Showing posts from 2013

Children's Book Review: The True Meaning of Smekday (Ages 8-12)

The True Meaning of Smekday
Adam Rex

It has finally happened! The hope and fear of every science fiction nerd on the planet has come true. Aliens (the Boov specifically) have invaded Earth! This story is the account of young Gratuity Tucci, a cat named Pig, and a runaway Boov named J. Lo. This bizarre trio embarks on a cross-country road trip to reunite Gratuity with her mother and the rest of the human race. They become unlikely heroes as they save the world from a second alien invasion by the violent Gorg race.

This book was great fun. It’s a fantastic twist on the classic road trip story. While the adventures and action are great, this story is really something special when it shows how Gratuity and J. Lo try to understand each other’s cultures. Gratuity is understandably miffed at J. Lo and his species for invading her planet and impatient with his absurd alien customs. He loves eating dental floss and thinks that oranges make fine footwear! But it’s not all about wacky alien cust…

Talk and Gallery Tour to Accompany Lois Wilson Exhibit

The exhibit Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson will be on display in the Central Library's Fourth Floor Gallery from January 6 to February 21, 2014. Featuring a little known Alabama artist who died in 1980, the exhibit focuses on Wilson’s “found art” where she used wood that she scavenged from demolition sites, parts of furniture that she disassembled, old brushes, ironing boards, toilet seats, and left over food for coloring to take the trash that other people discarded and create art. The art illustrates the issues that were important to Wilson: environmentalism and conservation, racism, spiritualism, the needs of the aged and homeless, and the emptiness of modern American materialism.

Laquita Thomson, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, will give a talk and gallery tour to accompany the exhibit. The talk, titled Alabama Mystic or Alabama Outsider: The Art of Lois Wilson, will be held at 3:00 p.m. on S…

Bards & Brews Poetry SLAM at Avondale Library

The Avondale Library hosts the next Bards & Brews SLAM on Friday, January 3, 2014. Poet sign-up begins at 6:30 p.m., and SLAM starts at 7:00 p.m. There is a $5 charge to enter the SLAM contest. Cash prizes to winners: 1st Place is $200, 2nd place is $100. Music is by guitarist and singer Susan Lawrence, 6:30-7:00 p.m. The SLAM is free to attend and is open to the public. Must be 18 and up to attend and 21 to participate. Beer tasting will be provided by Back Forty Beer Co. ID required. Refreshments will be served.

For more info, call 205-226-3670 or email

The New Inglenook Library Is On the Way

The renovation of the Inglenook Library is coming along beautifully and the staff can’t wait to provide the opportunities that it will lend to the Inglenook Community. With more open space, additional computers, and an attractive building design, amongst the many other offerings, patrons will be enabled to interact with resources more comfortably and staff will be enabled to provide services more effectively. We are confident that it will stand out in the community and attract patrons from all walks of life as opportunities will be limitless and creativity will be boundless.

Submitted by Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Library

Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt, January 2 -17, 2014

Youth are invited to visit any Birmingham Public Library January 2-17, 2014, to participate in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt. Each participant who successfully completes the scavenger hunt may enter their names in a drawing for a free book about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The scavenger hunt is scheduled at all Birmingham Public Libraries during regular scheduled hours. Please check your local branch for hours of operation. Some branches are closed on weekends.

Birmingham 2013 Exhibition on Display Through December 27

A special exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Birmingham will be shown in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library, Wednesday, November 6 to Friday, December 27, 2013. The gallery is free and open to the public.

Fairfield, Alabama resident Dr. William E. Colvin curated the exhibit, known as Birmingham 2013: Remembering the Movement that Changed the World. It proposes that the dreams of freedom and civil liberty that African Americans had 50 years are now realities. Nearly 50 pieces created by more than 25 artists from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida highlight historic moments such as the 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, marches in Kelly Ingram Park, and more. “These compositions are created to memorialize the Birmingham civil rights movement and celebrate the liberties and freedoms of all citizens,’’ said Dr. Colvin, who is an art professor emeritus for Illinois State University. Most of the pieces will be for sal…

