Showing posts from July, 2009

BPL@Night Presents Foxxy Fatts

With his trademark toothpick hanging from his lips, Foxxy Fatts guides his band. An Alabama Music Hall of Fame and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, Fatts began drumming around 8 years of age. The unique blend of rock, R & B, fussion jazz, swing and Motown played by this multi-dimensional performer is not to be missed. Music Preview 1 from Music Preview 2 from Event Details What: BPL@Night Presents Foxxy Fatts When: Tuesday, August 4 Where: Five Points West Regional Library Time: 6:00 p.m. Cost: Free 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 .

Book Review: The Help

"Do you ever wish you could...change things?" - Skeeter to Aibileen My family never had domestic help because we were too poor. But I always imagined that though there might be some racial or class conflict, the black and white ladies who run a household elbow-to-elbow would somehow share a mutual respect for one another. According to Kathryn Stockett’s The Help , I was both right and wrong on this perception, but, boy, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong! The Help is the story of three women: Skeeter, a white graduate from Ole Miss who still lives at home under the genteel and critical thumb of her DAR mother; Aibileen, a proud, educated black woman who has raised 17 white children but lost her only son to a work accident; and Minny, a short, fat firecracker of a woman who has a hard time finding domestic jobs because her reputation for sass precedes her. These women come together when Skeeter proposes that they co-author an anonymous book about what it’s like for a black woman to w

Birmingham Public Library to Host Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Central Alabama for BPL@Night

The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Central Alabama. MYOCA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization which was founded to awaken and nurture a passion for music in children. Students of diverse racial, social, cultural, and economic backgrounds are encouraged to explore and cultivate their musical talent and contribute to Alabama's musical culture. The organization’s goal is to make music instruction and ensemble playing available to all, thereby developing character and sense of community. The orchestra finds its roots from a similarly-conceived group in Venezuela, El Sistema. CBS featured this groundbreaking concept on 60 Minutes. The segment captured how children's mental processes change when they learn to make music. Studies of students in the El Sistema music program have shown them to have "marked improvements in academic performance, self-esteem, leadership qualities, and social integration". The founder of El Sistema

Brown Bag Program: Me & Blue: A One-Man Band Show

Me & Blue features Jerry Ryan and his sidekick Blue in an original one-man band show. His repertoire includes wide-ranging songs from the Big Band Era , classic rock ‘n roll tunes from the '50s and '60s, a little bit of Buffet , a few Elvis favorites, and a whole lot of fun. Wednesday, August 5, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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.

Author E. Lynn Harris Dead at 54

Author E. Lynn Harris , bestselling novelist, died Thursday night, July 23 at 54. He introduced millions of readers to the life of African-American homosexual men. Through writing, he was able to deal with his depression over hiding his homosexuality. He sold more than three million copies of novels concerning African-American professionals in dramatic circumstances. According to Publisher’s Weekly Alissa Quart, he was “the bestselling African-American male novelist of the 90’s.” Harris’ series of novels focused on affluent African-American male professionals who were complex characters in dramatic romances. His tales featured African-American men who dated women, but also carried on hidden relationships with other men. His first novel, Invisible Life , was semi-autobiographical and was initially rejected by several publishers. Harris decided to self-publish the novel by using his own savings and money raised from AIDS organizations. This novel was a metaphor for the hidden life of cl

27 Up, 27 Down

Mark Buehrle just added his name to the history books by pitching a perfect game on Thursday for the Chicago White Sox . Buehrle is just the 18th pitcher in major league history to pitch a perfect game. Randy Johnson was the last pitcher to do so back in May 2004. Buehrle is also one of the few pitchers in major league history to pitch both a no-hitter and a perfect game during his career. His no-hitter came against the Texas Rangers in April 2007. One of the team's biggest fans, President Barack Obama , called to congratulate Buehrle during his post-game press conference. Buehrle joked later about the 30-second phone call made by the President. His teammates contributed greatly to his achievement, including a spectacular catch by centerfielder Dewayne Wise in the top of the ninth to save a home run. The White Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0. Drop by the library to check out some of the new books on baseball: A-Rod : the many lives of Alex Rodriguez / Selena Roberts As they s

