Posts

Showing posts from May, 2013

Donations!

Image
Virtually every week someone brings in a box or bag or books for our library. Usually these are put in the book sale. Quite often, however, a title will catch my eye. One such book was Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Gilman. Reading her descriptions of her experiences growing up in New York in the early 1970s, watching and listening to The Partridge Family and the Jackson 5 (including the Saturday morning cartoons of the same name) is hilarious and reminded me of my own childhood. Her description of an increasing larger-than-life show-and-tell (where she eventually changes her name from Susan to “Rhinestone Gilman” and later “Sapphire Gilman” because her initials will be the same) made me laugh out loud. (Judging by my daughter’s actions, five-year-olds
haven’t changed much.) The jacket blurb from Frank McCourt says it all: “Thank you, O Lord for sending us Susan Gilman’s tales.”


Today a patron brought in half a dozen books on dogs and how to care for them. It is my…

BPL Hosting Historic House Research Workshop in July

Image
Have you ever wondered who may have lived in your house before your family moved in? Could the previous owner have been a prominent politician or civic leader? The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a workshop on historic house research on Saturday, July 20, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., in the Central Library’s Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium. This workshop does not require registration and is free to the public.

The workshop is sponsored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Birmingham Historical Society. Attendees will learn how to conduct research on historic dwellings in Birmingham and Jefferson County. Linda Nelson, Jefferson County Historical Commission Executive Secretary, will discuss requirements of the Historical Marker Program and other historical designations.

A second component of the workshop will feature BPL Assistant Archivist Catherine Oseas. She will discuss library resources that are useful in researching a historic house. For more inform…

Help Us Send Our Kids to Chicago!

Image
Six Birmingham teens have been accepted to compete at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. These teens have spent at least a year working in their school and at BPL under the guidance of Real Life Poets, a local poetry and spoken word non-profit. Please consider a gift to BPL’s Teen Poetry Initiatives to help them and others continue learning about poetry, performance, personal expression, and public speaking.

Below are a couple of the students who need your help to attend. Click here to contribute.

Justin Wright, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate

"When I write, I try to take on the persona of that person to bring their experiences and hardships into a piece to make them feel that they are not, in fact, alone; that there is someone, somewhere out there who can understand, or at least attempt to understand how they feel. I would also like to start, in the future, some other summer program that is centered on the education and wholeness of the child. It w…

Library’s Bards & Brews Program Heads to North Birmingham

Image
Birmingham Public Library’s (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series will travel to the North Birmingham Regional Library on Friday, June 7, 2013. The library is located at 2501 31st Avenue North. The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with live music, and poetry performances start at 7:00. The June session will be OPEN MIC. 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 will be available for sampling courtesy of Terrapin Beer Company and light refreshments will be served. 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 on the first Friday of the month at various locations around town. However, the next session will be held on the SECOND FRIDAY, Ju…

Meet Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Board Member Jeniese Hosey

Image
The Young Professionals of the Birmingham Public Library celebrate the rich history and prosperous future of Birmingham's oldest cultural institution. The Young Professionals support the Library financially and culturally and promote its remarkable treasures. By hosting dynamic lectures, special collection tours, and other social events and by volunteering time and skills, the Young Professionals increase public awareness of and access to the Library's resources.


What is your full name, age, and occupation? Jeniese Harvette Hosey.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Saw's Super Soul Kitchen.

Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? I am an avid reader and a strong supporter of the public library system.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? The Central Library.

Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Where The Wild Things Are, Where The Sidewalk Ends, The Babysitters Club, Sweet Vally High, The Hobbit, I could go on for days.…

Gifts of a Wordsmith Workshop

Image
Award-winning poet and community activist John Paul Taylor will lead free adult poetry workshops on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Gifts of a Wordsmith will take place in the Story Castle on the second floor of Central Library. The next workshop is scheduled for June 4.

The class will cover how to get your thoughts down on paper, overcoming writer's block, copyright issues, self-publishing, how to perform, and more. The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library funds the workshops.

Taylor is one of the founders of Real Life Poets, a nonprofit creative writing program based in Birmingham. This summer he presented two workshops as part of BPL's adult summer reading program. Participants enjoyed the adult classes so much that they wanted to see them continue.

"We offered it this summer and the people wanted it back. That's why I wanted to do it,'' Taylor said. "We know it works. But it's cool when your community says, 'This is …

Looking Back at High School

Image
It’s that time of year again. The time when high school seniors all across the country don gowns and mortar boards as they accept their diplomas and say goodbye to their alma maters. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for your high school years or are curious about those of another generation, consider checking out the Southern History Department’s collection of yearbooks from area high schools.

