Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch Program: The Liberators: Eyewitness to Atrocity

Rabbi Ira Flax, retired military chaplain, discusses his camp experiences. Wednesday, April 7, 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Southern Roots Juried Show Canceled

Alabama Illustrated photo
The Southern Roots Juried Show at the Birmingham Public Library Gallery scheduled for April 5 - May 14 has been canceled. The Alabama Illustrated exhibit will continue in the Birmingham Public Library Gallery until May 14.

In the 19th century many Americans received news and learned about the world beyond their home towns by reading illustrated newspapers. Prior to the 1890s, the technology did not exist to economically publish photographs in newspapers, so some publishers employed artists to draw and engrave images. From the 1850s to the 1890s, more than 250 engraved images of Alabama were published in national and international papers. This exhibition contains 30 of those engravings showing Alabama at work, at play, and at war.

Alabama Illustrated exhibit
Fourth Floor Gallery
Central Library
February 13 - May 14, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery

Alabama Book Festival 2010 poster
The fifth annual Alabama Book Festival will be held in historic downtown Montgomery at Old Alabama Town on April 17, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free public event is the state’s premier book festival—with more than 4,000 people from around the state converging in the capital to meet with and hear from their favorite authors and scholars.

A children’s activity area organized by Alabama Public Television is sure to make this a day of fun for the entire family. From children’s authors like Charles “Father Goose” Ghigna to adult favorites like Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, the 2010 event will continue the festival’s tradition of promoting reading and literacy to Alabamians of all ages and backgrounds.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring In Bloom

Birmingham Botanical Gardens FlowersSpring is an excellent time to visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. If you visit later this week, you will see blooming cherry blossoms, irises, hyacinths, daffodils and wildflowers. The weather will be warm and beautiful. Whether you choose to take a walk, jog, or view beautiful flowers in a natural setting, just spend time outdoors. The gardens exist to provide beauty, education, and stimulate curiosity about our natural world. The natural world soothes our spirit, stimulates our mind and expands our interest in the environment. Best of all, it's always free.

Did you know that Alabama's biodiversity is the 5th highest in the United States? (Facts taken from Birmingham Botanical Gardens Website)

Please visit your local library to check out books and other materials relating to flowers and gardening, particularly about gardening in the south. The Central Business, Science and Technology Department, as well as the Botanical Gardens Library both have excellent gardening collections.

For more information, visit the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Website, particularly the Plants in Bloom section of the website.

For even more information, the librarians at Birmingham Public Library have create a Gardening in the South subject guide. Visit today to find out how to create your own backyard showplace.

2010 Alabama Bound Panel

Author Faye Gibbons talks about "How I Read Mark Twain to My Younger Siblings and Thereby Changed Our Lives."

Chandra Sparks-Taylor, author of The Promise discusses "The Importance of Friendships in Tom Sawyer."

Dr Alan Gribben, a Twain Scholar, discusses "Why Tom Sawyer Has Been Overlooked Recently and Why That Neglect Is a Mistake."

Ted Dunagan, author of A Yellow Watermelon, talks about "How I Discovered Tom Sawyer and How It Affected and Inspired Me."

For more see the Panel Questions and Answer session.

Alabama Bound 2010 focused on The Big Read: Alabama Reads. an initiative inspired by the national reading campaign, The Big Read. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Final Four

Final Four logo
It's down to the Final Four: Duke, West Virginia, Butler, and Michigan State. Who could have predicted that only one top seed, Duke, would make it to the Final Four. Kansas lost to Northern Iowa in the second round. Syracuse lost to Butler in the Sweet 16 and Kentucky lost to West Virginia in the Elite 8. Like I always say, that's the beauty of March Madness.

Michigan State has reached the Final Four for the second straight season and the team has redemption on its mind. They lost the 2009 championship game to North Carolina and I'm sure they want to take the trophy home this year. Butler has homecourt advantage by getting to play in Indianapolis. They would love to win in front of the home crowd. Duke hasn't been in the Final Four since 2004 and hasn't won since 2001, so rest assured that Coach K will have his team ready to play. West Virginia last appeared in the Final Four in 1959, so this team, which has already made its mark in school history, is hungry to bring a championship to West Virginia.

