Friday, April 30, 2010

Fine Free Friday - May 21, 2010

Wads of Cash!!!

Return your overdue library materials on Fine Free Friday and save your cash!

On Friday, May 21, 2010, the Birmingham Public Library and the public libraries of Adamsville, Bessemer, Botanical Gardens, Gardendale, Homewood, Hueytown, Irondale, Leeds, Pleasant Grove, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, & Warrior will forgive fines under the following conditions:

Items must be returned in hand to the circulation desk at a participating library.

Fines are only forgiven for the items in good condition presented on Free Fine Friday. Not valid on past accumulated fines.

Free Fine Friday, May 21, 2010, is your opportunity to return overdue materials without a late charge and help the library recover overdue items making more items available for public circulation.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch—Pride and Passion:The African American Baseball Experience

Pride and Passion logo
Larry LesterNegro League scholar and co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri—will discuss the Pride and Passion exhibit and the cultural significance and legacy of the Birmingham Black Barons on the African American community in a deeply segregated society. Wednesday, May 5, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BPL to Host “Score Big” with New York Jets’ Wide Receiver Jerricho Cotchery

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is excited to once again host its “Score Big” with “Make Waves @ Your Library” and the Cotchery Foundation as part of its summer reading initiative. Jerricho Cotchery of the New York Jets, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed himself and his foundation with the Library for this exciting reading challenge.

Cotchery founded The Cotchery Foundation in January 2007. He was moved to start the foundation as a result of his own personal memories and experiences growing up. He and his foundation have set out to “show that anyone can do extraordinary things if they have the desire and passion.” Simply stated, Cotchery has made it his mission to show that any individual can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

For the past three years, The Cotchery Foundation has hosted a Skills and Drills Football Clinic with Jerricho Cotchery. In 2009, The Foundation asked the Birmingham Public Library to join them to enrich the experience. In order to register for the 2010 Skills and Drills Football Clinic, youth from 11-18 must have completed the “Score Big” component of the “Make Waves @ Your Library” summer reading program. Seven points are necessary to qualify. Youth may score points by registering for the program (1 point), reading an entire magazine (3 points), and reading an entire book (6 points). “Score Big” registration forms are available at all Birmingham Public Library locations. The completed registration forms are due by June 9, 2010. Only two hundred participants will be selected to attend the Skills and Drills Football Clinic. Those selected will be notified by June 15, 2010.

In addition to being eligible for the Skills and Drills Football Clinic, all those who “Score Big” are invited to a Teen Tailgate Party at the Birmingham Public Library on Friday, June 25, 2010. The celebration will take place on the first floor of the Central Library, located at 2100 Park Place, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. There will be music, dancing, photo ops with Jerricho, food and lots of fun. Visit any Birmingham Public Library for registration materials and additional information.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tunes of Twain's Time

To celebrate The Big Read: Alabama Reads "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", Mr Mac and Chuck King perform music from Mark Twain's time at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Hundreds of school children listen and sing along.

At the end, all the children read the last page of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

Staff Pick: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (ages 4 & up, 1999)

Joseph Had  Little OvercoatAre your kids a tad materialistic? Do they want every toy they see? Do they just assume anything they break will be replaced by you? Call me a sucker, but I drove to two stores last night looking for a Lego Indiana Jones set so that my son could take one of the 2" tall figures to school and play with a classmate. Go ahead, call me a sucker; my husband did.

Thinking on last night reminded me of Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, a 2000 Caldecott Medal winner by Simms Taback that teaches the virtues of thrift and being happy with what you have. Or as Simms sums it up: "You can always make something out of nothing." He adapted the story from a Yiddish folk song he sang as a child.

In what appears to be a turn-of-the-century Jewish village, Joseph is wearing a worn overcoat with patches holding it together. Did he throw it in the trash bin and head to town to buy a new one? No! He made a jacket out of it and went to the fair, where he had a blast. Before long "Joseph had a little jacket. It got old and worn./So he made a vest out of it and danced at his nephew's wedding." And so the frugality begins. I won't give away any more of the story. It's fun to see what Joseph turns the increasingly more worn and shrinking item into.

