Showing posts from November, 2012

Brown Bag Lunch Program: A Christmas Memory with Dolores Hydock

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

Library Supporters in the Big Parade!

Staff and Friends at the 2007 Christmas Parade Do you love your library? Do you love a parade? This Tuesday, December 4, supporters of the Birmingham Public Library will be marching in the city's annual downtown Christmas parade. Having a throng following the BPL banner will not only celebrate the library's importance to our community, it will be a show of support for an institution we need and love. Bring your kids, your friends, your neighbors, your current crush.

If you would like to join the parade, please meet at Kelley Ingram Park at 4:30 p.m., sporting some form of holiday gear (reindeer antlers, Santa hat, sleigh bells) and ready to walk. If you would like to make a poster to carry in the parade, we suggest these slogans: Winning Minds Start @ Birmingham Public Library; We ♥ BPL; Friends of BPL JOIN US; Use Your L!brary Voice; Support Public Libraries in Birmingham.

Hope to see you there! With bells on!

Regina Ammon, President
Friends of the Birmingham Public Library

#GivingTuesday a Wonderful Success! Still a Few More Items on the Library’s WishList

The Birmingham Public Library would like to thank all of our wonderful donors from Birmingham and beyond for making #GivingTuesday so successful! As of this writing, we have raised $4,300 of our $6,000 goal. And donations are still coming in. For most of the campaign, each of your gifts has been matched one-to-one by one of our generous Foundation Board members—so each $10 gift has become $20, each $100 gift has become $200, and so on.

Our goal is to complete this campaign by January 1, 2013, so that we can purchase each and every item in the new year. Please take a look at our list here, and consider donating enough for an entire wish or helping complete a wish with other donors. No amount is too small.

Birmingham Public Library WishList

This year is the launch of #GivingTuesday—a day dedicated to giving that falls on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Nationwide, thousands of charities, corporations, and foundations—including the Birmingham Public Library—have promoted #Giv…

JCLC Teams Up with Barnes & Noble and California Pizza Kitchen for Fundraiser and Book Drive

This holiday season, take a break from the hustle & bustle and give the gift of reading.
Visit Barnes & Noble December 10-14 and buy a children’s or young adult’s book(s) to donate to the YWCA Santa’s Workshop (as well as the rest of your holiday shopping). You must present a Barnes & Noble voucher at time of purchase, or enter the voucher ID number if purchasing online at Vouchers may be printed from, or picked up at any Jefferson County public library. A percentage of your entire purchase will be donated to the libraries of Jefferson County.
Next, stop by California Pizza Kitchen and drop off your book(s) to be donated to the YWCA while enjoying a bite to eat, anytime December 10-14. Dine in, take out or cater; you can even go to and order online. You must present a California Pizza Kitchen voucher to your server, which are available at, or any Jefferson County…

Get Style Tips for the Season During "Fashion Friday" at the Birmingham Public Library

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 hel…

City of Birmingham's Annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony

The City of Birmingham's annual Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony will be Tuesday, December 4, 5:00-7:00 p.m., at 20th Street North and Park Place. The event will include children's arts and crafts, a drawing for a bicycle, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and an appearance by Hollywood actor and Auburn University graduate Michael O'Neill, who's appeared in The West Wing, Grey's Anatomy, Transformers, and many other films. Storyteller Verna Gates, Sounds of Praise Choir, and the Magic City Choral Society will perform. For more information, call Urban Impact at 328-1850.

Book Review: Angelology

Danielle Trussoni

One thing that makes an alternative history good is that it can give you an especially unsettling jolt with the realization that, not only are things not as you think they are, they never were. You get this feeling a few times in Angelology, which sort of (but not exactly) does for angels what Interview with the Vampire did for vampires. You soon find out that the offspring of fallen angels and humans, the Nephilim, have been around since at least Old Testament times, passing themselves off as humans, and they’re not here to help. Their cousins, the fallen angels, may also exist here in physical form. On a line with Dan Brown books at one end and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose at the other, Angelology is about halfway between the two, more literary than Brown’s novels but more accessible than Eco’s book.