The Final Four takes place on April 3 and the championship game is Monday, April 5. The games should be very exciting and I can't wait to see who wins it all. Check out the Basketball subject guide to find books, websites, and other information about the Tournament.

Cinderella : inside the rise of mid-major college basketball
Last dance : behind the scenes at the Final Four
The men of March : a season inside the lives of college basketball coaches
NCAA March madness : Cinderellas, superstars, and champions from the NCAA Men's Final Four

A Surprising Wave

Visit Birmingham Public Library to catch our often surprising wave of services such as free computer training.

This video was created and published during a free public computer class on learning to make short videos. The students worked together to create this video and learned about online video sharing.

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.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Just In... 77 Million People Used a Public-Library Internet Connection Last Year

Mercy. That figure is difficult to fathom. It means more than one-third of all Americans aged 14 and older used a library's computer or wifi access point.

This is according to the first-ever national study on library computer use.

It goes to show us that libraries ARE important. To further illustrate this idea, consider the fact that the library is the only place that accepts everyone into its doors. BPL accepts people of all ages, creeds, religions, races, political affiliations, etc. The public library is still one of the greatest legacies of our country's founders. It is, in fact, democracy in action.

Our hope is that you will continue to support BPL as you have in the past. Last year, the Birmingham Public Library patrons used the 300-plus computers over half a million times.

We still need your support. We are in somewhat perilous times in terms of our funding. Your voice and your support are as important as ever.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama

The Wright Flying School
The Wright Flying School in Montgomery, AL, 1910

In 1910 Orville and Wilbur Wright opened the first ever civilian flight school in the United States in Montgomery, Alabama. Join us as author Julie Williams shares a story not just of airplanes, but of a city in flight staring over the horizon at the shape of its potential destiny. Wednesday, March 31, 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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The  Girl with the Draton TattooI just finished listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (great job of narration by Martin Wenner). This is a fantastic murder mystery with some of the best plot and character development I've seen in thriller fiction in a while.

Lisbeth Salander is a firecracker of a woman whose bad side you do not want to get on. She's a 20-something tattooed goth with a photographic memory and a world-class talent for hacking into computers. These skills serve her well in her job as a part-time private investigator.

Lisbeth's boss gives her an assignment to scour the life of Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist hired to investigate the three-decade-old disappearance and possible murder of Harriet Vanger, a grandniece of the powerful and wealthy Henrik Vanger. Every year on Harriet's birthday Henrik receives a pressed flower through the mail—one of Harriet's favorite hobbies. He assumes they are sent by the killer as a token of torment. In a last ditch effort to bring justice to his niece, the 82-year-old Henrik hires Blomkvist to pore through his family's history and police evidence to see if he can solve the 36-year-old mystery.

The trail Blomkvist and Salander follow is made interesting by the fact that on the day of the murder no one was permitted on or off the island, and a handful of photographs taken earlier in town and on the island after a car accident act as puzzle pieces in solving the crime.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Swedish title is Men Who Hate Women, and there is misogyny and violence visited upon women in this tale, Salander being one of them. But don't worry. She can take care of herself. (The abandoned Salander represents the grown Pippi Longstocking, a beloved Swedish children's literature character. And Pippi, too, can take care of herself.)

Stieg Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack before his Millennium Trilogy was published. The first book along with The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest has sold more than 27 million copies in over 40 countries. Larsson left an unfinished manuscript for the fourth book, and outlines of the fifth and sixth books. There were to be ten books in the series.

The movie version is in limited release in the U.S.


Stieg Larsson's Official Website

Monday, March 22, 2010

BPL@Night Presents Muse of Fire: Scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Muse of Fire performers
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is excited to bring back the popular acting troupe Muse of Fire for its April 2010 BPL@Night program series. Scenes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will be the focus of the program scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2010. The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place.

Muse of Fire, Birmingham’s self-described “deconstructed Shakespeare project,” is known for its “guerilla-style” theater, including unconventional costuming and audience participation. The group will perform Romeo and Juliet in its entirety for the Shakespeare at Sloss Spring Festival production at Sloss Furnaces in May. The unconventional and historic landmark provides an intimate and unusual setting for the troupe’s unexpected interpretations of the Bard of Avon’s masterpieces. This is the fourth year that Muse of Fire has performed at BPL. The previous three years were huge successes. This year’s performance is sure to please as the Muse of Fire brings its innovative and dynamic style to the Library.

