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Showing posts from June, 2012

North Birmingham Library Staff and Pets Relocate for Renovation

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Vincent Solfronk, head of Central Library's Youth Department, gets introduced to a library pet by North Birmingham Library employee June Lacanski.

A construction crew will move into the North Birmingham Regional Library on Monday, July 2, to begin a 90-day renovation of the building’s roof and HVAC system. The project addresses roofing, heating, and AC concerns which have been lingering for several years. During the construction period, staff working at the region’s largest library will work at other locations throughout the system. If the project moves along as scheduled, the building will reopen in early October.

North Birmingham library patrons interested in visiting Nibbles the rabbit and the other pets featured during “Grub Down” at the library can see their furry friends in the Central Library’s Youth Department. The animals will remain at Central throughout the renovation period.

Summer Reading programs which had been planned for North Birmingham are now scheduled at other…

Book Review: Paper Moon

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Paper Moon
Joe David Brown

A couple of years back, I wrote a blog entry on this site about my repeat viewings of True Grit (60s version) and how they led to reading the novel of the same name and thence to awaiting the Coen brothers movie remake. Recently I’ve had a parallel experience with the movie Paper Moon and the novel that birthed it, Addie Pray (later changed to Paper Moon when the picture came out). I’ve watched Paper Moon at least eight times over the last forty years, so reading the novel was an inevitability. I was pleased to discover that half of it takes place in Alabama and that the author, Joe David Brown, was from Birmingham. Couldn’t call him up; he died in the 70s. The Life magazine blurb on the paperback I bought at the BPL Friends Bookstore (different from the same library edition I had actually been reading for days) promised that “not since True Grit has there been a more disarming heroine” than the main character/narrator Addie Pray. Another happy coincidence loc…

Nora Ephron Dead at 71

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Most people remember When Harry Met Sally, the quirky romantic-comedy that dealt with the ever-lingering question of whether those of the opposite sex could be “just friends.” We learned, in this case, that they could start off as friends and become more. And when Harry professed his love to Sally by telling her that he loves that she takes an hour to order a simple sandwich, it left many women saying “I’ll have what she’s having.”

This was one of the many works by writer, producer, director, and three-time Academy Award nominee Nora Ephron, who passed away Tuesday in New York from complications brought on by her struggle with leukemia. She was 71.

Ephron was born on May 19, 1941, in New York City to screenwriter parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron. The oldest of four daughters, the Ephrons relocated to Beverly Hills, California in 1945. She attended and graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1958 and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1962, majoring in political …

Book Review: The River Witch

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Kimberly Brock's novel, The River Witch, is a beautifully written, haunting tale about loss, love, self-discovery and healing. I invite you to read a book about a beautiful, magical and mystical place, Manny’s Island, Georgia where seeds sprout, sending tiny shoots upward, their tendrils spreading love, hope and wonder. Beauty can be seen all around, from the cascading moss, to the winding river and glorious shimmering moonlight. You can almost feel the warm island breeze touching your face. Wondrous landscape, mystery, music and just a touch of magic surrounds all who live on the island.

Just imagine summer on Georgia’s coastline, the warm breeze coming off the river, singing a familiar lullaby. Let’s take a walk along Manny’s Island where you will find cord grass gently swaying, low-hanging moss, groves of live oaks,growling alligators and the comforting sound of sweet music. In this book, you will learn about the healing power of nature as well as music.

This story begins wit…

Researching Your Historic Home—BPL Has Answers for Curious Homeowners

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A photo from the Board of Equalization files in the BPL Digital Collections.
Did a famous Birmingham leader once live in your “new” house? Is your home the oldest structure on your block? If you have ever wondered about researching this information, a workshop at the Central Library will help you get started. In conjunction with the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Birmingham Historical Society, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a workshop on historic house research on Saturday, July 7, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium. The workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

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…

Of Great Price: Facts and Folklore of Pearls

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According to the American Gem Trade Association, June is one of two months in the calendar to have three birthstones: pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite.Throughout history the pearl has been a much sought-after ornament, difficult to obtain and all the more prized for its rarity before cultured pearls became more readily available.

