Showing posts from February, 2009

Word Up! Winners 2009

Illyshia Parker, Erika Wade, Kendall Straley Congratulations to Erika Wade from the Alabama School of Fine Arts for winning Word Up! 2009 with her poem "Sowei Girl's Womanhood." Wade was also the winner of last year's Word Up! contest. Kendall Straley of Spain Park and Illyshia Parker of Woodlawn High placed 2nd and 3rd with poems inspired by Portrait of Lady Helen by John Singer Sargent . Word Up! is a poetry contest sponsored by the public libraries of Jefferson County and the Birmingham Museum of Art . This year's contestants got inspiration from one of four works at the museum. Don't miss your chance to see these three ladies perform at this year's Alabama Bound .

Thanks for Partying with Us!

Central staff Elvis Aaron Murphy and Elizabeth Swift serve cake to a lucky patron. Thanks to our patrons and staff for making BPL's Mardi Gras party a success! We hosted over 20 interviews and handed out 25 pounds of beads and hundreds of BPL magnets and coasters. One hundred eighty-five Moon Pies and 225 pieces of cake were served as the sounds of jazz filled the Atrium. A good time was had by all.

Children's Book Review: The Pencil (ages 4-8)

Once there was a pencil, a lonely little pencil, and nothing else. It lay there, which was nowhere in particular, for a long, long time. Then one day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat...and began to draw. Allan Ahlberg 's The Pencil is one adorable book. A lonely pencil gets creative and starts drawing. But human nature is predictable, and eventually the people and even their pets start asking for more and more and more. They want to be named. They want to eat. They want to be drawn in color. They hate their names, their features, their clothing. But how to make corrections? The clever little pencil draws an eraser with a mischievous grin that goes on an erasing rampage through town. It's up to the little pencil to figure out what else he could draw that could wipe out such a devastating threat to his colorful little world and allow his creations to live happily ever after. Too cute! This is my first time reading an Allan Ahlberg book. Seems

An Evening with Thom Gossom Jr.

Enjoy readings and conversation with Thom Gossom Jr., whose career spans television, stage, screen, and now the printed page. Thom Gossom is an actor, writer, and communications professional. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Gossom received his Bachelor of Arts in communication from Auburn University, where he was the second black football player and perhaps the first black athlete to walk on and earn a scholarship in the Southeastern Conference. He later went on to earn a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Montevallo. After a brief time in the NFL and in public relations for Bellsouth, Gossom started his own public relations firm in 1987 to supplement his writing and acting ventures. Gossom is a self-described working actor, having appeared on stage, television, and film. His theatre roles include Fences , American Buffalo , and Glengarry Glen Ross . Film credits include Fight Club , Miss Evers' Boys , and The Chamber . On television he had recurring roles on In th

Brown Bag Program ~ Darkness Into Life: Art

Liberation by Mitzi J. Levin Join us for the photography exhibit Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art . Artist Mitzi J. Levin will share her experiences in developing art for the exhibit, from interviewing survivors to the final creation. Wednesday, March 4, 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.

Staff Pick: Hard Candy (DVD 2005)

Ellen Page, who is so adorable as the knocked up Juno , is slightly less adorable in Hard Candy . Oh, she starts out that way, innocently playing tag with an older man in a chat room, looking as sweet as the chocolate on her bottom lip after she bites into a pastry, but once she has the upper hand in the hook up, she does a scary 180. Jeff Kohlver ( Patrick Wilson ) is a 32-year-old successful photographer. He meets 14-year-old Hayley Stark ( Ellen Page ) online and arranges a meeting at a coffee shop. The flirting that started online continues when they meet, as Lensman319 wipes the chocolate off Thonggrrrrl14’s mouth and licks his finger. He buys her a T-shirt and she suggestively models it for him in the hallway of the coffee shop, and the tension is palpable as the predator toys with his prey. At his comfortable home in the hills, Jeff is still playing it legal, reminding Hayley that she's underage, and while not plying her with alcohol, he's not exactly stopping her either

Mardi Gras Celebration in the Central Library's Atrium!!!

