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Showing posts from January, 2009

Book Trailer: Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Double Minds begins with Parker James struggling to succeed in the Nashville music scene. She finds the competition fierce maybe even deadly.

Nothing is as it appears, and unraveling the truth challenges everything Parker believes about her talent, her future, and her faith.

Click here to reserve a copy today.

BPL@Night Presents Pianist Anthony Pattin

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Dr. Anthony Pattin, a favorite performer for BPL, will give a special concert on Thursday, February 19, 2009. Dr. Pattin will play in the BPL-Central Atrium on a baby grand piano especially for this BPL@Night performance. He will play three different styles of music: one part classical, one part popular tunes, and another segment to be announced.

Pattin has taught at the University of Montevallo since 1987. His intense enthusiasm for music and the piano began at an early age in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where his career was decided in high school when he was singled out to perform as a soloist in a concerto. He subsequently earned the bachelor and master of music from the Universities of Toledo and Michigan and the doctor of musical arts from the University of Alabama.

Pattin has an extensive and diverse repertoire (including more than 30 concerti). He has performed in recitals throughout the United States, as well as in Central America, Europe, and Japan. He has appeared as solois…

Nonfiction Book Review: How Not To Die

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How Not To Die , by Dr. Jan Garavaglia, gives lessons on how to avoid premature death, as well as simple advice on how to live a much longer and healthier life. Dr. G is well-qualified to give us the answers. She is the chief medical examiner for the District Nine Examiner's Office in Orange County, Florida, and has presided over 1,100 autopsies each year. In addition, Jan Garavaglia is the host of Discovery Health channel's top-rated series, Dr G: Medical Examiner.

We can learn from her expertise. In this informative, thought-provoking book, Dr. G blends case histories with advice and detailed examples. As forensic expert, Garavaglia must closely examine cell, tissue and fluid samples of deceased individuals to make her best determination as to the cause of death. She uses subtle clues, hidden evidence, and interviews from family members to pinpoint the exact cause of death. Some cases are difficult, but it is her responsibility to apply her knowledge and put together the piec…

Book Review: Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

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Fridays from 1969-1974, I watched America’s most wholesome stepfamily come together and merge, weathering the adolescent storms of braces, lost Kitty Carryall dolls, and battles for the coveted attic room. When you hear “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!”; “pork chops and applesauce"; “Baton Rouge!”; and “Oh! My nose!”and you immediately think of the Bradys, then you were watching right along with me.

In 1992 Barry Williams a.k.a. Greg Brady wrote Growing Up Brady, a very funny, self-deprecating look at his years on the set of The Brady Bunch. Maureen McCormick a.k.a. Marcia Brady just published Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, a brutally honest memoir of her life before and after The Brady Bunch.

Unlike the Bradys, Maureen's home life was anything but idyllic. Her grandfather gave his wife syphilis, and she passed the disease to Maureen's mother at birth. It was a shameful secret all through her mother's life, and was the cause of her mother&#…

John Updike Dies At 76 (March 18th, 1932 - January 27th, 2009)

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John Updike, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, passed away Tuesday, January 27th, at the age of 76, after a battle with lung cancer. He was an award-winning American novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist, literary critic and art critic. John Updike described his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class." The majority of his fiction was set in New England. He was a prolific writer, publishing more than 60 books, including twenty-five novels, over a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, stories, reviews, children's books and literary criticism. Updike was a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He was known internationally for his rabbit series which includes Rabbit, Run(1960), Rabbit Redux(1971), Rabbit is Rich(1981), andRabbit at Rest(1990). Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for two of his novels, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, as well as two National Book Awards. He was the third American to win a second Pulitzer Prize …

BPL@Night Presents Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North

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In the remarkable documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne takes members of her family on a difficult journey of exploration to learn about their forefathers' role as the largest and wealthiest slave-trading family in American history. The film examines the place of slavery in the American experience, the role of wealthy New England traders like Browne's ancestors in perpetuating the slave trade and making it profitable, and the legacy of slavery for us today.

Following the documentary viewing, Dain Perry will lead a facilitated discussion. Dain participated in the documentary along with his brother, Jim, and nephew, James. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. During the 1970s he worked for a non-profit agency that promoted reform in the criminal justice system, particularly prison reform. Dain has been a member of his church vestry and has been an active volunteer in his community for many years, including serving on the board…

Update: Free Tax Preparation Assistance at Avondale, Smithfield, and East Lake Libraries

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Avondale Library
For appointments call 226-4000 beginning on Wednesday, January 21. Sessions will begin on Monday, February 2. Sessions will take place on Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sponsored by AARP.

East Lake Library
Saturday, January 31, February 28, and March 28, from 9:00 a.m-12:00 p.m.
Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. by appointment only. For appointments call 836-3341. Sponsored by NRS Community Development Federal Credit Union.

Smithfield Library (No more sessions available as of March 19, 2009)
For appointments call 1-888-99-TAX-AL. Sessions will begin on Wednesday, January 21. Free income tax preparation and fast electronic filing for households earning less than $42,000/year with one or more kids or $20,000/year without kids. Sponsored by Youth First, Regions, SaveFirst, and Badham & Buck, LLC.