What's unique about this book is that every few pages is die-cut, which means that there is a space cut out of the page large enough to fit whatever new piece of clothing Joseph makes. The die-cuts get smaller as the pages are turned. There is lots going on in every scene to keep your child on his toes: friends peaking into a window; an old man asleep while singing in the choir; funny newspaper headlines like "Fiddler on the Roof Falls Off the Roof"; hanging platitudes on the walls of Joseph's humble home.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is a simple but fun book that teaches a moral without being preachy.

Here's a video sampling of Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, with lyrics taken from the folk song. It's not the entire story, and the video is missing the charm of the book, so don't forget to check out the book and take it home!


The Official Web Site of Simms Taback

For more reader’s advisory, visit our Bookletters page. Bookletters offers book reviews, author bios and interviews, book group discussion guides, audio clips, and much more. To receive monthly updates on new books, simply sign up for BookLetters' email newsletter service. Reviews of recommended books in your favorite genres will be delivered right to your inbox.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review—Breathers: A Zombie's Lament

Breathers book coverNot as successfully satirical as Christopher Moore nor as gross as Chuck Palahniuk, Breathers by S.G. Browne manages to elicit some chuckles about the how the undead try to make it in the world of the living.

Andy reanimated in his coffin at his funeral, and his parents felt obligated to sponsor him by taking him into their home. Andy left his young daughter an orphan when he slammed his car into a tree after drinking too much, killing himself temporarily and his wife permanently.

No one knows why some corpses reanimate, and it's tough deciding what to do with them. They can't hold jobs because who's buying anything a smelly, decomposing zombie is selling? They have no rights because they're technically not alive. People are free to hurl obscenities at them, throw perfectly good food at them from their cars, and attack and kill them (again) without any legal ramifications.

Andy attends Undead Anonymous just to get out of his parents' wine cellar every week, but he can't participate in the group discussions because his larynx is crushed and he's still sporting stitches from where the embalmer sewed his lips shut. He bathes in Pine-Sol, but he's still embarrassed about his graveyard odor.

But he eventually makes friends with some members of the group: Rita, a beautiful suicide who eats makeup hoping the chemicals will stave off rot; Jerry, a girlie magazine enthusiast; Tom, a vegetarian whose arm is stolen during a fraternity hazing; and Ray, whose wife went missing and who generously shares jars of preserved mystery meat with the group.

As Andy starts venturing out of the wine cellar and onto the streets, he feels the weight of zombie injustice on his shoulders, and becomes a mouthpiece for the civil rights of the undead. Then he and his fellow Undead Anonymous group start healing in miraculous ways. Now with two heartbeats per minute, will he risk his second chance at life and the awful prospects of being shipped off to a zombie zoo or losing his head to a teaching college to become the Martin Luther King Jr. of zombies?

There are some laugh-out-loud moments and some repellent moments that will turn you a nice shade of zombie green, but Breathers shouldn't be missed by fans of the popular zombie genre.


The Official Home Page of S.G. Browne

For more reader’s advisory, visit our Bookletters page. Bookletters offers book reviews, author bios and interviews, book group discussion guides, audio clips, and much more. To receive monthly updates on new books, simply sign up for BookLetters' email newsletter service. Reviews of recommended books in your favorite genres will be delivered right to your inbox.

Birmingham Public Library to Host “Score Big” with New York Jets’ Wide Receiver and Birmingham native Jerricho Cotchery

Jerricho CotcheryThe Birmingham Public Library is excited to once again host “Score Big” with “Make Waves @ Your Library” and the Cotchery Foundation. Jerricho Cotchery of the New York Jets, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed himself and his foundation with the Library.

"Score Big" began April 23 and will run until June 9th. Everyone who completes "Score Big" will be eligible to attend the Cotchery Foundation's Skill and Drills Clinic on June 26th as well as the Teen Tailgate Party at the Central Library on June 25th.

