Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brown Bag Lunch Program: The Creek War, Andrew Jackson and William Weatherford

"Old Hickory" meets with Red Eagle aka William Weatherford

The Creek Civil War is very much a part of Alabama History. The Civil War not only affected the Creek people but also the other Southeastern Tribes as well. Join us as Annie Cooper, member of the Chickasaw Historical Society, tells how the War began, the story of Andrew Jackson and the Creek leader Red Eagle also know as William Weatherford. Wednesday, November 4, 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.

Birmingham Board of Education Seeks Community Engagement

The Board of Education encourages the public's participation in the strategic planning phases to transform Birminhgam City Schools into a world class school system.

click to enlarge

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deadline Looming for Cutest Pet Photo Contest

Fat Cat

You've only got a few days left to send in a photo of your adorable pet. The deadlines is 5:00 p.m. on October 31. Click here for details.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Celebrate Halloween with Three Clever Parodies

There Was An Old Monster (K-2)
Rebecca, Adrian and Ed Emberley

Set to the rhyme of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, There Was an Old Monster is an even grosser tale of how not to remedy the mistake of swallowing something not meant to be consumed. The perpetuation of the monster's bad ideas are comical as he tosses back some ants to take care of the tick, a lizard to take care of the ants, a bat to take care of the lizard, a jackal to take care of the bat, a bear to take care of the jackal, a lion to take care of the bear, who takes care of the monster instead. Three generations of Emberlys collaborated on There Was an Old Monster: Rebecca Emberley wrote the text and co-illustrated with her father, Caldecott Award winner Ed Emberly, and her daughter Adrian recorded a catchy song version of her mom's book.

The Runaway Mummy The Runaway Mummy: A Petrifying Parody (ages 4-8)
Michael Rex

Among beloved children's books, The Runaway Bunny is at the top of the heap. This classic story about a headstrong bunny that tests his mother's love and perseverance by threatening to run away elicits laughs and even a few tears by the end of the story. Michael Rex's send up, The Runaway Mummy, assumes this battle of wills has been going on for thousands of years.

The creatures the Mummy mommy turns into to chase down her "rotten little mummy" are more ghastly than a tree, a mountain, or the wind. Try a sea monster, a fire-breathing dragon (to keep her little mummy warm, of course), a monstrous gorilla, an ancient cathedral, and a sky-high monster with razor-sharp claws (to tickle with, of course).

The Mummy mommy doesn't blink when her boy threatens to turn into a serpent, a gargoyle, a ravenous plant, a huge bat, or a humongous beast, but hear her scream when her little mummy threatens to turn into a little boy who takes karate and learns to play piano, complete with a van-driving mommy who chauffeurs him to Spanish lessons, violin recitals, and chess matches. How would he ever have time to be rotten?

Goodnight, GoonGoodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody (ages 4-8)
Michael Rex

OK. Getting away with The Runaway Mummy is one thing, but parodying Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon with Goodnight Goon is just childhood sacrilege. But it sure is a lot of fun!
In the cold gray tomb
There was a gravestone
And a black lagoon
And a picture of—
Martians taking over the moon
A little werewolf boy puts off sleep by saying goodnight to all the ghoulish things in his room, such as two hairy claws and a set of jaws; and a skull and a shoe and a pot full of goo. And instead of a quiet old lady whispering hush, there's a hairy, old werewolf hollering "boo!" and sticking pins in a voodoo doll while rocking in his chair.

The odd thing is that the Goon rhymes can be just as soothing as the Moon rhymes.

World Series 2009

Philadelphia Phillies New York Yankees
The stage is set. It’s Philadelphia versus New York in a 7-game, no-holds-barred cage match. Oops. Scratch that. It is the Phillies versus the Yankees, but I don’t know where that cage match stuff came from. We all know that baseball is a gentleman’s sport. Yeah right. Tell that to Erick Aybar after A-Rod slid directly into him trying to prevent a double-play during the ALCS. To his credit, A-Rod did help him up off the ground and Aybar made the throw to first. The Yankees haven’t been to the World Series in 6 years and this will be A-Rod’s first World Series. The Phillies are trying to repeat as World Series champions. Sounds like a good matchup to me, but I’m not the baseball expert in the department. He’s a little tied up right now. Cue the ghoulish laughter. Game 1 is tonight in the Bronx. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do a Good Deed and Meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse!

