Showing posts from September, 2010

BPL Donation Campaign 2010

Our patrons are wonderful!You have donated 58% of our goal of $20,000.This money will be used to purchase the latest books, audio books, DVDs, and e-books.Help us spread the word so that we can get the red line on the thermometer all the way to the top.

Please give today!

Teens and Tweens Get Ready to Scream at the Annual Ghoul’s Ball at the Birmingham Public Library!

If you are a student in grades 6-12, start designing your costume for the Birmingham Public Library’s Annual Ghoul’s Ball on Thursday, October 28, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Central Library.

Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes in the following categories: Spookiest, Most Creative, and Favorite Book Character. Get ready for music, a dance contest, Wii games, a bungee run, good eats, photos, and more. To relieve parents’ minds, numerous chaperones and security will be on hand to run the fun. Teens and tweens should be picked up promptly at 9. Registration required—visit your local BPL branch or call 226-3655. Sorry—younger siblings and parents are not invited.

Birmingham Public Library’s Annual Ghoul’s Ball
Central Library Atrium
Thursday, October 28
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
To register, visit your nearest BPL branch or call 226-3655

Brown Bag Lunch—Making Music with the Alabama School of Fine Arts

Join us as the Music Department from the Alabama School of Fine Arts showcases the great talent of their fine musicians! We will be treated to selections that include jazz, classical, and a few surprises! Wednesday, October 6, 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.

BPL Archivist Jim Baggett and Author Michelle Norris Interviewed on NPR

BPL archivist Jim Baggett and author Michelle Norris were interviewed by NPR’s Neal Conan about Norris’ new book, The Grace of Silence.

The Grace of Silence is about the wall of silence people erect between the races and their own families to protect their loved ones and themselves from the painful effects of racism.

Norris was raised in Minneapolis but stayed with her grandparents in Ensley during the summer. While she has warm memories of her vacations in Birmingham, she also remembers the important lectures her parents delivered on how to act in the south so as not to draw the attention of whites. She was told to dress and behave appropriately, and to not look a white person in the eye.

Her father, Belvin Norris, was a returning military veteran who was shot in the leg in an altercation with a Birmingham police officer in 1946. Though his physical wound healed in time, his emotional wound did not, and he never told his wife or his children about this incident. He chose to move north a…

Interested in Genealogy Classes?

Take our survey!

The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department is planning a series of advanced genealogy classes for the public. Classes will focus on specific areas of research (land records, census records, etc.) and will be taught by the library staff. Since this project is still in the early stages, we need your help.

A survey is up and ready to go on our webpage. Just click on the link for the survey and let us know what types of classes you are interested in and when you would like to see them offered. We’re very excited about this new project and hope you will be too.

Caution! Banned Books

Among my happiest memories are of long summer days reading books of my own choosing under a large oak tree. Not everyone would approve of my selections as some of these books have been banned.

The list of books that have been banned is stunning. Books like:
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder
"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss
"The Adventures of Captain Underpants" by Dav Pilkey
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle
"James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
"A Light in the Attic" by Shel Silverstein
"Grimm's Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
"The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank
"In the Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak
"The Chocolate War" by Rob… Webinar: Find Hidden Job Leads Online and at the Library

Image presents a career webinar series this fall at the Birmingham Public Library. From finding writing resumes and finding jobs online to interviewing skills, these webinars cover topics essential to finding the job you want. Free of charge.

There is a wealth of free and low-cost information available to job seekers. Learn what research and job information tools are available, both online and elsewhere, and how to incorporate these tools into your job search strategy.

Course instructor Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, and executive coaching. She is a triple-certified resume writer, a six-time award winner in the international Toast of the Resume Industry competition, and her work has been featured in over two dozen resume writing and career management publications.

Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
Wednesday, September 29
2:00-3:00 p.m.