Stop by any Birmingham Public Library branch to register today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to make the most of Library Databases

The video above shows how to get started using our library databases to access reliable and up-to-date information.

Why use library databases at when we have Google?

Here are four reasons:

  1. Databases go beyond Google to provide an in-depth collections of information that is not available on the Web for free.
  2. Library databases save you time by helping you quickly find high-quality articles related to your subject. These organized collections of information allow you to narrowly focus your search in ways that search engines do not.
  3. The information contained within library databases has gone through an editorial process and as a result are more reliable than the average information found on the web.
  4. Despite its size, the Web holds only a fraction of the world's published information.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Heads Up Alabama! Call to Local Artists

Heads Up! contest flyer
The Birmingham Public Library is partnering with the Alabama Psychological Association for Heads Up Alabama!, a public health education campaign that will use fun, contemporary art pieces to draw attention to the role psychology plays in our health. It is modeled on a successful project in Kentucky. The preview event for the art will be held July 22 at the Central Library. Click on the flier for contest details.

Brown Bag Lunch—A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

Selection process at the gates of AuschwitzView from atop the train of Jews lined up for selection on the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Photo from USHMM.

Along with his family, Martin Aaron was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Upon arrival, the selection process took place and their fate was sealed. He never saw his family again. Wednesday, April 28, 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.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tree Planting in Kelly Ingram Park Heals Wounds of Intolerance and Injustice

Tree planting in Kelly Ingram ParkPictured in foreground from left to right with shovel: Sarah Collins Rudolph, Carolyn McKinstry, Sidni Smith and Max Herzel. Other program participants and planners are in the background. Several program committee members are not pictured but listed in the text of the release.

It was a perfect spring day for an outing in the park. Yet, the gathering in Kelly Ingram Park on Sunday, April 11 was no ordinary excursion. A diverse cross section of Birmingham gathered to dedicate a horse chestnut tree symbolic of the one a Jewish teen, Anne Frank, saw from her hiding place during the Holocaust. The inspiration for the project came from community leader Joel Rotenstreich. In June 2009, he learned that the Anne Frank Center in New York was giving eleven saplings from the original tree to cities in the United States—locations that had known discrimination and intolerance. Rotenstreich quickly assembled a committee to apply for a grant feeling that Birmingham was the perfect choice.

Though Birmingham was not selected to receive an original sapling, Joel and the committee were not deterred. On Sunday, April 11, 2010, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee, the Birmingham Public Library and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, with support from the City of Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board, dedicated their own horse chestnut tree. A plaque with Anne Frank’s words, "how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” marks the tree’s location in the park. Sidni Smith, a student at Birmingham City School's Phillips Academy, shared in the celebration by reading a poem she wrote for the special occasion.

Please visit BPL's Press Room to read the press release about this event.

Upcoming April Brown Bag Lunch programs on the Holocaust are listed on Eventkeeper.

Nonfiction Book Review—Look! It's Jesus: Amazing Holy Visions in Everyday Life

Look! It's Jesus book coverI am not one to knock religion, but I will confess that Look! It's Jesus: Amazing Holy Visions in Everyday Life by Harry and Sandra Choron brought me many chuckles as I learned the imaginative ways Jesus manifests Himself onto everyday objects. From wood-grain doors to tie-dye towels to pierogies, Jesus is the king of self-promotion.

My favorites? Ashtray Jesus; Frying Pan Jesus; and Cheesus—a Cheese Curl in the shape of a kneeling, praying Jesus.

And it's not just Jesus who wants to get the word out, but Mary, Buddha, and even Mother Teresa. (The book is worth flipping through just for the stern Nun Bun.)

And since not all religious images are evident, one can even make a game of trying to spot them, similar to Where's Waldo?

This book does not come off as mocking religion; in fact, the entries are endearing and one can almost hear the glee in the voice of the first person to point and yell, "Look! It's Jesus."

