Showing posts from September, 2007

Think for Yourself, Defy Convention, Read a Banned Book

What do all of these books have in common? Attempts have been made to ban them all. Throughout history, individuals and groups have attempted to suppress reading material that conflict with their personal beliefs. Banned Books Week, September 29-October 6, 2007, calls attention to our freedom to choose books that others may have desired to censor and reminds us not to take this freedom for granted. The list of books that people have attempted to ban is amazing. The Most Frequently Challenged Books list is filled with all types of books from the classics to popular children's fiction. Some of your favorite books may be on the list: The Color Purple by Alice Walker The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton Lord of the Flies by William Golding Any of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Any of the Goosebumps series b

The Marlon Spears Trio in concert @ Five Points West

BPL @ Night presents the cool jazz sounds of the Marlon Spears Trio on Friday, September 28, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. at the Five Points West Library . We hope you will join us and enjoy this talented jazz band.

Marketing Your Business

The first segment of the three-part series, "Building Blocks for Your Small Business @ Your Library" was a success. There was a great crowd, the speakers were excellent, but we really missed you. However, we were thinking about you. We decided to record two of the sessions. Brenda Cox from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) led the first section, entitled "Selling to the Government." She discussed how to get the government to recognize your small business and then how to go about obtaining a contract from the government for your business. Selling to the Government Powered by In the second session, "Marketing and Advertising," Hutch Cole of S.C.O.R.E. and Joe Primm of the SBDC discuss marketing and advertising your company's services and products. Marketing and Advertising Powered by The wisdom and experience of these speakers is sure to help entrepreneurs and that's why the Birmingham Public Library is proud to

Thumbs Up to Your Recommendations

Based upon word-of-mouth recommendations, I have checked out numerous excellent books over the years. These suggestions come from both friends and acquaintances. Isn’t that where good recommendations often come? Not professional critics, but other readers. Professional critics can be engaging and are well-informed. However, what Simon says or Ebert writes, does not always translate into the best advice. I have much more success paying attention to what another readers, listeners or viewers think. So for purely selfish reasons, I encourage you to share your thoughts about items on our catalog . You can now submit ratings and reviews on books, audio books, DVDs and more. How? Let me give an example: Let's say that Mr. Greenspan, A.G. to his pals, has just read Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse and thinks everyone else should too. He visits our catalog at . Greenspan locates the title that he would like to review using the sear

Jefferson County Library Cooperative Launches New Reader Ratings & Reviews

We value the opinions of our patrons and are delighted to now offer Reader Ratings and Reviews. With Reader Ratings and Reviews, JCLC Patrons now have the opportunity to post their own reviews of any item in our collection – at any time! It's a great way to provide a personal testimonial for an item that you loved, liked, or loathed. You can find our Reader Ratings and Reviews on any item's detail page in the Catalog. The link is in the Additional Info box. There you can: Rate an item out of five stars Write a detailed review Visit any any item's detail page to write your first review! For instructions, go to

Ken Burns Pays Homage to the War Heroes of the Greatest Generation

Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns’ new documentary on World War II will air Sunday night on PBS . Just as Steven Spielberg was alarmed at the passing of so many Holocaust survivors, so was Burns alarmed at the passing of WW II veterans: 1,000 per day. Unlike most war documentaries, The War will not be told from the mouths of generals and politicians but from the men fighting on the ground, or, as Burns calls it, from the “bottom up.” “And that means if you weren’t in this war, or you weren’t waiting anxiously for somebody to come back from this war, you’re not in our film,” says Burns. Burns drew from four small and middle-sized American towns, and one of them was Mobile, Alabama. He tells the story of Glenn Frazier , a Fort Deposit native who enlisted at age 16 to escape some minor trouble at home. With distancing himself from his hometown troubles the main thing on his mind, Frazier had no idea the horrible places the war would take him: on the Bataan Death March and fighting for

Rosetta Stone Makes Changes

Last year Birmingham Public Library and the Jefferson County Library Cooperative first offered Rosetta Stone to the entire county. With over 20 different languages to choose from, this has been a very popular product. Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone has made a business decision to no longer allow libraries to subscribe to their complete offering of languages. With the expiration of our contract on December 1, 2007, the libraries of Jefferson County will be given two options. Both options offer a limited number of languages. When we know what languages will be offered, we will let you know. Rosetta Stone is a great resource and an excellent way to learn a language. Please contact your local library if you have any questions. Click here to go to Rosetta Stone.