It all starts with Sister Evangeline, a nun in upstate New York who is no one special particularly and who’d just as soon keep it that way. A researche…

Khan Academy (Not Just for Trekkers)

I have to confess when I first read a review for Khan Academy the only image that came to mind was Captain Kirk screeching the name of his arch nemesis. But the review was in, the Voice of Youth Advocates, a library journal justly famous for its professional judgments, so I guessed the site would be something other than Klingons sneezing at tribbles. In other words, I wasn’t expecting fun.

The review was in the Voya column YA-Clicks, created by librarian Rebecca Purdy with contributions by the youth who use the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. One student, Emily Stant, described Khan Academy as a place with a huge number of high quality videos on topics ranging from American civics to finance. She promised that the site is easily navigable and “a wonderful tool to use both for learning and teaching.”

The good people at Khan describe themselves as “…an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing …

Children's Book Review: Jake and Lily (Ages 8 and Up)

Jake and Lily
Jerry Spinelli

This is the newest novel by Newbery award winning, Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee). It’s a delightful read chocked with good humor and well-developed characters. This is told from the dual point of view of Jake and Lily, they alternate chapters with journal entries from each twin. The twins are inseparable from the moment they are born; they even share a secret twin power that they dubbed “goombla." This power allows one twin to be constantly aware of where the other is and what they are doing. It certainly made hide and seek a drag, but when one twin was lost or in trouble, the power was invaluable. The twins reveled in their secret connection until one day Jake decides he wants to be himself rather than half of a twin. He makes friends of his own and Lily despairs as their link weakens and seemingly disappears. The reader follows Jake as he strikes out on his own and he unwittingly becomes a bully and learns what it means to be a true friend. Lily stru…

BPL to Participate in a Nationally-Recognized Day of Giving: #GivingTuesday!!!

"There's a day for giving thanks. Now there's a day for giving back." Those are words from #GivingTuesday signs created to celebrate the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to the official mission, "#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations."

For us at the Birmingham Public Library, #GivingTuesday will allow our supporters an opportunity to grant wishes on our Library WishList.

So far, several of the items have been donated completely and we truly appreciate this good will. We've included many items on our WishList which fall outside the scope of our budget. Your contributions will help us continue to fulfill our mission statement, which is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life long learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment.

Also, if you…

Library Closing Early Today

The Birmingham Public Library and its branches will close early today at 2 p.m. The Central Library and other BPL branches will remain closed Nov. 22 - Nov. 25 for the Thanksgiving holidays. We will reopen during regular business hours on Monday, Nov. 26.
The Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services, however, will still meet at 2 p.m. today in the first floor conference room of the downtown library, 2100 Park Place.

Chanda Temple
Director of Public Relations
Central Library

The Birmingham News Will Host a Tech Seminar Tonight in the RLCC at Central Library

More and more news can be found on the Internet these days, and wants to help you find it.

On Tuesday, November 20, at 6:00 p.m., and The Birmingham News will host a seminar to teach readers how to use iPads, laptops, and smartphones to find news on This free class will be held in the fourth floor computer center of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. iPads will be provided. However, attendees may also bring their own tablets, smartphones, or laptops. Instructors will talk about how to access news, weather, sports and more. By the end of the session, attendees will be pros.To register, email or call 205-306-3135.AARP and AT&T are event co-sponsors.

A Book's Tale

The journey of a thousand pages begins with one word. Well, at least that's how one book might begin its tale. Each book has a story, and this one is about how one book made its way home on a shelf here at the Birmingham Public Library.

BPL Closed November 22-25 for Thanksgiving Holiday

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed November 22-25 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Birmingham News To Host a Tech Seminar at BPL

More and more news can be found on the Internet these days, and wants to help you find it.