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events Set for the Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library has planned several events to remember slain civil rights leader the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in January 2014.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Scavenger Hunt will be held January 2-17 at all Birmingham Public Library locations. Ten clues related to important and interesting facts about King are hidden within each branch. Correctly answer all 10 questions on King and be entered into a drawing for a book on King.On Friday, January 17, the Birmingham Public Library will host the 11th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at 12:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library. This year's topic will focus on human rights. Patricia A. McCay, chairwoman of the Huntsville-Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force, will be the guest speaker. She will discuss the victims of modern-day slavery, explore ways traffickers entrap and control their victims, and examine certain cases in Alabama. Trafficking happens all over the world, includin…

January 2014 RLCC Computer Class Schedule Available

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the January 2014 Regional Library Computer Center classes. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES. Space is limited. If you register for a class and cannot attend, call Public Computer Services at (205) 226-3680 or 226-3681 as soon as possible.  No one will be admitted after 5 minutes past the time class is scheduled to start.  Classes are provided by the Birmingham Public Library.

Make Smart Money Moves in 2014 With Free Classes at the Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library will kick off the new year with three money management classes in January. All classes are free and open to the public.

January 8
10:00 a.m.
Wylam Library
Learn about saving and investing with Andreas Rauterkus, associate professor of accounting and finance at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Attendees will learn how to understand various financial markets, evaluate different saving and investment options, develop ways to make better investment decisions, and more.

10:30 a.m.
Five Points West Library
Take control of your finances in a workshop led by UAB professor Dale Callahan. He will discuss ways to increase income, save more, and how to eliminate personal debt will be addressed. (Check out Callahan’s website:

January 23
3:30 p.m.
Avondale Library
Bring the little ones to see Phillip “Mr. Mac’’ McEntee as he leads “A Penny Saved’’ in this children’s program. Using Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “A penny saved is a penny earned,’…

TumbleBooks: Animated E-books for Kids!

TumbleBooks, a new online resource for kids from Birmingham Public Library, makes reading exciting and fun!

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they'll love. TumbleBooks are created using animation, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you. TumbleBooks also includes chapter books you can read online, interesting videos, puzzles, and books in Spanish and French.

The TumbleBook Library is a collection of titles from children's book publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Harcourt, HarperCollins, and many more. Check out Tumblebooks and all these other children's resources from Birmingham Public Library.

Competitive Baking: A Little Humor for the Holidays


Children's Audio Book Review: Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon
Cath Crowley
Read by Ben MacLaine, Hamish R. Johnson, and Chelsea Bruland

"Lucy is on a mission to find Shadow, the urban graffiti artist to whose work she is drawn. But as the night unfolds, she may find that Shadow is closer than she thinks. Three Australian voices mesh to give this story an authentic sense of character, place, and point of view."

I'd read the blurb for this novel and didn't expect to like it, despite the Australian setting. And I've been pleasantly surprised. Of course, I suppose the blurb would have given too much away if it had revealed Shadow's identity! The three voices complement each other well. I actually liked Poet's deep, thoughtful voice, in spite of the short interludes he gets to narrate. There really isn't much differentiation between male/female voices when Ed and Lucy are speaking, which got confusing for me when they are relating conversations—but I was willing to forgive those moments, other pa…

A Christmas Gift for Someone Special

I love the Christmas Season. So, I’ve decided to tell you about a hodge podge of things that you can check out from the library, buy, or make at an affordable price for Christmas. Since this is the blog for the Birmingham Public Library, I will begin by spotlighting a few non-fiction books that I’ve read recently and then I’ll segue into some unusual things you can purchase or make.

Driven by Donald Driver is the autobiography of a former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver. Driver pens a very interesting and engrossing book. Growing up, Donald experienced homelessness and a troubled life in Houston, Texas. He managed, with the help of his stepfather and grandparents, to overcome poverty, get a college education at Alcorn State University, and become a Wide Receiver in the NFL. Along the way, he had varied experiences which he recounts including stories about playing for the Packers and finally winning a Super Bowl Championship at the end of his career. A truly inspiring read, I c…

It's Time Once Again for Reading with Ringling Bros.!

Earn a free ticket to the circus!

Beginning December 16 through January 24, children ages 2-12 may visit their local Birmingham Public branch library to join the Reading with Ringling Bros. 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 Thursday, January 22, through Sunday, January 26. Participating children who read five (5) books before the January 24 cutoff date can get a free ticket to see the Greatest Show on Earth!

