Showing posts from January, 2010

Nonfiction Book Review: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

William Kamkwamba 's story, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind , shows the power of books to influence lives. Kamkwamba grew up in Malawi, a country where magic, instead of science, ruled people and their behavior. Poverty, disease and starvation were common among villagers. He dreamed of gaining entrance into one of Malawi's top boarding schools and studying science. Tragically, he could not attend because a famine left his country in trouble. The family farm was left impoverished and his people were left destitute. Kamkwamba's determination led him to accomplish his dream. He studied independently now that he could no longer attend school. He spent time studying books on geography, social studies and basic spelling. He began with curiosity, an idea, science books, creativity, as well as a strong drive to do something for his family. Kamkwamba desperately wanted to find a way to bring electricity and water to his village because of droughts. He writes that one book in particu

Louis Auchincloss Dead at 92

Louis Stanton Auchincloss died Tuesday, January, 26 at age 92. He was a highly prolific author of both fiction and nonfiction. James Auchincloss, the author's grandson stated that the author died Tuesday, one week after suffering a stroke. Louis Auchincloss was born in New York in 1917. His grandmother knew Edith Wharton and his father was a Wall Street lawyer. Auchincloss was the son of privilege and therefore had the background to write novels about upper-class society. He was the son of a highly successful attorney and was able to attend the exclusive Groton School and Yale University. Lawyer and author Louis Stanton Auchincloss was a highly prolific novelist of elite society, including works of social manners and New York's "old-money" aristocracy. In this regard, he succeeded Edith Wharton in penning insightful novels about New York's highly successful. His primary topics for novels were manners, family, money and marriages, as well as the language and arts

J.D. Salinger Dead at 91

Jerome David Salinger died at his home on January 27, 2010 in Cornish, New Hampshire. His literary agent announced his death, saying it was of natural causes. His literary talent rested on a small collection of highly influential works including the novel The Catcher in the Rye , the collection Nine Stories , Franny and Zooey , and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction . J.D. Salinger was best known for his 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye , as well as for his reclusive nature. Catcher was Salinger's most famous and controversial work. This American author gave his last interview in 1980 and published his last original work in 1965. Jerome David Salinger was born in Manhattan on New Year's Day in 1919. He attended a progressive school on the Upper West Side but was never much of a student. Young Salinger reported to the admissions office that his interests were dramatics and tropical fish. After two years he flunked out and was sent to Valley Forg

Graphic Novel Review: Fahrenheit 451

"A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it." - Fireman Beatty, speaking to Guy Montag Ray Bradbury's famous novel about book-burning firemen is a 20th Century classic that needs little introduction, and has in fact become something of a sacred text among librarians. One thing that reading it over again makes clear, though, is that it is not a science-fiction novel about some future dystopian society where reading is supressed by a tyranical government. It's a book about the present , whether that's 1953 or 2010, and the impulse of a lazy, distracted society not just to censor that which is uncomfortable or disagreeable, but to willingly turn a blind eye to the accumulated knowledge of centuries in favor of fast cars, big TVs, and feelings of personal security against a backdrop of constant war. Sound familiar? It seems ironic that Bradbury would authorize a comic book version of his work, seeing that comics were what replaced books in the film b

Free Tax Return Preparation on EITC Awareness Day

In addition to offering tax forms and assistance , the Birmingham Public Library is hosting EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) Awareness Day 2010. Friday, January 29, 2010 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM During this event, the IRS is offering FREE tax return preparation for those with income under $49,000 at: Five Points West Regional Library 4812 Avenue W Birmingham AL 35208 For additional information call 205-912-5215

You Are Cordially Invited to A Walk Through the Seasons with Wild Flowers Gallery Talk

Take a walk through the calendar year in southeastern wild flowers with botanical artist Linda Fraser. Her paintings will be on view in Central's Fourth Floor Gallery from January 5–February 11, 2010. Linda will present a gallery talk in the Fourth Floor Gallery on January 24 at 3:00-5:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. The exhibit, talk, and reception are free and open to the public. For a preview of Fraser's work, visit her Website at .

