Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Neil Gaiman Wins Carnegie Medal

It was announced on June 24 that Neil Gaiman's teen novel, The Graveyard Book, won the Carnegie Medal for 2010. Gaiman is the first author to ever win a Carnegie and a Newbery Medal for the same book. Carnegie Medal winners receive a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a public or school library.

The Carnegie Medal is one of UK's most prestigious awards for children's and teen literature. Gaiman considers it a great honor because the Carnegie Medal was the first literary prize he remembers being aware of as a child: "When I was seven I got the Narnia books for my birthday. I had read a couple before, but I got the box set, and I got to The Last Battle and it said winner of the Carnegie Medal. I thought wow. It was a couple of years later that I bought A Wrinkle in Time and became aware of the Newbery. They are the first literary awards of any kind I was ever aware of and I've got both of them—it's amazing."

The Graveyard Book is about a toddler who crawls into a graveyard after his family's murder and is raised by ghosts who give him the name Nobody Owens—Bod for short. Growing into his teen years, he learns that life is more dangerous outside the graveyard than in.

Gaiman got the idea for The Graveyard Book when he was living in London and the only place his 2 year old could ride his tricycle was in the nearby graveyard. When he saw how at home his son looked peddling his trike furiously among the headstones, it reminded him of Mowgli from The Jungle Book, how content he was in the jungle being raised by animals, and he got to thinking about writing a story about a boy raised by ghosts.

Book Review—The World Without Us

Picture from the The World Without Us
The World Without Us asks the daunting question, “What would happen to the Earth if people vanished?” Not what would happen if we ruined the environment so completely we all went with it or if we blew ourselves up in an all-out nuclear war. Just that: disappeared. To get a rough idea of what it’d be like, Alan Weisman visited places that have become devoid of people (the no-man’s land between North and South Korea) and places that have never had people to begin with (the Bialowieza Puszcza, Europe’s only remaining old-growth forest) as well as Chambura Gorge and Gombe Stream, two islands of untouched land in North Africa that are “all that remain of the forest that birthed” the human race. What’s even more intriguing are the chapters (the meat of the book) where the author interviews experts on what might and will happen to specific places after we’re whisked away. Manhattan, for instance. I’ve walked all over it but never realized that 40 streams run under it. Never realized it because there are massive underground pumping stations that keep the island from flooding. Without humans, Manhattan would run riot with streams. Dogs would be wiped out by wild predators, but a few hardy cats would survive. Cockroaches, happily, would vanish, their source of artificial heat gone for good. The Statue of Liberty “will remain intact indefinitely…possibly encased in barnacles” below water level-the passage evokes scores of apocalyptic sci-fi movies.

We’ve been terrible stewards. That’s not breaking news. But how long will it take the planet to free itself of the CO2 we loaded it with? 100,000 years. We’re down and dirty all right. “The problem is, by tapping into Carboniferous Formation and spewing it up into the sky, we’ve become a volcano that hasn’t stopped erupting since the 1700s.” It may be said that we’ve blown it. And we’re too hot, too. How long will it take for glaciers to get on the move again? 15,000 years. How long will it take organisms to deal with the plastics we dump onto land and ocean? “Thousands of years, possibly. Or more.” There’s a lot of it on the ocean surface. On the Pacific is a thin layer of it almost as big as the continent of Africa, and that’s only one of seven giant collections that sit on the surface of the world’s oceans. How long will it take for all of this to biodegrade? Hundreds of millennia, a bit shorter if future life forms evolve into forms that can eat it. Without humans, there’ll be no pesticides. What would farmland look like to a human who could view a posthuman world in the South? “A Mississippi Delta fisherman…would be amazed at what he’d find.” Mount Rushmore? It’ll likely last 7.2 million years, long after virtually every visible trace of humankind is gone. What would a future intelligent species make of it? On a more mundane note, rodents and mongooses will take over most South Pacific islands. Another thing we’ve damaged is the planet’s UV screen. It’ll take an extremely long time for that to right itself. Meanwhile, those plants and animals “that remain in our wake will have to select for UV tolerance, or mutate their way through a barrage of electromagnetic radiation.”

