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Showing posts from March, 2011

Discover Local HerStory at BPL!

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As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Birmingham Public Library invites you to utilize its Special Collections to learn more about the lives, roles, and status of women in Alabama’s past.What you will find is a vast array of personalities, mostly named but many unnamed, who played a vital part in the development of the state’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Speaking of unnamed - once upon a time, in the U.S. Census, womens’ names were listed only if they were the head of the household.That’s right, prior to 1850, a woman’s presence in a male-headed household was noted only by a hash mark.Beginning in 1850, women’s names were included, but not those of slaves.The 1870 U.S. Census is particularly significant for anyone researching women because, from that point forward, all women’s names were included, regardless of race.Census records can be found on several of the library’s subscription computer databases or on microfilm in the Microforms Room.
Women are also well repre…

Kentucky Sends Ohio State Home

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The SEC has OhioState’s number.Time after time, sport after sport, SEC teams prevent OhioState from winning championships.Last night, No. 4 seed Kentucky beat overall No. 1 seed OhioState to advance to the Elite Eight.Freshman guard Brandon Knight hit a jump shot with seconds left in the game to put Kentucky ahead 62-60.OhioState attempted a three-point shot with time running out, but the shot bounced off the rim.It was a huge upset for OhioState not to advance from the Sweet Sixteen.

Flash back to 2007.The Florida Gators defeated OhioState in the NCAA Tournament to win the national championship, 84-75.Earlier in the year, the Gators football team defeated OhioState 41-14 to win the national championship. OhioState advanced to the national championship game the following year to face the LSU Tigers who defeated them 38-24.
I’m not picking on OhioState, but no matter how good their teams are, they can’t seem to get past the SEC.If you haven't guessed by now, I’m a big fan of SEC foot…

A Good Day for Genealogy

We had a great visit from Good Day Alabama this morning. Check out the video of Jeh Jeh Pruitt interviewing Ben Petersen and Mary Beth Newbill of our Southern History department.

Be Number 1000 on Facebook?

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So...will you be the 1000th person to "like" Birmingham Public Library’s facebook page?

Your time is running out. We are at 994… 995… make that 996 at this time. Don't miss your chance click here now.

You might also be interested in “like”ing your local BPL branch’s facebook page:


East Lake Library

Five Points West Regional Library

Inglenook Library

North Avondale Library

Springville Road Regional Library

Woodlawn Library

Or "like"ing one of our central departments:


Government Documents & Microforms

Southern History Department

Or our friends group:

Friends of the Birmingham Public Library

"So, You Think You Can Act?"

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Ms. Casandra Scott conducted the "So, You Think You Can Act?" program Tuesday, March 22, at Springville Road Library. The program introduced teens to improvisation, character background development, creative and imaginative "play," and other acting skills.

Brown Bag Lunch—A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

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Max Herzel, Holocaust survivor and member of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee and the Alabama Holocaust Commission, will discuss how he and his family escaped the German invasion of their home city of Antwerp, Belgium and sought refuge in France. Soon after their arrival, the Herzels, along with other Jews, were rounded up and faced harrowing experiences for five years. Wednesday, March 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 Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Find Your Irish Roots at the Library!

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What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than to delve into your Irish ancestry? If you know, or if you have an inkling, that your forebearers immigrated to the United States from the Emerald Isle, then the Birmingham Public Library has the resources to help you track your ancestors down.
The best place to start your Irish genealogy search is with the U.S. Census records. These records are available from 1790 to 1930 (1940 becomes available in 2012). Beginning with the 1850 Census, the place of birth of each household member member was included. Even better for genealogists, beginning in 1880, respondents were also asked to name the place of birth of their parents. U.S. Census records can be searched on three databases that the library subscribes to (Ancestry, FamilySearch, and HeritageQuest), and also are available on microfilm for the Southeastern United States in Microforms Room of the Government Documents department.
Ship passenger lists are another rich source of inform…

Storyteller Swap

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Storytellers shared ideas during the Storyteller Swap hosted by Avondale Branch Regional Library.



Brown Bag Lunch—Survivors Stories: Anniston, Temple Beth El, and the Holocaust

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Sherry Blanton, Guardian of Remembrance for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Committee, will discuss the congregation of Temple Beth-El in Anniston. Founded in 1888, sixteen of its members were Holocaust survivors. The program will chronicle their lives. Wednesday, March 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 Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Spring Fling 2011 at Linn Park

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Spring Fling 2011 kicks off March 16 in Linn Park. The festivities include free movies and music, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, gaming centers, and more. 95.7 Jamz will broadcast live from the festival.

Fliers are available at all Birmingham Public Library locations. The fliers include coupons for two free children admissions (with the purchase of one adult admission) to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, McWane Science Center, Vulcan Park and Museum, and the Birmingham Zoo.

