Friday, July 29, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch—The View from the Editor's Desk

Pyr logo
Five-time Hugo-nominated Lou Anders will talk about what goes on behind the scenes from manuscript to print in the publishing world. Anders is Editorial Director at Pyr, and will share some of the company's forthcoming science fiction and fantasy titles. Wednesday, August 3, noon.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Wednesdays at noon in Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Friends Bookstore Reopens

Friends logo
The Friends Bookstore at Central Library has reopened to the public with new hours. The store will be open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2:30-5:30 p.m.

To learn more about the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, go to

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BPL@Night Presents Get Rhythm West African Drumming Featuring John Scalici

John Scalici
Birmingham Public Library (BPL) welcomes back John Scalici and his Get Rhythm drum circle program. Scalici started jamming for BPL in 2006, when he first entertained crowds of children with his interactive drum circles that teach group participation, self-expression, and communication. Scalici will perform at the Ensley Branch Library on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.

Scalici is an award-winning teaching artist, musician, and speaker who has been featured on campuses across the country. Believing that rhythm is a universal language that everyone speaks, he created Get Rhythm in 1999, a company that provides interactive rhythm programs to promote team unity, diversity awareness, and leadership development. He has studied djembe music with world renowned Grand Master djembe player, Mamady Keita, and recently completed a year-long training at Youth Villages, Inc., where he earned a certificate in Therapeutic Drumming. He is the recipient of a 2005 Fellowship Grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the 2008 Pauline Ireland Award granted to individual artists, and was presented with the 2010 “Making a Difference” award by the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education. As a solo artist Scalici has released two acclaimed albums: Rhythm Music and Rhythms for Drumming and Music.

BPL@Night Presents Get Rhythm West African Drumming Featuring John Scalici
Ensley Branch Library, 1201 25th Street
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
4:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public

For more information about this event, contact Sandi Lee at (205)226-3742 or

Monday, July 25, 2011

Calling All Local Authors!

The Birmingham Public Library will be hosting its annual Local Authors Expo on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at the Central Library. The expo is a book fair sponsored by The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library that provides an opportunity for local authors of adult and children's fiction and nonfiction to autograph and sell their books. What better way to promote yourself and meet and greet current and future fans?

Registration is free and underway. To register, send an email to or call 205-226-3726.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch—Creek Walking in Birmingham

Shades Creek
James Lowery has been walking through the low-rise sections of Shades Creek since 2005, studying the intricate dynamics of its ecosystem. From the vast wildlife dependent upon the creek’s health to the effects of it being located in an urban environment, Lowery has a fascinating story to tell. Wednesday, July 27, noon.

On Wednesdays at noon, the Birmingham Public Library hosts its ongoing Brown Bag Lunch series. The programs are held in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library for the lunchtime crowd to enjoy. There is no charge, and the library provides beverages. For more information, call 226-3610.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Library Adds Food Fest to Calendar

Food fest logoThe Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is planning to feed the mind, body, and soul during its upcoming Eat Drink Read Write Festival planned for September 13-17, 2011. BPL and event partners Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO), Foodies Book Club, and Slow Food Birmingham will present a series of FREE programs bringing food, culinary arts, and literature to the table in a stimulating format. The goal of the Eat Drink Read Write Festival is to raise awareness of food-related issues in our community by exploring these concerns from a variety of perspectives.

The festival opens on Tuesday, September 13 at BPL’s Central Library with a discussion led by Barry Estabrook, an award-winning journalist and author of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. James Beard Award winner and Alabama native, Chef Frank Stitt, will discuss tomato varieties and offer samples of tomato-based dishes. This 6:00 p.m. event promises to launch the festival with thought-provoking conversation and appetizing fare.

Other programs for the series include:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

12:00 p.m., BPL Central
Brown Bag Lunch Series will showcase PieLab of Greensboro, Alabama. PieLab is combination cafĂ©, community meeting place and design studio that brings people together over food to strike up a conversation. “Pie + Conversation = Ideas / Ideas + Design = Positive Change." Pies will be available for sampling.

Food Stories
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

7:00 p.m., Woodrow Hall, 5504 1st Ave North, Woodlawn
Food Stories, hosted by DISCO (Desert Island Supply Company) will be a live storytelling event modeled after NPR’s popular program, “The Moth.” Local storytellers will have five minutes to tell a true story in the first person—the story subject must involve food. Cash bar and light snacks.