The specific, almost palpable examples keep coming, in a relentless but fun way, gradually accumulating into bizarre and vivid, yet plausible, scenarios as Weisman creates a masterful long view. It never stops being stimulating, and often it’s enthralling.

What might be some of the longest-lasting human creations? “Hot glass bricks of nuclear waste.” Sound crazy? The half-life of the waste itself starts at 24,000 years. The U.S. Department of Energy Rocky Flats property is legally required to keep anyone (or any intelligent being) away from its nuclear waste for-yes-10,000 years. They’ve even come up with signs that are supposedly so universal that even a future humanoid that doesn’t speak any of today’s languages would still know it should stay away from the site. But if our descendents aren’t going to be here anyway, what the hey, no problem. As you may have suspected by now, the combined weight of these stories indirectly gives us plenty of incentive to clean our act up. By taking us out of the equation, the book puts us right back in it. After all, the way we’re headed we may well (as many scientists have been warning for decades) wipe ourselves out ecologically by the end of this century and thus induce something even worse than these scenarios. Sure, it’d be fun to watch the human-free scenes unfold. But without “us”, who’d do, or want to do, the watching? That’s just it. We need each other. We’re social creatures. However scarred and lavishly green a posthuman world would be, it’d be a lonely place indeed. The World Without Us has been called a Left Behind for seculars. That rather sells it short. It deserves and enormously wide audience and is maybe the most pleasant way of facing up to our responsibilities, and our legacy, that you could imagine.

Don't forget to check out the DVD Life After People, too.

Bialowieza Puszcza, showing a wisent, a European bison

Manhattan, 1609/2009

Review submitted by Richard Grooms, Social Science Dept., Central Library

Monday, June 28, 2010

Heads Up Alabama! BPL Showcases Art Exhibit Sponsored by aPAF

Heads Up Alabama! logo
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) hosts the opening night gala for Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living on July 22 in the Central Library Atrium from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Through the medium of public art, Heads Up Alabama! explores the critical role that emotion and behavior play in an individual’s overall health and wellness. Twenty professional artists, whose designs were selected through a juried competition, were commissioned to create art from a basic fiberglass head that is approximately three feet tall. The heads will be mounted on 40-inch pedestals placed throughout the library. Tickets are available for $25 to the general public through the www.alapsych.org, under Calendar of Events. Food, drink, and entertainment included. Proceeds benefit the Alabama Psychological Association Foundation. The exhibit will be on display in the library July 23 - August 10 free of charge.

In a collaborative public health education campaign to bring attention to the importance of mental health, the Alabama Psychological Association (aPA) and the Alabama Psychological Association Foundation (aPAF) chose the artists to decorate each head based on the artists’ interpretations of the connection between a healthy life and a healthy mind. The pedestals will also display information on issues ranging from stress reduction to weight management, to coping with chronic illness, and sleep disorders. The Birmingham Public Library is the initial venue of this traveling exhibit.

Sponsors and partners include the Birmingham Public Library, KBR, Jefferson County Department of Health, ALL Kids Children’s Health Insurance Program (Alabama Department of Health), BCBS of Alabama, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Forstall Art Supply, Two Men and a Truck, and psychologists across the state. Follow progress on the exhibition and other events at the Heads Up Alabama! Web site (www.headsupalabama.org) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/headsupalabama.