Birmingham Public Library to Host Digital Bookmobile National Tour Event

The Digital Bookmobile National Tour will demonstrate free audiobook and eBook download services at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) on Wednesday, October 20th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Park Place. A gadget gallery featuring iPod®, Zune®, Barnes & Noble Nook™, and Sony® Reader™ will help visitors discover portable devices that are compatible with the library’s download service. Library card holders can download digital titles any time, anywhere by visiting

The Digital Bookmobile is housed inside an 18-wheel tractor-trailer. This 74-foot community outreach vehicle is a high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades. The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, all of which help visitors navigate BPL’s download services. Interactive learning stations give visitors an opportunity to search th…

The Big Bad, Little Red, Pig Show

Lee Bryan "That Puppet Guy" entertains children with his take on "The Three Little Pigs" and "Little Red Riding Hood" at Springville Road Library on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Brown Bag Lunch—Palliative Care: A Whole Response to Medical Challenges

Palliative care is a specialty that provides comprehensive care for patients with advanced, life-threatening, or life-limiting illnesses. Designed to support patients and their loved ones, palliative care focuses on the relief of physical, social, emotional, and spiritual suffering. Jackie Palmore, Palliative Care Coordinator from the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, will present a program on this timely subject. Wednesday, September 29, 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.

BPL's Digital Collections Spotlighted by ALA

Homewood Theatre, showing Lon Chaney's While the City Sleeps, c1928
BPL's Digital Collections was recently chosen as American Library Association's (ALA) Digital Library of the Week.

BPL's Digital Collections is an ever-growing resource for students, writers, historians, and citizens interested in learning about the history of Birmingham and her surrounding cities.

The Digital Collections includes maps, 19th century newspapers, Civil Rights history, women artists and Alabama inventors, school yearbooks, and wonderful old photos of the people and places of the past.

Keep apprised of updates via the Digital Collections blog.

East Lake Amusement Park, date unknown

Check Out Limit Raised for OverDrive Audiobooks & eBooks

Good news, OverDrive fans! The check out limit for audiobooks and eBooks has been raised from 5 to 7 items. Another great feature is that you can specify check out periods of 7, 14, or 21 days for each item.

OverDrive's Check Out Assistance page will tell you everything you need to know about check out procedures and lending policies, such as how to use the cart feature, how to create a wish list, and how to check out, renew, reserve and rate materials.

If this service is new to you, take a guided tour of all OverDrive has to offer in the way of listening and reading convenience.

BPL@Night Presents L. Spenser Smith

Influenced by such artists as Earth, Wind & Fire, Manhattan Transfer, Tri-City Singers, and others, L. Spenser Smith has formed a truly unique sound for the gospel music that he both sings and composes. L. Spenser Smith, lead singer and composer for Testament, is joining us as he ventures into the world of solo performance. He will be focusing his next CD release as an individual venture. It is sure to be an evening of inspiration!

Central Library Atrium
Thursday, September 23
6:30-7:30 p.m.

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 e…

Brown Bag Lunch—From Racist Demagogue to Best Selling New Age Author: The Strange Journey of Alabama's Asa Carter

Join us to hear well-known historian Dan Carter discuss Asa Carter, a flamboyant opponent of the Civil Rights Movement. A talented writer, Carter penned one of the most famous speeches of the civil rights era, George Wallace’s “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" inaugural address.

Later in life Carter left Alabama and adopted the pseudonym Bedford Forrest Carter. He wrote the novel Gone to Texas which was made into the film The Outlaw Josey Wales starring Clint Eastwood. Carter also wrote the popular children’s book The Education of Little Tree.

Dan Carter will explore the life and career of this unusual historical figure. Dan Carter has taught history at Emory University and the University of South Carolina. He is the author of the award-winning book The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics. Wednesday, September 22, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch progr…

Kathryn Tucker Windham Guest Speaker at BPL Friends Meeting

The annual meeting for the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library takes place on Sunday, October 17 at 3:00 p.m. in the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium. Kathryn Tucker Windham is the guest speaker. This event is free and open to the pubic, but seating for this event is limited. To reserve a spot, please RSVP at or by calling Sarah Hughes at (205) 226-3757. New members of the Friends will be given a special introductory rate of $10.

Featured on National Public Radio and Alabama Public Radio, Windham is one of America's best-loved storytellers. Now in her 90s, she began writing as one of the first female daily newspaper reporters in Alabama. Her 13 Ghosts and Jeffrey series is tremendously popular. Windham will talk about her recently reprinted children’s book Ernest’s Gift, based on a local man whose lifelong love of books and reading helps him to overcome childhood trauma.

