Showing posts from 2012

Last Chance to Give a Tax-Deductible Gift to BPL (Before the Ball Drops on 2013)!!!

This is the last day of 2012 to help more than Two MILLION visitors to the Birmingham Public Library! You may donate today to have your contribution count toward the 2012 tax year.

For information from the IRS regarding year-end giving, click here. We truly appreciate your support. You enable us to serve every corner of the City of Birmingham through our 18 locations- offering services, creating community and changing lives!!

You may click here to access our online giving form or you may mail a check to the following address:

Birmingham Public Library Donations
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, AL 35203

Happy New Year's Eve to you!

Reading with Ringling Brothers

Earn a free ticket to the circus!

Children ages 2-12 may visit their local library to join the Reading with Ringling Brothers program and earn a FREE ticket to the circus! The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be performing at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Arena this year from Thurs. Jan. 24th through Sun. Jan. 27th, and participating children who read five (5) books before then can get a free ticket to see the Greatest Show on Earth!

Here's how it works: Speak with a librarian in the Youth Department at your local public library to register each child (ages 2-12). Each child must read at least five (5) books to receive his or her redeemable ticket from the library. The ticket is redeemable ONLY at the BJCC Concert Hall Box Office with the purchase of one (1) Adult ticket at full price.

So, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages... what are you waiting for? Hurry up and use your trapeze, unicycle, or clown car to get to …

Children's Book Review: Olivia and the Fairy Princess (Ages 3 and Up)

Olivia and the Fairy Princess
Ian Falconer

Every little girl piglet desires to be a princess, or do they? Olivia is depressed and believes she may be having an identity crisis. She refuses to be like all of her friends who dream of pink ruffly skirts with sparkles and little crowns. “If everyone’s a princess, then princesses aren’t special anymore!” So what will she be? Olivia needs to stand out! She has to be special! She wants to do more than just fit in! Join Olivia on her pink-free quest of self-discovery.

Other Books in the Olivia series by Ian Falconer include:

Olivia Forms a Band
Olivia Goes to Venice
Olivia Helps with Christmas
Olivia Saves the Circus

Submitted by Carla Perkins
Avondale Library

Get cooking with Chef E at Powderly Library on Friday, December 21

Hamburgers over the holidays? Sure, why not.

Chef E of Birmingham, who has done several free cooking presentations at Birmingham library branches this season, has a recipe for a spicy cilantro turkey burger that's sure to please. Plus, it's healthy.

"If you eat a lot of ham and pork over the holidays, this will be a lighter option,'' she said. "You won't feel that heaviness.''

On Friday, December 21, she'll make her last Birmingham Public Library cooking appearance for the month. She'll be at Powderly Library, 3301 Jefferson Ave. SW, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. She'll be showing how to use squash, yes squash, in desserts.

"I'm trying to give people another option other than using sweet potatoes at the holidays. Squash can be used in scones, pound cakes and also pies. You can even use it in mac and cheese.''

For more info, call Powderly Library at 925-6178. The class is free.

Chef E's Spicy Cilantro Turkey Burgers

2 poun…

Free Music Downloads from Birmingham Public Library!

Birmingham Public Library offers access to Freegal Music, an online service providing free music downloads to BPL patrons. Simply go to the library’s homepage (, click “Freegal,” and key in your library card number. Once inside, you can select from millions of songs from the entire Sony Music catalog and download up to three (3) free mp3 files each week. Freegal offers many of today’s top artists, a fantastic retrospective collection, and music from around the world.

You can search by artist, song title, or album, browse by musical genre, or select from the national and “My Library” top download lists. Artists range from Adele to ZZ Top, and musical styles include hip hop, rock, jazz, country, classical, and everything in between.

Freegal music files are DRM-free; they do not expire and are yours to use for as long as you wish. Freegal Mobile Apps are available from the iTunes App Store and the Android Marketplace. Weekly download limits reset every Monday. To acce…

Letter from the Birmingham Jail Scavenger Hunt

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” is a moving testament to the passion and wisdom of the great civil rights leader. Since he penned it on the margins of old newspapers from a jail cell in 1963, this twenty-one page missive has come to be known by many as the most important document of the civil rights era. Since so many of the groundbreaking moments in the movement have hinged on speeches and demonstrations, this written account tangibly illustrates the mood, words, and feelings which defined a pivotal moment in American history.