Calendar of Events
  • July 22—Heads Up Alabama! Opening Night Gala. Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, Central Library Atrium, 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Experience the unveiling of this unique exhibit, meet the artists, and enjoy food, beverages, and entertainment. Tickets available through www.alapsych.org, Calendar of Events page.
  • July 23-August 10—Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living exhibit on display. Through the medium of public art, Heads Up Alabama! explores the critical role that emotion and behavior play in an individual’s overall health and wellness. Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. Free.
  • July 24—Educational Event for Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living 2-5 p.m. Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. Psychologists will be available to discuss the relationship between behavior, thoughts, and feelings and how this affects health and well-being. Free.
  • August 8—Educational Event for Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living 2-5 p.m. Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. Psychologists will be available to discuss the relationship between behavior, thoughts, and feelings and how this affects health and well-being. Free.
  • August 12-August 31—Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living Exhibit and health education information. Aldridge Botanical Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover, AL 35216
  • August 22—Educational Event for Heads Up Alabama! Psychology Promotes Healthy Living 2-5 p.m. Aldridge Botanical Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover, AL 35216. Talk with a psychologist about how behavior, thoughts, and feelings affect your health and well-being. Free.
MEDIA: Media coverage of the opening event is welcomed. Please contact Linda Wilson with the Birmingham Public Library at (205) 226-3746 prior to the event for a Media Pass if you will be assigned to cover the event.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brown Bag Lunch—Negro League Baseball and the Black Community

Join us as Dr. Richard Megraw, University of Alabama American Studies professor, gives us an overview of Negro League baseball and its relationship to black community formation and civil rights struggle. Wednesday, June 30, 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, June 22, 2010

Get Green? - Part Two

Do magazines seem to magically pile up on your coffee table?

The environmental impact of this pile may surprise you:
  • The production of Discover Magazine alone releases the equivalent of “170 tons of CO2” into the atmosphere.

Want a more eco-friendly option? Visit Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and get green.

The library subscribes to a multitude of print magazines, but unlike the typical magazine, periodicals at BPL are repeatedly reused. This reuse significantly lessens the environmental impact per read.

BPL also offers electronic versions of magazines which are even more environmentally friendly.

Our electronic resources consist of books, journals, newspapers, reports and magazines, including the aforementioned National Geographic and Discover magazine.

Most of BPL's electronic magazine content is available concurrently with the print editions. You can access these paperless publications at any Birmingham Public Library location or via our website, www.bplonline.org, for reading on your home computer, mobile device, or e-book reader.

Many library magazine databases include PDF files that reproduce the pages exactly like the print version. You can read, download and email articles you find on these databases for free.

As for me, I rarely ever buy a magazine anymore. Yet over the course of a month I'm probably accessing 20 or more different magazines in electronic format.

And for my favorite magazines, I use RSS feeds to obtain magazine content. It is easy to set up and is almost like having an electronic subscription to the magazine.

Keep an eye out for the next and final post in the Get Green @ Your Library series in early July.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review—Instructions: Everything You'll Need To Know on Your Journey (ages 4-elderly)

Instructions by Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman's adult fiction is a little too whimsical for my taste, but since I expect a picture book to contain its fair share of whimsy, his newest juvenile fiction gets a thumbs up from me.

Instructions: Everything You'll Need To Know on Your Journey is about a bipedal cat who must follow a set of instructions if he is to exit back through the wooden gate where his journey began.

Beyond the wall the garden looks tranquil at first glance. Cinderella's pumpkin carriage is parked behind some trees. The Three Little Pigs are having a picnic. The Frog Prince rests on the lawn. But here's the question: do these old friends from fairy tale lore serve to calm with their familiarity or warn against the perils to come?

When the cat is instructed not to touch a metal imp doorknocker because it will bite, the journey takes a deliciously dark turn. Within the wood glowing eyes peer from gnarled trees, an old woman waits to barter, strawberries grow in December's frost, a ferryman gives a ride, trolls and giants must be passed and haints outrun.

And, as with any journey's end, the place you started from seems a lot smaller.

Like the great Aesop’s fables and Grimms' fairy tales, there are lessons learned by the end of Instructions that would serve one well throughout life: kindness (“…if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it. / If it tells you that it is dirty, clean it.”); prudence (“The deep well you walk past leads to Winter’s realm; / there is another land at the bottom of it. / If you turn around here, / you can walk back, safely; / you will lose no face. /I will think no less of you.”); the folly of presumption (“Do not be jealous of your sister: / know that diamonds and roses / are as uncomfortable when they tumble from / one’s lips as toads and frogs: / colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.”)

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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Town Hall Meeting at Five Points West Library Cancelled

The Committee To Develop Birmingham's scheduled June 16 town hall meeting at the Five Points West Regional Library has been cancelled.