Alabama Bound Presents—Local Writer and Photographer Present an Illustrated Guide to the Butterflies of Alabama

There are 84 known species of “true” butterflies found within the borders of the state of Alabama. For more than 14 years, photographer Sara Bright and Paulette Haywood Ogard have made a close study of these showy, winged stars of the insect world, pursuing them in a variety of habitats, rearing them, and photographing their remarkable life cycle. Bright and Ogard will present their full-color, richly illustrated guide to the species, Butterflies of Alabama. The program is scheduled for 12:00 noon on Wednesday, October 13 in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium located at in the Linn Henley Building at 2100 Park Place.

Alabama Bound Presents is a series of Alabama author talks and book signings offered free-of-charge by the Birmingham Public Library in an effort to bring enriching cultural programs to downtown Birmingham and the city’s neighborhoods. Alabama Bound Presents highlights local and regional authors that reflect the diversity of our community and draw from a wide ra…

Staff Pick—The Missing by Sarah Langan (2007)

Sarah Langan has done it again: kept me up till all hours of the night with a story that grabbed me—by the throat, as is usual in Ms. Langan's case. The Missing is somewhat of a sequel to her debut novel, The Keeper, a story about another small town in Maine that battles its own evil.

Lois Larkin, a spurned ex-fiancee who moved back to town to care for a sick relative and stayed on in her untouched teenage bedroom, takes her third grade class on a field trip to a neighboring ghost town. A troubled student refuses a field trip buddy, and is accidentally left behind after heads are counted. When he wanders into the woods he is beckoned and then infected by an evil so ancient it existed before humans stood upright.

The infection mimics symptoms of tuberculosis: fever; wet, labored breathing; fatigue. The sickness is airborne, and soon the hospitals are filling up, the schools are closing, and the townies are turned into "zompires," returning to their homes, businesses, or an…

Raising Readers Corners Now Available at Four Birmingham Public Library Locations

The North Avondale, Inglenook and Titusville branches have received PBS Kids Raising Readers Corners.West End Library received one in 2009.Alabama Public Television (APT) is one of more than 30 PBS stations expanding the PBS KIDS Raising Readers Library Corners program in local libraries across the country.The Library Corners are designed to give children, ages 2 to 8, the opportunity to strengthen their literacy skills through free, fun activities at their local public or school library.“Research shows that providing PBS KIDS Raising Readers high-quality, media-rich educational materials to young children can play a key role in their development of important literacy skills,” said Dr. Cindy Kirk, APT’s VP of Educational Services.“By expanding the number of PBS KIDS Raising Readers Library Corners in Birmingham, we’re able to also expand the reach and impact of these invaluable resources.”Twenty markets across the country piloted the PBS KIDS Raising Readers Library Corners project l…


Atlanta based puppeteer, Lee Bryan "That Puppet Guy" is a nationally recognized touring artist who combines live vocal characterizations and songs with innovative puppet designs for wholesome family entertainment. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls Bryan a “playful mimic, a shameless punster, and a silly lyricist who's not afraid to take literary liberties in the name of a good rhyme.” He is bringing two shows to Birmingham, "The Big, Bad, Little Red, Pig Show" and "Princess and the Pea, y'all." Gather up the kids for one—or more—of his shows at various Birmingham Public Library locations Monday, September 20 through Thursday September 23! All shows free.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, September 20 – The Big, Bad, Little Red, Pig Show
Central Library 11:00 a.m.
East Ensley Branch 3:00 p.m.
Five Points West Branch 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 21 – Princess and the Pea, y’all
Pratt City Branch 10:30 a.m.
Smithfield Branch 1:00 p.m.
Avondale Branch 6:30 p.…

Check Out It Out. It's Roald Dahl Day!