Brown Bag Program ~ Benjamin Franklin: A Man and His Time

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Benjamin Franklin was no Puritan, but he was also not as modern as we have made him out to be. Join Dr. Brian Steele, UAB Professor, as he explores what made Franklin a man of his time, an era on the cusp of modernity, but with one foot firmly planted in tradition. Wednesday, January 28, 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-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Children's Book Review: Too Many Toys

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After the winter holidays is when my mind is on clearing out the junk that accumulated in my house over the year. Well, it seems like Spencer’s mom has the same idea in Too Many Toys, written by David Shannon, creator of the hilarious Diaper Dave series.

Kids today have way too many toys. It’s hard to appreciate any toy when they're underfoot in every room in the house. Let's hope for your sake that Spencer has more toys than the kids in your life. His toys cover the floor of his bedroom, are piled high in his closet, and are forming a trail down the stairs and into the living room.

Spencer isn’t totally to blame. See, he gets toys from just about everyone he knows and for all occasions: his mom and dad, of course, but also his grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, the dentist, the doctor, and even the teen slacker working the counter at the Kidburger. Sound familiar?

When his mom and dad hop in pain from stepping on jacks and Legos in their bare feet, enough is enough. Spence…

BPL@Night Presents Liang Acrobatic & Comedy Show

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The January edition of BPL@Night will feature the Liang Acrobatic & Comedy Show. Liang, one of China's greatest acrobatic talents, is a native of Wuhan, China. She began studying dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics at the age of 4 with the world-renown Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe. Liang traveled the world with this group to venues in France, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia. She was awarded two gold medals for excellence in international acrobatic competition in Paris and her native China.

After arriving in the USA, she was immediately cast in a Justin Timberlake 'N Sync video. That video was shown on HBO as part of 'N Sync's live concert from New York's Madison Square Garden. Liang has also headlined at the House of Blues, appeared on MTV, ABC, NBC, FOX-TV, and performed at many NBA games. Most recently Liang has starred on NBC's #1 hit show, America's Got Talent and appeared on The Today Show.

Liang loves to travel and perform…

BPL@Night Presents the Birmingham Heritage Band at Springville Road Library

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Baby, it's cold outside, but the Birmingham Heritage Band will be heating up the inside of the Springville Road Library tonight. Members of the Birmingham Heritage Band include Frank Adams, Tolton Rosser, Bill Harris, and Sherman Caesar, among others. Many of these members are seasoned veterans on the music scene, having played with some of the world’s jazz greats.

Event Information
What: BPL@Night Presents the Birmingham Heritage Band
Where: Springville Road Library's Regional Computer Center
When: Thursday, January 15
Time: 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.

BPL thanks Compass Bank for its generous support of BPL@Night. BPL@Night is also made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Library Closed Jan. 19 - Jan. 20

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed January 19 to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also, all BPL locations will be closed January 20 in celebration of the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.

Of course you can still visit BPL's virtual library at www.bplonline.org since it is always available, online and a click away.

Children's Book Review: Someday When My Cat Can Talk (Ages 4-8)

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Caroline Lazo has written a fantasy about a young girl who imagines that her cat tells her incredible tales of travel to distant lands. Someday When My Cat Can Talkis a charming journey from England's coast, to France, Rome, Spain, Greece and Holland. This is a cat on a European vacation!

From the book:

He'll complain about the rabbits
that chased him into Rome.
But he'll rave about the stars that burst
above St. Peter's dome.


He'll recall Vienna's Opera House
and the bird he met backstage.
And he'll tell me why she sings with joy
though locked inside her cage.


The rhythmic verse is accompanied by whimsical illustrations showing the cat hopping aboard a ship and sailing away to visit England's coast, dining on mice living inside palace walls, wearing pointy heel shoes in France and relaxing in a gondola while touring Venice.

The book contains tidbits of information that will inspire children to find out more about each country. Readers who love travel, and especia…

Brown Bag Program ~ A Birmingham Lawman Remembers the Civil Rights Era

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Virgil Ware, age 13, shot at random as he rode on the handlebars of his brother's bike by a white teenager on the same day as the infamous Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing .

Dan Jordan, a retired Captain with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, will share his memories of Martin Luther King Jr. and the investigation into the murder of 13-year-old Virgil Ware. Wednesday, January 21, noon.

See Also:
Virgil Ware - Bham Wiki
"The Legacy of Virgil Ware" - Time Magzine

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-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Correction to the Ben Franklin Autobiography Discussion

Due to the library closing on January 20 for the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, the Birmingham Public Library has rescheduled an important event. The BPL will host a book talk featuring The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin with an appearance by Ben Franklin himself on Monday, January 26. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

Important Information
Event: Ben Franklin Autobiography Discussion
Date: Monday, January 26
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Auditorium at the Central Library
Cost: Free

Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt

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"I will be the first one to finish because I know the most about MLK."
Children of all ages are invited to visit any Birmingham Public Library January 3–18 to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt. Preschoolers are encouraged to locate each of the ten hidden game pieces while older children are encouraged to locate the hidden game piece and complete the fill-in-the-blank activity. Each game piece includes a photo of Dr. King along with an interesting fact. Did you know that Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964?