Yearbooks are a great form of social history. Changing fashions in clothes, music, and hairstyles can all be observed, but be warned: viewing old yearbooks can induce peals of laughter and much cringing. Big hair: check. Popped collars: check. Blazers with the sleeves pushed up à la Don Johnson in Miami Vice: check.

Over time, yearbooks have changed a great deal. The earliest ones that we have date from the 1910s and are really more like literary magazines. They have few pictures but lots of poems, short stories, and personal essays. The senior class is usually the only one pictured…

Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshop, June 1

Image
Flow Tactics Teen Poetry Workshop for grades 6-12 is held the first Saturday of every month, 2:00-4:00 p.m., in the Youth Department Story Castle at Central Library. June's workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 1.
John Paul Taylor of Real Life Poets, Inc. is the coordinator. For more information, call Taylor at 585-8271 or email him at johnpaul@reallifepoets.org.

Teens have until Friday, May 31, 2013 to sign-up for a FREE football clinic: Skills and Drills with the NFL's Jerricho Cotchery

Image
The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation on June 14 and 15, 2013. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for 2013’s Teen Summer Reading Program, “Beneath the Surface.”

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. Birmingham is proud of this native son and we at BPL are grateful to partner with him for Summer Reading.
Students between the ages of 11 and 17 may sign-up at any BPL locationuntil Friday, May 31, 2013. These unique experiences (including the football clinic and teen tailgate party) are free. The Cotchery Foundation will provide free cleats and swag at the "Skills and Drills" football clinic. While regist…

See and Hear the Worldwide Reading of the Letter from Birmingham Jail

Image
April 16, 2013 was windy at Palmer Station in Antarctica, a little too blustery for an outdoor reading. So members of the station’s research staff gathered inside, sitting near a big stove, in front of a window that opened onto the white landscape at the bottom of the world and read aloud Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

The reading in Antarctica, like the ones held on every continent that day, came about because of a simple idea: to recognize the 50th anniversary of the day Dr. King began his letter by inviting people around the world to gather and read the letter aloud. When the staff of the Birmingham Public Library sent out the initial invitation, they hoped that a few people in a few places would respond (the conversation included the phrase “maybe we can get five or six”). By April 16, people had responded from more than 250 locations in 33 states of the United States, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. People responded from the Netherlands, South Africa, I…

Author Ron Cooper Discusses Trail of Tears Book at BPL@Night, May 28

Image
Ron Cooper, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, began walking the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in January 2011 as a personal adventure of self-reflection. Much to his surprise, he quickly became an ambassador for education, a catalyst for further conservation of the Trail, and a symbol of tribal unity and pride. Cooper will discuss his journey and share the best of the thousands of photos he took along the way as he discusses his book It’s My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian’s Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. This special BPL@Night program is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

While enduring the worst winter in recent memory, in 2011 Ron Cooper walked hundreds of miles retracing the steps of the American Indians forc…

Staff Pick: Here Lies Linc (Ages 8 and Up)

Image
Here Lies Linc 
Delia Ray

This school year, twelve year old Lincoln Raintree Crenshaw (Linc) is embarking on a new life. Up until recently his life had been pretty predictable and happy. Both of his parents were college professors; they homeschooled him with the kids of scholars. His family was strange, sure, but they were happy just the way there were. When Linc’s dad unexpectedly dies he and his mom are forced to reevaluate everything in their lives. For Linc, this means diving headfirst into the dog-eat-dog world of public middle school. When Linc starts school he realizes that blending in like a normal kid might be harder than he expected; his mother, who studies gravestone and burial rituals, and his old life certainly don’t help. Just when he thinks he has everything under control, a class assignment changes everything. Linc’s teacher assigns each student the task of choosing and researching a gravestone in the graveyard beside Linc’s house. Linc and his classmates will have th…

If You Liked Fifty Shades of Grey

Image
Book publishers are like Hollywood producers.  When they figure out what people like, they give them more of it.  That's why Fast & Furious 6  is opening this weekend (can't wait to see it) and that's why publishers are scrambling to release the next Fifty Shades of Grey.  Month after month, titles with similar themes are released in hopes that readers will respond with the same interest and enthusiasm.  If you are one of the many people who enjoyed the series by E.L. James, you may also enjoy the following titles and other books by these authors.  The title descriptions are from the publisher.