On Tuesday, November 20, at 6:00 p.m., and The Birmingham News will host a seminar to teach readers how to use iPads, laptops, and smartphones to find news on This free class will be held in the fourth floor computer center of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. iPads will be provided. However, attendees may also bring their own tablets, smartphones, or laptops. Instructors will talk about how to access news, weather, sports and more. By the end of the session, attendees will be pros.To register, email or call 205-306-3135.AARP and AT&T are event co-sponsors.

Sirens of Holiday Song

Christmas music is already being played in some department stores, on radio stations, and maybe in your home or car. Whatever the case may be, the choices only get better and more varied with the many recordings being made of traditional carols, holiday standards, and new songs that are written each year. Many female vocalists put their own unique style, sound, and interpretation into this wonderful music. The Arts/Literature/Sports Department of the Birmingham Public Library offers many recordings for you to check out for your listening pleasure. Here are a few sirens of song that I found in our holiday cd collection at the time of writing this blog entry. Come in and visit with us in the Arts/Literature/Sports Department located on the second floor of the Birmingham Public Library.

JAZZY AND SULTRY SIRENS - These vocalists offer a swinging jazzy spin on Christmas tunes old and new while singing around the melody and scatting on some. Some of the selections feature their smok…

A Challenge For BPL Supporters!

One of the Library's Foundation Board members has issued a challenge grant of $1,000 to help fund items on our Library WishList. He is asking supporters in the Birmingham community match it by November 27th, which is #GivingTuesday!

If you donate between now and #GivingTuesday, your donation will be doubled--up to $1,000.

As you may remember from this previous post, #GivingTuesday is a way to transform the giving season by supporting worthy organizations in your community.

So far, we have had five wishes funded on our list and another donor has pledged at least two more.

Thanks to our Board member's challenge grant, you have the opportunity to double the impact of your support – which means your $50 check can become a one hundred dollar investment in the Birmingham Public Library; your $100 commitment can become two hundred dollars invested toward helping us provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life long learning, cultural enrichment and enjoym…

Brown Bag Lunch Program: Season of Love Concert by D' Marie

Birmingham singer/songwriter D' Marie will present a free holiday concert on Wednesday, November 14, at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. She'll help you start your holiday season on the right note by singing holiday songs and love songs from her upcoming CD, H2O. For more information call 226-3604.

Singer/songwriter D’ Marie is a “new” voice on the music scene in Birmingham, Alabama. Through all of her life’s endeavors—which have been numerous—she has never stopped feeling the pull of music, one of her earliest loves. Although she is better known to some as a pastor, a teacher, and a church musician, now D’ Marie is sharing her musical gifts and graces in new ways and different venues creating memorable moments through presence, word, and song. A gifted vocalist, songwriter, arranger, and pianist, D’ Marie is expanding her reach through music—giving voice to the voiceless, bringing healing, motivating worship, an…

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 November's program is scheduled for Saturday, November 17.

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.

BPL Archives Opens Robert E. Chambliss’ Letters to the Public

Archives acquire new collections in different ways. Sometimes an archivist will spend months or even years researching a possible source for a collection, contacting a potential donor, and negotiating with the donor to secure the donation. Other times, archivists have collections fall into their laps. One recent windfall came from the Birmingham field office of the F.B.I. when they offered the BPL Archives the prison letters of Robert E. Chambliss.

Chambliss was the first person convicted for the 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. A long-time member of the Ku Klux Klan, Chambliss was involved in several acts of racial violence and suspected in numerous Birmingham area bombings. His skill as a bomb maker earned him the nickname “Dynamite Bob.” Chambliss was tried and convicted for his role in the church bombing in 1977 and died in prison in 1985. The Archives will open these letters to the public on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the 35th anniversary of the first day of …

Veterans Day: Born in Birmingham

As we approach Veterans Day this year (November 11, 2012, but observed on November 12), I’d like to offer a little bit of history about the very important role Birmingham and one man, in particular, played in the holiday’s establishment.