Pearls generally appear in lists of precious gemstones but they are not a stone; they are formed in the bodies of mollusks such as oysters and clams in response to irritants such as grains of sand. The largest pearl on record, known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu, came from a giant clam and weighed slightly over fourteen pounds. Chinese mythology attributes the glow of pearls to the influence of the moon and claims that pearls fall to earth when dragons fight in the heavens. Ground pearls were sometimes used in medicines for insanity---or “lunacy,” because of the pearl’s supposed connection with the moon. In Greek legends, pearls were the tears of gods and goddesses …

Rachel Swarns Lecture and Book Signing Tonight at Central Library

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Birmingham Bound presents author Rachel L. Swarns discussing her book American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. The event will be held on Monday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium at the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. A remarkable history of First Lady Michelle Obama’s mixed ancestry, American Tapestry by Rachel L. Swarns is nothing less than a breathtaking and expansive portrait of America itself. In this extraordinary feat of genealogical research—in the tradition of The Hemingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family—author Swarns, a respected Washington-based reporter for the TheNew York Times, tells the fascinating and hitherto untold story of Ms. Obama’s black, white, and multiracial ancestors; a history that the First Lady herself did not know. At once epic, provocative, and inspiring, American Tapestry is more than a true family saga; it is an illuminating mirror in which we may all…

Get Puzzled

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Being puzzled may not be a good thing, but in this instance it may be. I live with a self-described “puzzlephile,” who enjoys puzzles on the computer. Some research even believes that puzzles help strengthen your brain synapses and memory recall. All the scientific hypotheses aside, puzzles are just fun. It's summer and you may have some time on your hands, or you may just want to keep the children occupied. If so, try some of the following puzzle websites.

Websites
http://games.yahoo.com/puzzle/ — Yahoo has a lot of games and puzzles that it wants you to pay for, but you can usually have a free trial on a puzzle. Go to “Free Games” in the top left-hand corner.

http://games.aarp.org/ — AARP has its own free game/puzzle site. You can play Sudoku, do a crossword puzzle, play brain puzzle games, or work a jigsaw puzzle. The jigsaw puzzles are divided into easy, medium or hard.

http://www.popcap.com/all-games/free-online-games — PopCap offers some puzzle games like Bejewled Twist for free…

Public Libraries are Weathering the Storm But We Need Your Help

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Strategic vision and careful management have helped U.S. public libraries weather the storm of the Great Recession, supporting their role as a lifeline to the technology resources and training essential to full participation in the nation’s economy. However, a new report underscores the competing concerns that face America’s libraries: cumulative budget cuts which threaten access to libraries and services, increasing demand for technology training, and the chronic presence of the digital divide. [MORE from Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study]

Birmingham's City Council will have many tough decisions to make very soon. At the top of the list are the distressing cuts proposed to the Birmingham Public Library System’s budget, nearly $125,000 less than last year’s budget and $800,000 less than previous years. The deepest cuts are concentrated in the library’s materials budget, used to buy traditional and electronic books, databases,…

The NFL’s Jerricho Cotchery Is Coming to Town: Birmingham Public Library to Host “Score Big” with Pittsburgh Steelers’ Wide Receiver and Birmingham native Jerricho Cotchery

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The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series ofevents for 2012’s Teen Summer Reading Program, “Own the Night.”
Born in 1982, Cotchery grew up to be an incredible athlete. He excelled at Phillips High School in Birmingham and attended North Carolina State University. The New York Jets drafted him in 2004 and the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to the roster beginning in 2010. For his career, he has compiled 374 receptions for 4,751 yards. In layman’s terms, he’s “the man” and the library is lucky to partner with him.
Named for the famous Biblical city, Jerricho is deeply committed to his faith and to community outreach. He was moved to start the Cotchery Foundation in January 2007 as a result of his own personal memories and experiences growing up. He and his foundation have set out to “show that anyone can do extraordinary thin…