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and the Birmingham Public Library will be celebrating this special day in fine fashion from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in BPL Central's Atrium. We'll have Mardi Gras music, cake, beads, as well as books, CDs, and DVDs for you to check out. You will have the option to tell one of the library's L2 Krewe members what the library means to you, as we will be hosting informal interviews. I'm told that even Elvis will be in the building. In these difficult economic times, the Birmingham Public Library wants to remind you that we serve as a free institution for all people and that no matter what, we will continue to provide the highest quality of library service. So, to paraphrase old Marie Antoinette, let us eat cake in the Central Library's Atrium from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.! Here's an example of some music you may hear if you come marching in (with the rest of the saints, that is):

Songbird Rhymes & Reasons for Every Season

Join us at the Five Points West Library as Mr. J.D. Jackson and Mr. Sam Robinson perform, "Songs that make your heart, soul and mind soar high." Concert Information What: Songbird Rhymes and Reasons for Every Season When: Monday, February 23 Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m. Where: Five Points West Public Library , Auditorium

Judge U.W. Clemon Looks Back

Judge U.W. Clemon recently visited Birmingham Public Library to reflect about his time on the bench and the events that led up to him being appointed the first African-American federal judge in Alabama. In this excerpt, Judge Clemon looks back at his efforts to desegregate Pizitz department store in downtown Birmingham and the Birmingham Public Library .

In the News: Author Terry Pratchett Knighted by Queen Elizabeth

Terry Pratchett , the "master of humorous fantasy," was knighted on Wednesday for his contribution to literature. Pratchett is beloved for his Discworld novels that poke fun at other fantasy/scifi writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien , H. P. Lovecraft , and Larry Niven . This popular series has sold 55 million copies and has been translated into 33 languages since the first one was published in 1983. Like most popular and prolific writers, Pratchett loved reading at an early age, and cites The Wind in the Willows as his favorite childhood book. He wrote his first novel, The Carpet People , at 17. Although not written for children, Pratchett is pleased that his books are popular with them. He knows how important it is to get children to read because "civilization depends on it." Sadly, the 60-year-old Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in November 2008, and the writing of his Discworld series has been affected by it. Alzheimer's is a progressive, incurable

Brown Bag Program ~ Civil Rights Pioneers Stamp

Join us for the annual United States Post Office stamp unveiling that will feature Civil Rights Pioneers . The program will include an array of various speakers. Wednesday, February 25, 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.

BPL@Night @ Avondale Presents Roger Day's Sing Loud, Jump High, and Dream Big

Photo courtesy of Loyd Artists Join two-time Parent's Choice Award winner, Roger Day , for an evening of family musical fun. His music encompasses joyful children's songs that exercise both mind and muscle, body and brain featuring old school rock and roll to new school rap. Concert Information What: Roger Day's Sing Loud, Jump High, and Dream Big When: Tuesday, February 24 Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Where: Avondale Public Library , Children's Department Light refreshments will be served. Contact Carla Perkins for more information at 226-4004 or See Also: Roger Day's Web site 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 .

Roszetta Johnson performs @ BPL

Inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in the early 1980s, Roszetta Johnson has led a successful recording and performing career. Fans from around the world have enjoyed her music, from Vancouver to South Africa to Japan. Join us at the Five Points West Regional Library as this talented singer performs various musical selections. Event Information Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Time: 6:00 p.m. Place: Five Points West Regional Library Cost: Free Click here to listen to a sample of a Roszetta Johnson recording.

Tax Forms and Resources

As a service to the community, the Birmingham Public Library provides copies of current Federal and Alabama tax forms, instructions, and publications. Basic forms are available at most library locations ; a more extensive collection of forms is available in the Government Documents Department in the Linn-Henley Building. FREE Tax Preparation at Avondale, East Lake and Smithfield Libraries Tax forms and instructions may also be downloaded from the Internet. Federal Forms IRS forms and publications State Forms Alabama Department of Revenue Federal and State Tax Forms A list of state and federal tax forms available on the Internet. Maintained by the librarians at Louisiana State University. Birmingham Forms City of Birmingham General Resources Internal Revenue Service (IRS) This governmental site has United States federal income tax forms, information, and tips. Includes warnings about tax frauds and scams, information about filling online, and the ability to track the status of your