Bookletters logoFor more reader’s advisory, visit our Bookletters page. Bookletters offers book reviews, author bios and interviews, book group discussion guides, audio clips, and much more. To receive monthly updates on new books, simply sign up for BookLetters' email newsletter service. Reviews of recommended books in your favorite genres will be delivered right to your inbox.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fed Cup 2010

Fed Cup Tennis

It's not Rocky IV or 1980's Miracle on Ice, but the United States faces Russia once again in the sports arena. For this matchup, Birmingham gets a front-row seat as the USA competes with Russia in the Fed Cup World Group, 2010 Semifinals. The women's tennis tournament takes place April 24-25 at the BJCC Arena. Tickets are still available (as of this posting) or you can watch it live on The Tennis Channel. Let's show the world how much we love tennis in Birmingham and cheer Team USA to victory.

2010 NBA Playoffs

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant
The NBA Playoffs start this weekend. In the West, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to make their 3rd straight appearance in the NBA Finals. The Lakers are last year’s champion and hope to take the trophy back to Los Angeles. In the East, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers finished another great season as the No. 1 seed with the best record in the NBA. They came up short last year, losing to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs have changed the look of their team adding Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison to help them make a successful playoff run.

There are several other teams competing to prevent the expected Cavs-Lakers Final. The Orlando Magic want a chance to prove that their NBA Finals appearance last year was not a fluke. Will they make it back to the Finals like last year’s Lakers team and come away with a victory? The Denver Nuggets coasted through the playoffs last year but couldn't get past Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals. They want another chance and will be playing hard for Coach George Karl who was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer late in the season. As always, the NBA Playoffs should be fun and exciting. Check out the Basketball subject guide for books, websites, and current articles about the NBA.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Children's and Sci-Fi Book Illustrator John Schoenherr Dies

Dune book coverFrank Herbert was so taken with Schoenherr's illustrations, he declared Schoenherr to be "the only man who has ever visited Dune."

John SchoenherrWell-known artist and illustrator John Schoenherr died on April 8 of chronic pulmonary disease. He was 74. He illustrated more than 40 children's books and hundreds of science fiction covers, including some for Philip K. Dick, Anne McCaffrey, and John Brunner.

This wildlife artist who once said he identified more with animals than people, grew up in New York City. His family spoke German but the children in his Queens neighborhood spoke English, Chinese, and Italian. Feeling like a mute he picked up some chalk and drew, learning English later on from comic strips.

At age 8 Schoenherr received his first set of paints, and at 13 began taking Saturday classes at the Art Students League in New York City. He started getting recognition as a science fiction illustrator when he was 21. He credits John Campbell, publisher of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (now Analog Science Fiction and Fact), for the opportunity to hone his personal brand of realism through illustrating for the magazine.

Schoenherr was the first artist to draw the world of Frank Herbert's Dune and Anne McCaffrey's Pern. "Dune World" and "The Prophet of Dune" was published in two parts in Astounding Science Fiction magazine in 1963 and 1965; in 1965 he won a Hugo Award for Best Artist. From the 1950s to the late 1970s, Schoenherr contributed hundreds of his imaginative drawings to science fiction books and magazines.

Schoenherr won a Caldecott Medal for illustrating Jane Yolen's Owl Moon, a story about a man and his daughter who bundle up and go "owling" on a cold, moonlit night; and he illustrated Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves, winner of the 1973 Newbery Medal. Schoenherr is the author of several children's books, including The Barn and Bear.

In a 1967 letter John Campbell wrote mourning the loss of Schoenherr to Reader's Digest and big publishing companies because they paid more, he called Schoenherr "the best artist science fiction ever had." Schoenherr is survived by his wife, Judith; his son Ian and daughter Jennifer; two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Ian Schoenherr is a also writer and illustrator of children's books.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch Program—Auschwitz and the Final Solution

Gate leading to AuschwitzIn its entirety, the "Final Solution" called for the murder of all European Jews by gassing, shooting, and other means. Approximately six million Jewish men, women, and children were killed during the Holocaust—two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe before World War II. Text and photo from USHMM.

