Monday, December 10, 4:00–5:30 p.m., North Birmingham Library
Celebrate the holiday season with holiday music provided by Fee-Fee Redmon of Fee-Nomenal Music. Join the Youth Department for fun holiday games, a yummy edible craft, and a holiday make-and-take craft. Light refreshments will be served.

Annual Christmas Musical, Tuesday, December 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m., West End Library
Enjoy a free concert featuring many of your favorite holiday classics. Refreshments will be served.

The Phillips Academy Concert Band, Tuesday, December 11, 1:00–2:00 p.m., Central Library, East Grand Reading Room
Join the award-winning Phillips Academy concert band as they perform holiday musical classics.

Baroque Sounds of the Season, Tuesday, December 11, 6:00 p.m., Central Library, East Grand Reading Room
Holiday music performed by Birmingham Baroque. Members include Alice Mazanec, cello; Suzanne Beaudry, harpsichord; Bonnie Furuto, violin; and Ken Kirby, flute/recorder.

You Are Invited – Holiday Open Houses and Parties at Birmingham Public Library in December

Holiday Open House, December 4, 5:00–7:00 p.m., Springville Road Library
Enjoy refreshments and meet Santa, who will be available to pose for pictures.

Family Night: Tough Cookie, December 4, 6:30 p.m., Avondale Library
Once upon a time in the land of Holiday Treats, a little cookie—still warm from the bakery oven—finds himself in the hands of the hungry fox. But as fate would have it, Sugar Cookie is not what he seems; what's an unsavory Cookie to do? Join us and our Special Guest for an evening of sweet Christmas fun. Registration required.

Holiday Gala, December 10, 4:00–5:30 p.m., North Birmingham Library 
Celebrate the holiday season with holiday music and festivities. Music will be provided by Fee-Fee Redmon of Fee-Nomenal Music. Join us in the Youth Department for fun holiday games, a yummy edible craft, and a holiday make-and-take craft. Light refreshments will be served.

Family Fun Night: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, December 10, 6:00 p.m., Springville Road Library
Get in the holiday spirit with our favorite green grump, the Grinch. Enjoy games, snacks, crafts, and more.

Holiday Open House, December 15, 2:30–4:30 p.m., Southside Library
Enjoy refreshments, holiday music, and a craft activity. Register to win prizes and a special food basket

Holiday Fun and Games, December 19, 10:00 a.m., Wylam Library 
Christmas music, interactive Christmas games, and more. Registration required; call 205-785-0349.

Chapter Chatters Book Club Holiday Party, December 19, 10:30 a.m., North Avondale Library
Members of the book club will discuss the month's book selection while enjoying food and music.

Hot Chocolate, Sweet Cookies, and Cool Winter Crafts, December 19, 4:00 p.m., Central Library, Youth Department
Children and teens are invited to celebrate the winter holiday by enjoying some warm hot chocolate and cookies. Holiday craft stations will be provided for kids to create a take-home craft.

Holiday Meet and Greet, December 19, Ensley Library
Enjoy a holiday treat with the library staff. Everyone in attendance will be entered into a gift card giveaway.

Santa's Workshop, December 20, 12:00–3:00 p.m., Five Points West Library
Enjoy an afternoon of crafts, food, gift wrapping, and holiday fun.

For a complete list of holiday programs, pick up a Holiday Happenings booklet at your favorite library or visit the BPL seasonal events calendar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Holiday Happenings at the Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library's 19 locations are hosting programs to get patrons in the holiday mood. All of the programs are free and open to the public.

Neighborhood Christmas Extravaganza, Thursday, December 6, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Powderly Branch Library
Celebrate the holidays at our concert featuring Regi Yarbrough & Company.

Annual Christmas Musical, Tuesday, December 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 
West End Branch Library Enjoy a free concert featuring many of your favorite holiday classics. Refreshments will be served.

Baroque Sounds of the Season, Tuesday, December 11, 6:00 p.m., Central Library, Grand Reading Room
Holiday music performed by "Birmingham Baroque." Members include Alice Mazanec, cello; Suzanne Beaudry, harpsichord; Bonnie Furuto, violin; and Ken Kirby, flute/recorder. Open to all age groups.

UAB Theatre Presents The Diva Tour!, Friday, December 7, 10:30 a.m., North Avondale Library
Style and talent collide in this tribute to Judy Garland, Cher, Carol King, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton, and other amazing women who shaped popular music. This retrospective of empowered hits will have you singing along. Registration required. Call 205-592-2082.