Frazine Taylor to Conduct Workshop on Researching Your Family’s Roots

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Frazine Taylor returns to the Birmingham Public Library to present a workshop on using the Internet to find family history resources. Taylor is the retired Head of Reference for the Alabama Department of Archives and History with over twenty years of experience as a librarian, archivist, lecturer, and writer. She is the author of Researching African American Genealogy in Alabama: A Resource Guide. One among Taylor’s many honors is working on Tom Joyner’s and Linda Johnson Rice’s segments in the PBS series, African American Lives 2. The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, 2012 in the Central Library’s Richard Arrington Auditorium from 9:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
This workshop focuses on the Internet as a tool or research technique that could save any researcher time, or prevent wasted efforts when searching the World Wide Web. It will cover the following areas:
Introduction to several search engines with uses for family history;How to use search operators to fine tune search…

Bards & Brews Travels to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in July

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The Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series is hitting the road in July. Held the first Friday of each month, the next edition of Bards & Brews will travel to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens located at 2612 Lane Park Road. The program, which will be an OPEN MIC, begins at 6:30 p.m. on July 6, 2012 in the Ireland Room with live music and poetry performances starting at 7:00. Emcee Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins will deftly guide both novice and veteran poets through an evening of verse with topics that run the gamut from romantic relationships to the local political scene.

Craft beer will be available for sampling, along with light refreshments. Attendees must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked.

Bards & Brews is usually held at various locations around town. Look for us on August 3, 2012 at the Avondale Regional Library located at 509 40th Street South. Check out…

Abraham Lincoln—Emancipator, Terminator

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hits theaters on June 22. The movie was directed by Timur Bekmambetov with a screenplay written by Seth Grahame-Smith.

If it's your tendency to roll your eyes at literary mashups such as Jane Slayre and Android Karenina, then I bet they rolled back into your head when what seems to be an affront to the greatest president in American history was published: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Mine certainly did, and I'm a fan of Lincolnandvampires. However, Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, did extensive research into Lincoln and the politics and culture of Lincoln's time and he entertainingly meshes everything we know about Honest Abe, his family and peers, his road to the presidency, and the Civil War with the rise and fall of vampires in America. If you want to know why "CRO" was carved into a tree at the Roanoke settlement, how the Confederacyreally won the First Battle of Bull Run, or simply why Lin…

Popular Software Tutorials -- LearningExpress Library

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Would you like to learn Adobe Photoshop or Dreamweaver?  Maybe you need to enhance your skills with Microsoft Excel 2010.  Don’t remember seeing these courses listed on the schedule of computer classes?  That’s because you can learn these at your own pace using LearningExpress Library.  This database offers a variety of popular software tutorials at the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels.  Among the available software tutorials are Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, and Photoshop; Microsoft Access, Excel, Powerpoint, Word, and Publisher; as well as Windows 7, Vista, and XP.  If you registered for your library card at a Birmingham Public Library location, the software tutorials can be accessed from home using your library card.  Choose LearningExpress Library, then type in your name and library card number.  Once you enter the database, you will create a username, password, and enter your e-mail address.  Select "Popular Software Tutorials" from the list of Learning…

Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935)

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Members of the Shackelford family on their front porch steps, Covin, Alabama.

Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will present Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935) featuring 40 photographs from this rare collection of early 20th century glass plate negatives. The exhibition opens in the Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery of the Central Library on Monday, July 23 and runs through Friday, September 14. An opening reception will be held in the Arrington Auditorium followed by a tour of the exhibition on Tuesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. The reception will feature a lecture by Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will be followed by a heritage food tasting.

This collection of photographs is, to say the least, uncommon. Rich for their visual record of everyday life in rural Alabama, they are remarkable because of the story behind them. Taken by a family of Africa…

Book Review: Wisdom of Our Fathers

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Before you read this book, make sure you have a handkerchief or a box of tissues ready. You will need it. Plenty of it.