First observed in 1919 to honor the soldiers and sailors of World War I, the “War to end all wars,” the day was originally called Armistice Day. It was named after the cessation of hostilities with Germany which went into effect on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 am. Armistice Day soon became a very important day for the City of Birmingham. The annual parade was a source of great pride for Birmingham and came to be known as the largest Armistice Day parade in the nation. The following decades saw Birmingham putting on parades that were seen by as many as 250,000 spectators (1949), included 20,000 participants (1926), and lasted up to two hours and covered 40 city blocks (1950).

In the years after World War II, the director of Birmingham’s Armistice Da…

Darryl Patton: the Southern Herbalist

Join us on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm for a presentation by renown herbalist and folk medicine expert Darryl Patton - the Southern Herbalist - at Birmingham Public Library's Springville Road Regional Library.

Darryl Patton is a primitive and wilderness survival expert, outdoorsman, adventure traveler, and herbalist who studied under the tutelage of Tommie Bass - one of the last of the old Appalachian Mountain herb doctors. Pattonteaches wilderness survival skills around the country, is an instructor with Randall's Adventure Training in Ft. Payne, and has been a consultant for the Discovery Channel's 'Man vs. Wild' with Bear Gryllis.

The presentation will last about forty-five minutes and will focus on the traditional edible and medicinal uses of many of the indigenous plants that can be found in the Appalachian region of the southeastern states. Patton will have many plants that are common to our area on hand during the presentation and will have copies o…

Calling All Authors! Sign Up for the 2013 Local Authors Expo

Registration has begun for the 2013 Local Authors Expo, presented by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library. To be held on February 2, the annual Expo provides an opportunity for authors from the Birmingham area and elsewhere in Alabama to meet their reading public, autograph copies of their books, and network with others in the writing community.
Every year the library hosts up to 100 authors. Those already scheduled to attend the 2013 event include Jessie Crawford Jr. (the Leroy children’s series), J. D. Weeks (Birmingham: A Postcard Tour), Suzanne Johnson (Royal Street), Carolyn McKinstry (While the World Watched), and many more.
Any authors who wish to sign up for a booth at the event may do so online at the EventBrite registration page. There is a $5 booth fee for participants, but attending the Expo will be free for the general public, no registration required.
For more information, contact Jared Millet at (205) 226-3727.
February 2, 2013 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Central Li…

Some Like It Hot

There are several staff members at the Springville Road Library that absolutely love spicy foods and when I say spicy, I mean foods with a whole lot of heat. We go through bottles of sriracha the way most workplaces go through bottles of ketchup. Wasabi mashed potatoes are popular at our potlucks and many of our staff consider Red Hots to be a mild-mannered after dinner mint.

However, Springville Road staff recently encountered a food so hot that it gave pause to even the most diehard heatseekers among us.

This is the time of year that hot peppers are the only summer crops that are still doing well in my garden. I have dozens of jalapeños and thai chili peppers ripe for the picking.  I even have two habanero plants that are still full of those devilish little orange peppers.

The plant that is doing the best in my garden this year has been the bhut jolokia plant—a plant that is more commonly known as the ghost pepper. Ghost peppers are the third hottest pepper known to mankind and the si…

Give to the Library WishList on #GivingTuesday!

On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, BPL will join a nationwide movement celebrating a new day dedicated to giving. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers, and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday—a new movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better, and smarter giving during the holiday season.

Now is your chance to give to BPL through Library WishList! Our goal is to raise $6,000 this holiday season and fulfill the wishes of BPL’s 19 libraries! Click the logo below to see BPL's WishList.

More about #GivingTuesday...

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give. It will culminate with a national day of giving on November 27, 2012. This first-of-its-kind effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collabor…

The Birmingham Public Library Hosts Adult Poetry Class, November 6

Award-winning poet and community activist John Paul Taylor will lead a free adult poetry workshop on Tuesday, November 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the downtown Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place. Gifts of a Wordsmith will take place on the library's second floor in the Story Castle. The topic for the November 6th session will be “How to Organize Your Writing Life," focusing on a book called Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money by Kelly James-Enger. The workshop will also deal with how to find work as a freelance writer.

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.