Some of our other holiday programs (listed by library alphabetically) are below. To see our full list of holiday programs, visit the BPL events calendar and search in Event Category/Seasonal.

Avondale Library
Club Create: Fudge Brownie Steam Train, Wednesday, December 5, 2:00 p.m.
Come together to create something new! Join us to construct your own edible fudge brownie steam train out of store-bought goodies. Space is limited. Register in advance at the circulation desk, by calling (205) 226-4000, or through the BPL online event calendar.

Holiday Children’s Movie Fest, Saturday, December 15, 2:30 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon of watching the old holiday favorites at East Lake Library.  Light refreshments provided.  Children, teens, and parents welcome!

Board after the Holidays? December 26–28, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Come to the Eastwood Library to play some fun board games!
Five Points West Library
Try-It-Out Tuesday:
Wine Cork Christmas Ornaments & Crafts, Tuesday, December 4, 4:00 p.m.
Adults/Teens (Registration Required, Limit of 15) Please call 205-226-4015

When the Holidays Aren't Happy: Coping with Grief, Friday, December 7, 11:00 a.m.
Tips on coping with grief during the holidays from Tiffany Elliot of Samaritan House

Readers Are Leaders Book Club: December Holidays around the World, Wednesday, December 19, 3:45 p.m.
Get in the holiday spirit with the Readers are Leaders Book Club.
Holiday Sweets and Treats from Chef Bryant, Monday, December 10, 1:30 p.m.
Chef Bryant of K&J's Elegant Pastries in Alabaster will share her story and talk about her passion for cooking. Participants will get Chef Bryant's Christmas cookie recipe. Registration is required. Call 205-592-2082. 

North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Holiday Party, Wednesday, December 19, 10:30 a.m. 
Book club members will discuss a good book, food, and music.

Powderly Library

Christmas Gift Wrapping for Seniors, Friday, December 14, 10:00 a.m.
Let us help you wrap those last-minute Christmas gifts.  

Christmas Ornament Decorating: Wednesday, December 12, 4:00 pm
Come and get in the holiday spirit by crafting your own ornament! We will have a special holiday treat to snack on while we craft.

Christmas Movie Marathon: Monday, December 17–Friday, December 21, 10:00 am
We will be showing holiday films the week of Christmas to get you in the holiday spirit! Bring a snack to share with friends while you enjoy your favorite movie.

Holiday Card Making for Adults, Tuesday, December 11, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Make your own greeting cards for the holidays. The library will provide card stock, ribbon, stickers, and other items for you to create beautiful cards. Registration is required and limited to 15 adults.

Holiday Coloring for Adults, Wednesday, December 12, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Manage holiday stress by coloring. Create something special while enjoying the meditative process of coloring. The program is free but registration is required. Limited to 15 adults.
Holiday Open House, Tuesday, December 4, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Enjoy refreshments and holiday cheer at the Springville Road Library. Kids and families are invited to meet and greet Santa who will be here to pose for pictures! 

Art with Ms. Trisha, Wednesday, December 12, 4:00 p.m.
Make a holiday masterpiece with Ms. Trisha. Elementary school age children are invited to visit the library to create a work of art. Please call 205-226-4085 to register.
Christmas Movie Marathon, 9:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m., Friday, December 21
Titusville Library invites family and friends to join us for a Polar Express-themed movie marathon. Kids are encouraged to dress up in pajamas and enjoy light refreshments. The movie marathon will include The Polar Express, Arthur Christmas, Home Alone, and A Christmas Story.

Holiday Cartoons Marathon, Monday, December 17–Wednesday, December 19, 4:00 p.m.
Come join us as we watch some of our favorite holiday cartoons and animation over the course of three days. Light refreshments will be served.

Wylam Library
Afterschool Holiday Crafts, Tuesday, December 11, 3:30 p.m.
Children create a make-and-take craft for the Christmas season.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Birmingham Public Library Honors Deputy Director Sandi Lee at Retirement Party

Sandi Lee, third from left

Birmingham Public Library staff gathered in the Central Library on December 7 to honor Deputy Director Sandra “Sandi” Vick Lee, who is retiring effective today.

Lee spent 25 years with BPL, including nearly a year as interim director overseeing daily operations of the 19-library system. Lee began her career as a storyteller in the Children's Department at the Springville Road Regional Library.

After obtaining her master's degree in Library and Information Studies, Lee advanced to Central Library as the head of the Children's Department and the Public Services Coordinator. She has also served as the Eastern Region and Adult Services coordinator before being named deputy director in the fall of 2015.