Here's how it works: Speak with a librarian at your local Birmingham Public branch 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. There is a required parent/guardian ticket purchase upon redemption of the child's card.  For every one (1) paid adult ticket, three (3) free kids' tickets can be redeemed.  See the front an…

For the Library Lover on Your Gift List!

Library’s recognizable windows. For the Library Lover on Your Gift List!

Purchase a one-of-a-kind gift for someone on your holiday shopping list and donate to the Birmingham Public Library at the same time!

Birmingham artist John DeMotte has created this gorgeous limited edition print (there are only 25 prints available and they are going quickly) just for Birmingham Public Library supporters.

This photo print of the Central Library’s East Building looks out onto the corner of Park Place and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard toward the Tutwiler Hotel. The photograph beautifully conveys the contemporary architecture of the East Building as it blends with the historic landscape outside. The scene captures the bright light of the Alabama sun against the dark modern structure of the Central Library.

The photo print is available for donors of $1,000 and up while supplies last.

Make your donation and get your print by clicking here.

Civil Rights Fiction

The City of Birmingham, the Birmingham Public Library, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, along with other local entities and agencies, have been commemorating the historic, local events of 1963 that fought for the recognition of equal rights for African Americans. Under the banner of “50 Years Forward,” and with that passage of time, it has become increasingly evident that these events in Birmingham, Alabama, have had a world-wide impact and have inspired countless individuals to pursue freedom and equality.

The Birmingham Public Library has been proud to do its part in offering a wide variety of programs and materials to its loyal patrons and other visitors to commemorate this unforgettable year. The Library thanks all who attended and participated in our special programming.

The materials we offer on this topic include music, film, audio, and books all available in numerous formats that have kept pace with the constantly changing technology of…

Calling All Authors: 2014 Local Authors Expo & Book Fair

Registration has begun for the 2014 Local Authors Expo & Book Fair at the Birmingham Public Library. This annual event provides an opportunity for authors from the Birmingham area to meet the reading public, autograph books, and network with other writers. The Expo will be held at BPL's Central Library at 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday, February 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free for the public, but registration is required for authors who wish to promote and autograph their books.

In addition to hosting up to 100 authors at this year's event, there will be two presentations open to the general public: At 10:00 a.m., young adult author Anne Riley will discuss "How to Write While Having a Life," and at 1:00 p.m., a panel of authors from See Jane Write (Javacia Harris Bowser, Stephanie Naman, and Kathryn Lang) will talk about "How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Book."

So if you're a Birmingham author: Click H…

Final Program in MakingCents Series Covers How to Pay for College

If you are interested in getting your financial life in order this fall, then the Central Library is the place to be! Dr. Andreas Rauterkus, Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance at UAB, will be leading a series of programs that will focus on a variety of issues related to personal finance and investing. This is the last program in the MakingCents series. We hope you have enjoyed and learned from these financial planning programs.

Paying for College
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
12:00 p.m.
Arrington Auditorium
A college education is a good investment, but is also a very expensive one. In this program, Dr. Rauterkus will discuss ways to make this process more manageable. Among the topics to be covered are evaluating college affordability, utilizing personal savings, and assessing the different forms of financial aid.

These programs are part of the MakingCents: Resources to make your money grow and Smart investing@your library® series, a partnership between the American Librar…

New Tool for Job Seekers and Students

Career Cruising is a comprehensive career guide that's fun and easy to use. It's the perfect tool for students planning for the future, graduates investigating job options, and adults looking for work or thinking about a career change. 

Career Cruising helps job seekers satisfy five key career guidance needs: self-assessment, career exploration, post-secondary education planning, work search, and portfolio development. Each section can be used on its own or in combination with others. You can learn more about your personal interests and find related careers and information about the necessary training, you can explore schools and find financial aid, you can explore occupations that interest you and find related jobs.

CareerCruising features career guidance information, a database of schools, financial aid information, a portofolio tool, employment resources and self-assessments. This resource is perfect for students exploring future career options as well as college grads and jo…

The "Up Series"

In this era of reality television, the cinematic documentation of everyday people seems to have fallen by the wayside.  Instead, we are bombarded by c-list celebrities, rural eccentrics, and child beauty pageant stars. Reality television depicts these lives in a sensationalized manner and the spotlight of celebrity has warped almost all sense of reality on our television screens.
Of course there are still some documentaries and -- occasionally -- television programs that offer thoughtful insight into the world in which we live. The "Up Series” is a spellbinding example of this (unfortunately) rare phenomenon. These films are a documentary series that chronicle the lives of fourteen ordinary people in the United Kingdom.