Caldecott and Newberry Winners Announced

The 2010 Caldecott and Newberry Award winners have been announced. The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney won the Caldecott and When You Reach Me by Rebbecca Stead won the Newberry. 2010 Honor Books Caldecott: All the World by Marla Frazee Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Color by Joyce Sidman Newberry: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick Visit the Kids Catalog for links to these winning children's books.

Brown Bag Program: BAMA Performs

The Birmingham Art Music Alliance is an autonomous nonprofit organization with the twofold mission of promoting music by Alabama composers and presenting concerts of recently created art music to communities in Birmingham and beyond. Members include local composers, professional performers, students, and enthusiasts who wish to preserve and maintain the long tradition of music as a living art form. Join us for a performance by members of this talented group. Wednesday, January 27, 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.

Love Story Author Erich Segal Dead At 72

Erich Segal , author of the incredibly popular 1970 novel, Love Story , died January 17 of a heart attack at his home in London. He had battled Parkinson's disease for 25 years. His funeral services were held in London on Tuesday, January 19. Erich Segal was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937, and was the son of a Rabbi. Erich studied languages, including Hebrew, at an early age and became fluent in German,, French, Latin and Greek. He graduated from Harvard in 1959 with a masters in classics, and in 1965 with a doctorate in comparative literature. Mr. Segal taught Greek and Roman Literature at Yale University, as well as classics at Princeton and Dartmouth. His classes were among the most popular at Yale, reportedly drew large crowds and were rated top performances by his students. His first screenplay was the highly successful Yellow Submarine . He collaborated with the Beatles to create the animated 1968 Beatles film Yellow Submarine while publishing Greek tragedy and Latin po

Mystery Writer Robert B. Parker Dead at 77

Robert B. Parker died Monday in his home while sitting at his desk. He was 77. One critic described Parker as "the best American hard-boiled detective fiction since Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler." Although Parker wrote four different detective series, he is most famous for the "Spenser" series about a Boston detective who solves crimes while surrounding himself with colorful characters. Parker was going to name his detective David Spenser, but didn't want to make his other son feel left out so Spenser's given name is not revealed. Parker's wife, whom he met when they were toddlers at a birthday party, was a major influence in his life. Together they created a film company based in Boston, and they shared a nomination for best script for their collaboration on B.L. Stryker . His career as novelist didn't begin until Joan urged him to complete his Ph.D. and get a job in the teaching field so he would have more time for his writing. The Godwulf

Big Read Poetry Contest Deadline Extended to January 22

As part of the state-wide Big Read, the public libraries of Jefferson County are sponsoring two poetry contests: 1) a Word Up! poetry slam for high school students and 2) a written poetry contest for middle-school students. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore the importance of reading in American culture. We will be encouraging everyone in the state to read and discuss The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain . The Word Up! poetry slam deadline has passed, but there is still time to participate in the written poetry contest. For details on entering the written poetry contest for middle school students (grades 5-8), visit . The deadline for schools to sign on to participate in the written poetry contest is January 22, 2010. Schools wishing to participate in the contests should call 226-3670 or e-mail Haruyo Myagawa at by the designated

Cat Faces

Children say "Meow" after getting their faces painted during the Cat Tales storytime at Springville Road Library. Join us for Hoo-ray for Storytime every Wednesday morning at 10.

Family Involvement Program Information Fair

Birmingham City Schools Family Involvement Program You are invited to come and join us at the 2010 Information Fair. The purpose of this fair is to provide detailed information of services available in the community. Who should attend: All families of the Birmingham City Schools, BCS Staff Members, and BCS Counselors are invited to attend When: Friday, January 29, 2010 Where: Davis Center Auditorium 417 29th Street South Time: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided from 11:50 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. with a special guest speaker. Agencies that will be present and topics of discussion: Alabama Grief Support Services, Inc. ALL Kids Insurance Birmingham Police Department Project S.A.F.E *Community Diversity Crisis CenterCyberspace/Internet Safety Department of Human Resources-Family Assistance ProgramExchange Club Family Skills Center Family Connection Inc.-Project HOPE GED Preparation Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama Greater Birmingham Ministries IMPACT Family Counseling JCCEO-C