This book isn't just for Father's Day. It is for fathers, for sons, for daughters, and for those who have that man in their lives who may have been the disciplinarian, the weekend coach, the tea party guest, or clown. It is about those men who often do those little things that mean an awful lot. This is a fitting celebration of fathers and the impact they have on their children.

Many know Timothy John “Tim” Russert as the moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press. He was a regular political correspondent on The Today Show and Hardball. But who could have thought that this hard-nosed journalist would have such a tender heart as he shared the many testimonies of people and their relationships with their fathers in response to his book Big Russ and Me? As he collected letters and e-mails from strangers, he compiled their stories into Wisdom of Our Fathers. In it, he in…

The Pursuit of Dreams

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T.E. Lawrence, also known as “the real Lawrence of Arabia” and author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph, wrote: “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

Dreams are often described as series of images, sensations, and emotions involuntarily occurring during certain stages of sleep, mainly during rapid-eye movement (REM). Though their purposes and substance are not readily understood or known. They are often subjects of speculation as well as psychological and philosophical curiosity. Dreams span for a few seconds to 20 minutes. The average person has about three to five dreams per night, but some could have more. Though most people do not remember their dreams, those who do are left contemplating their meaning or significance.

So before or after you get between the covers and …

Real Life Poets Holds Workshop for Adults

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This workshop, led by Real Life Poets, will inspire you to use words effectively. Unlock your potential and walk within the power of your own words. Both writing and performing poetry will be covered. Class size is limited, so registration is recommended.

Workshops
Tuesday, June 26
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Central Library
Youth Department Story Castle, 2nd floor
226-3670

Wednesday, July 11
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Titusville Library
322-1140

Real Life Poets is a non-profit community service and mentoring organization focusing on mentoring young adults, encouraging good communication and oratorical skills using spoken word poetry and the arts.

What's New at ReferenceUSA

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The Birmingham Public Library has recently acquired two new online modules from ReferenceUSA, your go-to source for information about businesses. The first new module is U.S. Healthcare; this module provides profiles for more than 855,000 physicians and dentists. Your search may offer information about the doctor’s office, address information, personal information such as specialty, age, medical school attended, year of graduation, board certification, and hospital affiliation.

The second new module is U.S. Consumers/Lifestyles. This module is useful to organizations who wish to do targeted mailings and marketing, to assist them in possibly reaching new potential clients/customers. Through the custom search feature, you can run queries based on consumer interests such as purchase behavior, political leanings, entertainment interest, hobbies, etc.

If you have questions regarding our two new modules, please call your local Birmingham Public Library.

Business, Science, & Technology Depa…

Birmingham Public Library Explores Michelle Obama’s Inspiring Family History

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Birmingham Bound presents author Rachel L. Swarns discussing her book American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. The event will be held on Monday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium at the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. A remarkable history of First Lady Michelle Obama’s mixed ancestry, American Tapestry by Rachel L. Swarns is nothing less than a breathtaking and expansive portrait of America itself. In this extraordinary feat of genealogical research—in the tradition of The Hemingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family—author Swarns, a respected Washington-based reporter for the TheNew York Times, tells the fascinating and hitherto untold story of Ms. Obama’s black, white, and multiracial ancestors; a history that the First Lady herself did not know. At once epic, provocative, and inspiring, American Tapestry is more than a true family saga; it is an illuminating mirror in which we may all…

Today's Brown Bag Lunch Program: Between the Covers: Fools for Love with Storyteller Dolores Hydock

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Between the covers of a history book, between the covers of an artist's portfolio, and under the covers of a secret marriage—there are amazing true stories about some famous and not-so-famous people who were fools for love in the early 1800s. Dolores Hydock shares these stories that are part royal scandal, part true romance, part fun facts from history, part R-rated (in a Fine Art kind of way), and part art appreciation for amateurs, with a shout-out to Queen Elizabeth, Jane Austen, and Columbo.