To satisfy Birmingham residents’ desire for free enriching cultural programming downtown and in city neighborhoods, and to provide more opportunities for citizens to visit their local library, BPL developed BPL @ Night, a series of evening performances offered free-of-charge at BPL’s Central and branch libraries. The Birmingham Public Libraries that offer the BPL@Night programs attract a diverse audience of community members by presenting a variety of programs highlighting local and regional performers in the various performance arts.

Muse of Fire: Scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Central Library's Atrium
Thursday, April 8
6:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Light refreshments will be served

BPL@Night program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. BPL would also like to thank the Alabama Power Company Foundation for their generous support of BPL@Night.

Census Assistance at Central

Census 2010 logo
Ms. Santana Sanders of the 2010 U.S. Census Office will be on hand in Central Library's atrium to answer any questions library users may have regarding the census. She will be available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 12:00-3:00 p.m. thru April 30.

Woman's Day Magazine Library Contest

Woman's Day Contest
What makes your library special to your community? How does it enrich the lives of you and your neighbors? Tell us about it in an essay of 700 words or less. Up to four women’s stories will be featured in an upcoming issue of Woman’s Day and/or on Enter between February 9 and May 9, 2010. Visit the ALA Contest & Rules page for more details.

This initiative continues a nine-year partnership between the magazine and American Library Association’s (ALA) Campaign for America’s Libraries—ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians and has generated millions of dollars worth of editorial coverage for libraries. Since 2002 Woman’s Day has asked its readers to write in about “how the library has changed my life,” “how the library helped improve my health” and “how the library helped me deal with the tough economy.”

Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations that advocate the importance of the library in American society.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alabama Native and Civil Rights Photographer Charles Moore Dead at 79 link
Click on image to view Moore's iconic photographs

Charles Moore was born in Hackleburg, Alabama, in 1931. His place in history as a photographer documenting the Civil Rights Movement wasn't intentional. In 1958 he was working for the Montgomery Advertiser and just happened to be the only photographer present when Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested. His later friendship with King allowed him a front row seat to the events that made the world take notice and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Moore was contracted by Life magazine to travel the south and cover events in the Movement. In addition to photographing police officers taking King to jail, Moore was also present at the University of Mississippi when James Meredith enrolled; in Birmingham, Alabama, when teenagers were sprayed with hoses and attacked by police dogs; in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday when peaceful protesters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; and at a North Carolina Ku Klux Klan rally.

It was difficult at times for Moore to expose his beloved south as violent and racist, but he took comfort in the fact that he was trying to change it for the better. The former boxer who said he didn't want to fight with his fists but with his camera told the Montgomery Advertiser in a 2005 interview: "I'm proud to say my photographs have helped to make a difference in our country and our society, and to show that we're all children of the same God."

Moore traveled outside the United States to photograph war and political violence in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, and Vietnam. He died on March 11 at a nursing home in Palm Beach, Florida, from natural causes. A memorial service is planned for later this year.

Moore's photographs are included in the books Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore (1991) and The Mother Lode: A Celebration of California's Gold Country (1983). The Mother Lode is available through Interlibrary Loan. Moore is the subject of the documentary Charles Moore: I Fight With My Camera (2005).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dolores Hydock at Alabama Bound

Join award winning performer, recording artist, and writer Dolores Hydock for an exploration of the magical thinking in Mark Twain's masterful stories.

Don't miss this talented storyteller perform,"Dead Cats and Spunk Water" this Saturday at Alabama Bound.

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time: Dolores Hydock will be on stage at 2:10 p.m., but join us all day as we celebrate The Big Read: Alabama Reads "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BPL to Partner with the Image Permanence Institute on Sustainability Project

The Image Permanence Institute (IPI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology has chosen BPL as a partner for their recently announced project on sustainability practices for library special collections. The purpose of the investigation is to discover if controlled shutdowns of environmental control units for special collections can realize energy savings without endangering the collections.
BPL's Rare Book Room, one of the areas to be investigated by the project

BPL was asked to be a partner after we began using IPI's program to monitor the environmental conditions of our special collections. We are one of only two public library systems in the U.S. that monitor our collections with IPI's program. The other is the New York Public Library (NYPL).