Where? Linn Park
When? March 16-19
Time? 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Cost? Free

"I Hunt Until I Am Mad"

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I have recently discovered that the Where's Waldo? books are not just for juveniles. In our household searching for Waldo has brought my husband and me closer together. Long after my son has lost interest in finding that famous world traveler and left to play LEGO Star Wars, my husband and I will still be searching, our eyes burning from lack of blinking, wearing our glasses on top of our heads to get a closer look at the busy pages, working as a team, striving for our personal best, trying to one-up the other.

Where's Waldo? is a series of books illustrated by Martin Handford where the reader is supposed to locate a tall, colorfully-dressed, bespectacled man hidden amid a crowded landscape. Could be the beach. Could be a museum. Or it could be the Castle of the Nasty Nasties. Sometimes he is found at a glance, other times you must hunt until you are mad, as Werner Herzog eerily warns.

Some fun facts about Where's Waldo:

Where's Waldo? began as Where's Wally? in the U…

Brown Bag Lunch—Children of the Holocaust

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Nine Birmingham Holocaust survivors share their stories of despair, endurance, and survival in Nazi Germany, and their arrival in the United States. The stories are powerful and compelling, but the fact that these are narrated by the survivors themselves makes them a testament to the events of the time. This documentary makes use of original photographs and footage taken during the years of the Holocaust, creating a powerful historical record. Sunday, March 20, 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium.

Children’s Author Ashley Bryan’s Illustrations on Display at Birmingham Public Library

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Birmingham Public Library and the UAB School of Education Curriculum and Instruction Department present Rhythms of the Heart: The Illustrations of Ashley Bryan. Rhythms of the Heart will exhibit works on loan from the National Center for Illustrated Children’s Literature. This exhibit is made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts. The collection will be on display from April 11 through May 20 at Central Library’s 4th Floor Gallery. Central Library will host a reception honoring Ashley Bryan on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. For information on additional programs check the BPL calendar or call 226-3742.

In a career spanning over 48 years, celebrated children’s author and illustrator Ashley Bryan has amassed many accomplishments. Bryan wrote his first book at age 5—an alphabet primer for his kindergarten class; he was one of the few African American students to be awarded a scholarship to the Cooper Union Art Sc…

Book Review: The Parole Officer

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If you are from or have ever visited Birmingham, Alabama you have heard of The Bright Star restaurant in Bessemer. Patrons from all over the South, including Sandra Bullock, have visited to enjoy their exquisite Greek Snapper. In The Parole Officer, Pete Watson, a happily married man with three kids, enjoys a meal in the historic restaurant while discussing the murder of one of his parolees.

Watson, a veteran parole officer for the City of Birmingham, was surprised by the murder of his new parolee, Freddie 'Jonesy' Jones. He was even more surprised to find out that Jonesy was the brother of Watson's success-story parolee, Earl Stallings. Thus begins the case that will change his life. Working closely with Stallings, the two set out to find Jonesy's killer and soon realize they just may be in too deep!

Be ready for twists, turns, betrayal, murder, and conspiracies as Watson is thrown into a world he never knew existed! You are sure to enjoy this fast read.

To watch t…

WORD UP! 2011: A Poetry Slam for Jefferson County High School Students

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WORD UP! is a poetry slam for high school students (grades 9-12) who are enrolled in schools or who are home schooled in Jefferson County. The slam is sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library. Students write and perform an original work of poetry inspired by a theme selected by the WORD UP! planning committee. This year's theme is the poem “Daybreak in Alabama” by Langston Hughes. Each participating high school holds its own contest.The winners from each school compete in the WORD UP! contest at the Birmingham Public Library. The contestants are judged on content and performance by a panel of three judges. The prize for first place is $150, second place is $100, and third place is $75. Word up, y’all!

WORD UP! Poetry Slam
Central Library, 2100 Park Place
Sunday, April 3 at 3:00 p.m.
Arrington Auditorium

Celebrate Women's History Month!

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(From left to right: Eleanor Roosevelt, Condoleeza Rice, and Amelia Earhart)
Who are these women? Why do they matter? Find out this March in the Social Sciences department as we celebrate Women's History Month. This year's theme is "Our History is Our Strength". To celebrate, the Social Sciences department has put together a display of books, DVDs, and audiobooks of famous women and milestones in women's history. Stop by the Social Sciences department today or call us for more information at 205-226-3640.

Cool websites to visit:
Check out President Obama'sPresidential Proclamationof Women's History Month.
Visit the Library of Congress'Women's History Monthwebsite.
Take Biography'sWomen's Historyquiz.

Get Healthy with National Nutrition Month!

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March is National Nutrition Month* and is sponsored by the American Diabetic Association. This year's theme is "Eat Right With Color". Ruth Frechman offers great advice by suggesting a rainbow week of colors and examples to guide in her blog post, Celebrate National Nutrition Month.Monday- Eat somethingorange (carrots)
Tuesday- Eat somethinggreen (green beans)
Wednesday-Eat somethingtan(oatmeal)
Thursday-Eat somethingpurple (eggplant)
Friday-Eat somethingred(apples)
Saturday-Eat somethingblue(blueberries)
Sunday- Eat somethingyellow(squash)To help get you started on better nutrition, visit the display of books, audiobooks, and DVDs celebrating National Nutrition Month in the Business, Science, and Technology department of the Birmingham Public Library. Please contact us at 205-226-3690 if you have questions. National Nutrition Month is a federally registered service mark, and its graphics, themes, and logos are copyrighted.