Disney on Ice
Kids, here's your chance to score an invitation to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse and receive a Charity Pass for discounted tickets to Disney on Ice by participating in a food drive to benefit City of Birmingham Youth Services.

How to Participate
  • Receive a Charity Pass for discounted tickets to Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic and an invitation to a special Meet & Greet with Mickey and Minnie on Wednesday, November 4, at 3:30 p.m. in the Central Youth Department Story Castle
  • The Charity Pass allows you to purchase a ticket for weekday performances for $5 and a ticket for weekend performances for $10

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Digging Out of the Great Depression: Federal Programs at Work

Birmingham, 1930
Join us for a look at the new photographic exhibit by Birmingham Historical Society showcasing the Birmingham area's public architecture and landscapes produced in the 1930s. Wednesday, October 28, noon.

More information about the New Deal in Jefferson County, Alabama

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.

Friends of the BPL Library Celebrate

Friends of the Birmingham Public Library logo
This week is National Friends of the Library Week and today the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library are celebrating by serving cake in Central's Atrium during lunch. Come by and get a slice and, if you aren't already a member, take the opportunity to join.

This group provides much support to the Birmingham Public Library by funding the Local Authors Expo, Staff Training Day, and other library projects and events. The Friends also run the bookstore and provide volunteers to staff it.

To see all the great things The Friends do, take a look at their latest newsletter.

And don't forget to drop by for a piece of cake!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Painting Donated to Springville Road Library

Extraordinary Arts for Extraordinary Kids painting
The Mayor's Office on Americans with Disabilities in conjunction with VSA Arts of Alabama sponsored "Extraordinary Arts for Extraordinary Kids" in Linn Park weeks ago. Several city departments were gifted some of the children's paintings. This painting is on its way to grace the walls of the Springville Road Regional Library. Great job, kids!

Author Bob Pasquill Lecture and Book Signing at the Central Library

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama
Have you traveled the road to Pea Vine Falls at Oak Mountain State Park? Stayed in a stone cabin at Cheaha State Park? Visited the Moundville Archeological Museum south of Tuscaloosa? These were built by the CCC, often called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” during the Great Depression.

The CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corps) was one of the federal make-work projects of the era, one that did a lot of good for forests, recreation, and the men for whom it provided short-term jobs. Between 1933 and 1942, an average of 30 camps operated across Alabama. CCC boys helped fight fires, reforest lands, protect the state’s then newly acquired national forests and build roads and recreational facilities in its state parks.

Bob Pasquill, Alabama’s devoted historian of the Civilian Conservation Corp (the CCC), opens the Birmingham Public Library’s showcase of federal programs during the Great Depression. His illustrated talk takes place in the Birmingham Public Library’s Arrington Auditorium at 2 p.m. Brian Rushing of the Freshwater Land Trust will also speak, presenting the continuing legacy of Alabama’s CCC.

The work of the CCC in Alabama will also be highlighted in the Digging Out of the Great Depression-Federal Programs at Work exhibition which opens on November 1 in the Birmingham Public Library Library Gallery.

Pasquill, an archeologist with the U. S. Forest Service, will sign copies of his book The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama, 1933-1942: A Great and Lasting Good at the exhibit in the Library Gallery following his talk.

What: Guest Lecture and Exhibit Opening for Digging Out of the Great Depression-Federal Programs at Work
Where: Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, Linn-Henley, 3rd floor
When: Sunday, November 1
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Chat with Lady Woo at Southside Branch Library

Lady Woo
Express yourself with 95.7 Jamz School of Hip Hop DJ, Lady Woo.


What: Chat with Lady Woo
Where: Southside Branch Library meeting room
When: Wednesday, October 21
Time: 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information contact Deidre Sims at 205-933-7776/


photo courtesy of

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes We Can! Birmingham Community Update Meeting

Yes We Can! Logo
The Birmingham Education Foundation cordially invites you to an important community update on Yes We Can! Birmingham.

Where: Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, 3rd floor Linn-Henley
When: Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Time: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (Meet & Greet, 5:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.)