BPL joins the libraries at Yale University, Cornell University, UCLA, and NYPL as partners for the project, which is funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through its National Leadership Grant Program. IPI's team of experts on special collections preservation and building systems is coming in April to begin working on the investigation.

For more information on the project see the RIT University News.

For more information on IPI see:

Bringing Mark Twain to Life

“Stutts looks so much like Mark Twain one is tempted to ask for the author’s autograph … Stutts’ choice of material, his timing and delivery are impeccable!”
--Philadelphia Inquirer

Will Stutts, an Alabama native, has acted in and/or directed at virtually every major regional theater in the U.S. His specialty is the one-person play.

Stutts has been bringing Mark Twain to life in such plays for more than 40 years.

Join us on Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m. to see a free performance of this nationally renowned “Master of the one man show” as he, in the character of Mark Twain, leads off this year's Alabama Bound.

This all day event will be a celebration of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" as part of the state-wide Big Read: Alabama Reads.

The Big Read: Alabama Reads. is an initiative inspired by the national reading campaign, The Big Read. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Tom Sawyer 101

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Samford University professor, Chris Metress, joins us to talk about one of Mark Twain’s best known works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Wednesday, March 24, 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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flying Jenny - A Big Read Performance (Part 1)

To celebrate The Big Read: Alabama Reads "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", Flying Jenny performs dance music of Mark Twain's era on Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010.

If you missed this performance, you have another chance to see Flying Jenny play this Saturday at Alabama Bound.

Location: Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time: Flying Jenny will be playing at 11:30, but join us all day as we celebrate The Big Read: Alabama Reads "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".

See part two of the Feb 16 Flying Jenny performance here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness

Final Four logoSixty-four teams enter, one team leaves. It’s called March Madness and it starts Thursday, March 18. The top 4 seeds are Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Duke. The usual suspects, sure, but guess who’s not there: UConn and North Carolina! What? Can we have an NCAA Tournament without those two teams? That’s the beauty of March Madness. Winthrop plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night to determine who will compete against Duke in the first round. What if one of these two teams is crowned national champion? Anything can happen in the tournament and often does. If you saw the SEC Championship game on Sunday, you know exactly what I mean. Mississippi State gave Kentucky all they could handle and didn’t get selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky only won by one point in overtime. The same thing could happen again, but Kentucky may lose this time. That’s why I love March Madness. Check out the Basketball subject guide to find books, websites, and other information about the Tournament.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Resource Spotlight: African American Studies Center

In the tutorial above, viewers are guided in accessing and using Oxford African American Studies Center.

The Oxford African American Studies Center brings together the work of over four thousand international scholars to provide users with the most comprehensive and authoritative online resource available in the field.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Daylight Saving Time Begins Sunday

clock picDaylight Saving Time (DST) officially begins on Sunday, March 14, at 2:00 a.m. So don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed Saturday night.

DST was instituted during WWI to save energy for war production. After WWII states chose whether to observe DST, but the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 in order to standardize time in the United States.

In 2007 DST was extended by four weeks in an attempt to save even more energy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Word Up! Winners 2010

Congratulations to the WORD UP! 2010 Winners: Will Gillette (1st place), Jordan Croft (2nd place tie), and Illyshia Parker (2nd place tie).

This year's contestants got inspiration from the major themes of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, the book selected for Alabama’s first-ever state-wide Big Read. Students chose from among the following themes:

  • The power of imagination

  • The power of friendship

  • The power of persuasion

Don't miss your chance to see these three poets perform LIVE at this year's Alabama Bound.

Alabama Bound Logo

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monster Mash

Ninjas, zombies, monsters, and vampires have infested the classics, and it seems the invasion has just begun. And it’s no use trying to make any sense or sensibility out of it. Just think of these as Jane Austen meets Quentin Tarantino meets Resident Evil. Thus we have the holy trinity of monster mash-ups.