Making a Splash in Linn Park

The video above shows our summer reading sign-up event for all three summer reading programs (children, teens, and adults) at the Linn Park fountain. Please do as the Chick-Fil-A cow suggests during the video.

I know summer does not officially begin until June 21, but there is no need to wait. Visit the closest Birmingham Public Library location and dive into summer reading today!

Brown Bag Lunch—Grand Slam Summer, Celebrating Rickwood Field's 100th Anniversary

Baseball in Birmingham
Baseball in Birmingham, by Clarence Watkins, is a photo journal of baseball's existence in Birmingham. The Birmingham Barons were a charter member of the old Southern League in 1885. Built in 1910, Rickwood Field, longtime home of the Barons, is recognized as the oldest surviving, professional baseball park in the nation. In spite of the popularity of football in Alabama, Birmingham has been and continues to be a leader in minor league baseball. Join us as Mr. Watkins shares the stories of the game of summer. Wednesday, June 23, 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, June 15, 2010

Vampires Gone Viral

The PassageIs there anything new to add to the vampire myth? Justin Cronin thinks so. There’s a deafening buzz about his new book The Passage, a story about a group of twelve felons and one six-year-old girl named Amy who are the failed result of a government experiment to create immortal supersoldiers.

These government guinea pigs have many nicknames—virals, flyers, slims, and smokes—and they escape their prison to hunt and infect the rest of the population. Fast forward ninety-three years and Amy, who has slowly aged into a teenager, reaches one of the last human settlements after the viral attack. At the compound the juice is running out on the 24-hour batteries, and the vampires are getting bolder.

Check out Trish Ping's interview with Justin Cronin at Bookpage.com. The idea for The Passage came about as Cronin's daughter rode her bike beside him on his daily jogs. His daughter wanted a story about a young girl who saves the world, and they created characters and bounced ideas off each other until Cronin thought there just might be a book there. Can a dad get any cooler than that?

Reserve a copy of The Passage.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fascinated By The Natalee Holloway Case?

Natalee Holloway's mysterious disappearance from Aruba five years ago has once again made it into the headlines. Find out more by checking out these books:
Natalee Holloway Natalee Holloway
Aruba : the tragic untold story of Natalee Hollowayand corruption in paradise by Dave Holloway with R. Stephanie Good and Larry Garrison
Loving Natalee : a mother's testament of hope and faith by Beth Holloway with Sunny Tillman

Want to catch up on the news coverage? Check out our databases. Type in "Natalee Holloway" and hit search.

Still need more help? Contact the Social Sciences Department at 205-226-3640, or fill out our Ask a Librarian form.

Cotchery Skills and Drills Football Camp Registration Has Ended

Thanks to all who have registered for the Cotchery Foundation's Skills and Drills Football Camp on June 26 at Legion Field. Registration for the Skills and Drills Camp is closed.

However, it is not too late to join Make Waves at Your Library and attend the 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 Cotchery, food and lots of fun. Visit any Birmingham Public Library for registration materials and additional information.

Ways To Prevent the Dreaded "Summer Slide"

pic of a cool slide in the form of a cheese graterThe verdict is still out on whether year-round schools are better for students, but that thing educators call “summer slide” will cause many children to take a few steps back in their learning during the summer months if they don’t engage in educational activities while on break. This means that some children are in danger of losing up to two month’s worth of reading and math skills.

My husband was deflated when he heard my son’s excited talk about getting out of school for the summer. He took it to mean that our son didn’t enjoy school. I had to remind him how glad all children are to break free for a few months from rules, lessons, and schedules. But along with our family’s summer fun, I plan on "summer schooling" my child with some of these tips so that he'll be better prepared come August.
  • Combine activities with books: Going to a zoo? A baseball game? A beach? Before you drive off, visit the library and check out books about the places your family will be visiting. It’s fun to see subjects from a book "come to life."
  • Don’t forget that learning comes in different formats: The library has audio books available in CD and downloadable formats for children and teens, along with documentaries in different subjects. BookFLIX brings beloved children’s books to life by mixing animation with read-along text.
  • Enroll your child in the summer reading program at your local library: Fun programs and cool prize incentives will help keep your child reading through the summer.