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 www.reallifepoets…

Learning Digital Basics


From Page to Stage – Readers’ Theatre for Children Workshop

From Page to Stage – Readers’ Theatre for Children Workshop

Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Theatre (BCT) and Junior League of Birmingham (JLB), would like to invite you to attend From Page to Stage, a Readers’ Theatre workshop for children, coming to a library near you!

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of Peter Pan, BPL will be hosting free workshops at its area libraries. Children, aged 7 to 12, will have the opportunity to learn how storybook characters come alive though the magic of a theatrical play. JLB will be on hand to coach the children through the play and introduce them to related literature within the walls of their local library. Each child will also receive TWO FREE TICKETS (one child ticket and one adult ticket) to a Birmingham Children’s Theatre main stage performance of Peter Pan.

Space is limited, so please visit here to sign up now or visit/call a participating library to register a child for the worksh…

What a Feeling

We all like to be recognized and hear positive comments from our employers and co-workers—it's that stuff that makes us feel valued and motivates us to give of ourselves beyond 100%.

But when recognition comes from the public we serve, i.e. our library patrons, it skyrockets us into the stratosphere. And that's what happened at the North Avondale Branch when a mother of four visited the library with a special letter delivery to the staff. This letter included a thank you to the staff and comments about the greatness of the library.

Comments like "I know that I am thankful when I am able to let my kids come to the library," "they want to be there for the programs and services the library has to offer," and "homework help is available for my children" are the very reasons it is worth getting up in the morning to go to work and to be there for the many patrons that need us.

So remember, when we are hard at work, patrons out there do take notice that…

Phyllis Theroux's Journal Writing Seminar, November 4

Essayist Phyllis Theroux has long captivated readers with her pitch-perfect rendering of the inner lives of women. Her book, The Journal Keeper: A Memoir, covers six years of her anything but uneventful life and demonstrates how journal keeping can serve as a cathartic and rewarding avocation. Theroux calls it her daily "light box to save the things I think are the most beautiful, poignant or funny."

Theroux is hosting a seminar, talk and book signing at Central Library on Sunday, November 4, 2012, in the Arrington Auditorium. Schedule is as follows:

3:00-4:00 p.m.—Journal Writing Seminar. Registration required at

4:00-5:00 p.m—Talk and book signing. Registration not required.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required for the seminar. Call 226-3670 or e-mail for information.

Visit The Journal Keeper website for more information about the author and her book.

Avondale Library Hosts Tonight's B&B

WHO: Birmingham Public Library (BPL)
WHAT: Bards & Brews: BPL’s Poetry Performance Series
WHEN: Friday, November 2, 2012, 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Live Music and Sign Up at 6:30 p.m.
Call Time at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Avondale Regional Library, 509 40th Street South

The Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series is hitting the road in November. Usually held the first Friday of each month, the November 2nd edition of Bards & Brews will travel to the Avondale Regional Library at 509 40th Street South. The program, which will be OPEN MIC, begins at 6:30 p.m. 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. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

Craft beer from Blue Pants Brewery out of Madison, Alabama, w…

Opening Reception for the Exhibit Attorney Shores' Scrapbook: The Life and Times of Birmingham's Civil Rights Lawyer and Civic Leader, 1939-1975, November 4

Newspaper headline from Shores' scrapbook
The Birmingham Historical Society and the Birmingham Public Library is showcasing the life and times of Birmingham civil rights attorney Arthur Shores in a special exhibit, November 4-December 28 at the Central Library. The exhibit features a scrapbook of newspaper reports and printed materials, which Shores collected throughout his legal and political career.

The Birmingham Historical Society has copied numerous pages of the scrapbook, which is larger than the size of a newspaper, in order to display them in Central Library's 4th Floor Gallery. Shores, who was born in 1904, was a high school principal at Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Alabama, when he became a lawyer in 1937. Although Shores died in 1996 at the age of 92, the scrapbook and exhibit look at his career from 1939 to 1975.

Some of the exhibit highlights include:

How Shores and Thurgood Marshall successfully fought to get Autherine Lucy enrolled as the first black studen…