BPL@Night: Conversations on Art, Authors, and Life

As a part of the Birmingham Public Library’s newest series in 2010, “BPL@Night Presents Conversations on Art, Authors, and Life,” the library will begin with the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Series.” The panel for this program will discuss the theme, "Is a Generational Gap Holding Birmingham Back?" The panel, led by Dr. Tondra Loder-Jackson, consists of an all-star cast of local leaders, including the following persons: Dr. George T. French Jr. , President, Miles College (Education/Religion) Mr. Cedric Sparks Sr. , Executive Director, City of Birmingham's Division of Youth Services (Government/Youth Development) Dr. Karen Starks , Executive Director, Community Entrepreneurship Institute, Inc. (Business/Youth Development) Rev. Lee Wendell Loder , Esq., Gift Corps Ministry & Former President of the Birmingham City Council (Religion/Political Life) Ms. Kate Neilsen , President, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham The panel will discuss two key “reflection questions”:

Brown Bag Lunch Program: The Real Deal on Reverse Mortgages

Have you ever heard of a reverse mortgage ? Do you know what one really is? Join us for a look at the facts about how these mortgages work and how they might be a possible alternative for older adults. Wednesday, January 20, 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.

Book Review: Leaving Gee's Bend

"Mama always said every quilt tells a story. Every piece of cloth, every stitch and every bit of cotton stuffed between the seams tells a secret about the one who made the quilt." ~Ludelphia Bennett Leaving Gee's Bend , by Alabama author Irene Latham , is a touching tale, set in 1932, of Ludelphia Bennett, a young girl who lives in the small African-American sharecropping community of Gee's Bend, Alabama. The community of Gee's Bend is filled with strength, dignity and spirit. Some residents believe in superstitions and some even believe that witches live in Gee's Bend. Ludelphia is blind in one eye but discovers that she can completely forget about the world when she quilts. In fact, wherever she goes, she sees colors and fabrics that she can use in quilts. Her mother is very sick so Ludelphia decides to travel forty miles from Gee's Bend to a community for a doctor's help. During her travels, she finds that life is completely different from life in t

Grant Resources for Nonprofits - The Foundation Center

What is the Foundation Center? The Foundation Center is the leading authority on connecting grant-seeking nonprofit organizations with philanthropic institutions and providing them with tools they can use and information they can trust. Established in 1956, the Foundation Center supports a nationwide network of Cooperating Collections, such as the one at Birmingham Public Library, that provide under-resourced populations with the tools and training needed to connect with those willing to provide funding for their endeavors. What is BPL’s Cooperating Collection? The Cooperating Collection , located in the Government Documents Department at the Central Library, provides free public access to grantmaker directories, books on fundraising, and information on managing nonprofit organizations. Also available is free access to the Foundation Directory Online , which contains more than 99,000 profiles of grantmakers, 1.6 million records of recently awarded grants, and much more. Trained staff

Grub Down

Walker Cole shows his "pet" chameleon to Gizmo the Leopard Gecko during Grub Down at Springville Road Library. His sister Maggie looks on. During the program, children learn about the animals, watch the staff feed them, and even pet the animals. Grub Down is held every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Springville Road Library Children's Department.

Staff Pick: Chester (ages 4-8)

My son is in the mischievous and stubborn stage, so it's no surprise that he has fallen in love with a fat, yellow cat who rules the pages of Chester with a touch of sass and a red Magic Marker. Chester is self-centered and likes to take credit for work he didn't do. When it's as easy as marking out someone's name, why not? Melanie Watt begins her book about an unassuming little mouse with: "Once upon a time there was a mouse. He lived in a house in the country." But then Chester starts marking up the page: "Then the Mouse packed his bags and went on a trip very, very far away and we never saw him again!" He even draws a circle around Mouse, attaches him by dashes to an airplane, and sends him out of the country. "Hasta la vista, Mousie!" While Mouse is away, Chester takes over his home, labeling things with "MY curtains" and "Chester's chair" and drawing cat ancestors over Mouse's family photos. When M

Community Tagging with Encore

Professional catalogers are important to libraries. They’re responsible for assigning subject headings to all materials so that when you search for “resumes” on the catalog, up pops a list of resume books and media. But if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hmmm, I would have used this word to describe that item,” well, now you can. A new feature in Encore allows community tagging for every item in the catalog. For example, for a book as big as Stephen King’s The Stand , “biological warfare” is the sole subject heading listed. But readers of this dystopian tome know there’s more to The Stand than biological warfare. So I clicked on ‘add community tag” and added all the words I thought people might use to hunt for this book: captain trips, dystopian fiction, good vs. evil, mother abagail, randall flagg, super flu, the dark man, the walkin’ dude, the free zone. And patrons in libraries all over America are finding unique ways to put community tagging to good use: As a way to highlight