This program brings to life through true stories the world surrounding the time of the Regency Period in England, a time when it was all the rage for the fashionable set to exchange “Lover's Eyes”—hand-painted miniatures depicting a single eye set in jewelry and meant to be shared with the one person who would recognize whose eye it was. Take a look at these Lover's Eyes in person at the Birmingham Museum of Art through June 10, or visit www.artsbma.org for a virtual look. Wednesday…

Book Review: The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

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The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments
David Lebovitz

Ah, summertime. If you’re considering delving into the art and craft of homemade ice cream, I heartily recommend David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop. Packed with recipes both familiar and exotic, this book is a treat for anyone who loves making or eating ice cream.

Chocolate and vanilla are up first. There are two recipes for each flavor. One is a Philadelphia or American style recipe and the other is a French style. The difference is that Philadelphia style ice-cream does not contain any eggs, only milk, cream, sugar, and various flavorings. French style ice cream uses a cooked custard as its base which contains egg yolks, cream, sugar, and flavorings. Having experimented with both methods, I do prefer the French style. The resulting ice cream has a rich creamy texture and a flavor unequaled by any store bought ice cream. The main drawback to making a custard-based ice cream is, well, having to…

Men's Health Month Raises Awareness of Importance of Preventive Care

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Health is an important issue for everyone, as the nation is experiencing a startling rise in cases of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Studies have shown that men are less likely to seek medical attention, less likely to have insurance, and die earlier than women. June is National Men’s Health Month, set apart to encourage men of all ages to examine and improve their health habits.

This national focus on men’s health began when Senator Bob Dole sponsored a joint resolution for a National Men’s Health Week. The resolution was signed into law by President Clinton on May 31, 1994, for the week of June 12-19. The specific calendar week is the week before Father’s Day, but now the whole month of June is promoted as National Men’s Health Month.

The five leading causes of death among men are heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. A top ten list and links to information about these illnesses are located on the Alabama Department of P…

Birmingham Public Library's Summer Reading Programs...Not Just for Kids Anymore

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For several years the Birmingham Public Library has offered Adult Summer Reading programs in addition to the long-standing programs aimed at younger people. Each year the participation increases and many previous members return as well to join in the fun.

This year’s theme is “Between the Covers.” The program is available to adults ages 18 and older. Come join the fun which includes programs, prizes, book discussions, special events and, of course, great reads.

To sign up and learn more, visit any Birmingham Public Library location or visit us online at http:www.bplonline.org/programs/summerreading/2012.aspx. And be sure to stop by BPL's Adult Summer Reading page on Facebook to list your books, join discussions, and enter to win even more prizes.

Perhaps the biggest prize for your participation in the Adult Summer Reading program is the opportunity to model a love of reading to the children and others in your household and to your friends.

The library offers summer library programs f…

Database Feature: CQ Researcher

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Maybe you’re doing a research project, or maybe you just like to read in-depth reports on various topics. Here’s one resource you might consider. CQ Researcher is an award-winning publication, which offers comprehensive, unbiased reporting and analysis on current issues. It is also known for its extensive coverage of health, social topics and trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, environmental issues, technology, and economic trends. The reports are published in print weekly and online 44 times a year by CQ Press. Access to the publication is offered by the Birmingham Public Library and Jefferson County Library Cooperative.

Each report has one theme that is researched and written by an experienced journalist. The site also provides an overview, background and chronology, assessment and analysis of the current situation, as well as views on both sides of the topic. Additionally, CQ Researcher also presents contact information for the topic and bibliographies of mai…