BPL Awarded the "We The People" Bookshelf Grant

The Birmingham Public Library received the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) We the People Bookshelf award. The grant award provides collections that promote the theme of “Created Equal,” a theme inspired by the 2009 bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. This special NEH grant will also support public programs in Birmingham’s communities. The collections will be available for checkout at all 20 Birmingham Public libraries. The NEH collaborated with the American Library Association (ALA) in awarding free copies of classic books to 3,000 public and school libraries throughout the United States. Each library received the 17 classic books on the theme of “Created Equal” from the We the People Bookshelf, along with 4 titles also offered in Spanish translation. The We the People Bookshelf is a program that encourages young people to read classic books and explore themes in American history, culture, and ideas. The bookshelf includes a collection of books ranging from pre

Brown Bag Program ~ Of Stories and Poets

Join us for a wonderful time of poetry reading, featuring LaQuita Singleton, author of Nappy Minded Ideology , and storyteller and poet Evelyn Dilworth-Williams, author of Panola: My Kinfolks’ Land and Polishing the Apples Children’s Poetry . Wednesday, February 18, 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.

Book Review: Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (Age 10 - Adult)

Would you like to take a peek inside the White House? Have you ever wondered what takes place behind those walls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Well, I've recently discovered an inspiring and beautifully illustrated book that takes you back in history, so that you can learn about the people who built this building, those who lived in it, and discover some interesting facts that perhaps you did not know. Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out was created by 108 renowned authors and illustrators and the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance . The book is introduced by historian David McCullough . The collection includes essays, poems, short stories, letters, speeches, comics and illustrations. Some of the writings are inspirational, some are humorous, and some are filled with energy and excitement. You will discover that most of the White House inhabitants, including presidents and first ladies, share with us many of the same joys and concerns that we all experience. On

Brown Bag Program ~ Reading Meaning in African Textiles

Join us as Emily Hanna, Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Americas, shares insights into the exhibit Fabric of Life—African Textiles and Quilts from the American South . The exhibit is currently showing at the Birmingham Museum of Art through March 1, 2009. Wednesday, February 11, 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.

Book Review: Contagious

Scott Sigler ’s Infected is such a demented joyride, I was doubtful that he could pull off an equally entertaining sequel. Why did I bother to doubt him? Sigler’s got a cult following for a reason: He delivers. Contagious not only meets my expectations but exceeds them in a book filled with insidious aliens, bursting hosts, and a persistent crew scrambling to stop an airborne invasion. The same players are back for more punishment in Contagious : CIA veteran Dew Phillips; his boss, CIA director Murray Longworth; epidemiologist Margaret Montoya; and my new favorite literary character: the refrigerator-sized ex-linebacker "Scary" Perry Dawsey. It is six weeks later and the team finds itself in the unenviable position of having to stop an even more virulent strain of the virus—a virus that is correcting the mistakes made during the first invasion of earth. Where the initial strain infected hosts with triangles that hatched from bodies, the new strain pairs the triangles wit


Have you heard about the MonoMouse ? Well, the device is an easy to use magnifier that allows people with poor vision to read text easily. The MonoMouse simply plugs into the back of your television, and any text that is placed under the mouse is enlarged on the screen. You can now easily read books, newspapers, magazines, even prescription bottles. Central Library now has two of the devices. The MonoMouse can be checked out for three weeks and renewed once if there are no holds. The MonoMouse can be sent to branch libraries for hold requests. These devices are on trial for three months so let us know what you think. If you would like more information or would like to try the MonoMouse, just ask a librarian or call (205) 226-3600. Take a look at the Bierley Electronic Magnifiers website to find out more about this easy to use device.

