Showing posts from January, 2008

Oprah's February Book Club Pick

"Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self. Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of 'I Am', which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form. This is the meaning of identification. This is a forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare." (excerpt from A New Earth)

Oprah Winfrey has chosen Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose not only as her February Oprah's Book Club pick, but also as the topic of her first ever worldwide classroom that goes live Monday nights starting March 3 on

A New Earth has already received a four star rating on the library catalog. Read it, star it, and write a review to let others know what you think about it. Didn't know you could review library materials on the catalog? Click here to find out how to awaken t…

1,2,3 Play with Me

Ted and Griffin Shade enjoying playtime at the Avondale Library
1,2,3 Play with Me began at the Avondale Branch of the Birmingham Public Library this past September. Two of the participants were Ted and Griffin Shade. Griffin had just turned 4-months-old. Ted is a stay at home dad. At first they were not sure what they were getting themselves into, but as the weeks went by their increased confidence was evident to all.

Ted found the infant play area and soon Griffin was right at home with the baby gym and the tummy time pillows. Ted got to know the other participants and was appreciative of the opportunity to meet other parents. He says, “We had a great time. I think I got more out of it than Griffin, but I think getting him exposed to a kid-dominated environment is good for him at any age. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to converse and network with other stay-at-home spouses. I still sing the circle-time "hands" song to him (which he loves), and it gave me a lot of new…

Brown Bag Program ~ Postal Service 2008 Commemorative Stamp Honors Charles W. Chesnutt

The United States Postal Service and the Birmingham Public Library will celebrate Charles W. Chesnutt as the 31st honoree in the USPS' Black History Heritage Series.
Charles W. Chesnutt, a recipient of the NAACP's Springarn Medal for outstanding achievement, was a critically acclaimed African-American author and activist. Working alongside prominent figures such as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington, Chesnutt became one of the era's most prominent and outspoken commentators on African-American life, and his talents as a fiction writer, essayist, and activist contributed to the flowering of the Harlem Renaissance.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1858 to free Negro parents (the fathers of both his parents were white), Chesnutt could pass for white but chose instead to honor his African-American heritage. Chesnutt was one of the first African-American writers of fiction to receive serious acclaim for eschewing the condescending characterizations and nostalgia for the antebell…

Storyteller Donna Washington to Entertain Several Branches of the Birmingham Public Library

Famed performer Donna Washington, longtime favorite of children and adults, will appear at several Birmingham Public Library locations in early February. In 2004 Ms. Washington entertained library crowds in Birmingham and after an enthusiastic reception from all audiences, the Birmingham Public Library proudly welcomes her back to the Magic City.

Donna Washington has been in the business of telling stories for fourteen years. She is an award-winning recording artist as well, having released seven CDs to date, for which she has won many awards.

As a writer, Ms. Washington has published three children’s books with a fourth one on the way. Her books include The Story of Kwanzaa (a book that relates the story and custom of this famous African-American holiday), A Big Spooky House (a book perfect for reading at Halloween), and A Pride of African Tales (an anthology of authentic African folktales).

Recordings and books will be available for purchase at her events. For more information on Donna…

Agent Zigzag

It seems that all good spy novels have some, if not all, of the following predictable elements: the lovable rogue coming to the aid of his country, the villain with the ingenious plan to bring down the enemy of his Fatherland, and the daring night drop over enemy territory. Let’s not forget the Byzantine plot to hide the secret cipher system and the sabotage of a factory critical to the war effort.
And of course, any spy novel worth its salt must have romance. Frequently the lovable rogue falls for the beautiful girl who may, or may not, be collaborating with the enemy. (Should he tell her the truth and risk being exposed as a spy?)
All of these devices are common and perhaps a little dull. One element that would help raise such a book a rung to two over the pedestrian crowd is the element of doubt. For instance, is the lovable rogue truly fighting for his country, or is he really a traitor? Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre has all the expected ingredients, that helpful element of doubt,…

Brown Bag Program ~ Investing for the New Year

It's a New Year and time to look at your investment plans. Richard Crew, Vice President and Senior Financial Consultant at Merrill Lynch, will discuss strategies for investing during these uncertain times.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. There is no charge for these programs.