Martin Luther King, Jr. Scavenger Hunt Continues

Children and teens are finding the answers and learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. They are discovering where he was born and when, his most famous words, the law that he worked to pass and many other facts. All who complete the hunt are eligible to win a book about King's life. Here at Smithfield Library is the winner of Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Visit your Birmingham Public Library local branch and join in the fun. The scavenger hunt ends January 15.

Alabama Wins 37-21

Just in case you haven’t heard, the Alabama Crimson Tide won the Citi BCS National Championship game last night by beating Texas 37-21. I don’t know about you, but I think Nick Saban might have something to do with the team’s success. :-) During his first season (2007-08) the team had a regular season record of 6-6. During the 2008-09 regular season, the team finished 12-0. This season, not only did the team go undefeated during the regular season, they won the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship. To take a team from 6-6 to national champions in three seasons is an amazing feat. Roll Tide! Not only that, the SEC has won the last FOUR national championships: Florida (2006-07), LSU (2007-08), Florida (2008-09), and Alabama (2009-10). I wish Colt McCoy could have played the entire game last night because the sportswriters are already saying that Alabama's win has an asterisk . Well, football is a contact sport and injuries are a part of the game. No one would have g

MLK Scavenger Hunt

Children hunt down clues for the Martin Luther King Jr. scavenger hunt at Springville Road. After completing the activity, they are given a prize and can submit their names to win a book about Martin Luther King Jr. Drawings for the books will be done on January 15.

Art Kids

Children use magic color pads to scratch animals and patterns based on "Calabash Cat" by James Rumford. - Via BlogPress

On the Horizon - New Books in February

Horns – Joe Hill Ig Perrish has lived for years under the suspicion that he murdered his former girlfriend. One day he wakes up with a pair of horns and the ability to force people to tell the thruth, and decides to use his new powers to track down and punish the actual killer. Black Hills – Dan Simmons At the famous battle of Little Big Horn, a young Sioux warrior counts coup on the body of the dying General Custer. Afterward, Custer’s spirit haunts the boy for the rest of his life, giving him the ability to see into the past and the future. Brava, Valentine – Adriana Trigiani In this second novel starring shoe designer Valentine Roncalli, the heroine travels to Italy for the wedding of her 80-year-old grandmother. There, she must also deal with her new business partner and falls for a dashing older man. Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah A father’s death reunites a pair of estranged daughters and their Russian-born mother in the countryside of the Pacific Northwest. When Meredith and

Book Trailer: Start Over, Finish Rich

In Start Over, Finish Rich: 10 Steps to Get You Back on Track in 2010 , financial expert David Bach, forecasts that 2010 will be the " Best opportunity for building wealth we have seen in decades ... as the economy recovers , you must be set up to recover with it. " To place a hold on this new book click here.

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Happy New Year with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Join us for a preview of the Symphony’s events scheduled in 2010. The year is full of surprises! Wednesday, January 13, 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.

Hoo-ray for Storytime

Children hold up their craft work after storytime at the Springville Road Branch. All are welcome to attend every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for "Hoo-ray for Storytime." Beginning Thursday, January 7, at 10 a.m., Springville Road will provide a special weekly storytime for tots. "Mother Goose on the Loose" will introduce nursery rhymes, bounce rhythms, and other activities which promote word recognition. - Posted via BlogPress

Resource Spotlight: Oxford Music Online

In the tutorial above, viewers are guided in accessing and using Oxford Music Online. Oxford Music Online offers users the ability to access and cross-search the vast resources of Oxford's music reference in one location. The cornerstone of this database is Grove Music Online which provides the full texts of five music reference titles including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd Edition and The Oxford Companion to Music. Oxford Music Online also features the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, a comprehensive reference work devoted exclusively to popular music. Search and browse capabilities allow users to refine their results by source, and specific era or subject category. Users can also choose to view biographies, subject entries, or images when searching or browsing.

Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series Presents "Is a Generational Gap Holding Birmingham Back?"

The Birmingham Public Library's Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series presents "Is a Generational Gap Holding Birmingham Back?" An intergenerational panel of notable leaders in education, religion, government, business, and civic life will be moderated by Dr. Tondra Loder-Jackson, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham . Details What: "Is a Generational Gap Holding Birmingham Back?" lecture Where: Central Library , Linn-Henley Bldg., Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor When: Tuesday, January 19 Time: 6:30 p.m. Cost: Free and open to the public

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity

Katie has felt a supernatural presence off and on in her life since she was seven. But she has never been harmed and it’s something she just accepted and lived with. But what would happen if Katie moved in with her boyfriend? And that boyfriend confronted this supernatural presence with a camcorder and a Ouija Board? Are you thinking the presence might become aggravated enough to go beyond slamming a door and knocking Katie’s car keys off the counter? This is the chilling premise of Paranormal Activity , a movie that was filmed in ten days for $15,000 and grossed over 9 million the first week of its US showing. The actors were reportedly paid $500 for their time. After Katie moves in with her boyfriend, Micah, strange occurrences start to happen that can’t be easily explained away. Keys moved to a different spot. Forgetfulness? Noises in the night. The ice maker? Lights flickering. Faulty wiring? Micah doesn’t believe there’s a supernatural presence, but he sets up a camcorder to film

BPL@Night Presents Two Suitcases and an Accordion: Traveling with the USO Camp Shows

The Birmingham Public Library is proud to present Two Suitcases and an Accordion: Traveling with the USO Camp Shows , the January 2010 installment of BPL@Night. Dolores Hydock has been a BPL favorite for years. She has performed at library locations throughout the system on a regular basis. In Two Suitcases and an Accordion , Hydock teams up with Barb Sparkes for a unique musical show that tells of Barb Sparkes' adventures in the USO during World War II. In 1944 and 1945, at the age of 18, Barb Sparkes spent 18 months performing with USO Camp Shows at military bases in the US and abroad. For this special performance, Barb herself, now 83, is on hand to tell about that time and play her original arrangements of wartime standards on the library's grand piano. For a sample of Barb's music, visit the Barb Sparkes page at . Barb has just released her third CD, which features her original arrangements of 26 favorite songs, including "Sentiment

Fourth Floor Gallery Exhibit: A Walk Through the Calendar Year

Turtlehead by Linda Fraser Take a walk through the calendar year in southeastern wild flowers with botanical artist Linda Fraser. Her paintings will be on view in Central 's Fourth Floor Gallery from January 5–February 11, 2010. Linda will present a gallery talk in the Fourth Floor Gallery on January 24 at 3:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. The exhibit, talk, and reception are free and open to the public. For a preview of Fraser's work, visit her Website at .

Resource Spotlight:General OneFile

In the tutorial above, viewers are guided in accessing and using General OneFile. General OneFile offers millions of full-text magazine articles from a variety of general and specialized journals – from the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times to refereed academic journals. This database features a variety of multimedia content with images, video, and audio. For example, users can listen to any National Public Radio program, as well as read transcripts, for shows produced by NPR from 1990 to present. Podcasts from government agencies such as the State Department are also available

Book Trailer: Street Game by Christine Feehan

Street Game , the new GhostWalker novel from New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan , has just been released. To read the first chapter click here . To place a hold on this new book click here.

A Quick Tour of Five Points West Library

This fast paced tour of Five Points West Library was created by a class of beginning online video makers. The video was recorded, edited, and published during a free public computer class on learning to make short videos. Each student did part of the recording. You may see some of them in the video itself. Interested in free computer training? Click here for a full listing of Computer Classes Space is limited. Please call the location hosting the class to register.

Adventures at the Library

In the video above, Rosianna reviews books she has checked out, probably once she finished tea. Because that's just what she does. Some of the books mentioned are: Unwind / Neal Shusterman Brideshead revisited / Evelyn Waugh Love, Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli Trickster makes this world : mischief, myth, and art / Lewis Hyde Collected poems / Edna St. Vincent Millay Girls in their married bliss : and epilogue / Edna O'Brien The zigzag way / Anita Desai American Gothic : a life of America's most famous painting / Steven Biel