On January 2-18, all of the Birmingham Public Libraries will be posting a Scavenger Hunt which will enlighten as well as commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous letter from the Birmingham Jail. Young and old are invited to participate and get a glimpse of an American hero’s life. Participants will receive a small prize and be entered into a drawing for some books about this hero. Please join us!

Mollie Harrison
Springville Road L…

Several Holiday Happenings are Set for BPL in December

The Birmingham Public Library will host several free events in December 2012. Check the list for details.

Sunday, December 2 - Open house and tablescape competition, 3 to 5 p.m., Springville Road Library, 1224 Old Springville Road. Friday, November 30, is the deadline to register for competition.

This is the first time the branch has hosted a tablescape contest. "We'd like to give the community an opportunity to display their creativity, while also kicking off the holiday season,'' Sandi Lee, eastern region coordinator for the Birmingham Public Library system.

Teams can decorate on Saturday, December 1, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voting will start on Sunday at 3 p.m. The table with the most votes will win. Call Kelly Laney at 226-4083 for more information about the contest.

Also on Sunday, adults can decorate a bookmark, an ornament, or ribbon notebook with beads and ribbons. In the Children's Department, young ones can decorate ornaments, which they can take home or …

Holiday Guestimate

Holiday Guestimate

Drop by Central’s Youth Department from December 13th through 18th to guestimate how many peppermints are in the holiday jar. A drawing will be held on December 19th from the correct estimates for the grand prize of an Elmo Stocking, with runner-ups receiving candy and books.

Last Minute Ideas for Christmas Gifts

It’s been about a month since I’ve written about anything on this blog because I ruptured my Achilles tendon and had to have surgery. Right now I’m using crutches because I’m not supposed to put any weight on my injured foot. As you can probably imagine, Christmas shopping will have to be done online, by phone, or I’ll have to make a gift using the wonderful Christmas books available at the Birmingham Public Library.

I’ve come across a few really neat gifts online that are unique or can be personalized. Since it’s cold and flu season you might want to design your own Kleenex tissue box at My mother found this one and used it to personalize two Kleenex boxes with a friend’s picture. Kleenex provides the background colors and graphics. You can even import your own graphics and pictures. They even have Disney graphics for children. Looks like there might be a buy three get one free promo code for Christmas.

Everyone loves candy, right? …

Every wish on our Library WishList has been fulfilled!!!

We're thrilled to report that as of today, the remaining wishes on our Library WishList have been completely funded!

What a great holiday gift! We asked and you donated. We want to thank everyone for spreading the word about our much-needed wishes.

This feat is really astounding considering just how many needs we had. This extensive list of library items will help BPL locations in all corners of our city:

Kindle Keyboard, Wi-Fi, for the Eastwood, Southside and North Avondale Branches (3 e-readers total) LCD TV with Built-In DVD Player for the Titusville Branch Library Chair dolly for the Springville Road Branch 3 Skip Doctor CD/DVD Systems and 2 repair kits for Woodlawn, Southside and Eastwood Branches Acrylic Ballot Boxes for Western Region (Five Points, Powderly, Smithfield, West End, and Wylam) Sony Blu-Ray Disc Player with WiFi for the Five Points West Portable Cart for Audio Visual Equipment at the East Ensley Branch Steel Magazine Rack for Wylam Branch Bar Code Scanner f…

Pining for Pinterest

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, you’re way out of the social media loop. Thriving on visually-stimulating images ranging from ecru laced bridal gowns to poke chocolate cakes with caramel oozing down the sides and a mountain of whipped cream floated precariously on top or an inspirational quote that could bring even the cantankerous Grumpy Cat to grin ever so slightly, millions of people have jumped on the virtual cork board wagon.

Founded by Ben Silbermann, the site was launched in 2010, and it has gained meteoric rise among the social media massif. The idea was to allow people to express themselves, sharing and discovering things online and through friends and families. Today, more than half of Pinterest users are female, and one out of five woman have active accounts, with the strongest activities coming from Alabama, Tennessee, and Utah.
As of August 10, 2012, Pinterest was opened to everyone without a request or requiring an invitation. Additionally, the Pinterest app for Android…

Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic at the YMCA Youth Center

Teens, get your poetry on at the Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic every 3rd Saturday from 6:00 to 8:00 the YMCA Youth Center, 2400 7th Avenue North (near Phillips Academy). Admission is free. The sessions are for high school students only. To sign up to perform or for more information, e-mail December's program is scheduled for Saturday, December 15.