Light refreshments will be served. Free parking is available in the Central Library parking lot.

Yes We Can! Birmingham & Birmingham Education Foundation

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Storyteller Dylan Pritchett to Entertain BPL in October

Dylan Pritchett Flyer, click to enlarge
Dylan Pritchett (pronounced DIE-lan), a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, has been a full-time storyteller since 1990. He has traveled the country entertaining kids and adults alike with his folktales. He sprinkles his tales with positive messages meant for people of all walks of life.

Dylan is the president of the National Association of Black Storytellers, and was a consultant and narrator of the PBS documentary, Thomas Jefferson: A View from the Mountaintop. He has also loaned his voice to museum recordings and exhibits for the Smithsonian Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Museum of the Confederacy, and many more. He is one of a handful of artists tapped to participate in the John F. Kennedy Center's Performing Arts Partners in Education touring program, leading storytelling workshops to instruct teachers on how to use storytelling in the classroom.

His five-week course teaching middle school students how to write creative stories about women and children, black and white, who lived during the Civil War has been a success across the country, making learning history fun and meaningful.

Scheduled Performances

Monday, October 19
10:00 a.m. – Central
6:30 p.m. – Springville Road

Tuesday, October 20
10:30 a.m. – North Birmingham
12 noon – Titusville
4:00 p.m. – East Ensley
6:30 p.m. – Avondale

Wednesday, October 21

10:00 a.m. – Smithfield
1:30 p.m. – North Avondale
3:30 p.m. – Wylam

Thursday, October 22
11:00 a.m. – Woodlawn
1:00 p.m. – West End
4:00 p.m. – Southside
6:30 p.m. – Central – BPL @ Night

Friday, October 23
10:00 a.m. – Five Points West

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Grim and Bear It

Seasoned Performers logo
Something’s gone terribly wrong in the world of fairy tales. All of your favorite villains get pink slips when the Front Office decides that they are too scary for children. Join the Seasoned Performers as they help the bad guys remind audiences of the importance of familiar stories and the value of wisdom that comes with age. Wednesday, October 21, 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.

Extreme Pumpkin Carving

The Birmingham Public Library owns both of Tom Nardone's extreme pumpkin carving books. Some of his masterpieces are featured in the above video. Last year I carved the Upchuck Pumpkin, and it took several days to scrape the dried up candy corn off my porch. But it was so worth it.

Tom Nardone's Web site

The great song played in the video is "What Else Is There?" by Royksopp

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hand in Paw

Hand in Paw

Come and join us to meet some of our Hand in Paw friends and they will show us how animals help people who are sick or ill feel better!
Location: Avondale Library
Date: Monday October 12, 2009
Time: 6:00 pm
For further information please call Jon Newman 226-4000 or

On the Horizon - New Books in November

Ford County – John Grisham uses seven short stories to paint a picture of the fictional Mississippi county that was the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill.

I, Alex Cross – James Patterson’s most popular detective returns to hunt down the killer who murdered his niece.

Bed of Roses – Nora Roberts, America’s premier romance writer, presents the second volume of her “Bride Quartet” that began with Vision in White, while…

Kindred in Death – J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts’s mystery-writing alter-ego, offers the next installment in the adventures of her heroine Eve Dallas.

Breaking the Rules – Barbara Taylor Bradford tells the story of a woman who moves to New York to reinvent herself and hide from a dangerous past.

Breathless – Dean Koontz delivers another novel of mystery and suspense, this one beginning in the wilds of the Colorado Rockies.

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult, today’s queen of family drama, tells the story of parents struggling to care for a daughter with bone disease.

Rainwater – Sandra Brown turns her eye to historical fiction with this novel set in a Texas boarding house in the Great Depression.

The Gathering Storm – Brandon Sanderson pens the first volume of the three-part conclusion to the late Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time.

Under the Dome – Stephen King returns to familiar territory in this book about a small Maine town that inexplicably becomes cut off from the rest of the world.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Musical Mystery Tour

Sweet Man is Gone
Hear Peggy Ehrhart, author and musician, discuss mystery books with musical themes. Inspired by her book, Sweet Man is Gone, Ehrhart tells the story about the world of a struggling blues band. Wednesday, October 14, 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.

