Showing posts from March, 2014

Librarians—We're Not Just For Shushing Anymore

Not a BPL employee. I assisted a patron this week who was seeking information on writing a business plan. He has an MBA and a business he's owned for years, but wants to expand. He was thrilled with the Business Plans Handbook I showed him through the Database link on BPL's homepage. He also needed to find general industry and competitor information, so I showed him the Mergent Online database. One thing led to another and soon I was pointing out Alabama Legal Forms, LearningExpress Library, and the Chilton Automotive links. He was so pleased that I couldn't help saying, "And you thought all we did was read books all day long." He laughed a little, but said, "No, I thought you put up the books." Sigh. Unfortunately, both misconceptions are common. So what DOES your modern librarian do all day? Well, we review and select materials for inclusion in the collection based on collection development policies, current trends, and community in

Haiku Contest Winners

The first Birmingham Public Library Haiku contest was a great success, with over fifty participants, spanning a wide range of ages and demographics.  The winning poems from both the adult and youth categories are posted below. First, second, and third prizes were awarded at the Sakura Festival at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on March 22.  All winners received an anthology of haiku as well as cash prizes. The first place winner in each category was also given a year-membership in the Haiku Society of America. A special "Thank you" to all the participants as well as to Terri French, coordinator of the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America . Winners are listed in order from first to third place in each category. Adult Winners: Irene pine thicket laced with dogwood blossoms-- painter's poison Virginia G In a far field cranes under a drape of rain bend white wings, folding moon Jeanette From his sharp chisel Marble metamorphoses Softly,

Final Program in Remembering the Holocaust Series to Show Film Examining Path to Nazi Genocide, March 26

  The Birmingham Public Library is marking its ten-year partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in presenting Remembering the Holocaust , presentations by Birmingham residents  sharing their experiences and perspectives. The programs are held every Wednesday in March at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library and are free and open to the public. Remembering the Holocaust - The Path to Nazi Genocide, a USHMM Film March 26 This 38-minute film examines the Nazis' rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda, and persecution of Jews and other victims. It also outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people. By providing a concise overview of the Holocaust and those involved, this resource is intended to provide reflection and discussion about the role of ordinary people, institutions, and nations between 1918

Book Review: F This Test: Even More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers

F This Test: Even More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers Richard Benson Five Points West received a new book titled F This Test: Even More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson today. It's hilarious. It consists of totally wrong answers to college tests which actual students have given. Some were sincere, but some seemed to take it all in stride and decided to have a little fun with their answers. Here are some examples: Which part of the Earth is directly below the crust? The Filling. Name a key theme in Madame Bovary. Cows. Give brief summary of the plot of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . Jekyll & Hyde find a briefcase, and it's very strange. What factors led to Nancy's death in Oliver Twist ? Charles Dickens killed her. What contributed to the collapse of the Bronze Age? Rust! Describe a neutrino. The opposite of an Oldtrino. Define a supersat

Teen Tech Week: DIY@ your Library

Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great non-print resources and services that are available to teens and their families.  This year was celebrated with the “DIY @ your library” theme during YALSA’s Teen Tech Week which was March 9-15, 2014. The purpose was to demonstrate the value our library gives to the community by offering teens a space to extend learning beyond the classroom where they can explore, create and share content. From maker spaces, to coding classes to online knitting clubs, libraries can leverage the do-it-yourself theme to show how you can connect in meaningful ways with the teens in your community.   In honor of Teen Tech Week the Central Youth Department decided to get a little crafty but, with a techie spin.   Teens converted old books into cases for their digital devices including Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and cell phones.   All it took was an old book, a little duct tape, and some elastic.  The teens were creative with no tw

Audiobooks Make the Holiday Road Bearable

Spring break is coming up and many families will be hitting the road to visit relatives or go to the beach. Those long road trips can get on anybody’s nerves. Why not stop by the library and pick up an audio book to entertain everyone on the trip? We have this year’s Newbery-winning book Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures , which is a great family listen. The Newbery Medal award is given to the author of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" each year. This is a second win for this year's winner Kate DiCamillo . Jim Dale will keep the family thoroughly entertained with his skillful rendition of the Harry Potter series for those who have not read the books. Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to not Reading is a hilarious tale of the lengths to which a boy will go to not read a book that will leave the whole family laughing. You can find these titles and many others on CDs or as downloadable audio books at your library,

Inglenook Neighborhood Association Wins the Community Health Innovation Award Grant