Flow Tactics is sponsored by The Real Life Poets, the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services, YMCA Youth Center, and the WORD UP! Student Poetry Slam Committee of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for Jefferson County high school students hosted by the Birmingham Public Library.

Poetry Programs Continue to Grow at the Birmingham Public Library

Free poetry workshops and events, especially ones targeting the youth, continue to grow at the Birmingham Public Library. Check out this list of future programs:

Family Creative Arts Night, an arts and poetry program for children and parents, will be held on Monday, December 17 at 6 p.m. at North Birmingham Library, 2501 31st Ave. North. This event will be lead by a husband and wife team. Call 226-4026 to register. A Family Poetry Night will be held on Tuesday, December 18 at 6 p.m. at Springville Road Library, 1224 Old Springville. This class will be lead by two Real Life Poet Inc. facilitators. Call 226-4085 to register.

The classes are sponsored by Birmingham Parent University, the Birmingham Education Foundation, Real Life Poets Inc. and the Birmingham Public Library.

Advance registration is appreciated. Light snacks will be served. To register, go to, call the listed library numbers or register in person at the two listed libraries. More family events like t…

JCPLA Honors Community Champions at B&A Warehouse Luncheon

The Jefferson County Public Library Association recently honored nine community champions during its annual holiday luncheon at B&A Warehouse in Birmingham, Alabama. The purpose of the luncheon was to recognize the outstanding achievements of volunteers and community partners. The honorees were:

John Montgomery, founder and president of Big Communications, helped implement the Birmingham Public Library's rebranding and awareness campaign in the summer of 2012. With very limited resources, Montgomery and his company developed the system's "Champions of Learning'' educational initiative by recruiting Olympic gold medalist Vonetta Flowers to become the face of the campaign. The campaign showed the importance of having libraries in the community and the value of lifelong reading.

John Paul Taylor, artistic director of Real Life Poets, has conducted poetry workshops at the Birmingham Public Library since 2010. He helps give students the basic literary skills they ne…

Dolores Hydock Performs A Christmas Memory Tonight at Central Library

A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama, is brought to vivid life by Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock in her one-woman performance. Tuesday, December 11, 6:30 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library.

Barcelona, Baby!

The strong vote for Catalan sovereignty on November 25, 2012, gives new occasion for re-reading Robert Hughes’s Barcelona, the serious traveler’s must-read adjunct to the Lonely Planet and DK travel guides. Mr. Hughes, recently deceased, was the art critic for Time magazine and had authored The Shock of the New and The Fatal Shore before bringing out Barcelona, an enormously successful critical survey of the art, architecture, and literature of the semi-autonomous Spanish region, Catalonia.

In Mr. Hughes’s Barcelona the Catalan people’s impulses toward political independence and distinct cultural identity reinforce each other through years of medieval empire and glory, centuries of subjugation and repression followed by the brilliant Art Nouveau flowering of the Catalan Renaixance including, most particularly, the beloved masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi. The vibrant urban scene laid before travelers today is largely beyond the scope of Hughes’s book, published 20 years ago, but it’s all…

Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic at the YMCA Youth Center

Teens, get your poetry on at the Flow Tactics Teen Open Mic every 3rd Saturday from 6:00 to 8:00 the YMCA Youth Center, 2400 7th Avenue North (near Phillips Academy). Admission is free. The sessions are for high school students only. To sign up to perform or for more information, e-mail December's program is scheduled for Saturday, December 15.

Flow Tactics is sponsored by The Real Life Poets, the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services, YMCA Youth Center, and the WORD UP! Student Poetry Slam Committee of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for Jefferson County high school students hosted by the Birmingham Public Library.

Dolores Hydock Performs an Encore Performance of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama, is brought to vivid life by Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock in her one-woman performance. Tuesday, December 11, 6:30 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library.

Twitter Offers Something for Everyone

Prior to this summer, I thought Twitter was for people who wanted to read what Ashton Kutcher was eating for breakfast.Truth be told, it can be used for that (provided Ashton tweets about it), but it can also be used for so much more.I didn’t understand Twitter’s potential until we had a presentation @bpl by social media guru, Wade Kwon @WadeOnTweets.He helped me understand that Twitter can provide information about what’s going on in the community right now.
For example, during an event like Hurricane Sandy, you can get regular updates from federal, state, and local agencies as well as news organizations all at the same time.In addition, people living in the area can post photosand current information (Dave Rogers @livingonthecoast  "Highway 90 is completely flooded!").  Consider how helpful this would be if you were following the updates using your cell phone.   During this season’s hurricanes, utility companies were even posting updates about power outages on Twitter.  