Alabama Is the Home of 14 Newly Designated National Recreation Trails

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With school letting out, and oppressive summer weather still a few weeks away, many people’s thoughts are turning towards outdoor activities as a way of relaxing and keeping physically fit. If you happen to be one of these people, and are looking for new opportunities to commune with nature, then you will be interested to learn that the U. S. Department of the Interior has recently designated 54 new National Recreation Trails situated throughout the United States. Running through both densely populated urban centers (the Los Angeles River Trail in California) and sparsely inhabited rural landscapes (the Kanatak Trail on the Alaska Peninsula), these trails range in distance from less than a mile (Bailey’s Woods Trail in Oxford, MS) to nearly 190 miles (the Georgia Coast Saltwater Paddle Trail). Interestingly, the state that received the most designations this year was—you guessed it—Alabama with fourteen. The Oak Mountain Red Trail is the only one of these fourteen located in the B…

Book Review: Material World: A Global Family Portrait

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Material World: A Global Family Portrait
Peter Menzel and Charles C. Mann

When this book came out eighteen years ago I latched onto it quickly. Almost twenty years later, I read through it again, mostly because there’s still nothing like it. About 250 pages, most of them color pictures, accompany brief texts that show you how a typical family lives in thirty countries. Each family has their own section, and each section has what the author calls a “big picture” where the family’s possessions are displayed in front of their home. Or at least the things I guess they’re not embarrassed to place out front of their home.

You see an extreme range of wealth here, from a Malian family, whose possessions could all fit neatly into an average American den, to, well, an American family, whose lot takes up their driveway, front yard and part of the street they live on. The Natomas’ (the Malian family) goods-blankets, cooking equipment, clothes-almost all fall into the survival category. It probably d…

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Between the Covers: Fools for Love with Storyteller Dolores Hydock

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Between the covers of a history book, between the covers of an artist's portfolio, and under the covers of a secret marriage—there are amazing true stories about some famous and not-so-famous people who were fools for love in the early 1800s. Dolores Hydock shares these stories that are part royal scandal, part true romance, part fun facts from history, part R-rated (in a Fine Art kind of way), and part art appreciation for amateurs, with a shout-out to Queen Elizabeth, Jane Austen, and Columbo.

This program brings to life through true stories the world surrounding the time of the Regency Period in England, a time when it was all the rage for the fashionable set to exchange “Lover's Eyes”—hand-painted miniatures depicting a single eye set in jewelry and meant to be shared with the one person who would recognize whose eye it was. Take a look at these Lover's Eyes in person at the Birmingham Museum of Art through June 10, or visit www.artsbma.org for a virtual look. Wednesday…

Birmingham Public Library Board President Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch Receives National Citation Award for Distinguished Service

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The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association, has selected Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch to receive the ALA Trustee Citation, which recognizes public library Trustees for distinguished service to library development, outstanding contributions, and efforts that library board members make in their community. The award, given since 1941, is the highest honor that ALTAFF bestows on its members.

"Words can't express how honored I am to have been selected for this award. I share it with all of the citizens of Birmingham,'' Welch said. "Libraries mean the world to me and I look forward to continuing to serve our city's system.''

Welch has served as library board president for four of the 10 years she's served on the board. She has also served as vice president, parliamentarian and chaired every library board committee at some point during her tenure. Prior to becoming a board m…

Science fiction legend Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Bradbury obituary at CNN

A giant of the science fiction and fantasy genre has left us. Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury.


Book Review: The Beginner's Goodbye

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"Anne could write about any city. She could never leave the house and write great fiction. She beautifully captures regular people who are not trying to be noticed. She writes about real life." —John Waters on his friend and fellow Baltimorean, Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler's new book, The Beginner's Goodbye, has all the ingredients of a successful Tyler book: quirky characters, family dysfunction, an introspective protagonist, a tragedy, a coping, and a rebirth. While I don't feel like this slim volume measures up to some of Tyler's greater works—The Accidental Tourist, Saint Maybe, Back When We Were Grownups, The Amateur Marriage, and my personal favorite, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant—it is well worth a read, as is any Tyler book.

Aaron Woolcott is 34 years old and runs his family's small publishing company. He is married to Dorothy, a practical, frumpy doctor eight years his senior whom he met when he sought a radiologist's expertise for his company&…