Carolyn Cauthen, president of Birmingham's Inglenook Neighborhood Association, and David VanWilliams, Inglenook Neighborhood Association Secretary (holding award check), partnered to create the Community Carpentry Project, which was awarded $25,000 in this year's Community Health Innovation Awards. VanWilliams is also Master Carpenter for their project, which aims to teach carpentry skills to individuals in a drug rehabilitation program. Photo and description courtesy of CCTS website. Please join the Inglenook Library in congratulating the Inglenook Neighborhood Association for becoming one of five recipients of the Community Health Innovation Award Grants (CHIA), which is sponsored by One Great Community, the community outreach arm of the UAB Center for Clinical Transitional Science (CCTS). In order to apply for this grant, neighborhood leaders had to identify a prominent need in the community and an innovative method to address it. As in many underserved communities, c

Top Teen Poets to Compete in Poetry Slam at the Birmingham Public Library on April 6

First place winner Eboni Wallace performs at WORD UP! 2013. Watch other WORD UP! performances on BPL's YouTube channel . Students from 13 high schools in Jefferson County will compete in a poetry slam on Sunday, April 6, at 3:00 p.m. in the Birmingham Public Library’s Arrington Auditorium . The event is free. Known as WORD UP! 2014, the event allows teenagers to showcase their spoken word skills. This is the seventh year for the competition. Students in grades 9 through 12 write and perform an original work of poetry inspired by a theme selected by the WORD UP! planning committee. The WORD UP! 2014 theme is “community.” Earlier this year, participating high schools held preliminary contests at their schools. The schools' winners will face off on April 6. On April 6, a panel of three judges will judge contestants on content and performance. The first place winner will receive $300, second place $200 and third place $150. The slam is sponsored by the Birmingham Public

Learning to Type

Learning to type will take a lot of self-discipline and patience. It is important that you do not get frustrated. You need to view the process as a skill you are attempting to master. It takes practice to achieve good technique.  It is also important that you establish the foundation of having the correct technique rather than speed. Speed and accuracy are results of establishing a good technique. Tips for Typing Memorize the letters by not looking at your hands while typing. Good posture helps your form. Keep your feet flat on floor, hips touching the back of chair, back straight, and sit up tall. Additionally, the way you position your arms, wrist, and fingers will help deter any discomfort from typing. Remember to keep your fingers curved, arms close to body, and wrists straight and not touching keyboard. Strike the keys with the proper finger, and then return those fingers to home row keys. Rhythm  – You will eventually learn and develop a good rhythm. This will

Alabama Holocaust Commissioner Max Herzel Shares His Experience of Internment and Liberation, March 19

  The Birmingham Public Library is marking its ten-year partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in presenting Remembering the Holocaust , presentations by Birmingham residents  sharing their experiences and perspectives. The programs are held every Wednesday in March at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library and are free and open to the public. Remembering the Holocaust - Holocaust Survivor Speaks March 19 Max Herzel, a member of the BHEC and an Alabama Holocaust Commissioner, will speak of his experience, and show a film on the Power Point created by Ann Mollengarden, giving new facts and interesting aspects of his life from his escape from Germany at the age of ten, until his liberation five years later. Remembering the Holocaust - The Path to Nazi Genocide, a USHMM Film March 26 This 38-minute film examines the Nazis' rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda, and p

Book Review: Occult America: The Secret History Of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation

Occult America: The Secret History Of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation Mitch Horowitz First, let me get something out of the way. The words “occult” and “mysticism” aren’t synonymous with each other. Secondly, neither of these words describes even a large part of what this book covers. What words would be better? Religion? New Age? Psychology? Therapy? Metaphysics? Yes to all of those, and yes to occult and mysticism, too. That said, this is an unfailingly interesting, stimulating, hilarious and curious book, which covers in less than 300 pages most of the significant beliefs of this kind in American history and the vivid individuals and movements that are tied up with them. Horowitz has taken on a lot, but the book shows little sign of strain. What is covered? The Burned-over district, the beginnings of Mormonism, Spiritualism, utopian communities, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Hoodoo, urban African-American alternative religions, Psychiana, UFO cults—even Norman Vincent Peale. (Peale

Haiku Contest Ends March 15

Send those haiku in... lest your words remain tight buds never to blossom Our Haiku Contest is no longer just on Twitter! Which is a good thing 'cause you've got only a few more days to submit those lyrical gems. Poets may now send poems to (although tweets labeled #bplhaiku are still encouraged)! Contestants still must register and agree to the terms at The youth competition is open to poets ages 13-17, and the adult competition is open to poets 18+. Any Alabama resident is encouraged to submit. In conjunction with the  Japan America Society of Alabama  (JASA) and the  Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America  (HSA) the  contest  is part of the annual Sakura Festival. The primary event of the Festival will take place at the Japanese Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, March 22, 2014. A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an ex