If there was one to “blame” for the marriage of monsters and masterpieces, it would be Quirk Books editor Jason Rekulak who birth the concept of Quirk Classics, a popular pastiche series of literary works. The Web site states its mission as “to enhance novels with pop culture phenomena.” And it seems the current landscape is covered with the undead, half-dead, soon-to-be dead, or wished-they-were dead folks.

The 2009 launch of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith easily acquired a cult following. Apparently readers had an appetite for the timeless romance of marital arts expert Elizabeth Bennet and monster-hunter Mr. Darcy with the backdrop of an impending zombie showdown. It’s so popular in fact that Natalie Portman, Queen Amidala herself, is on board to produce and star as the lead heroine. But it won’t be Darth Vader she’ll face, but the invasion of the regulars at the brain buffet.

Other works have also crawled out from the literary and copyright crypts. Alice in Zombieland places the Lewis Carroll tale in the realms of the Dead Red Queen and her corps of rotting corps. It seems that many supposedly serene settings of the classics were mere veils for carnage and ruckus.

But everyone is always game for some kung fu fighting, Jane Austen style. When Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls hits stores on March 23, we’ll learn how Elizabeth Bennet honed her nunchucks and ninja skills. And of course, the rest is zombie history. Really, that was a no-brainer.

Job Help at the Library

Improve your computer skills – Free classes are available on a variety of topics and skill levels. Consult the schedule and sign up. Click here

Need an e-mail account? – Library staff can get you started.

Studying for the GED? – Try the practice tests in the Learning Express database or use the online study guides. Click here

Want to know the job outlook for a particular industry? – Take a look at the Career Guide to Industries. Click here

Need a part-time job? – Try this site. Click here

Looking for books on interviewing? – Use the library’s catalog. Click here

Sending out resumes? – Compile a list of companies in your field using the Reference USA database. Click here

Need help writing the resume? – Check out the guides on the Job Searching page. Click here

Looking for Wi-Fi? – The library has it. Laptops can be checked out for one hour if you have a current library card and Alabama driver’s license.

Find all this job search information in one convenient place? – Click here

2009 Nebula Award Finalists for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Nebula Awards logo
The Nebula Awards are voted on by active members of SFWA. The winners will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet on May 15.

The finalists are:

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
The City & The City by China Mieville
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Finch by Jeff VanderMeer

Short Story
"Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" by Saladin Ahmed
"I Remember the Future" by Michael A. Burstein
"Non-Zero Probabilities" by N. K. Jemisin
"Spar" by Kij Johnson
"Going Deep" by James Patrick Kelly
"Bridesicle" by Will McIntosh

The Gambler by Paolo Bacigalupi
Vinegar Peace, or the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage by Michael Bishop
I Needs Must Part, The Policeman Said by Richard Bowes
Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast by Eugie Foster
Divining Light by Ted Kosmatka
A Memory of Wind byRachel Swirsky

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker
Arkfall by Carolyn Ives Gilman
Act One by Nancy Kress
Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow
Sublimation Angels by Jason Sanford
The God Engines by John Scalzi

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Music of the River

Philip McEntee and Chuck King
Join us for a trip down the musical Mississippi as Philip McEntee and Chuck King take us through the bends, narrows and the great wide expanses of a time long ago but not forgotten. Wednesday, March 17, 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.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

BPL 2008-2009 Annual Report

Want to know what keeps staff busy and patrons coming back for more? Take a look at the Birmingham Public Library 2008-2009 Annual Report.

BPL is a bustling institution in any given year, but the Library saw a 20% increase in requests from the previous year due to the economy’s downturn. People are taking advantage of every service available: from free Wi-Fi and computer classes to programming for adults and children to access to over 100 online databases. And patrons always manage to find something to entertain and educate them in the over 839,000 items housed in the BPL system.

As one devoted patron says, the Birmingham Public Library is the “best kept secret in Birmingham.” But the statistics will show that the Library is one busy best kept secret. Or, as Yogi Berra would put it: “Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.”

BPL@Night Presents Brats and Bullies: Mischievous Children in 19th Century American Art

Tom Sawyer: “The master's arm performed until it was tired, and then the stock of switches notably diminished.” Norman Rockwell, Spanking, 1936

Mark Twain's characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn epitomize the idea of childhood mischief, with their roguish antics and penchant for troublemaking.