BPL@Night Presents Music by Masters

Birmingham Public Library is proud to present five members of the music faculty at the Alabama School of Fine Arts performing classical music pieces on January 31, 2008. The faculty members include Chair of the Music Department, Kimberly Scott (flute), Laura Doss (voice), Kevin Chance (piano), Robert Janssen (clarinet), and Paul Hicks (guitar). The group will be performing music by Liszt, the 19th Century Romantic composer, Muczynski, 20th Century modern composer, and J.S. Bach, the 17th Century Classical composer.

Since 1968 the Alabama School of Fine Arts has been instrumental in guiding students with talent in the Arts and Sciences. The ASFA music faculty has encouraged students to hone their gifts and has led many to a successful career in the performance world. The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host the music faculty from this outstanding institution as one of its earliest guests in 2008 for the BPL@Night series.

For a complete list of the music faculty at the Alabama Sch…

Brown Bag Program ~ Hospice--A Special Kind of Caring

Join us as SouthernCare Hospice explores the life-changing experience of volunteering for hospice. Learn how a little time can provide joy, support, comfort, and care to a family during a difficult time. Wednesday, January 23, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. There is no charge for these programs.

BPL@Night Presents Groove Daddy

BPL@Night and the Avondale Library present a musical extravaganza with the local ensemble Groove Daddy. Headed by longtime local artist Marc Phillips of Hotel and Split the Dark fame, Groove Daddy will present “Music for a Winter’s Night.”
Where: Avondale Library
When: Monday, January 28, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Call 226-4000 for more information.

Foreign Film Review: Angel-A

“It’s a Wonderful Life” . . . à la Française.

Fans of Frank Capra’s holiday film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life will not want to miss Luc Besson’s edgy update, Angel-A. It begins alongside the Canal Saint Martin in Paris as André (a short puppy-dog-faced grifter) is being beaten up by impatient gangsters over an unpaid debt of 40,000 euros ($57,200). Terrified and helpless, the vulnerable Moroccan-American trudges his way to Paris’s most ornate bridge resigned to end his misery by plunging himself into the Seine. Just as he settles on the ledge, he is startled to discover several yards away the presence of a very tall platinum blonde woman in a short black dress. Before he can catch his breath the mysterious woman jumps into the Seine. André dives in and rescues her and they develop a friendship. Soon André learns that his new friend, Angela, is an angel with no memory of her previous life on earth. Angela helps André reduce his debt and grasp new challenges that lift his self awarenes…

BPL@Night Presents Conversations on the Constitution

Ben Franklin, one of the authors of the Constitution, said that the document contains the words that define us as Americans. It is how we choose our leaders, reform a government every four years, and so much more.

On the occasion of his 302nd birthday, join us under the trees in the atrium for a slice of history and birthday cake as Ben Franklin leads a lively conversation about the Constitution and what it means to Americans today.

Event: Conversations on the Constitution with Benjamin Franklin
Date: Thursday, January 17th, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Central Library Atrium


Books, audios, DVDs and videos about Ben Franklin

Books, audios, DVDs and videos on the U. S. Constitution

Staff Pick: Into the Wild


In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself..."

I don’t know what I was doing in 1996 to make me miss this book the first time around, but I must've been just cruising along, living my motto of "So many books, so little time." I picked up Into the Wild when I recently revisited Jon Krakauer, and I knew vaguely about the movie version directed by Sean Penn that came out last year. I couldn’t put this boo…

Clowns are Coming to the Birmingham Public Library!

Clowns from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will make a special guest appearance at the Birmingham Public Library on Friday, January 11, 2008.