  • Play board, card, and online learning games: There are numerous games in different formats that teach math, reading, concentration, reasoning skills, and more.

  • Journaling: Let your child pick out a journal and have him/her draw a picture and write a sentence or two about the day's activities.

  • Have a craft day once a week: Some children don’t take to crafts the way others do. To keep the creative juices flowing, schedule a craft day at least once a week to awaken the inner junior artist and brush up on cutting and gluing skills for younger children.

  • Turn everyday life into a math lesson: Teach measurements when cooking and fractions when cutting up your child’s food. Add and subtract while shopping.
Remember that children learn by emulation: be inquisitive and show excitement about learning new things; read to your child and let him/her see you reading. But don't forget that summer is a time for fun and games, so sneak some learning in during bouts of play, errands, and trips.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup™

2010 FIFA World CupThe world has gathered in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The official website provides you with all the details you need to keep up with the action. Follow the latest news, browse the match schedule, discover the group in which your favorite team participates (USA – Group C), find in-depth information on teams and players, look at photos, video clips, and more. If you miss a match on ABC or ESPN, check it out later on ESPN3.com. ESPN3.com provides a list of completed matches that are available for replay. You can also watch live action and see a schedule of upcoming matches. "ESPN3.com is available at no charge to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection from an ESPN3.com affiliated internet service provider." Enjoy the competition and GO USA!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Get Green? - Part 1


You probably already know our libraries are a good value, an invaluable community resource, and that they contribute a great deal to local economic development. Yet you may not consider us as a simple way to be eco-friendly, but we are.

If you take a moment to think about it, libraries are inherently green institutions. Instead of buying mountains of books, CDs, DVDs and magazines that you barely use, check materials out of the library. These materials are repeatedly reused and reduce the environmental impact as a result.

According to the Carnegie Mellon EIO-LCA database, for every million wholesale dollars of book printing, over 700 MT of CO2 equivalents are produced. We also find that 30 million trees are used to produce books sold in the U.S. each year. That’s one big carbon footprint.

Not to mention once an item is at your local library, it is local and thus reduces the amount of energy needed to transport them. The typical magazine, book or DVD travels hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles before it ends up in your hands. That's a lot of miles resulting in a tremendous amount of wasted fossil fuels and packaging.

Borrowing library books CDs, DVDs and magazines is not only a way to tread lightly on the planet, but will cut down on clutter. Let someone else worry about re-stacking the books you read neatly when you're done with them. Best of all, the service is free.

Keep an eye out for this series of blog posts on how libraries help preserve the earth. In the second post, we will discover the ecological advantages of using our electronic resources.

Alabama and Lyric Theatres: Open House

Lyric and Alabama. Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept.
If you haven't had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Alabama Theatre or witnessed the Lyric Theatre in all its dilapidated beauty, this weekend is your opportunity. On Sunday, June 13 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be an open house for the Alabama and the Lyric.

The Birmingham Weekly has detailed information about this event and BPL's Digital Collection has photographs, newspaper articles, and programs covering the rich history of these two Birmingham treasures.

BPL's Digital Collection:

Oh, and if you go, take a look at the gorgeous white marble in the Lyric. I helped remove the awful green paint that hid its beauty.

Photo: Oscar V. Hunt Collection. Birmingham Public Library Archives

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BPL Happenings

Hands on Youth Activities Programs is preparing to host a series of exciting workshops at North Avondale Library that will allow participants to spread their creative wings while learning to develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Space is limited, so registration is required for each workshop. The deadline to register is June 11, 2010. For more information about the workshop fees, and details about prerequisites for beginning, intermediate, and advanced participants, please call Juliette Watts at 205-244-1109.

Yes I Can
Purse Making Using Plastic Bags Workshop
Every Monday
June 14-July 12, 2010
1:00-3:00 p.m.

Yes I Can
Crochet Workshop
Every Tuesday and Wednesday
June 15-July 21, 2010
1:00-3:00 p.m.