Images of naughty children abound in nineteenth-century American visual culture, from the fine arts to the popular press. Dr. Graham C. Boettcher, The William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, will explore the subject of mischievous children in American art and examine how such images played a role in cultivating and promoting new attitudes in child rearing.

"Brats and Bullies: Mischievous Children in 19th Century American Art"
Central Library, Linn-Henley Bldg., Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Tuesday, March 23
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Light refreshments provided

This BPL@Night program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. BPL would also like to thank the Alabama Power Company Foundation for their generous support of BPL@Night.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Resource Spotlight: Read the Books

In the tutorial above, viewers are guided in accessing and using Read the Books.

It contains reading lists for the Birmingham-area schools. You can find books to read by topic or reading level. The majority of the books are Accelerated Reader (AR) books.

The Read the Books database covers K-8 grades.

Birmingham Museum of Art To Showcase Artwork from Local High School Students

Birmingham Museum of ArtThe Birmingham Museum of Art will display art created by area high school students inspired by Mark Twain’s classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The Big Read: Tom Sawyer Exhibition began Sunday, Feb. 28, and will be on display every Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00-5:00 p.m. until May 23.

The artwork is based upon the idea that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer established America’s vision of childhood and reminded adults that children were not angels, but fellow human beings. The exhibit is in coordination with The Big Read: Alabama Reads The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a statewide campaign designed to encourage library usage and increase literacy rates.

Alabama Reads is an initiative inspired by the national reading campaign, The Big Read. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read supports communities across the country in reading one book. Contact your local public library for more information, and visit

Nonfiction Book Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Pioneer Woman CooksLast year I raved about country singer Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours. This year it’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Cook by Ree Drummond.

Drummond, a city girl who fell in love with a Marlboro Man she spied across the room in a smoky bar, was a former vegetarian and self-confessed food snob. She had to clean out her recipe box when she found out cowboys don't take kindly to being served Ahi tuna and sesame noodles but prefer meat and potatoes.

Not only does this cookbook have simple yet delicious stick-to-your-ribs country recipes, but every one of them is illustrated with step-by-step photos that were taken in the natural light of Drummond's kitchen. The Pioneer Woman Cooks was written and designed without a staff of assistants, using clip art she'd been saving for years, and illustrated by her friends.

Like Yearwood's book, Drummond's book is filled with family photos and stories that serve to make her dishes even tastier. I have it on good authority from a Central staff member that Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes (p.70) are out of this world.

I don’t normally buy cookbooks, but I made room on my kitchen shelf last year for Trisha’s book; looks like I’d better start clearing some room in my china cabinet for Drummond’s keeper of a cookbook.

Read It Forward with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Read It Forward 2010 logoThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer will make its way across Jefferson County in a Read it Forward event inspired by the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde, about an 8th grader who decides to change the world by passing on good deeds for others,

The 40 public libraries of Jefferson County invite you to participate in the Read it Forward event on Tuesday, March 9. Participants are asked to read a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, pass it forward to a friend, and log on to the JCLC web site to comment on the book. Tracking registration can be found by clicking on Read it Forward at

The kick-off will be held at the Regions Harbert Plaza Tuesday, March 9. A limited number of free books will be given out. Books will also be dropped in coffee shops, laundry mats, malls, gyms, prisons, offices, and the public libraries, so go to a location nearest you.

Read it Forward is in collaboration with The Big Read: Alabama Reads The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, a campaign to encourage library usage and literacy throughout the state of Alabama. Support your local library, and visit for more information.

Read It Forward kick-off
Regions Harbert Plaza
Tuesday, March 9

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Alabama Bound 2010 to Feature The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Alabama Bound
The community is invited to join the discussion on what makes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain an enduring American classic, at The Birmingham Public Library’s Alabama Bound 2010 on Saturday, March 20, from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Alabama Bound 2010 will feature programming aimed to enhance understanding and appreciation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Mark Twain as a person and a writer. Performances by Will Stutts, Dolores Hydock, and a book discussion by a panel of scholars and authors will be taking place throughout the day. The popular band, Flying Jenny, will entertain audiences with music of Twain’s era.