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Birmingham's Big Table Poets Recite from Einstein at the Odeon Cafe

Listen to some of Birmingham's finest poets recite work from the soon-to-be-released anthology, Einstein at the Odeon Cafe . Einstein at the Odeon Café offers readers (and listeners) an unexpected look at Einstein's life through verse. Poems portray Einstein, not at the blackboard struggling with his equations, but smoking cigars in a Swiss café, “dreaming always of light.” In a variety of poetic styles, hear about the Einstein who gave up his first daughter Elise for adoption, a daughter who has been lost to history ever since. Wednesday, July 29, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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.

Two Popular Children's Classics Coming This Fall to a Theater Near You

Exciting movie news for all the, er, kids out there. Kids with wonderful parents who will selflessly offer up their precious weekend time and hard-earned cash this fall to take their darlings to the theater to see two great children's books reborn as feature films. Don't say we never do anything for you; sacrifice is our middle name, you know. September 18 is the projected opening date for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs . It stars the voices of Anna Faris , Neil Patrick Harris , James Caan , Andy Samberg , Tracy Morgan , and Mr. T . Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 1978 book written by Judi Barrett about the "lucky" town of Chewandswallow whose citizenry don't have to grow, harvest, cook, or buy their food. Soups and beverages rain down on them, mashed potatoes blanket them like snow, and all is fine and dandy until changes in the weather pattern pelt them with giant meatballs and smother them with Paul Bundy-sized pancakes. Will they escape with their

Frank McCourt Dies at 78

Frank McCourt , author of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Angela's Ashes , died on Sunday, July 19 from cancer at 78. McCourt wrote with warmth, sensitivity, compassion and humor despite his tragic Irish Catholic childhood. His youth was filled with hunger, squalor, disease and touched by tragedy at such a young age. McCourt has written "When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive it all." We too might wonder how he managed to survive. Frank McCourt was born to Irish immigrants, Angela and Malachy McCourt, on August 19, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. The family later fled to Limerick, Ireland and found themselves in deeper poverty because of the Great Depression. Three of the family's seven children died. Malachy McCourt, the alcoholic father, left the family to survive on their own. Frank McCourt later wrote about his poverty stricken childhood in Angela's Ashes. The book sold over 4 million copies, has been published in 27 countries and has

40 Years Since the Eagle Landed

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon after floating down the steps of the lunar module, Eagle. After having been awake for 24 hours and in the excitement of the historic moment, he flubbed what was to become the most famous line ever spoken: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He claimed that he had meant to say, "That's one small step for a man...," but that static muffled the "a." But no matter. What did matter was that the people Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins left behind in gravity's embrace witnessed the most astonishing scientific achievement in man's history, then and now. Below are some new books at BPL that mark the historical occasion of the first moon landing. Click on the images to be launched to the catalog. Links: All About the Moon (Gr 4-7) This splash page presents links to a plethora of nontechnical moon-related

Birmingham City Schools Registration Schedule

Still need to register your child for the upcoming school year? Thankfully, it's not too late! The Birmingham City School System is having late registration Monday, July 27 through Thursday, July 30. Contact your child's school for additional information. The first day of school is Friday, August 7. Information from the Birmingham City Schools Website : "Most parents and legal guardians should go to their children's schools to register them. This includes kindergarten students, students who are returning to the same school, students who are making the transition to middle or high school and students with approved first-time transfers. The registration schedule is: Monday, July 27 - 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 - 8 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 - 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30 - 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register, parents must prove residency by providing a deed or lease