No Commercial Interruptions

I can remember how I would listen to the radio as I went to sleep at night. Now I listen to Internet Radio as I work. I like but there are many stations on the web. At the last Tech Tuesday @ Your Library, David Blake showed some of these Internet Radio sites. I didn't know how many there are. The next Tech Tuesdays @ Your Library will be September 25 at 6:30 pm in the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium and available via simulcast at the Five Points West and Springville Road Libaries. The topic will be Instant Messaging (IM). Come and learn about the IM Craze . Photo courtesy of Roadsidepictures

Fantasy Writer Robert Jordan Dead at 58

1948 - 2007 Sunday was a sad day for Wheel of Time fans. The popular Robert Jordan succumbed to primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, a blood disease that caused the walls of his heart to thicken. He is survived by his wife and son. A native of South Carolina, Jordan felt that his southern background flavored his books: "What I write is certainly not set in South Carolina, but I have had a number of reviewers comment on the fact that I write with a distinct southern voice. It goes beyond more than simply where the story is set. I believe it is something we take in in the air and the water. It’s a matter of word choices — of the rhythms of sentences and the rhythm of speech in particular." Although Jordan was a prolific writer using several pseudonyms (his real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr.), he is most famous for his Wheel of Time series. WoT is an intricately detailed series set in a land where two magics exist: male and female. The hero Rand al’thor is on a quest to

Ahoy Me Readers!

Avast ye readers and prepare to drop anchor for it's Talk Like a Pirate Day today! Here are some key words to help expand your pirate vocabulary. • Aarrr! Pirate exclamation. Done with a growl and used to emphasize the pirate's current feelings. • Ahoy Hello • Avast Stop and pay attention • Beauty a lovely woman • Cutlass Popular sword among pirates • Lubber Land lover. Someone who doesn't want to go to sea. • Matey Friend or comrade • Ne’er-do-well A scoundrel or rascal After ye learn how to talk like a pirate, find a tale or two to tell to your matey. Or, become an expert pirate historian . See what other plunder Central's Youth Department has before ye weigh anchor. Aarrr!

Live Homework Help Now Available to Mac Users

Live Homework Help , the leading after-school service that connects a student with a professional tutor for live, online homework help, is now available to Mac users. Students using Safari or Firefox (2.0 or higher) browsers on Mac OS X can now connect to an expert tutor seven days a week for the help they need. Live Homework Help is free to Alabama students in grades four through the first year of college. Students can get homework help from expert tutors Sunday through Thursday from 3:00-10:00 p.m. in the subjects of math, science, social studies, and English. Students can connect to a tutor through any computer with Internet access, including computers at their local public library or at school.

Voter Registration Available At All Jefferson County Libraries

Did you know you can pick up a voter registration form at any public library in Jefferson County? Not only can you pick up a form but you can also save postage by returning the filled out form to any library. We hand-deliver registration forms to the Jefferson County Courthouse every week. The library's deadline for the City of Birmingham's mayoral race is September 26. Contact Audrey Brantley (226-3600) if you have any questions.