The life and works of Roald Dahl, the author of James and The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, is celebrated on September 13th each year.
A great day to read one of Roald Dahl's many books. Click here for a list.
This year, you can also download a Roald Dahl party pack to help you celebrate. It comes complete with activities, historic facts and party tips. (Tip of the hat to's Bargain Mom for the heads up on the party pack)

Update—Birmingham Bound Series Features Mignette Patrick Dorsey and Speak Truth to Power: The Story of Charles Patrick, a Civil Rights Pioneer

Mignette Patrick Dorsey
Update: Charles Patrick will be attending the September 14 Birmingham Bound event. Come hear an interesting lecture, get a book signed, and meet a Civil Rights hero in person.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Archives Department is kicking off a new series of lectures and book signings titled Birmingham Bound: Writers and Writing from the Birmingham Public Library Archives. The first presenter is Mignette Patrick Dorsey, author of Speak Truth to Power: The Story of Charles Patrick, a Civil Rights Pioneer, at the Central Library on September 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium. Ms. Dorsey will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase, and discuss her father’s brave stance against the Birmingham police department in the Jim Crow South. Free to the public.

In 1954, Charles Patrick, an African American Birmingham resident, took his stepson downtown to buy a Boy Scout uniform. Following a disagreement with a white woman over a parking sp…

Alabama Bound Presents—Clyde Bolton Recalls Idyllic Southern Boyhood in New Memoir

Clyde Bolton has long been a dean of the Southern sports writing community. Now this popular columnist focuses his beguiling prose on his boyhood memories in the delightful memoir, Hadacol Days. The title is taken from a high school cheer: “Statham Wildcats on the Ball, They’ve Been Drinking Hadacol.” The Statham in the cheer refers to Statham High School, in Georgia—now as long gone as Hadacol but equally effervescent in the author’s nostalgic but clearheaded look back at what life was like in small Southern towns of the 1940s and 1950s. Bolton will share highlights from his latest release as the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) presents an abbreviated take on its annual Alabama Bound Series.

Alabama Bound Presents is a series of Alabama author talks and book signings offered free-of-charge by Birmingham Public Library in an effort to bring enriching cultural programs to downtown Birmingham and the city’s neighborhoods. Alabama Bound Presents highlights local and regional authors …

Free Health Care Screenings for Birmingham’s Youth at Annual "Take a Child to the Doctor Day"

On Saturday, September 11, 2010, the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services (DYS) will host its annual "Take a Child to the Doctor Day" event at Fair Park Arena. Designed to serve uninsured and under-insured youth up to 18 years old, this FREE community event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Health screening benefits the overall health of the child. It is through checkups and tests that physicians can identify potential health problems that can be corrected before becoming major health issues.

Area youth, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, can receive health screenings in vision, dental, and general health. The services will be provided by medical staff from Children’s Health System and UAB Health System-Department of Pediatrics.

This is not your ordinary trip to the doctor. While the focus is on providing quality health screenings for youth, there will also be something for the whole family. Enjoy food, games, prizes and much more whil…

Thinking About Moving or Relocating?

The end of summer is the most popular time to move or relocate. Whether you are sending your kids off to college, relocating for your job, or moving into a new house, moving can be overwhelming, exhausting, and time-consuming. To help you get prepared for your move, the Birmingham Public Library has created the Moving and Relocatingsubject guide.

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

As someone who is also moving this summer, it is amazing how much planning goes into a move, even if it just across town. Here are some of my personal tips:
Shop around for the best moving truck rate and reserve it early. Organize and purge unwanted items before you pack.Label your boxes by room or color code the boxes.Recruit friends and family to be your "manpower" and bribe them with pizza.Have a few "open first" boxes to get you through the first days after your move.Get a dolly! It's a must! What are …

Brown Bag Lunch—Alabama Bound Fall Series Presents Mary Ann Neeley

The Works of Matthew Blue, Montgomery’s First Historian, is a landmark volume about the early days of Montgomery, Alabama. Painstakingly researched, edited, and annotated by local historian Mary Ann Neeley, The Works of Matthew Blue is ten years in the making.