Food Films
Thursday, September 15, 2011

6:30 p.m., Birmingham Public Library, Central
Screening of a montage of short food-related films by Joe York, filmmaker for the University of Mississippi Center for Documentary Projects. York works with the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and has created SFA films on topics ranging from artisanal cheese producers in the South to the journey of Vietnamese fishermen to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. Refreshments provided by local area restaurants. The event is FREE; reservations are required via Eventbrite

Bards & Brews
Friday, September 16, 2011

6:30 p.m. Birmingham Public Library, Central
Bards & Brews, the popular monthly poetry slam/beer tasting will spotlight winners of previous Bards & Brews events. Free the Hops (FTH) will provide information about craft beers. Regional breweries will serve craft beers for sampling.

Food Writing Workshop at Pepper Place Market
Saturday, September 17, 2011
9:00 a.m., Pepper Place Saturday Market
DISCO (Desert Island Supply Company) will lead informal food writing workshops for children and adults at Pepper Place Saturday Market. Library staff will offer food-related craft activities for kids.

At the Table with Robyn O’Brien and Michael Nolan
Saturday, September 17, 2011

3:30 p.m., Birmingham Public Library, Central
The Central Library will host “At the Table With Robyn O’Brien and Michael Nolan.” O’Brien is author of Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It and founder of the AllergyKids Foundation. Michael Nolan, aka "The Garden Rockstar" is co-author of I Garden - Urban Style. He will share his no-bull approach to gardening. The event is FREE; reservations are required via Eventbrite website:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch—Cutting Coupons Workshop

coupon image
Couponing is a great way to cut down on the cost of items you need every
day. Learn how to effectively combine weekly sales and coupons to not
only get what you need, but also to save for the things you want! You can save at least 50% on your grocery bill. Wednesday, July 20, noon.

On Wednesdays at noon, the Birmingham Public Library hosts its ongoing Brown Bag Lunch series. The programs are held in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library for the lunchtime crowd to enjoy. There is no charge, and the library provides beverages. For more information, call 226-3610.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dan Simmons Tackles Dystopian Present in Flashback

Flashback book coverI first became aware of Dan Simmons years ago when I read Summer of Night, a horror novel about some teens in the 1960s who band together to make a stand against an evil that returned to their small town. (Well, I'll be, this sounds like the plot of many a horror novel—good or bad). As horror novels go, it was an OK read, reminiscent of Stephen King’s It, but without the charismatic Pennywise.

His next two horror books I read—Carrion Comfort and Song of Kali—knocked my socks off. Carrion Comfort is the chilling story about privileged “mind vampires” who use the Ability to control and use people for entertainment purposes and net gain. This book contains one of the most unconscionable characters I’ve ever come across: an elderly woman named Melanie Fuller who thinks that humans are disposable if she just happens to need their minds—men, women...children. Song of Kali is one of Simmons’ most talked-about horror stories. It takes place in crowded and sweltering Calcutta, and the tension is palpable from the start as a writer takes his wife and baby along on a magazine assignment to interview a poet named M. Das, who eight days earlier was a bloated corpse brought back to life by a statue of Kali. You'll be fidgeting in your easy chair as the journalist tries to get his family out of Calcutta before tragedy befalls them.

I have big plans to one day read Simmons' The Terror and Drood, coming in at 769 and 777 pages, respectively. I just need to set aside a big chunk of time to do so.

Flashback, Simmons' latest book, is a mixture of horror, scifi, and thriller, all genres that Simmons has written in before. Flashback takes place some twenty years into the future where the world is in political chaos and global economic meltdown. People are addicted to flashback, a substance that allows you to escape from the present and back to the warmth and safety of your best memories. Detective Nick Bottom became addicted to flashback after losing his wife in a car accident, and has since lost his job and son as a result. But he has a chance to redeem himself and the future when a Japanese governmental advisor hires him to re-examine the cold-case death of his son, a case that Bottoms himself worked on six years earlier.

I normally steer clear of dystopian novels because they're just too bleak and don't remove themselves far enough from reality, the way a vampire or werewolf story does. But I like Simmons' style and, besides, he's promised that this would be his only dystopian novel.

If you're interested in learning some in-depth background on Flashback, don't miss this Q&A newsletter on Simmons' website.

Tribute to a Patron: Kenneth Badger Hurd, Jr.

If it weren't for great patrons and great supporters of this wonderful institution, the Birmingham Public Library, our jobs as librarians would mean little. In Birmingham, we have the opportunity to serve a very loyal community. One of Central's great patrons passed away on Saturday, July 9, 2011.