Yes I Can
Lace Collar Making Workshop
Every Thursday
June 17-July 15, 2010
1:00-3:00 p.m.

The Committee to Develop Birmingham will be conducting town hall meetings at two Birmingham Public libraries with Mayor William Bell in attendance. Attending these meetings would be an opportunity to voice your support for local libraries.

North Birmingham Regional Library
June 15, 2010
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Five Points West Regional Library
June 16, 2010
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Making Waves: A Video by W J Christian Teens

Have You Seen This?

pic of oil spillpic of oil spill

Of course, you have seen these pictures! The oil spill has been continually in the news since April 20, 2010 when the Deep Horizon oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a disaster that will have long-reaching and long-lasting environmental and economic effects. Who is responsible? What is being done by the federal government, state and local officials, and the oil rig operators? What about the wildlife? What other energy sources are out there to replace oil? And the timely question for the summer: Is is safe to go to the beach? The Birmingham Public Library has the answers to these questions and more at the new subject guide on oil spills.

Still need more help? Contact the Social Sciences department at 205-226-3640, or fill out our Ask a Librarian form.

Photos courtesy of AP

Brown Bag Lunch—Batter Up! Baseball Stories from Outside the Strike Zone

Dolores Hydock
Slide into home with storyteller Dolores Hydock and some old-fashioned summertime baseball stories. No baseball knowledge required! Wednesday, June 16, 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, June 08, 2010


Children pose with their sea-themed goggles. Parents and children participated in Family Read Tuesday night at Springville Road Library. Family Read is a story-sharing, story-learning family fun experience. For more information on registering for the program, call 226-4085.

Location:Springville Rd,Birmingham,United States

"20 Under 40" To Watch For

the New Yorker logoIt's been ten years since The New Yorker chose its last "20 Under 40" little-known writers worth watching. In 1999 the relatively unknown writers Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Chabon, and Jeffrey Eugenides made the list.

The current list's process began in January, when editors e-mailed agents, publishers, and other writers for potential candidates. This initial list was whittled down to forty writers who fell within the age guideline. The writers who made the shortlist were asked to submit a short story or excerpt from a novel that would later be published in the magazine. Eight of the writers’ submissions will run in the Summer Fiction issue; the remaining twelve will run in later issues over the course of the summer.

Ten men, ten women; from places as distant as Miami to Ethiopia, and Chicago to Peru; writers all born after 1970: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32; Chris Adrian, 39; Daniel Alarcón, 33; David Bezmozgis, 37; Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38; Joshua Ferris, 35; Jonathan Safran Foer, 33; Nell Freudenberger, 35; Rivka Galchen, 34; Nicole Krauss, 35; Yiyun Li, 37; Dinaw Mengestu, 31; Philipp Meyer, 36; C. E. Morgan, 33; Téa Obreht, 24; Z Z Packer, 37; Karen Russell, 28; Salvatore Scibona, 35; Gary Shteyngart, 37; and Wells Tower, 37.

To get acquainted with the 20, check out their Q&As and visit links to their stories.

BPL@Night Series Features Summer Baseball and Hot Jazz!

BPL@Night logo
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host acclaimed storyteller Dolores Hydock and the swinging sounds of the Birmingham Heritage Band in its July BPL@Night programming line-up. Dolores Hydock will regale baseball fans with old-fashioned summertime baseball stories in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium on Thursday, July 8, and the Birmingham Heritage Band will bring back the legendary music of the Big Band era at the North Birmingham Library on Tuesday, July 27. These events are free and open to the public.

BPL@Night is a series of high quality evening performances offered free-of-charge by Birmingham Public Library in an effort to bring enriching cultural programs to downtown Birmingham and the city’s neighborhoods. BPL@Night highlights local and regional performers that reflect the diversity of our community and draw from a wide range of personal experience. Through programs such as these, the library seeks to provide Birmingham citizens of all ages opportunities for entertainment, ongoing education, and personal growth.