Ann Mollengarden, Education Coordinator of The Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, will discuss Auschwitz as it reflects the Nazi development of the Final Solution. Wednesday, April 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience

Pride and Passion poster
Black baseball players, shut out of the major leagues in the late 19th century, organized their own baseball clubs, and starting in the 1920s, formed their own leagues. This exhibition tells the story of Negro League baseball and how it grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise and became the focus of great pride in the African American community. Players like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and James “Cool Papa” Bell, and teams like the Chicago American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs, St. Louis Stars, and Pittsburgh Crawfords drew enthusiastic crowds, developed a reputation for a fast-running, power-hitting game, and paved the way for the integration of the sport.

Visit the Pride and Passion page for a schedule of events, resources, photographs, articles, and more dealing with this fascinating time in baseball history.

Pride and Passion Exhibition
Central Library
May 1 - June 11, 2010

Tom Clancy's Own A-Team

Dead or Alive book coverRemember the great '80s TV show The A-Team? Headed up by a cigar-chomping man named Hannibal, it was about a group of law-skating misfits whose specialized talents worked in harmony every week to make a plan "come together" to thwart the bad guys.

Well, perhaps Tom Clancy was a fan because he's compiling his own A-Team of characters from his many thrillers for Dead or Alive, a story about modern terrorism due out on December 7. This will be his first book in seven years and is a collaboration with U.S. Navy veteran Grant Blackwood, who has also teamed up with writer Clive Cussler.

Clancy's all-star A-Team will include the characters Jack Ryan, Jack Ryan Jr., John Clark, Ding Chavez, and Mary Pat Foley. Their mission is to capture "The Emir," the mastermind of terrorist attacks on the West.

To tie this A-Team theme together, I'm including the trailer for the cool A-Team movie coming out on June 11. Ladies, I classify this as a chick flick since there are so many heartthrobs in it. Look! It's Wikus, the wife-adoring nerd prawn from District 9. And Phil, the scruffy-faced lovable lout from The Hangover. Now I don't know who Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is, but like Liam Neeson and Patrick Wilson, he's easy on the eyes. So score some brownie points with the man in your life and volunteer to see this movie.

Hear Why Neil Gaiman Loves Libraries

Neil Gaiman, National Library Week's Honorary Chair
Neil Gaiman speaks to Euan Kerr, host of All Things Considered on Minnesota Public Radio, about why he loves the library and why they're more vital now than ever.

Pulitzer Prize Winners 2010

Pulitzer Prize emblem
Letters, Drama, and Music

Fiction - Tinkers by Paul Harding

Drama - Next to Normal, music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey

History - Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

Biography - The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles

Poetry - Versed by Rae Armantrout

General Nonfiction - The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman

Music - Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon


The Pulitzer Prizes

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month PosterThe library. A portal. Books. Technology. Inquiries flow through fingertips at play. Information dwells across stories of stories; past, present, and future mingle seamlessly together.

April is National Poetry Month. As you can tell from the lines above, I am not the poet laureate of the library. However, we have poetry by the current United States Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan. We also have poetry by Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Laureates, and countless other poets from around the world.

Check out the National Poetry Month display in the Arts, Literature, and Sports Department. If you need information on writing poetry or getting your poetry published, we have books on that as well. If you will excuse me, I have to go work on my next masterpiece.

Spend an Evening with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
Neil GaimanNational Library Week's Honorary Chair for 2010—kicks off the week by participating in a video conference about libraries and censorship. He will be at the University of Minnesota and virtually join a live audience to talk about his lifelong love of the library and the library's supporting role in intellectual freedom and privacy.

The Mervyn H. Sterne Library at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is serving as a host library for the event.

"An Evening with Neil Gaiman"
Monday, April 12
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. EDT

Saturday, April 10, 2010

National Library Week ButtonNational Library Week is the annual celebration of our nation's libraries and librarians. This year, we will celebrate National Library Week with the theme: "Communities thrive @your library."

Libraries are truly the heart of our communities. We open our doors to all persons and provide free access to a world of information for the purpose of research, education and entertainment. With a library card, you have access to books, music, movies, audiobooks and so much more for free. You have access to databases, digital collections, archives, genealogy and reference materials. Libraries even provide all types of programs, activities, and computer classes.