Bared to You  by Sylvia Day  (Crossfire Series #1)

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...
Gideo…

Meet Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Board Member Clair McLafferty

Image
The Young Professionals of the Birmingham Public Library celebrate the rich history and prosperous future of Birmingham's oldest cultural institution. The Young Professionals support the Library financially and culturally and promote its remarkable treasures. By hosting dynamic lectures, special collection tours, and other social events and by volunteering time and skills, the Young Professionals increase public awareness of and access to the Library's resources.


What is your full name, age, and occupation? Clair Elizabeth McLafferty, 24. I am the patient educator at Alabama Pain Physicians, senior research technologist at HagenTek, personal tutor, and freelance writer.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Saw's Soul Kitchen.

Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? A few months ago, an article on the future of libraries aired on NPR. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be involved in preserving the libraries I knew when I was younger.

Which is your …

Staff Pick: Code Name Verity (Teens)

Image
Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein

On October 11, 1943, when a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France, a female spy codenamed Verity is arrested by the Gestapo. Believing she will be tortured and killed, she is surprised to be given the choice of revealing her mission or face execution. Her confession becomes a telling of how she became friends with the pilot Maggie, and why she left Maggie in the wrecked plane. Each new piece of her confession keeps her alive a little longer, and unfolds her story of survival, failure, friendship, and courage.

Okay, I'm gonna gush. I loved this audio. The narration was riveting tome. It was like sitting and listening to someone's real story. Yes, I have a quibble with an accent on the last disc, but if you look at it as Mattie telling the story or Julie, they wouldn't be doing perfect voices. When you cut to the chase, these two women are telling the story. Julie would sing the song the German was singing in her own voice. …

The Skies are Clearing for Students Researching Climate Change

Image
Here at the library we see a multitude of high school research topics. Each topic comes with its own challenges. One problem students writing papers about climate change experience is finding reliable sources for research and data. There’s just so much opinion based on political ideology or wishful thinking that sometimes it’s difficult to find raw numbers based on science. And even if the student finds research from a reliable source, it frequently requires a Ph.D. to decipher.

The United Nations Climate Change Portal represents the final word on climate change research while solving these problems. The site is easy to navigate, current, and covers all aspects of climate change. Research and findings from 38 different international organizations and U.N. agencies can be accessed via this portal. Users can find information about mitigation technology, the economics and politics of climate change and, of course, the science behind the numbers.

Clicking on the tab marked science reveals…

Spring into Summer Reading Today

Image
Summer Reading Programs began on May 13 this year at all Birmingham Public Library locations allowing you to get a jump start on reading and library enjoyment. Reading, prize drawings, activities, programs and book discussions, even online, abound and are only just part of the excitement you can expect.

There is something for everyone and for all ages, as Library Summer Reading is no longer just for kids. Adults, as well as children and teens will have the opportunity to participate in programs, activities and reading ideas and suggestions suited just for them and the respective themes match up nicely as well.


Childrens - Dig into Reading

Teens - Beneath the Surface (including Steampunk mania at Central)

Adults - Birmingham’s Beat


Online participation is available, seamless and encouraged at http://www.bplonline.org/SummerReading.aspx.

The Birmingham Public Library’s website offers a portal into all things Summer Reading.

You can:
Register for the programsSubmit titles read for …

Local Author Tim Hollis Tells the Story of Alabama Tourism at the May 22 Brown Bag Lunch Program

Image
Tourism in the Southeast is often associated with Florida—a state that essentially defined the industry in America. Yet Alabama has a fascinating history of tourism all its own from restored and preserved historic destinations to campy tourist traps and outrageous roadside attractions. Join Birmingham author Tim Hollis, who has traveled from the Shoals to the coast and amassed an unrivaled knowledge of Alabama tourism, as he discusses his new book See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing. Wednesday, May 22, noon.

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 www.bplonline.org.