Tech Tuesdays @ Your Library

Join us for a look at technologies sweeping the Internet and how to make use of these in your daily life. Tech Tuesdays @ Your Library is a series of programs presented live in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library and available via simulcast at the Five Points West and Springville Road Libaries. September 18, 12:00 p.m. (available at Central and Five Points West) Internet Radio September 25, 6:30 p.m. Instant Messaging October 2, 12:00 p.m. Blogs October 16, 6:30 p.m. YouTube November 6, 12:00 p.m. Social Bookmarking November 13, 6:30 p.m. Photographs (digital editing, organization, storage and sharing)

Book Review: Fly Me To The Moon: Bipolar Journey Through Mania and Depression

Fly Me To The Moon is a realistic, informative, yet disturbing novel written by a Birmingham, Alabama psychiatrist, H.E. Logue, M.D., who has had 37 years experience dealing with conditions of the human mind. Fly Me To The Moon is a novel dealing with very real subject matter, that is written in a highly readable, interesting format instead of textbook definitions. The story deals with Eileen Robbins, an intelligent, creative and energetic young woman. Initially, Ms. Robbins moves up quickly in her career. She impresses her supervisor with clever thinking and creative ideas. Soon, however, she begins to experience violent mood swings, rapidly changing thoughts, sleepless nights and delusions of grandeur. Quickly, her thoughts and feelings spiral out of control, and her moods grow more disturbing. Thankfully, she meets a kind doctor who explains to her that her behavior is being caused by a chemical imbalance, a condition termed bipolar disorder. She is at first disturbed that she wo

Book Review: Caught in the Web: Inside the Police Hunt to Rescue Children from Online Predators

A young, naked girl cowers in a cage just big enough for a small dog. A man does unspeakable things to her and the images of her sexual torture and abuse are traded on the Internet like baseball cards. Due to the thousands of pictures and videos circulated online, Jessica is famous all over the world. She is 6-years-old. In Toronto, Canada, Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie of the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Police’s Sex Crime Unit was desperate to rescue Jennifer before she suffered more abuse, or worse, was killed as a potential witness. The clues were few: an orange wristband on Jessica’s arm; a Pokemon bedspread; a wallpaper pattern; the troop number on a Brownie uniform. All pointed to a North American location. But where? In thirty-three hours the police tracked down her location by zeroing in on the minutest of clues in the images. Her tormentor? Her own father, a software engineer at a telecommunications firm. When his house was searched, investigators were stunned to fin

Rosetta Stone Hits the Big Screen

The Jefferson County Library Cooperative is now offering the Rosetta Stone Language Resource Center to all library cardholders. The staff at the Birmingham Public Library has created a fun video about Rosetta Stone where several members of the staff are speaking the languages offered at the present time.

Writer Madeleine L’Engle Dies

Madeleine L’Engle died Thursday of natural causes; she was 88-years-old. L’Engle was a prolific writer, publishing poems, plays, essays, and autobiographies. She wrote for children as well as adults. She is beloved for her Time Quartet, which includes A Wrinkle in Time , A Wind in the Door , A Swiftly Tilting Planet , and Many Waters . The concept of the series was taken from Einstein's theory of relativity. An only child, L’Engle relished her solitude and filled her hours reading and writing stories. She wrote her first story at the age of five. As a shy teen in boarding school, solitude was hard to come by so she learned to shut out the sound of a bustling school, focusing on her writing instead of her schoolwork. This groomed her for being able to write anywhere. Already a published writer by the late 1940s, L’Engle stopped writing for a while to focus on marriage and family. But the pull of writing was too strong, and this conflict between family and writing was something she

Author Mary Monroe To Visit the North Birmingham Library

Bestselling author Mary Monroe will visit the North Birmingham Library to sign copies of her new book, Deliver Me from Evil . Monroe has built a solid fan base with her popular books about strong, memorable characters residing in the familiar small-town setting of her childhood. Born in Toxey, Alabama, Monroe began writing at an early age and had a passion for literature that was not always understood by her family. She became the only one of four siblings to graduate from high school. Her family wanted her to marry young and settle for a stable post office career, but, luckily for readers, Monroe had a mind of her own and a persistence for not giving up on her dreams. As a teenager, Monroe honed her skills writing short stories for True Confessions-style magazines. With titles such as “My Husband and His Mistress Tried to Kill Me with Voodoo,” she soon had enthusiastic readers clamoring for more. When an editor suggested she try a career as a novelist, Monroe eventually did just th