March Madness

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March means different things to different people. For some, it marks the beginning of Spring and all that comes with it. For basketball fans, March is significant for one important reason: MARCH MADNESS! To quote Dick Vitale, “It’s awesome, baby!” There is nothing like the NCAA Basketball Tournament to help you recover from a cold winter. Selection Sunday is March 13th. College teams around the country will gather to discover not only their seed in the tournament, but to see if they make it into the tournament. Once the bracket is complete, the MADNESS can begin. Round one is March 15-16. This year, the road to the Final Four ends in Houston. The Final Four tips off on April 2 and the national championship game is April 4. Between games, come check out the library’s collection on college basketball and March Madness. Enjoy the tournament, I know I will.
Last dance : behind the scenes at the Final FourThe men of March : a season inside the lives of college basketball coaches NCAA March …

Brown Bag Lunch—New Themes on Anti-Semitism

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Mr. Maury Shevin, attorney and member of the Alabama Holocaust Commission, will speak about anti-Semitism in both its historical and current forms. His presentation will discuss some of the more alarming forms, including the notion that Zionism is racism, and the way in which the president of Iran and other Holocaust deniers are welcomed into the fraternity of nations. Wednesday, March 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 Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Birmingham Bound Presents Torch: Birmingham’s Roman God of the Forge

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Torch is a short documentary that examines one of Birmingham’s most unique landmarks. In the early 20th century, the city commissioned a giant cast-iron statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge. The statue, the largest of its kind in the world, would symbolize Birmingham's iron and steel industry. However, just a few short years later, another use for the statue was put into action. A group of civil activists suggested that the city utilize Vulcan as a reminder for its citizens to drive carefully. A light was erected in place of Vulcan's spear, which would glow red in the case of a traffic fatality. This civic project, which was only supposed to last for six weeks, remained active for 53 years. Torch explores the history of this phenomenon, and the impact that it had on the people of Birmingham.

Torch: Birmingham’s Roman God of the Forge
Part of the Birmingham Bound Winter Series of Author Talks & Films
Central Library, 2100 Park Place
Wednesday, April 6 at Noon
Arrington A…

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy—A Workshop Series at the Birmingham Public Library

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BPL Digital Collections
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets 4: Little Gidding

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy (BtB) workshops, a series of classes covering various topics on genealogical research, will be conducted in the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) beginning in April 2011 in the Southern History Department. Workshops will run from one to two hours, and be conducted by members of the Southern History Department staff.

Participants will gain in-depth knowledge on specialized areas of researching genealogy. The BtB classes are designed to expand on information provided in the “Introduction to Genealogy” classes, which are offered throughout the year by the Southern History Department. Registration is limited to the first 12 respondents. Classes will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the East Room of the Southern History Department.

Subject areas and workshop dates ar…

Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library April Poetry Slam Series

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The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) hosts its sixth poetry slam on April 1 at the Central Library. Bards & Brews showcases both veteran slammers and first-timers. Held on the first Friday of each month, slams are 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. Craft beer will be available for sampling. You must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked. Live music at 6:30 p.m. Call time is 7:00 p.m. Check out the Bards & Brews page on Facebook for more information. This program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Word up, y’all!

Bards & Brews: Birmingham Public Library Poetry Slam Series
Central Library, 2100 Park Place
1st Friday of every month
6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Live music and sign-up is at 6:30
Call time is at 7:00

Additional…

Brown Bag Lunch—A Reluctant Journey from Vienna to New York

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Dr. Robert Adler will speak about the development of the Holocaust in Austria, focusing on his father's personal experience before, during, and after his capture by the Nazis as well as his eventual arrival in the United States. He will also speak about the role of the Catholic Church, and particularly the role of Pope Pius XII, in the rise of the Third Reich and the spread of Nazism in Europe, contrasted with the Pope and the Vatican's aid to Jews escaping the Holocaust. Wednesday, March 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 Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Freewheelin' Suze Rotolo Dead at 67

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“It was freezing out. He wore a very thin jacket, because image was all. Our apartment was always cold, so I had a sweater on, plus I borrowed one of his big, bulky sweaters. On top of that I put on a coat. So I felt like an Italian sausage. Every time I look at that picture, I think I look fat.” - Suze Rotolo

I bet The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album cover stirs a lot of good memories in a lot of people. It does for me, and I arrived late to the folk scene. In fact, Freewheelin' was released two years before I was even born. But I've loved poetry and rhymes since I first learned to read, and I think that's why folk music appealed to me when most of my peers were listening to Madonna and A Flock of Seagulls. The purity of a story comes through so clearly in a folk song.

In the '80s my dad bought me a 1967 Toyota Corolla and had it painted candy apple red. For years while I was building up my record collection, I would hop in that Toyota just about every Saturday and cr…