Lee received her bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama. She serves on the executive council for the Public Libraries in Jefferson County, and on the board of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library.

A native of Birmingham, Lee and her family reside in Jasper, Alabama.  Lee said she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and grandchildren as she moves on to the next chapter of life.

Jefferson County Library Association, BPL Honor 2018 Library Champions

Library Champions of the Birmingham Public Library

The Jefferson County Library Association hosted its Annual Holiday Luncheon and 2018 Library Champion Awards December 4 at Rosewood Hall in Homewood.

The event included a retirement celebration for Pat Ryan, right, who retired this month after 20 years as executive director of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative.

Among the 2018 Library Champions were three honored by the Birmingham Public Library:

Lee Green, middle, on behalf of the Central Library for his passionate support of Bards & Brews.

The Jones Valley Neighborhood by BPL Western Region for its support of the Powderly Branch Library.

Former Birmingham City Council District 1 Councilor LaShunda Scales (who is now a Jefferson County commissioner) by BPL Eastern Region for her support of the Springville Road Regional Branch Library, including donating $95,000 in cash and furniture. (Sumiphra Karrasu, right, accepted the award for Scales, who was unable to attend.)

Congratulations to all of the honorees and thanks for being a champion for all 40 public libraries in Jefferson County.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Retirement Planning Workshop: "Managing Debt" at Central Library December 12

What: Money Matters Retirement Planning Workshop: "Managing Debt"
When: December 12, 2018
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, 4th floor

Retirement is something that most of us look forward to. It is indeed an appealing notion to think that one day you will not have to get up every day and go to work. But retirement can also be a troubling notion as well, especially if you are worried about your financial situation. Concerns about money and finances are the primary reason that people do not enjoy their retirement years to the fullest.

Perhaps these concerns can never be totally alleviated, but thoughtful financial planning can certainly help to lessen the stress that we feel when we contemplate our post-work years.

Planning for retirement is the focus of the Birmingham Public Library’s 2018/2019 edition of Money Matters. Once again, this series of workshops is made possible through a partnership between BPL and the Regions Institute for Financial Education and The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. All workshops will be held at the Central Library on the second Wednesday of the month from October 2018 to May 2019. Each month a different topic will be covered, but the goal is to present a unified and coherent introduction to the retirement financial planning process. Workshop instructors will be representatives from the Collat School of Business.

The workshops are free of charge, but registration is required. To register for each workshop, please go to the Birmingham Public Library’s events calendar. 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.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Hooking and Stitches Crochet Program to Be Held Sunday, December 2, at Central Library

 Gelenda Norman, Hooking & Stitches instructor

What: Hooking and Stitches, a crochet/knitting program
When: Sunday, December 2, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library Story Castle on the Second Floor
Details: Open to both novice crochet/knitters and those with experience in fiber art. For more information, contact Gelenda Norman at 205-226-3655 or by email at

If you want to learn how to make scarves, hats and accessories as holiday gifts or to bless the homeless and others during the winter season, make plans to take advantage of Hooking and Stitches, a free crochet-knitting program being held this Sunday, December 2 at the Central Library.

The class, taught by Gelenda Norman of Central’s Youth Department, is open to both novices as well as experienced knitters. Norman said the workshop is a good way to learn a skill for those desiring to bless children in area shelters and poor families facing the challenges of winter.

“We will also make items that raise awareness of issues such as breast cancer, anti-bullying, as well as the babies and children in Children's Hospital receiving long-term care,” Norman said.

Norman, who began the monthly class in October, hopes Hooking and Stiches will be a vehicle for area crochet artists to share their artistry and create pieces for display throughout Birmingham.

“We will also just gather together to just plain hook and chat, stitching up new friendships,” she said.

Hooking and Stitches is among nearly 100 free holiday programs being held at BPL’s 19 locations through Christmas. For a listing of some of BPL's holiday programs, click here.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Dolores Hydock to Perform “A Christmas Memory” at Central Library December 2

Dolores Hydock
What: “A Christmas Memory,” a one-woman performance by Dolores Hydock
When: Sunday, December 2, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments. For more information contact Jim Baggett at 205-226-3631 or

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.

Originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, Hydock is a nationally renowned storyteller who has entertained the public across the country, including being featured at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

In Alabama she is best known for “A Christmas Memory,” captivating audiences of all ages. As an actress Hydock has been featured in the one-woman plays Tony Curtis Speaks Italian and All I Can Say is “I Love You,” Take a Ride on the Reading, In Her Own Fashion, Shirley Valentine, and more.