The 1878 City Directory of Montgomery, Alabama, included “A Brief History of Montgomery,” consisting of a “narrative” and a series of “events.” Compiled by Matthew Powers Blue, whose family was among Montgomery’s first settlers, this was the earliest published history of a city which had already served as the center of Deep South cotton culture and as the first capital of the Confederacy. "The Works of Matthew Blue" makes available Blue’s other writings about early churches and the genealogy of the colorful Blue family, plus features a Civil War diary by Blue’s sister, Ellen. This new volume includes 183 nineteenth-century photographs and maps; a detailed index; and a profile of Matthew Blue, written by Ms. Neeley.

Join …

Dreaming of a Vacation?

Vacation is something everyone dreams of, and the Birmingham Public Library is ready to help you discover more about your location of your choice. We have an extensive travel guide section that will give you the in and outs of the best places to see, eat, and stay. Whether you are making your next getaway to Australia, New York City, or China, we have a book for you! Check out our new subject guide, Vacations and Road Trips.

Maybe you do not have a specific destination in mind, but you know that you want to take a cruise. What are your options for destinations? You can find out this and more by using Vacation and Road Trips subject guide. A cruise is not for you? Our subject guide contains other speciality vacations including Walt Disney World, national parks, honeymoon destinations, and road trips.

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

2010 Hugo Award Winners

The 2010 Hugo Award winners were announced and presented in Melbourne, Australia, on September 2-6.

2010 Hugo Award winners:

Best Novel: TIE: The City & The City, China Miéville ; The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
Best Novella: “Palimpsest”, Charles Stross
Best Novelette: “The Island”, Peter Watts
Best Short Story: “Bridesicle”, Will McIntosh
Best Related Book: This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance
Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm, written by Kaja and Phil Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colours by Cheyenne Wright

For a complete list of winners visit the Hugo Awards Web site.

Titusville Branch Library Closing for New Roof

The Titusville branch of the Birmingham Public Library will close at the end of business on September 11 for roof replacement. While construction on Titusville is underway, patrons may wish to visit other libraries in the vicinity, including Smithfield, West End, Southside, and Five Points West.

Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library Poetry Slam Series

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a monthly poetry slam starting October 1 at the Central Library. Held on the first Friday of each month, slams will be emceed by poetry slam events director Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins. Each contestant contributes $5 to the pot, and winner takes all. Southern Fried Slam rules will be observed. A vendor with a liquor license will provide free beer for sampling. Good People Brewing Company will provide samples for the October 1 event. Slam participants must be 18 years or older. IDs will be checked. Live music at 6:00 p.m. Call time is 6:30 p.m. Check out the Bards & Brews page on Facebook for more information. Word up, y’all!

Central Library
1st Friday of every month (except December) starting October 1
Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library Poetry Slam Series
6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Live music and sign-up is at 6:30
Call time is at 7:00

Additional information:
Brian Hawkins (AKA Brian Porter) will serve as emcee for the Bards & Brews…

College Football is Back

We have a very special weekend coming up. Sure, I know it's Labor Day Weekend, but that's not what I'm talking about. This weekend marks the opening of the 2010 college football season. All the action, drama, and suspense that is college football is set to unfold with the first kickoff. Division I schools across America are asking themselves one question: what will it take to dethrone the SEC? SEC teams have won the national championship for the last 4 years. In fact, SEC teams have won 6 of the last 12 national championships. Alabama and Florida are ranked #1 and #4 respectively in the preseason AP Top 25. With the performance the conference has displayed over the years, it is definitely the one to watch.

UAB will be the first local team to kick off its 2010 season when it hosts Florida Atlantic tonight at 7:00 pm. All other teams will take the field on Saturday, September 4. I'm looking forward to a great college football season and I hope that the SEC continues its d…

"Art Kids" Begins

Miss Judy outlines a little artist for her life-size portrait. More than 20 children who attended the first "Art Kids" meeting then filled in the details of their life-size outlines. Art Kids meets at Springville Road Public Library the first Wednesday of every month at 4 pm.

Brown Bag Lunch—You Have Questions? We Have Answers!

Join us for a tour of the many resources—online and hands on—that the Birmingham Public Library has to offer you and everyone you know! Whether you are elementary, high school, college, looking at a new career, or just learning for fun, we have the resources to help you achieve your goals and find the answers you need. It's all at your fingertips! Wednesday, September 8, 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.