Librarians provide a vital service by building and managing collections that tell the story of our community and our world. Libraries serve as a history of all people. We preserve information for future generations. Just take a look at the variety and depth of information available to you at your library. We also provide the tools for all individuals to explore ideas and resources to help find the answers.

We provide access to classics, bestsellers, graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction books. You have access to the past and the future at your library. Where else can you access this treasure of information? Visit your local library to help us celebrate this valuable and essential resource.

We need your voice and support today to help save our libraries. Thank you!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Free Tax Return Preparation at Central Library

IRS e-file logo
The Internal Revenue Service will have agents on site at the Central Library to assist those with income under $49,000 and who file a basic tax return.

Please bring the following for return preparation:

  • Proof of identity
  • Valid social security card or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for you, spouse and dependents and/or a social security number verification letter issued by Social Security Administration
  • Date of birth for you, your spouse and dependents used on the tax return
  • Wage and Earning Statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, etc. from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099)
  • A copy of last year's federal and state returns, if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Information for all other income
  • Receipts, documents, etc. for credits and deductions

Central Library Atrium
Thursday, April 15, 2010
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sarah Langan Wins Bram Stoker Award for Audrey's Door

Sarah LanganI am thrilled that Sarah Langan's Audrey's Door has won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel! Langan certainly deserves this honor.

Audrey's Door is a chilling read about cults and architecture reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby. Audrey Lucas runs from a painful childhood, a bi-polar mother, a demanding job, and a fiance, right into the welcoming arms of the Breviary, an old Manhattan apartment building with a questionable history of tenant suicides and murders. But the rent is cheap and the deal too good to pass up.

The incestuous, elderly, trust fund baby tenants of the Breviary need a door to the Other Side built, and through new rental trial and error they're closer than ever to seeing it happen. The tenant before Audrey got close, but her door wasn't finished because of a tragedy that struck her and her children. The elderly clan who run the Breviary are creepy, watchful, and "selfish as the day is long" to quote Minnie Castevet from Rosemary's Baby.

Slowly Audrey begins losing touch with reality and wakes feeling battered and bruised. Her breakdown is brought on by fevered and exhausting dreams about building a where? And what wants to come through it? Is she working too hard? Is it her OCD? As her past and present fuse together, what or whom will she sacrifice to give the tenants what they desire?

Through the smallest of details Sarah Langan builds upon the layers of her secondary characters, making Audrey's Door believable and horrifying. Even Audrey's boyfriend Saraub and his mother are treated as fully-fleshed characters and not mere tools to move the plot along. This book has made me a Langan fan.

Winners of the 2009 Bram Stoker Awards are:

Best Novel: Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan
Best First Novel: Damnable by Hank Schwaeble
Best Long Fiction: The Lucid Dreaming by Lisa Morton
Best Short Fiction: "In the Porches of My Ears," by Norman Prentiss
Best Anthology: He is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson edited by Christopher Conlon
Best Collection: A Taste of Tenderloin by Gene O'Neill
Best Non-Fiction: Writers Workshop of Horror by Michael Knost
Best Poetry: Chimeric Machines by Lucy A. Snyder


Books not owned by libraries in the Jefferson County Library Cooperative might be available for check out through the Interlibrary Department

Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil

B-52s Train
Jay Sean Jason Derulo

Is it time to boil crawfish already? In addition to all the pollen, springtime in Birmingham means the return of outdoor festivals. The Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil takes place Friday, April 30 thru Saturday, May 1. Some of the featured acts include Akon, Fuel, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, B-52s, Jay Sean, and Jason Derulo. If you want to sample the music before the show, drop by the library to see what we have available. Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April 15!

Time to file your taxes running out.

If you need a tax form, click here.

Need last minute help?