Artist Shares Technique in Free Watercolor Workshop

Free watercolor workshop led by Starr Weems Sunday, March 30, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.,  Storycastle, Second Floor, Central Library Registration required; call 226-3670. Starry Night Gaze at the paintings of Alabama artist Starr Weems and be transported to a dream-like world bathed in color and light. “I enjoy making art that represents the collision of reality and the fanciful world of dreams… Vibrant colors mingle and overlap, creating a magical feeling that reflects my thoughts on spirituality and the enjoyment of life,” says Weems.  She uses an unusual process which consists of layering drawing gum and transparent watercolor to build high-contrast images. On Sunday, March 30, Weems will share her technique for creating her unique paintings at a free workshop at the Central Library of the Birmingham Public Library. The event will be held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the storycastle on the second floor. Registration is required; call 226-3670. An exhibit of her artwork, titled “ Illumina

Archives Department to Share Love Letters of Alabama Couple Separated by Second World War

Nicholas Bonilla Opal Keith As a result of the success the Archives had with last year’s social media outreach and sharing Loula Upton’s diary, we decided to do another similar project. We will be beginning the newest Social Media Exhibit on our Facebook Page . This time, a love story: Nicholas Bonilla, a native of New York, met and married Opal Keith, a resident of Irondale, Alabama, while stationed in Alabama in the early months of World War II. Nicholas Bonilla served in Europe as part of the 101st Airborn Division. The collection we will be showcasing are the letters between Nicholas Bonilla and Opal Keith Bonilla written while Nicholas was undergoing military training and while he was serving in Europe. The letters span several years and chronicle the couple’s relationship while dating and married, everyday life during wartime, Nicholas’ training and military experiences. Stay tuned for letters and love. Catherine Oseas Archives Department Central Library

Fictional Heroes Battle Terrorism

If you’re a fan of 24 , the television show , you already know that Jack and Chloe will be coming back to Fox in May 2014.   I was thrilled when I learned the show was returning to television for a special season .   I enjoy “one man versus the enemy” thrillers and I enjoy reading books like that as well.   There are several series featuring heroes who are keeping America safe from terrorism.   If you enjoy 24 , you may enjoy reading these as well.   Each title is the first in the series with a publisher description. Power Down   by Ben Coes (Dewey Andreas) A major North American hydroelectric dam is blown up and the largest off-shore oil field in this hemisphere is destroyed in a brutal, coordinated terrorist attack. When terrorists strike the Capitana platform off the coast of Colombia, crew chief Dewey Andreas, former Army Ranger and Delta, survives the attack, rescuing as many of his men as possible. While the intelligence and law enforcement agencies scramble to untangle thes

Holocaust Survivor Robert May Discusses Childhood Experiences Of Kristallnacht and Kindertransport, March 12

  The Birmingham Public Library is marking its ten-year partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in presenting Remembering the Holocaust , presentations by Birmingham residents  sharing their experiences and perspectives. The programs are held every Wednesday in March at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library and are free and open to the public . Remembering the Holocaust - A Conversation with a Holocaust Survivor March 12 Dr. Robert May, who with his daughter, Ann Mollengarden, Education Vice President of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, discuss his passage from the age of ten, experiencing Kristallnacht in Frankfurt, Germany, joining the Kindertransport to England, and finally to the United States where he became a practicing Birmingham physician and a member of the United States Army. Remembering the Holocaust - Holocaust Survivor Speaks March 19 Max Herzel, a member of the BHEC and an Alabama Holocaust Commissioner, will sp

Children's Book Review: Fortunately the Milk (Ages 8-12)

Fortunately the Milk Neil Gaiman Mom is out of town on a business trip so Dad and his two kids are going to have to fend for themselves. She leaves a LONG list of instructions but most importantly she says, “DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK!” Everything goes smoothly until the morning when they realize they neglected Mom’s most important instruction—there’s no milk. No milk for cereal, no milk for tea. It’s unacceptable! So Dad decides that it’s up to him to save the day. After a lengthy absence, he returns from the shop with more than a jug of milk. He’s got an outrageous story to tell. What begins as a mundane grocery run becomes the adventure of a lifetime. He encounters a stegosaurus in a hot air balloon, flying saucers, volcanoes, wumpires (not vampires!), and so much more. The kids manage to suspend their disbelief while he tells his wild tale. Can you? Newbery Award-winning Neil Gaiman has created a children’s book that’s delightfully surreal and fun for all ages. The illus