Central Library
July 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium
Batter Up! Stories From Outside the Strike Zone
Dolores Hydock is an actress and story performer whose work has been featured at concerts, festivals, and special events throughout the U.S. She is a touring artist for the Alabama State Council on the Arts, a speaker with the Alabama Humanities Foundation, and a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers. Her six CDs of original stories have all received Resource Awards from Storytelling World Magazine. As an actress, she has been featured in the one-woman plays Shirley Valentine, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Fully Committed, Talking Heads, The Lady With All the Answers, and Nothing Sacred: An Evening of Stories by Ferrol Sams. Dolores lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

North Birmingham Library
July 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Birmingham Heritage Band
In order to escape the difficult economic conditions of the 1930s, American society turned to music. The music of these times was big and the bands were even bigger, including the likes of Duke Ellington, Erskine Hawkins, and Glenn Miller. The members of the Birmingham Heritage Band include Frank Adams, Tolton Rosser, Bill Harris, and Sherman Caesar, among others. Many of these members are seasoned veterans on the music scene, having played with some of the world’s jazz greats.

Visit www.bplonline.org for additional information

Keep Reading

If you haven’t signed your child up for the “Make a Splash” Summer Reading program, it’s not too late. Yes, it’s summer, and everyone wants a break (especially moms and dads). But that doesn't mean you can't read and have fun at the same time!
Did you know that research has shown that students who do not read during the summer can experience significant learning loss? On the other hand, children who are actively engaged in reading and learning enter the following school year with an advantage.
The Birmingham Public Library works to partner with parents, educators, and the community in motivating and helping children learn and succeed. Here are some of our resources online:
·        Read the Books not only offers a library list of books but also currently displays the summer reading list for Birmingham City Schools.
·        The “Make a Splash” site has "Tips on Raising a Reader.”
·        The Kids Catalog is specifically designed to help children simply and quickly find books.
Come visit and support your local branches. We’re much more than a storehouse for books.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Smithfield Branch Library Closing for Repairs

The Smithfield Branch of the Birmingham Public Library is getting a new roof. The library will close at the end of the day on Friday, June 4, and reopen on Monday, August 2. All summer reading programs scheduled for Smithfield will be held at Parker High School. For information call 231-2898.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Make a Splash...Read ... and WRITE!

This spring, author Chandra Sparks Taylor led after-school creative writing workshops at 16 Birmingham Public Libraries. Students of all ages participated. The inspiration for the project was the 2010 Summer Reading themes, "Make a Splash…READ!” and “Make Waves at Your Library.” The poetry has been posted on BPL's Cyberkid Summer Reading page. Check out the creations here!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Magic City's Magic Man Holds a Beach Bash

Larry Moore, The Magic Man, joins the “Make a Splash” Summer Reading Program celebration with his Beach Bash magic and comedy show. Here, he poses with a young victim – er, fan – during his show at Springville Road Public Library on Wednesday, June 2.

Moore has been performing and entertaining children of all ages with magic and comedy for more than 40 years. (Yes, he’s OLD.) He is able to get children laughing, moving, dancing, and captivated (a feat in itself).

Catch The Magic Man’s Beach Bash program at your local branch. Check the Event Keeper Calendar of Events for more information and more programs.

Brown Bag Lunch—Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience—Live from Cooperstown!

Pride and Passion
Never been to Cooperstown? Now is your chance to take a virtual visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. We will be touring the Pride and Passion exhibit with the expert staff from the Hall of Fame as our guide for the day. Don’t miss the trip! Wednesday, June 9, 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, June 01, 2010

Public Hearing on the City of Birmingham Budget

Wednesday, June 2 – 6:00 p.m. – Council Chambers

The citizens of the city of Birmingham are invited to attend a public hearing on the budget that Mayor William Bell has presented to the city council. The proposed budget includes a 10% pay cut to all city employees and the recommended temporary closing of five libraries and seven recreation centers.

At Wednesday’s hearing before the council, the public will be able to speak their concerns and offer suggestions in regards to the city’s plans. We at BPL want to continue providing the highest quality service to our community in these troubled economic times. For those who wish to show their support for the library and all it provides to our city, now is the time to let your voice be heard!

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