For more information about Hydock, email or call 205-951-7757. Read a Q&A about Hydock.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

BPL Friends Bookstore hosting annual holiday $10 book bag sale

In photo left to right are Friends Bookstore manager Thracie Pace, volunteer Christina Richburgh,Central Library assistant Kimberly Wiley, and volunteer Larry Stinson.
BPL Friends Bookstore's Annual Holiday $10 book bag sale is in progress from now through Christmas weekend. Visit us at the Friends Bookstore on the first floor of the Central Library during our operating hours, Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For just $10, fill a Friends Classic Navy Tote bag with audio books, hardback and paperback books, art,cookbooks, classics, magazines, CDs, DVDs and more. Our yellow tag books are available to you for a fraction of the cost from Amazon and other sellers.
All proceeds benefit the Birmingham Public Library and Friends Bookstore. Every purchase and donation helps support our community. Help Friends Grow by "Putting People First." For more information, visit us or call 205-226-3676.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Support the Birmingham Public Library on #GivingTuesday November 27

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

“Libraries, the best of our ‘social infrastructure’” is the theme of this year’s #FFBPLGivingTuesday campaign sponsored by the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library. #GivingTuesday, a date to support nonprofits in our community, is November 27, 2018.

“Social infrastructure” is a term coined by Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University, who has written the book Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. His definition of the term is “the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact.” In an opinion piece for the New York Times, he describes why libraries are a crucial part of our social infrastructure.

The professor points out that, while libraries are routinely being starved for resources, their usage is actually increasing. The real problem that libraries face is that so many people are using them, and for such a wide variety of purposes, many library systems and their employees are being overwhelmed. One major roadblock to the appropriate funding of libraries is that too many influential people are not aware of the expansive roles that libraries play in modern society, roles essential not only for neighborhood and community vitality, but also for helping to address all manner of personal problems for individual citizens.

The branches and Central library of the Birmingham Public Library System, as well as the other member libraries of the Public Libraries of Jefferson County, fulfill the roles the professor describes in his book. Our libraries are places for culture and company, especially for those who are retired or who live alone, through book clubs, movie nights, craft circles, and classes in art, music appreciation, and current events. For many patrons the library is the main place they interact with people of a different generation, social background, economic status, and ethnicity  than their own.

Libraries all over our county serve as polling places, accommodate neighborhood and community meetings, provide various business services and classes, and even accept and process passport applications. They sponsor lectures, recitals, art shows, and other cultural programs for free or at reasonable cost in a casual setting available to all, and rent spaces for private use. Further the many online services provided by libraries are available 24/7 for free.

The Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library encourages you to support your neighborhood and community libraries through advocacy and donations regardless of where you live. It also invites your financial support this #GivingTuesday for the Birmingham Public Library specifically. Because the Central Library of BPL is the headquarters library for our countywide library cooperative, it is the beating heart of the whole system. And its Linn-Henley Research Library is a countywide resource, housing the Archives and Southern History Departments as well as offering the genealogy programs and resources unique to BPL.

Below is just a sample of the many classes, workshops, programs, and events the Birmingham Public Library System offered the community in 2018.

Use our Donate button and give generously!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BPL Archivist Publishes Article on 1918 Influenza

Issue 130, Fall 2018

Thinking back on the time when the 1918 influenza pandemic struck Alabama, Edna Boone of Houston County remembered her mother cooking soup for sick neighbors. Bertha Moore Merrill of Eufaula remembered all the people who died. “We lost so many,” she told an interviewer half a century later.

The terrible pandemic, which killed thousands in Alabama and tens of millions worldwide, is explored in the latest article by Birmingham Public Library (BPL) archivist Jim Baggett. Titled “’It Came Like a Cyclone’: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Alabama,” the article is published in the fall issue of Alabama Heritage magazine. Alabama Heritage is available at BPL locations and other area libraries.

The Red Cross conducts a demonstration of emergency ambulance service
during the flu pandemic. (Library of Congress)

Baggett is the author of more than 50 articles, including two published earlier this year. “Birmingham Bound: The Magic City’s Melting Pot” looks at Birmingham’s immigrant communities and appeared in the spring issue of the Alabama Historical Association Newsletter. And the article “’A Law Abiding People’: Alabama’s 1901 Constitution and the Attempted Lynching of Jim Brown” appeared in the July issue of the scholarly journal The Alabama Review. This article makes a significant contribution to historians’ understanding of early efforts to combat lynching in Alabama.

In addition to his published articles, Jim Baggett has authored or co-authored two books and edited three, including A Woman of the Town: Louise Wooster, Birmingham’s Magdalen.

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