Kenneth Badger Hurd, Jr. came to us from New York and he visited our Central Library several times a week for the last several years. In fact, he agreed to speak in our digital annual report from 2009. You will find him beginning at the :30 mark here:

His support and humor and weekly visits meant so much to us. And he was a man worth knowing. He lived a celebrated life. He attended high school with Truman Capote in Greenwich, Connecticut, and studied poetry under Robert Frost at Dartmouth. Realizing that he would not be able to support his family on a poet's salary, he went straight to Madison Avenue and worked for years as an Ad Man (think Mad Men) in the 1950s of NYC.

We're grateful that we could meet him and get to know him. And we're grateful for all the patrons like Mr. Hurd, who make our jobs worthwhile.

You may read his obituary here. We would like to thank the family for thinking of BPL during this difficult time, and to thank them for sharing Ken Hurd with us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

App Allows Mobile Access to Library Catalog

AirPAC appThe Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) has launched a mobile version of its website that will allow users to easily access JCLC’s online catalog on mobile phones and other small-screen mobile devices. This app supports our continuing efforts to make library materials available to a wide range of audiences.

The mobile catalog can be accessed from our regular catalog from any smartphone. The catalog will automatically detect that you are on a smartphone and take you to the mobile version of the catalog (AirPAC). On your Internet capable mobile phone, go to our catalog or It should automatically take you to the mobile version if you’re using a smartphone. Go to Mobile at the bottom of the website to view the mobile format that will appear on your phone.

Features and benefits:
  • Reach mobile users who may not be utilizing library services
  • A visual design just right for smartphones
  • Integrates library locations with built-in Google Maps™ software
  • Catalog search with RightResult™ Relevance-ranking technology
  • Full support for requesting options
  • Access to online resources and electronic journals
  • My Millennium access for online renewals and hold requests

August Brown Bag Lunches @ the Birmingham Public Library

In August, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) hosts its ongoing Brown Bag Lunch series. Each Wednesdays at noon, in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library, a program is offered for the lunch-time crowd to enjoy. This month is themed A Primer for Aspiring Authors. There is no charge, and the library provides beverages. For more information, call 226-3610.

August 3
The View from the Editor's Desk
Five time Hugo-nominated editor Lou Anders will talk about what goes on behind the scenes from manuscript to print, and share some of Pyr books forthcoming titles.

August 10
Every Writer Needs an Editor
Birmingham book editor and designer Liz Reed will outline steps in the process of getting your book into print. Discussion begins with To Print or To Publish?

August 17
How to Become Your Own Book
An hour with Alabama author Jim Reed, whose newly-published writers' workbook is designed to hone the writing skills of beginners and professionals alike. Jim Reed is the author of Dad’s Tweed Coat and other books. He will have copies of How to Become Your Own Book for sale and signing after the program.

August 24
Writing for the Children’s Market
Children’s author Jo S. Kittinger will provide an overview of various genres and opportunities within the vast arena of children’s publishing. The author of Rosa’s Bus and other books, she will have copies of her children’s books for sale and signing after the program.

August 31
Practical Principles of Self-Publishing--From Edea to Conclusion
Author & Poet C.L. Threatt will teach the do's and don'ts of publishing on your own. The author of Different, But the Same and other books, he will have copies of his children’s books for sale and signing after the program.

Birmingham Public Library Presents Awareness of the Intangibles, Acrylic Paintings

Cynthia Jones painting
Imprisonment by the Wheels of Time, 2008

Cynthia Jones studied art and engineering at Jacksonville State University. She assumes all things that can be – are, and she examines the intersection of common universal experiences, such as weakness, rejection, and silence, with the arrival of strength, acceptance, and creativity. She uses a combination of acrylics, watercolor, gouache, and metallic paints to achieve the desired effects. Her work has iridescent colors reminiscent of a peacock or beetle.

Awareness of the Intangibles, acrylic painting by Cynthia Jones
Central Library, 2100 Park Place
4th Floor Gallery during regular business hours
July 23-September 9, 2011
Free and open to the public
Opening reception Saturday, July 23 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Brown Bag Lunch—Carl Winters, Kalimba King

Carl Winters
The kalimba, or African thumb piano, has been featured in unlikely music venues, including the music of Pink Floyd and in the movie soundtrack of ALIENS. The sounds of this ancient instrument are played to perfection by Carl Winters, whose kalimba repertoire includes gospel, jazz, blues, rhythm, and pop music. Wednesday, July 13, noon.

On Wednesdays at noon, the Birmingham Public Library hosts its ongoing Brown Bag Lunch series. The programs are held in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library for the lunchtime crowd to enjoy. There is no charge, and the library provides beverages. For more information, call 226-3610.

Learn a New Gadget!