The Internal Revenue Service will have agents on site in the Central - BPL Atrium from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, 2010 to provide Free Tax Return Preparation to those with income under $49,000. The following information is needed for those using this service:
  • Proof of identity
  • Valid Social Security Card for the person, spouse and dependents
  • Date of birth for person, spouse, dependents
  • Wage and Earning Statement, Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks
  • A copy of last year's federal and state return, if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Information for all other income
  • Receipts, documents, etc. for credits and deductions

Brown Bag Lunch Program—The Children of the Holocaust

Soon after liberation, camp survivors from Buchenwald's "Children's Block 66"—a special barracks for children. Germany, after April 11, 1945. Text and photo from USHMM.

Children of the Holocaust, a locally produced film by Jenny Katz and Dorian MacDougal, recounts the experiences of nine Birmingham Holocaust survivors. Wednesday, April 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 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Meet Chandra

Jasmine has a talent, a real gift. She’s smart too. So what does a girl have to do to get her parents to approve of her spinning and music? To make things worse, when music execs take an interest in her, folks change how they act towards her. That's what happens when you Spin It Like That.

Taylor wrote that story, along with The Pledge and its sequel, The Promise. She also owns Taylor Editorial Service, which edits manuscripts for aspiring and established authors. Her goal in writing these stories is to reach people who go through similar struggles and help them apply lessons to their real lives. Every teen deals with wanting to obey their parents and also wanting to follow their dreams. Sometimes, those two are totally different. So what do you do?

Come meet Chandra Sparks Taylor and join her for a writing workshop. Who knows. Maybe you’ve got a story that can be an inspiration to someone else too.

☼ Thursday, April 8 @ 3:30 pm – West End (Workshop)
☼ Monday, April 12 @ 4:00 pm – Springville Road (Book signing)
☼ Tuesday, April 20 @ 3:30 pm – West End (Book signing)
☼ Monday, April 26 @ 4:00 pm – Springville Road (Workshop)

For more information about Taylor, visit her site at Also check out her Facebook page at

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Healthy Salad Image from jhritz at Creative Commons /CC BY 2.0

Do you pay attention to what you eat? Do you know the origin of those overly processed foods?

Jamie Oliver, the acclaimed British chef with a penchant for fresh and flavorful food, has launched a new television program called Jamie's Food Revolution. Jamie believes that the more we know about our food, the wiser choices we'll make, resulting in an improvement in our mood and behavior. He says that we will feel better, think faster and live longer. Jamie is currently conducting a campaign to make sure that every child in America receives fresh and healthy food choices. School lunches are his primary target of reform. He has stated that these lunches are highly processed concoctions of additives, preservatives and fats. He also plans to teach children and adults to prepare fresh, healthy food and reform the cooking habits of overweight adults.

Will he be able to accomplish these laudable goals? Just watch this unique and educational program that plans to change the way you think about food. With a little help, we can make wiser food choices, prepare healthier food that will make a dramatic difference in how we look and feel.

Please visit your local library to check out books in the following subject areas:

Jamie's Cookbooks

Be sure to visit the Central Business, Science and Technology Department for more information. They have an outstanding science and health collection. The library has created a Nutrition Subject Guide that contains outstanding resources.

Visit the Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Website for full episodes, recipes and show information.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tree Planting Ceremony to Honor Anne Frank

Chestnut tree outside the Anne Frank House“We both looked up to the blue sky, the horse chestnut whose bare branches glittered with droplets, the gulls and the other birds that seemed made of silver as they swooped by.” Anne Frank, February 23, 1944

On Sunday, April 11, a horse chestnut tree will be planted to symbolize how the courage of those who faced harsh intolerance has inspired our community’s growth into acceptance and hope. The tree is similar to one described by Anne Frank, a German-Jewish teenager who was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust, as she gazed out the window of the room where she hid with her family for almost three years.

A dedicatory plaque will be inscribed with Anne Frank’s words: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Five Birmingham organizations join together to make this dedication titled “Roots of Courage; Branches of Hope” a program of remembrance and renewal.

For more information on this program visit BPL's Press Room.

"Roots of Courage; Branches of Hope" ceremony
Kelly Ingram Park
Sunday, April 11
1:00 p.m.

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