Book Series for Children - Frye by Angie Sage

Image
Frye
Angie Sage
Just in time for summer, Fyre is the long-awaited 7th and final installment of the Septimus Heap series. It's a nice trip down memory lane, linking up with moments, characters, and plot points from all the previous books.
The series as a whole is fun and memorable with quirky and loveable characters. It's very much a treasure hunt within a magical fantasy with many adventures to be enjoyed. fans of the series will be pleased with how everything is wrapped up.
Search the JCLC catalog for similar books using these search criteria:
Magic - juvenile fiction
Fantasy - juvenile fiction
Wizards - juvenile Fiction

Library Welcomes Author for a Journey on the Trail of Tears

Image
Ron Cooper, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, began walking the Northern Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in January 2011 as a personal adventure of self-reflection. Much to his surprise, he quickly became an ambassador for education, a catalyst for further conservation of the Trail, and a symbol of tribal unity and pride. Cooper will discuss his journey and share the best of the thousands of photos he took along the way as he discusses his book It’s My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian’s Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. This special BPL@Night program is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

While enduring the worst winter in recent memory, in 2011 Ron Cooper walked hundreds of miles retracing the steps of the American Indians forc…

Still Time to Join in the Discussion on Bullying

Image
The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life invite the public to participate in one of the three remaining Alabama Issues Forum on bullying. Forums will be held May 18 through 23 at three libraries in the Birmingham Public Library System. All programs are free and open to the public.

Bullying is an issue that has been brought to the national consciousness with recent events including the YouTube® video of a bus monitor being bullied by middle school students as well as several recent stories of the tragic suicides of students resulting from relentless bullying.

The forums will be held at the following locations:

Central Library (downtown), *May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Corrected Date)
Smithfield Library, May 23, 10:00 a.m.–12:00noon

Nearly a third of students experience bullying each year, and more than 160,000 young people miss school each day due to fears of being bullied. While Alabama continues to m…

BPL Partners with David Matthews Center for Series of Bullying Forums

Image
DID YOU KNOW...
Every 30 minutes, a child commits suicide as a DIRECT RESULT of BEING BULLIED
28% of children carrying guns have witnessed violence in their homes
Every 7 minutes a child is BULLIED on a school playground, 85% happen without intervention
More than 85% of teenagers say revenge after BULLYING is the leading cause of school shootings and homicide
26% Female 46% Male involved in fights are due to BEING BULLIED
According to the U.S. Secret Service, 2/3 of 37 school shootings involved attackers who “felt persecuted, BULLIED, threatened, attacked or injured by others prior to the incident 19,000 BULLIED children commit suicide over the course of one year*
Headline News: February 7, 2013 – Bullying Attack Leaves 11-year-old in Coma. These headlines recur daily in our hometowns, in cities large and small around our country and across the globe. What are we doing about it? Are we part of the problem or can we be part of the solution? The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mat…

Registration Open for June RLCC Computer Classes

Image
The Regional Library Computer CenterJune 2013 Computer Classes schedule is now available, and registration is open to the public for the free courses. Please note that class times have been changed to 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. This month, we are teaching programs from Microsoft Office 2010 and featuring Facebook in our “Introduction to Social Media” course.

The following classes are slated for June 2013:
Beginner Classes June 3 – Keyboarding: Introduces you to the basics of working with the computer keyboard and the mouse. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.June 4 – Basic PC: Introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, etc. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.June 5 – Basic Internet: Introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods.…

Brown Bag Lunch Program - See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism

Image
Tourism in the Southeast is often associated with Florida—a state that essentially defined the industry in America. Yet Alabama has a fascinating history of tourism all its own from restored and preserved historic destinations to campy tourist traps and outrageous roadside attractions. Join Birmingham author Tim Hollis, who has traveled from the Shoals to the coast and amassed an unrivaled knowledge of Alabama tourism, as he discusses his new book See Alabama First: The Story of Alabama Tourism. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing. Wednesday, May 22, noon.

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 www.bplonline.org.

Book Review: Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music

Image
Songs In The Key Of Z: The Curious Universe Of Outsider Music
Irwin Chusid

I checked this book out of the library so many times over the years that I finally bought my own copy so I could finally underline all the intentionally and unintentionally hilarious bits, jaw-dropping anecdotes and biographical gems in this seriously weird account of music people so far out of the mainstream it makes your usual musical diet seem safe and bland by comparison. This is music, in the words of author Irwin Chusid, “so wrong - it’s right,” so “bad it’s even better.”

The musicians here aren’t underground or avant-garde, because those categories presuppose a high degree of self-awareness. They’re further out than that. Not better per se, just further out. They usually don’t want any part of the conventional—or even semi-conventional—musical world. They’re mostly untrained musically. They’re frequently mentally ill, though often they’re just very eccentric. In some ways, musical outsiders are the equiv…

Genealogy At Its Worst: Researching Convict Records Workshop

Image