Twitter, Droid, Facebook, and Blackberry are all words that you have heard of, but what are they actually? The Business, Science, and Technology Department proudly presents Gadget month, a display of books devoted to learning how to use gadgets and new technology. We have books on smartphones including the iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid. Ever heard the term, social networking? Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are all popular social networking sites. Feel the need to share your thoughts, announce events, or read what others write about a topic? Blogging is for you, and we have books on that too. Apps? We are ready to help you with that. These are just of the few gadgets books that will be on display this month. Stop by the third floor of the Central branch and take the first step in learning how to use a new "gadget". For more information, call us at 205-226-3690.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Date Correction: Teen 2011 Summer Reading Program @ the Birmingham Public Library

Summer Reading 2011 teen logo
The Reader has an incorrect date of Wednesday, July 20, for Central Library's 2nd Annual YMCA Pool Party that celebrates the end of Summer Reading 2011 for teens who completed the requirements. The correct date is Thursday, July 21. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) 2011 Summer Reading program is in full swing at all 18 BPL locations. Please sign up for the remainder of this summer’s offerings at any branch. BPL’s commitment to outstanding summer reading experiences for children, teens, and adults is reflected in the many and varied offerings for all ages and interests. This summer’s line-up surpasses the highly attended programming offered last year in which more than 6,300 patrons participated, more than 42,700 books were read, and 440 special events were offered with a combined attendance of more than 18,500 children, teens, and adults. Sign up any time at any BPL location to take part in our free and fantastic Summer Reading program.

The Birmingham Public Library is proud to offer the following events for the month of July, designed specifically for our teenaged patrons. Please check with your local BPL branch or at for more information.

The Amazing Race
The library version of The Amazing Race TV show.
North Avondale, Wednesday, July 6, 1:00 p.m.
Five Points West, Tuesday, July 12, 1:30 p.m.
Smithfield, Tuesday, July 19, 10:00 a.m.

Arts of the World
Ms. Rochelle will take you to world bazaars through wearable crafts.
North Avondale, Monday, July 11, 1:30 p.m.

Around the World Culinary Cooking with Chef “E”
Chef “E” presents a fun cooking demonstration and tasting.
West End, Tuesday, July 5, 1:00 p.m.
Avondale, Thursday, July 7, 2:00 p.m.
Smithfield, Tuesday, July 12, 10:00 a.m.

Magical Mystery Tour
Magic Man Larry Moore performs some tricks.
Inglnook, Wednesday, July 6, 2:30 p.m.
Wylam, Thursday, July 7, 10:00 a.m.
Powderly, Thursday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
Central, Thursday, July 14, 2:00 p.m.

2nd Annual Teen YMCA Pool Party
Bring your swimsuits, flip flops, and towel to one of the three participating YMCAs: Downtown Youth Center, Northeast Family Branch, and Western Area Family Branch. Call for details.
Springville Road, Wednesday, July 13, 2:00 p.m.
Central, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Avondale, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
East Lake, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Ensley, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Inglenook, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
North Birmingham, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Powderly, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Smithfield, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Woodlawn, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.
Wylam, Thursday, July 21, 2:00 p.m.

The World of Forensic Science
Ms. Beth, Professor of Forensic Science at UAB, will explain the important role science plays in the world of crime.
Avondale, Thursday, July 14, 2:00 p.m.

Birmingham Public Library to Host Workshop on Historic House Research

Bush Blvd. home
2721 Bush Blvd., Board of Equalization files, BPL Digital Collections

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a workshop on historic house research on Saturday, July 30 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium. The workshop is sponsored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Birmingham Historical Society. Attendees will learn how to conduct research on historic dwellings in Birmingham and Jefferson County including the resources available at BPL and requirements for historical designations and markers. Linda Nelson, Jefferson County Historical Commission Executive Secretary, will discuss requirements of the Historical Marker Program and other historical designations, and Jason Kirby, BPL Bookmender and Birmingham Botanical Garden Archivist, will discuss his experiences with the Historical Marker Program application process.

This workshop does not require registration. For more information, please contact the Southern History Department of BPL at 205-226-3665 or

Event: Workshop on Historic House Research
Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium
Cost: Free
Registration: Not required

Celebrate the Founding of Our Nation!

Who are the Founding Fathers? What makes the Declaration of Independence so unique? How did a group of colonists defeat the British in the War of Independence? What is really in the Constitution? Find out this month by visiting our display of books, DVDs, and audiobooks on the Founding of Our Nation located in the Social Sciences department. For further information, call us at 205-226-3640.

Popular Posts