The event is in collaboration with the statewide literacy campaign, The Big Read: Alabama Reads. Alabama Reads is designed to increase library usage and literacy rates in the state by encouraging citizens to read the Mark Twain classic. The book was chosen to correspond with the Alabama Department of Tourism’s Year of Small Towns and Twain’s 175th birthday. The statewide literacy campaign will launch in February and conclude in April.

Contact your local public library for more information, and visit

Alabama Bound is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Hill Crest Foundation.

National Grammar Day 2010

The Grammar Lady
If you don't know a "loose tooth" from a "lose tooth" and are in the habit of abusing the apostrophe the way cheesy hair bands abuse the umlaut, BPL has the grammar and punctuation resources to help you navigate the turbulent waters of the English language.

So pay us a visit and stop making the annoying mistakes that make the grammar police go nucular on you.

Happy National Grammar Day!

BPL@Night Presents Classical Guitarist Peter Fletcher

Peter Fletcher
Hailed from New York City as one of the best practitioners of the art, classical guitarist Peter Fletcher will grace the BPL@Night stage for a fine performance on March 18, 2010. The library is very excited to have such a unique talent to showcase. Mr. Fletcher has released several albums, the most recent of which is 2008’s Peter Fletcher Plays Baroque Music for Guitar.

Peter Fletcher began guitar study at the age of seven under classical guitar instructor, John Sutherland. In December 1983 he made his formal debut at the age of fifteen under the auspices of The Brasstown Concert Association in North Carolina. The critic of The Cherokee Scout wrote, “He has technical facility but what one remembers about his playing is the nuances, the poetical phrasing, dynamic and tonal changes, his harmonics, his cadences.”

Fletcher has recorded more than a half dozen albums and his works have been applauded throughout the country. He believes in carrying on the Segovia tradition of expanding the comparatively small classical guitar repertoire. He plans to do this by transcribing from other instruments (mainly the piano) and also by commissioning new music.

Fletcher will perform selections from his 2008 CD release. Other repertoire will include "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring" from Cantata No. 147 as well as the E minor Lute Suite of J. S. Bach; Fletcher’s transcriptions of Lyric Pieces by Edvard Grieg; "Usher-Waltz," an unusual and intense piece by Russian guitarist and composer Nikita Koshkin inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher; two works from Maurice Ravel’s exquisite Mother Goose Suite, and music of Weiss, Albeniz, Villa-Lobos and Reusner. This is the repertoire Fletcher will be performing at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 27.

For more information about Peter Fletcher and his music, visit

For information on music, or more broadly, the arts, entertainment, and recreation, please check out BPL’s subject guides dedicated to these topics at

Peter Fletcher Concert
Central Library, Linn-Henley Bldg., Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Thursday, March 18
Free and open to the public
Refreshments provided

This BPL@Night program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. BPL would also like to thank the Alabama Power Company Foundation for their generous support of BPL@Night.

Canceled—Brown Bag Lunch Program: 19th-Century Illustrated Newspapers as Art

Alabama Illustrated
This Brown Bag Lunch Program has been canceled.

Kelsey Scouten Bates, Assistant Archivist at the Birmingham Public Library and co-curator of the exhibition "Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th century Newspapers," will discuss the engraving techniques used by 19th-century newspaper printers. Wednesday, March 10, 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.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

8th Grade Poetry Competition: "Roots of Courage; Branches Of Hope"

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Image
Anne Frank ImageAll 8th grade students in Jefferson County, Alabama are invited to submit a poem written in any style, no more than 250 words in length, that reflects the theme "Roots of Courage; Branches of Hope." The Grand Prize Winner will read their poem during the "Roots of Courage; Branches of Hope" program on April 11, 2010 and will receive a cash prize of $250. Only one submission per student will be accepted. ALL students and teachers who participated in the Poetry Contest are invited to attend the Sunday program in Kelly Ingram Park. All entries must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 29, 2010.

Information about the program:

On Sunday, April 11, a beautiful ceremony will take place in which a Horse Chestnut Tree will be planted to symbolize the extraordinary courage necessary to face harsh intolerance, and how that courage has inspired our community's hope and growth. Anne Frank described a similar tree as she gazed out of a window when her family was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She hid with her family for almost three years.