1,2,3 Play With Me Registration

1,2,3 Play With Me is an organized time for children (birth through age 3) and their parents/caregivers to play and learn together. Running for four weeks, 1,2,3 Play with Me is a 1 hour and 15 minute program featuring toys, art experiences, books, and play. Please contact one of our Family Place Libraries™ listed below for registration or more information. Avondale Regional Library February 11–March 11 10:30-11:45 a.m. Five Points West Library February 11–March 11 10:30-11:45 a.m. Springville Road Library April 2–April 30 10:30–11:45 a.m. North Birmingham Library April 8–May 6 10:30-11:45 a.m. Family Place Libraries™ are funded in part by a Project Development Grant from the Junior League of Birmingham .

Meet Brave Teen Who Helped Desegregation

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose Come and meet Phillip Hoose and Claudette Colvin at the Five Points West Branch to hear them discuss the true story of a brave teen who helped set the stage for desegregation. Claudette had no traditional social advantages (i.e money, family connections, higher education). Yet as a teen she stood up for what she believed in, and made a difference. Her courageous actions proved that young people can affect change, no matter how the odds seemed stacked against them. Event Information Event: Author Phillip Hoose and Civil Rights Activist Claudette Colvin Place: Five Points West Library Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Time: 4:00 p.m.

Mayor Langford's 2009 State of the City Address

Our friends over at BhamWiki have transcribed Mayor Larry Langford's 2009 State of the City address and made it available online. Read the address in its entirety here .

Connecting Families

Connecting Families is a service provided by selected libraries across Alabama to enable military service families to make free video “telephone” calls to their loved ones who are overseas. Using computers with attached webcams, these families will be able to see each other, some for the first time in months. This service is available at five Birmingham Public Library locations: Central in the Arts, Music, and Sports Department , and at the four regional libraries-- Five Points West , Avondale , North Birmingham , and Springville Road . Using webcams and Skype , military service families can contact a member of the military either overseas or in the U.S. that are registered with Skype. Skype registration is free. Click here to learn more.

New Teen Blog

New Teen Blog Teens stay up to date on new books and CD’s, cool websites, what's happening at the Library, book clubs, author appearances, and more! Click right here to check out the new teen blog.

How the Library Can Help You Find a Job

There’s no denying it; times are tough right now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for December ‘08 was 7.2%. Our national unemployment rate hasn’t been that high since January of 1993 . In times like these, we look for ways to save money, and in some cases, look for jobs. I’m guessing that you already know about saving money by visiting the library for free DVDs, youth and adult programs, and of course, books. But did you know that you can also find help searching for a job at the library? Libraries are able to provide help for every step of this process from searching for jobs, to writing resumes and filling out applications. We can even help you ace the interview. You can visit any Birmingham Public Library for these services, but many can be accessed from the convenience of your own home. If you’re at home, start at our homepage: . Click on subject guides on the top right of the screen. On the next screen, under

Gee's Bend Quilter Visits BPL

Gee's Bend quilter and author, Tinnie Pettway, will speak at three Birmingham Public libraries Wednesday, February 4: North Birmingham Library 10:00-11:00 a.m. Book signing and light refreshments to follow program. Central Library 12:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Brown Bag Lunch Program Book signing to follow program. Five Points West Library 4:00-5:00 p.m. Book signing to follow program.

Word Up!! Spoken Word Contest

Erika Wade, first place winner of the Word Up! 2008 contest, and Word Up! organizer Haruyo Miyagawa High school students (grades 9-12) will celebrate their voices through a spoken word contest sponsored by the public libraries of Jefferson County and the Birmingham Museum of Art . The students will write and perform an original work inspired by a work of art at the museum. The participants in WORD UP! will be the top winners from each school’s contest. This is the second annual contest for the event. The prize for first place is $150, $100 for second place, and $75 for third place. For more information, please visit the Web site at . You may also call 226-3670. Contest Information Event: WORD UP! Spoken Word Contest Place: The Birmingham Museum of Art, Steiner Auditorium Date: Sunday, February 22, 2009 Time: 2:00 p.m.

Need An Answer?

African-American History Month begins today. This is the perfect time to visit our online databases for rock-solid information exploring African American history and culture. The online resources listed below offer primary source documents, photographs, video, maps, chart and tables, and much more! African American Experience African American Studies Center African-American History Online If you have a casual interest, need to help a child with a school report, or want to do scholarly research about African American history and culture, our databases are the place to start.