Graphic Novel Review: Ythaq - The Forsaken World

Graphic novel readers tend to fall into two camps: fans of American comics, and fans of Japanese manga. There is, however, another major source of quality comics that has until recently been largely ignored in the U.S. – namely, France. To correct this oversight, Marvel Comics has entered into a partnership with French publisher Soleil to bring some of the best and brightest works of French comic art to American shores. Of the joint Marvel/Soleil ventures to come out so far, the most enjoyable has been Ythaq: The Forsaken World . Written by Christophe Arleston and illustrated by Adrien Floch, Ythaq tells the story of the survivors of the ill-fated space cruiser Comet’s Mist after it crashes on a mysterious uncharted planet. Astronavigator Granite Welgoat (recently demoted to barmaid), ship’s maintenance worker Narvarth and snooty upper-crust passenger Callista find themselves on their own in unexplored territory and have to rely on the help of a motley group of memorable nativ

Birmingham-born Author Paul Hemphill Dies

Noted author Paul Hemphill died of oral cancer Saturday at the age of 73. He was born in Birmingham in 1936, and graduated from Woodlawn High and received a B.A. degree from Auburn University. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1964 to work at the Atlanta Times . He was later hired by the Atlanta Journal where he wrote a column six days a week, modeled after the writing style of Jimmy Breslin, whom he admired for his "taut 1,000-word human dramas." In 1970 Hemphill left newspapers behind and wrote his first novel, The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music (1970). This was to be a subject he successfully returned to in 2005 when he wrote the acclaimed biography of Hank Williams, Lovesick Blues: the Life of Hank Williams . Along with country music, Hemphill also loved sports. He wrote about baseball and bowling at his newspaper jobs, and even played minor league baseball in Florida and Kansas. Books on his favorite sports include The Heart of the Game (1996), Wheels:

Brown Bag Lunch Program: The Tale of the Iron Man

"Two Boys Looking Up at Vulcan," courtesy of BPL Digital Collections The Seasoned Readers is a spin off from the local acting troupe The Seasoned Performers . They will be reading/performing "The Tale of the Iron Man," the “up and down and all around” saga of Vulcan's first 100 years. The story is an original creation by local author and storyteller Lee Shackelford . Wednesday, July 22, noon Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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.

Coming July 21, 2009 to Central's Fourth Floor Gallery: New Quilt Zone by Aisha Lumumba

Atlanta artist Aisha Lumumba became interested in quilting at an early age after watching her elders make quilts. She started her first quilt at 18 and has been quilting for more than 20 years. Ms. Lumumba is a member of the Brown Sugar Stitchers Quilt Guild and Barack and Michelle Obama are among her many fans. The Birmingham Public Library will host the exhibit New Quilt Zone beginning Sunday, July 21 through Friday, August 28. There will be a reception for O.B.A. Quilts on Sunday, August 9 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Board Room on the 4th floor of the East Building at Central Library . Once In a Blue Moon

BPL's Successful Ready to Read Program to Be Featured at ALA

The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Janine Langston and the Birmingham Public Library to participate in the 2009 Diversity and Outreach Fair at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. For several years Birmingham Public Library partnered with The Literacy Council to match tutors trained by the Literacy Council with learners. Once matched, the tutors and learners met at a convenient public library. Unfortunately, there were more learners who needed tutoring than available tutors. A waiting list for tutors began. As a result, BPL has created a new way to serve the learners with the Ready to Read program. Click on the poster for a list of locations, dates, and times. This arrangement has turned out to be quite successful for everyone involved. After one year, the Literacy Council assigned a VISTA volunteer coordinator to the project. Also, at this time Lawson State Community College joined the partnership by writing and securing a federal grant. Books, lap

Brown Bag Lunch Program: China and Japan Revisited: The Newly Redesigned Asian Galleries at the Birmingham Museum of Art

After being closed for more than two years, the Chinese and Japanese galleries at the Birmingham Museum of Art are completely renovated and open to the public. Dr. Donald Wood, PhD, Senior Curator and Curator of Asian Art, gives an illustrated talk about the redesigned galleries, where you will find beautiful old favorites as well as some exciting new treasures! Wednesday, July 15, noon. Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch 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: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (ages 4-8)