Five Birmingham organizations joined together for a dedication program, one of remembrance and renewal of spirit, titled "Roots of Courage, Branches of Hope." These organizations include Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, The Birmingham Jewish Federation, The Birmingham Public Library and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Please include the following information with your poem:

Contact Phone Number for Student's Teacher

Poems may be submitted via:


Fax: (205) 323-5042

Mail: Birmingham Civil Rights

ATTN: Roots of Courage Poetry Contest

520 Sixteenth Street North

Birmingham, Alabama 35203

Winners will be notified by Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Big Read—A Musical Afternoon with Bobby Horton and Mark Twain at Alys Stephens Center

Bobby Horton
“I don’t believe I’ve met anyone like Bobby in the ability to understand the soul of American music.” – Ken Burns

Popular musician Bobby Horton will entertain the audience with music of Twain’s period and stories of Twain's years growing up along the Mississippi River. Horton has performed with the musical-comedy trio Three On A String throughout the United States and Canada for many years. He has also produced and performed music scores for ten Ken Burns films, including the documentary on Mark Twain.

Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults/$5 children under 13 by phone at 205-975-2787 or visit the Alys Stephens Center. Tickets are available for purchase online.

A Musical Afternoon with Bobby Horton and Mark Twain
Alys Stephens Center
Sunday, March 14
2:00-3:30 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch Program @ Five Points West Regional Library: Community Forum on Making Democracy Work As It Should

People Working Together
Why does it seem that citizens have retreated from public life and do little about the issues that concern them? Is reclaiming the public’s role essential to our community’s prosperity? What should we do about it? A Birmingham Issues Forum on this issue will be conducted at the Five Points West Regional Library On Thursday, March 11, 2010 as a part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series.

In a deliberative forum, citizens weigh carefully the attractions, weaknesses, costs, and consequences of differing perspectives on how to approach an issue. Most importantly, citizens identify acceptable and unacceptable tradeoffs among the differing approaches. By identifying what is acceptable and unacceptable, citizens create common ground for potentially more effective action on the issue.

Birmingham Issues Forums is a part of the Alabama Issues Forums, a project of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, in cooperation with the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University and a number of partners around the state. The Mathews Center is a non-partisan, tax-exempt entity for the purpose of fostering public deliberation and innovative community decision-making. For more information on Alabama Issues Forums, visit

"Making Democracy Work As It Should"
Five Points West Regional Library
Thursday, March 11

For more information contact:
Virginia Guthrie: 205-226-4013;
Curtis L. Sparks, III:
Chris McCauley:

Monday, March 01, 2010

BPL @ Night Presents Priscilla Hancock Cooper @ North Birmingham Library

Please join us as BPL @ Night presents Priscilla Hancock Cooper for an evening of poetry:

Location: North Birmingham Library
Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

All ages welcome.
Light refreshments will be provided.

Ms. Priscilla Hancock Cooper is a poet, writer, and arts educator who currently serves as a Vice- President of Institutional Programs at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. She has written poetry, performed in stage productions across the country, and received awards for her work with arts education. Ms. Hancock Cooper believes in the power of the word to change lives for the better.

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Birmingham Illustrated: Images of the Magic City in the 19th Century Press

Alabama Illustrated
To accompany the exhibition Alabama Illustrated, BPL Archivist Jim Baggett will discuss the stories behind engraved images of Birmingham that appeared in 19th century national newspapers. Wednesday, March 3, 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.

Bullies, Scamps, and Whippersnappers: Childhood Mischief in American Art Lecture at Birmingham Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of ArtMark Twain’s characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn epitomize the idea of childhood mischief, with their roguish antics and penchant for troublemaking. Images of mischievous children abound in 19th-century American visual culture, from the fine arts to the popular press. Boettcher explores the subject of the “bad child” in American art and examines how such images played a role in cultivating and promoting new attitudes in child rearing.

This program is presented in conjunction with The Big Read: Alabama Reads, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. (from Birmingham Museum of Art Website)

Childhood Mischief in American Art
Graham Boettcher, PhD, The William C. Hulsey Curator of American Art
Sunday, March 7
2:00 p.m.
Birmingham Museum of Art auditorium

For more information contact:
Birmingham Museum of Art Education Department

Popular Posts