In the fall of 1964, a camera crew from Granada television interviewed fourteen, seven year-old schoolchildren from around London. The children were from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from working class students to upper class boarding school…

2013 Holiday Happenings at Birmingham Public Library

Celebrate the holidays at Birmingham Public Library! Click the link to see the list of programs scheduled at BPL locations throughout December. All programs are free and open to the public.

Dolores Hydock to Perform A Christmas Memory

The Christmas season doesn’t really begin until you have experienced Birmingham storyteller Dolores Hydock’s incredible one-woman performance of A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama. Dolores will perform this holiday classic on Tuesday, December 3, at 6:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library.

There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments provided by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.

Book Review: The Crimson Petal and the White

The Crimson Petal and the White
Michel Faber

Sorry, but it doesn’t have anything to do with football, or Alabama, or even the last hundred years. It’s a novel set in 1870s London and it’s a picture of Victorian society the like of which you will almost certainly be unprepared for. Reviewers called it the novel a period novelist might have written had there not been censorship and this is not an overstatement. But even a Dickens without restrictions, for instance, wouldn’t have had a century plus of historical research and perspective that make this story so detailed and devastating. The seductive opening lines indicate as much:

Watch your step. Keep your wits about you: you will need them. This city I am bringing you is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before….The truth is that you are an alien from another time and place altogether.

The novel follows Sugar, a prostitute from these mean streets, as she makes her way through life, meeting William Rackham, a wealthy busine…

Navigating the Holidays with Ease

The holiday season has come fast and has caught many of us off guard, but we need not fret because it’s still early enough to shop and plan without getting entangled with the chaos that seems synonymous with the holidays. Below, Real Simple provides seven tips to reduce holiday stress and save money. Following the tips are books provided by the Birmingham Public Library that will also help us navigate the holidays with class and ease so that we can celebrate and embrace them for what they mean to us without the distractions of stress.

1. Make a List
Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.

2. Start Early
Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like.

3. Do Online Research
If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy, search for reputable online…

BPL Hits Tumblr!

"What is Tumblr?

"Before there was social networking, there were blogs. And in an effort to muddle things, at one point in time the concept of blogging without trying too hard became known as microblogging. Tumblr is part microblogging, part social networking."

"If you want to write a several-thousand-word opus about something, Tumblr isn’t the place to do it. If you want to share a moving picture of a little kid acting like a detective as quickly and easily as possible, Tumblr is a good place to do it. That’s the microblogging aspect to Tumblr. Then, other Tumblr users who like moving pictures of little kids acting like detectives can follow you on Tumblr so they’re sure to see every moving little-kid-acting-like-a-detective picture you post. That’s the social networking aspect to Tumblr."
So, where can you find Tumblr?
Learn more about what's going on at BPL, find book reviews, funny memes, and most importantly, FOLLOW US at http://www.tum…

Limited Edition Photo Print By Local Artist Available For BPL Donors

Donors to BPL's Annual Campaign May Receive a Limited Edition Photo Print by Local Artist John DeMotte

The first 25 donors of $1,000 and up to BPL's annual campaign will receive a beautiful limited edition photo print by local artist John DeMotte ( The photo is in an edition of 25, donated to BPL by the artist. It captures the Central Library's glass windows, which rise from the first floor atrium to above the fourth floor, looking across the intersection of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard and Park Place toward the Tutwiler Hotel. The Central Library's "East Building" was constructed in 1984, is a modern counterpart to the 1927 Linn Henley Library. Its pyramid-like glass atrium has made it a recognizable downtown Birmingham landmark.

The BPL Foundation hopes to raise $50,000 before January 1, 2014 to supplement and expand the library's collection. One hundred percent campaign donations will be used to acquire library materials for BPL…

BPL Closed November 28 to December 1 for Thanksgiving Holiday

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed November 28 to December 1 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Books for Native American Children Educate about Diabetes