The clowns will entertain children at a special storytime at the Smithfield Library at 10:00 a.m. In addition, the clowns will visit the Central Library at 3:30 p.m. for a mini performance in the library’s atrium. Come be a part of the “Greatest Show on Earth”!

Celebrate The Chinese New Year At The Movies

The Birmingham Public Library will show two acclaimed Chinese films in conjunction with the community-wide Chinese New Year Festival celebrations. Get ready to ring in the Year of the Rat with this cinematic immersion in Chinese culture!

Chungking Express
Saturday, January 12 at 2:00 p.m.

From popular Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai comes this 1994 film about two policemen and their romantic woes. The first half tells the tale of Cop 223 who has broken up with his girlfriend of five years. He buys a can of pineapples with an expiration date of May 1 every day for a month. By May 1, he feels that he will either be reunited with his girlfriend or that his love for her will have expired forever. In the second half, Cop 663 is having a difficult time dealing with his breakup with his flight attendant girlfriend. Then he meets a girl who works at a local fast food stall.

In The Mood For Love
Saturday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m.

This film directed by Wong Kar-Wai is a visually lush, languid tale o…

African-American Inventors

Garrett Morgan, born into poverty in Reconstruction Kentucky, used his inventive genius to improve his own life and save others. His life-saving inventions included the “breathing mask” and the automatic traffic signal. His “breathing mask” would save countless firemans’s lives and become a mainstay of rescue workers.
Granville Woods, known as the “Black Edison,” was a prolific inventor. The total number of his inventions is unknown, but he had 28 “letters of patent” from New York state alone. The “third rail” used in modern subway systems is one his devices.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger, a nineteenth century inventor, revolutionized the shoe industry. He created a greatly improved shoe-lasting machine. (Lasting is the step where you join the bottom part of the shoe to the top.) Before Matzeliger’s invention, workers could put together at most “50 shoes a day.” Matzeliger’s machine could produce anywhere from “150-700 pairs of shoes a day.”

In January and February a great many local schools lo…

Brown Bag Program ~ The Convergence of the Twain: Dr. King and Bishop Carpenter - Lives in Collision

Historian and Episcopal priest Barry Vaughn will explore the parallel lives of Rev. Marting Luther King, Jr. and Alabama's Episcopal bishop Charles C. J. Carpenter, both pivotal figures in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Wednesday, January 16, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. There is no charge for these programs.

New Urban Fiction Notification

Can't wait to read the latest book by Nikki Turner, LaJill Hunt, and other urban fiction stars? It's easier than ever with the Birmingham Public Library's New Urban Fiction notification.

Visit any Birmingham Public Library to pick up a form. Each month a link to the library's list of New Urban Fiction will be e-mailed to you. You will be able to read about the new titles and place a hold on each one you want to read, all weeks before the books are published!

Read more about the rise in popularity of urban fiction.

Brown Bag Program ~ From Hippocrates to Galen: The Practice of Medicine in the Ancient World

Wall painting from Casa di Sirico, Pompeii, 1st Century BCE: Aeneas receiving medical attention from lapyx
The ancient Romans were advanced in many ways, including the practice of medicine. Dr. Dennis Pappas shares his personal collection of ancient medical instruments and discusses images of Roman medical tools in the exhibition Pompeii: Tales from an Eruption. Wednesday, January 9, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 3rd floor of the Linn-Hinley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. There is no charge for these programs.

Beijing Olympics Photograph Exhibit At Central

Can’t make it to the Olympics in Beijing this summer? Visit the downtown library and share the excitement.

The Beijing Photograph Exhibit provided by the Chinese General Consulate in Houston will be on display at Birmingham Public Library's Central location until January 31. The photographs capture the liveliness of the city and the sheer joy of the people. Skyscrapers, palaces, the Beijing Opera, acrobats, state of the art facilities for the Olympic Games, numerous daily street scenes, and celebrations for this world renowned event are represented in this exhibit.

What: 2008 Summer Olympics Photograph Exhibit
Where: Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama
When: Dec. 17-Jan. 31
Cost: Free