We've all heard that the "pen is mightier than the sword" and "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," well in Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin , Farmer Brown learns firsthand just how true these adages are when his cows find a typewriter in the barn and demand better treatment. When Farmer Brown first hears the click-clack sounds coming from the barn, he tries digging out the wax buildup in his ears because cows can't type! But these cows can, and they nail their demands on the barn wall: Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows Farmer Brown will not give in to their demands, so they go on strike and withhold their milk. It's not long before the hens feel the chill in the barn and join the strike. This puts Farmer Brown in a tizzy because every fool knows you can't run a farm with no milk and no aiggs ! So he dusts off his own typewriter and bangs out a letter remind

Nathifa Dance Company to Bring West African Dance to North Birmingham Regional Library

BPL @ Night presents the Nathifa Dance Company , which will entertain patrons of all ages with an exciting program of West African dance and drumming at the North Birmingham Regional Library on Tuesday evening, July 7. Founded in 1994, this dance company was the first Birmingham African-American troupe to offer training in West African dance and drumming to children and young adults. The stated purpose of the dance company is to serve as a vehicle for artistic enrichment and expression while educating and empowering youth to explore their human potential for personal growth and social integration. Please join us for an entertaining evening of West African dance and drumming, performed by the talented young people of the Nathifa Dance Company. Details Where: North Birmingham Regional Library Auditorium 2501 31st Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35207 When: Tuesday July 7, 2009 6:30 p.m. BPL@Night has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National En

A Tennis Match for the Ages

If you love tennis, you should still have a smile on your face after yesterday’s Wimbledon men’s final. Forget about Roger Federer , how amazing was Andy Roddick ? Sure, Roger Federer now holds the men’s record for most grand slam titles (15). Yes, he is one Wimbledon title away from tying Pete Sampras’ win record (7). This win also placed him on the short list of people who’ve won the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season. But what about A-Rod, in this case, Andy Roddick? This is the third straight year that we have had an epic Wimbledon men’s final. In 2007, Federer battled Rafael Nadal for five sets to clinch the win with a 6-2 victory in the fifth set. Tennis fans begged for more, so in 2008, Federer battled Nadal again for five sets in a match that lasted nearly 5 hours. It was the longest grand slam final in history. Nadal finally prevailed in the fifth set 9-7. If you want to see a grown man cry (Federer), watch the footage of the trophy presentation. I have been worrie

Pat Conroy Alert: South of Broad

South of Broad is Pat Conroy 's first novel since Beach Music was published 14 years ago. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad is the story of Leopold King, the son of a father who teaches high school science and a mother who is the school's principal. When his brother commits suicide at the age of 13, Leo finds solace in a tight-knit group of high school friends that remain close through their diverse and turbulent adulthoods. The novel spans the decades from the counterculture of the 1960s through the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Pre-reserve your copy today . South of Broad is Conroy's third novel that deals with the suicide of a character. In Conroy's The Prince of Tides and Beach Music , a sister attempts suicide and a wife succeeds at it. Pat's brother, Tom, killed himself at age 33, and a sister was hospitalized for mental illness. All of Pat Conroy's books pull from his dysfunctional but interesting life, which makes for some good reads: Th

Brown Bag Program: Digital Photography Basics

If you have been thinking about going digital with your photography, then this is the program for you. Richard Manoske, BPL staff member and avid photographer, will demonstrate the techniques involved in making and using digital pictures. Wednesday, July 8, 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.

Historic House Research Workshop at Central Library

E.P. Rosamond residence, Norwood, 1910 courtesy of BPL Digital Collections The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a workshop sponsored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Birmingham Historical Society on historic house research. Attendees will learn how to conduct research on historic dwellings in Birmingham and Jefferson County including resources at BPL and requirements for historic designations. Presenters will be Linda Nelson with the Jefferson Co. Historical Commission, Jim Baggett with the Birmingham Public Library, and Jason Kirby with the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Also attending will be authors Cathy Criss Adams and Marjorie L. White to discuss their research and sign books. Details What: Historic House Research Workshop Where: Central Library , Arrington Auditorium Date: Saturday, July 18 Time: 9:30 a.m. Cost: Free