Today at Noon at Central Library, Alexis Barton Will Conduct a Seminar on How to Look Party Perfect This Holiday Season

You've received your first party invitation of the social season and you have no idea what to wear.

Does that black necklace go with that new sequined dress? Are boots cool for a cocktail event? Exactly what does the host mean when she says the attire is "creative black tie''?

Birmingham fashion blogger Alexis Barton of wants to put your mind at ease. On Friday, December 7, at 12:00 p.m., she will give style tips as part of "Fashion Friday,'' which will be held on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. The program, presented by the Birmingham Public Library and Birminghammagazine, is free.

"I hope this event will calm people's anxiety around dressing for social occasions and help them see that there are a variety of options for putting together their own looks,'' Barton said. "Sequins will be involved.''

Library fashion books and more will also be available to help…

Dolores Hydock Performs A Christmas Memory at Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program

Join us for our annual tradition with Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock as she presents A Christmas Memory. Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama is brought to vivid life in this wonderful holiday performance. Wednesday, December 5, noon. There will be an encore performance Tuesday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m., at the Central Library.

Feed your body and mind at BPL's Brown Bag Lunch programs. You bring the lunch and we'll bring the drinks. Central Library, Linn Henley Research Building, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor. For more information call 226-3604 or visit

Tonight's Gifts of a Wordsmith Workshop Features Kodisha Soulscribe Taylor on Creative Writing

Gifts of a Wordsmith workshop will take place on the library's second floor in the Story Castle. The topic for the December 4 session will be "Creative Writing: The Process and Performance" and features Kodisha Soulscribe Taylor speaking on the topic.

These poetry workshops are held every first Tuesday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the downtown Birmingham Public Library and is funded by the Friends of BPL.

John Paul Taylor is one of the founders of Real Life Poets, a nonprofit creative writing program based in Birmingham.

For more information on the adult poetry class, contact Taylor at or 205-585-8271. The Real Life Poets website is The BPL contact is Haruyo Miyagawa, 205-226-3670. Her email address is

Workshop: "Creative Writing: The Process and Performance"
Presenter: Kodisha Soulscribe Taylor
Place: Central Library
Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cost: Free and op…

Friends Bookstore Fill-a-Bag Sale, December 3-21

The Friends Bookstore is hosting another Fill-a-Bag book sale through Friday, December 21. The store will hand out free cloth library bags and for $6 you can fill them with as many books as you can stuff inside. Friends members will receive a discount on top of this insanely low price. If you're not already a member of the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, you may join at the store and receive the discount. The Bookstore is making way for new inventory, so come do some Christmas shopping for books and gift store items and help them clear the shelves. Proceeds go to fund library programs.

The Bookstore is located on the 2nd floor of Central Library's East Building, and the hours are Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2:30-5:30 p.m. For more information call 205-226-3676.

New from your library - Auto Repair Information Online!

BPL has now added the Chilton Auto Repair Library to its list of online services available to Birmingham residents. Users can access it in the library itself or from the convenience of your own home. Just go to the Databases section of the BPL website and simply select ChiltonLibrary from the Database Quick Links. Then you can immediately start exploring this wealth of useful and up-to-date automotive information.

Chilton Library provides exclusive photographs, diagnostics designed by instructors, step-by-step repair procedures, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) maintenance schedules, wiring diagrams, recalls and Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for automobiles and light trucks in one easy-to-use web site. You will also find many step-by-step video tutorials to guide you through the repair process.

To access Chilton Library from home will require a valid JCLC library card and residence in Birmingham, Alabama.

Children's Book Review: Warriors Don't Cry (Ages 12 and Up)

Warriors Don't Cry
Melba Pattillo Beals

The memoir of Melba Pattillo Beals tells of 1957 when nine African American students became the first to integrate Central HS in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were met with harassment, name calling, and physical attacks on a daily basis, yet were told not to resist or retaliate to avoid further dissension.

These nine students, one senior and eight juniors, were selected to integrate based on their grades and performance at their former segregated high school. Because of the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 that outlawed segregation, the local chapter of the NAACP selected Central HS to integrate, an act which was met with instant opposition from Arkansas Governor Faubus. Picking up on the Governor’s segregationist agenda, students and their parents devised a wide variety of bullying tactics, from spraying ink on the clothes of the African Americans to following so closely that their heels were bloodied, stabbing …