Empowerment Workshops for Women Scheduled at BPL During Women's History Month

Eunice Elliott "Living the Dream 2014: Finding, Chasing and Gaining Your Bliss" Pratt City Library , Saturday March 29, 2:30 p.m. Alabama's 13 traffic reporter and motivational speaker Eunice Elliott will deliver inspiring words during “Living the Dream 2014: Finding, Chasing and Gaining Your Bliss.'' Women's History Month is about recognizing amazing women and their achievements. Eunice's messages of encouragement will push women and men to make their own history. Free and open to the public. Marcus Lundy "Power in Heels" - A Business Empowerment Workshop for Women Central Library , Arrington Auditorium, Friday, March 28, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. City Councilman Marcus Lundy and the nonprofit organization Operation HOPE will present "Power in Heels," a business empowerment workshop designed for female entrepreneurs and the working woman. Topics will focus on networking and dressing for the office. This workshop will offer

Free Money Management Classes for March Feature Couponing and Financial Advice for Senior Women

Both classes are free and open to the public, no registration required. Program: Couponing Basics with Heather Lebischak Date: Monday, March 10, 2014 Time: 6:30 p.m. Place: Springville Road Library If you're interested in couponing but aren't sure how to get started, this program is for you! Super couponer, Heather Lebischak, will go over the basic couponing rules and then show the participants how to put those rules into practice, without having to invest significant amounts of time in it. Heather will discuss various stores coupon policies, how to organize your coupons, and how to guarantee you are using your coupons to ensure the greatest savings. Program: Financial Concerns of Senior Women with Dr. Stephanie Yates Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Time: 10:30 a.m. Place: Five Points West Library Because, statistically, women are living longer than men, economic challenges which face older Americans are most often the challenges faced by women. This

LEGO My Library

What’s the connection between LEGOS, libraries, and books? A recent study by Dorothy Singer, senior research scientist at Yale University’s Department of Psychology and Child Study Center, believes that play contributes to early literacy development by increasing a child’s attention span, memory, creativity, language, and vocabulary skills. Playing also lays the foundation for logical mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving- skills needed throughout one’s life. Tactile and kinesthetic learning activities, such as playing with LEGOS, helps increase understanding. In other words, play paves the way for learning. Recently the Birmingham Public Library invested in our children’s education and learning process by adding LEGOS to our programming. Some of these Library LEGO Learning Sessions have produced such creations as dinosaurs, self-portraits, castles, ships, and more. It’s hard to say who learns the most—the children or adults. So parents, when you see

Free Workshops on the Affordable Healthcare Act to be Held at Birmingham Public Libraries in March

Free workshops that explain the Affordable Healthcare Act will be held at various Birmingham Public Library locations in March. Trained officials with Birmingham HealthCare , a nonprofit health organization, will lead the sessions and be available to assist with enrollment. Those eligible to enroll may do so, for free, during the sessions. Coverage providers in Alabama are  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama  and  Humana Insurance . Open enrollment will end March 31. Those without health insurance may incur a tax penalty when filing taxes in 2015, which is why officials encourage the public to attend the sessions to learn more about the law. The sessions will be held on: Monday, March 10 at 10:00 a.m., Five Points West Library Monday, March 10, 10:00  a.m. at Smithfield Library Monday, March 10, 1:00 p.m., Avondale Library Tuesday, March 11, 10:00 a.m., Smithfield Library Tuesday, March 11, 4:00 p.m., North Avondale Library Wednesday, March 12, 3:00 p.m., Springville

Book Review: Just Kids

Just Kids Patti Smith In the mid-sixties musical artist, poet and punk icon Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe , still in their teens, are strolling through Washington Square on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Seeing them, a tourist lady turns to her husband saying, “Look, they’re artists!” Her husband replies, “Aw, they’re just kids.” Thus comes the title of this National Book Award-winning memoir of Smith and Mapplethorpe’s friendship, love, and their fierce artistic alliance. Immensely entertaining and chock full of anecdotes from the fabled young avant-garde of New York of that era, Just Kids , is nonetheless a deeply intimate portrayal of a struggle to survive, to eat, to sleep inside, and to advance their art. Reading Just Kids , we hang out with Patti and Robert at Max’s Kansas City, perform before Andy Warhol at the early CBGB and live at the Chelsea Hotel. Allen Ginsburg makes a play for Smith at the automat, thinking she’s a young man. She has an affair with S