Participants who successfully complete the scavenger hunt may enter their names into a drawing for a free book about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Each Birmingham Public Library will draw three winners. One of the give-away books is the award winning book, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier.

“Basics of Archives” Workshop at the Birmingham Public Library

“Basics of Archives,” a practical, one-day workshop for those who work with historical records but have little or no archival training, will be presented at the Arrington Auditorium of the Birmingham Public Library in Birmingham, AL, on February 9, 2009. The all-day workshop will run from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and will be led by Ben Petersen and Jim Baggett, department heads of the library’s Southern History and Archives Departments.

In the workshop, participants will learn what makes historical records historical; how to take care of historical records so they are preserved and can be used in the future; how to protect historical collections from theft and destruction; where to find out more about caring for historical records, and much, much more.

The Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring the workshop in collaboration with the Mid-Gulf Coast Continuing Education for Archivists Collaborative (MGCCEAC). The MGCCEAC received a three-year grant from The Institute for Library and Museum S…

Mr. Rogers a Sniper?

When browsing the Internet, there is no way to know what you will find.

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SuperSearch is super fast, super smart, and super simple.

College Football Season Ends

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The college football season is officially over. All I can say is "thank goodness for pro football!" The NFL season is winding down as well, but the playoffs will offer many hours of excitement before we get to enjoy the Super Bowl. Congratulations to the Florida Gators on winning their second national championship in 3 years. That makes the Southeastern Conference three-for-three in the national championship game. If you’d like to know what makes Urban Meyer tick, read his biography, Urban’s Way. If you’d like more insight into Southeastern Conference football, check out the new book SEC Football: 75 Years of Pride and Passion. You may also find some interesting items on the Subject Resources guide for Football. Just because the college football season is over, you don’t have to stop reading about it.

Book Review: The Gargoyle

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When our unnamed narrator is recovering in a burn ward from a fiery car crash, his one constant visitor is one he doesn't know but who has known him...for 700 years. Her name is Marianne Engel and she is a patient at the hospital’s psych ward.

Thus begins The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, a love story that moves from the present to the past as Marianne tells the story of how they first met at the Engelthal monastery in Germany. He was a mercenary brought to the monastery to die from burns and an arrow wound sustained in battle; she was a brilliant, young scribe who had been left abandoned as a baby on the monastery doorsteps. She immediately starts regaling him with stories of how they met, loved, sacrificed, and died.

The present-day Marianne is a beautiful sculptress who frees gargoyles from blocks of stone because they call out to her. She takes the narrator into her home and nurses him back to health and sanity as she falls deeper into insanity. But is she insane? And did they re…

Register to Win Tickets to Disney's Imagination Movers

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Visit any Birmingham Public Library location January 12 through January 31 and register to win a free family four-pack of tickets to see Disney’s Imagination Movers live in concert at the Alabama Theater on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 3:00 p.m.

In September 2008 Disney Channel debuted a new television series featuring Rich, Scott, Dave, and Smitty as blue-collar brainstormers working hard to solve “idea emergencies” in their Idea Warehouse, a clearinghouse of infinite inspirations. Through songs, stories and skits, Imagination Movers move kids to exercise their bodies and brains.

Movers audio and video encourages kids to “reach high, think big, work hard and have fun!” The Movers themselves are leading by example as they captivate new fans daily with their winning sound and style.

See what the Imagination Movers are all about:

Brown Bag Program ~ Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

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Join us as we explore the life and times of one of the best known of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin. Plan to visit the exhibit before or after the program. Wednesday, January 14, 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-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Donald Edwin Westlake Dies At 75

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Mystery writer Donald Edwin Westlake, lauded as "master of comic capers" by The New York Times, died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 75. This successful author, specializing in crime fiction, has written over 100 books, five screenplays, and was the recipient of three Edgar Awards, the most prestigious award in the genre. In 1993, he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. He won an Academy Award for a screenplay adaptation of The Grifters. Interestingly and surprisingly, these works were completed on manual typewriters.

Donald Westlake was an American novelist, and was born on July 12, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He has written over 100 novels and non-fiction books during his career that lasted more than half a century.

His books were characterized by quick dialogue, humor and fast-paced plots. He wrote under such pseudonyms as Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt and Edwin West. His first novel, The Mercenaries, appeared in 1960. His most famous ch…

BPL to Host an African-American Genealogy Workshop

Frazine Taylor will conduct a workshop on “African American Resources at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.” This workshop will be held in the Arrington Auditorium from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. There is a fee of five dollars and pre-registration in required. Please contact the Department of Southern History and Literature at 226-3665 to register.

Frazine K. Taylor has over twenty years experience as a librarian, archivist, lecturer, and writer and has received numerous awards during her career including Employee of the Year from the Alabama State Employee Association. She is the Head of Reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) and is an expert on Alabama records at ADAH.

Ms. Taylor is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. She is the President of the Elmore County Association of Black Heritage, Chair of the Black Heritag…