Monday, October 05, 2009

National Novel Writing Month is coming!

Registration has begun for the 11th Annual National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000 word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

National Novel Writing Month is not a contest. It is a challenge. It is a way to motivate your would-be inner novelist to put aside all those other irrelevancies in life (like work and family) and make yourself sit down and write.

While it’s not possible to write a good novel in 30 days, it is possible to write a first draft of a good novel. Quantity Not Quality is the NaNoWriMo motto. In the words of its founder Chris Baty, “The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”

NaNoWriMo has grown from a circle of writing buddies in San Francisco to a worldwide phenomenon. Of the thousands of NanoNovels written so far, at least 30 have eventually seen print, including New York Times #1 Bestseller Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. While publication is the goal for some, NaNoWriMo has given many more aspiring writers something just as valuable: the sense of accomplishment that comes from fulfilling a lifelong creative dream that might not otherwise have seemed possible.

Last year over 120,000 participants signed up and more than 20,000 of them made it across the finish line. Says Chris Baty, “They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”

Feeling adventurous and just a little bit crazy? Sign up today at!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Teens Invited to the 1st Annual Ghoul's Ball

Ghoul's Ball flyerTeens, you are invited to the 1st Annual Ghoul's Ball! There will be music, dancing, games, food, and a costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for the Scariest, Funniest, and Best Literary Character costumes. See you there! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha...

What? 1st Annual Ghoul's Ball
Who may attend? Students in grades 7-12
Where? Central Library, Atrium
When? Thursday, October 29
Time? 7:00-9:00 p.m.

To register call 226-3651.

Teen Talk Backpack Kits Now Available for Checkout

Do you have a teen book group? Are you looking for an easy way to provide copies of exciting books for the group to read and discuss? Teen Talk Backpack Kits include 15 copies of the book, a list of discussion questions, and biographical information about the author. If the book has been made into a movie and a DVD is available, it is included. Teen Talk Kits may be checked out for an extended six week period. Reserve the kits by contacting the Literacy/Outreach Office (322-6371). Titles are:

• Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
• Alabama Moon by Watt Key
• The Boy from the Basement by Susan Shaw
• Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton
• The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (kit includes dvd)
• The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
• The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
• Looking for Alaska by John Green
• Lost and Found by Anne Schraff
• Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson (kit includes dvd)
• Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Vol 1 by Hayao Miyazaki (graphic novel)
• The Pledge by Chandra Sparks Taylor
• The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (kit includes dvd)
• The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake
• Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
• Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper (includes dvd featuring author)
• Tyrell by Coe Booth
• White Lilacs by Carolyn Meyer
• Zach’s Lie by Roland Smith

"Will You Read Me a Story?" Birmingham Public Library Joins Jumpstart's Read for the Record

Jumpstart's Read for the Record is an international campaign to bring preschool children together with valued grownups in their lives to read the same book, one the same day, in communities all over the world. In 2008 nearly 700,000 readers shared the classic children's tale Corduroy. This year's book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Librarians throughout the Birmingham Public Library system will be reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to children on October 8, helping to set a new world record. Call your local branch library to find out when they will be reading.

Clay Public Library Joins JCLC

Clay Library
The Jefferson County Library Cooperative welcomes Clay Public Library (CPL) into the fold. It is the first library to join the cooperative since 1983. CPL had its grand opening October 1 and houses its collection in a renovated historic house.

Location and Hours:
Clay Public Library
7257 Old Springville Road
Pinson, AL 35126
Phone: 680-3812

Monday & Thursday - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday - 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

"New Library Gathers Money and Supporters in Clay, Alabama," The Birmingham News

Additional photos of Clay Public Library

Thursday, October 01, 2009

David Sedaris is Coming to Town

David Sedaris
If you're not one of the lucky ones going to see David Sedaris at the Alys Stephens Center on October 9, then come visit the library for your Sedaris fix. We've got his books, audio CDs and downloadables, and DVDs.

If you've never read him, then I envy you your first time. If you've never heard him live, you're missing a treat. His delivery of his self-deprecating, dysfunctional-family humor is a hoot.

His sister Amy is pretty funny, too.

A fan animates Crumpet the Elf from Santaland Diaries

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