Showing posts from May, 2014

Friends Bookstore at Central Library Closed During June

Due to the AC problems at the Central Library, the Friends Bookstore will be closed during June, with a tentative reopening planned for July 7.

Birmingham Public Library To Receive Prestigious Public Relations Award For Worldwide Celebration of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail’’

The Birmingham Public Library will receive a national library public relations award for its 2013 worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The library received the John Cotton Dana Award, which honors outstanding and effective strategic communication campaigns that produce results. The Library Leadership and Management Association presents the award each year. This is the fourth time that BPL has won the award, which will be presented on June 29 during the American Library Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas. BPL was one of eight libraries from across the nation to win this year. Each library will receive $10,000 from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The awards will be giving during a reception sponsored by Birmingham-based EBSCO.

Judges received 83 contest submissions. To see a list of all winners, please visit:

BPL Director Renee Blalock said that whi…

Movie Review: The Shooting Party

The Shooting Party
Directed by Alan Bridges

I recently re-watched The Shooting Party after about a 20-year gap. I’ve now seen it about four times altogether. I’m glad to say this is not one of those cases where the last time I’ve seen something was when I was young and the movie just doesn’t hold up anymore. If anything, I may like it more. I see new things in it as a middle-aged person, a sure sign of a film built to last.

Now with Downton Abbey the apparent standard for how the film/tv universe approaches how the English upper class deals with their servants and vice versa, you may want to know how The Shooting Party stacks up. To me, five minutes of The Shooting Party tells me more about these two classes in the early twentieth century than ten hours of Downton, and I like Downton a lot, never miss it. This is because Julian Fellowes isn’t nearly in the same league as Isabel Colegate, the author of the novel The Shooting Party is based on. (To be fair, Fellowes would probably be th…

Homewood Public Library Will Host Teen Poetry Workshop Until AC is Repaired at Central Library

The free teen poetry workshop that is usually held at the Central Library will be held at the Homewood Public Library until Central's air conditioning unit can be fixed. The East Building of the Birmingham location reduced its hours to close at 12:00 noon. The move was necessary because of rising temperatures and a broken unit. As a result, the teen poetry workshop had to be moved. Homewood graciously agreed to host the event until repairs can be made.

The teen workshop will be held every Saturday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. It is free and open to all middle school and high school age teens. Real Life Poets, a non-profit creative writing organization, partners with the Birmingham Public Library to offer the workshop. Occasionally the workshop may be cancelled due to conflicts with other events. Contact John Paul Taylor of RLP to confirm the workshop is being held; the e-mail is and telephone is 205-585-8271. Please share with those who may have an interest.


June Programs for Adults at Springville Road Library

It’s 10:00 a.m.…do you know where your parents are?

Maybe at the Springville Road Library for free Friday morning programs for adults.

Resume Workshop
Friday, June 6, 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road meeting room
When you submit an application or resume online a computer usually screens them to determine which applicants will be contacted for an interview. The trick is to know the keywords to use in your information to get you through that screening process. Crystal Jarvis of Creative Color Solutions will present a workshop geared specifically to choosing the right words to get your resume and applications out of the pack and noticed.

Springville Road Salon
Friday, June 13, 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Adult Department
Our lively adult discussion group. Every generation from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers and on through Gen X and Y has had plenty to say about the kids in the next group. "What's WRONG with these kids today?" has been a plaintive cry through the…

LBJ Launched the Great Society 50 Years Ago

As we focus our attention this Spring of 2014 on the challenges facing those graduating seniors who are taking part in college commencement exercises around the country, let us pause and consider a commencement that took place fifty years ago. This one occurred on May 22, 1964, at Michigan Stadium, one of the largest athletic venues in the world, on the campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The speaker that day was a man whose political stature and ambition matched the physical surroundings, President Lyndon Johnson. I would assume that many present that day were harboring some feelings of sadness and regret because the person who had originally been invited to speak at the commencement was the late President John F. Kennedy. But, the events in Dallas exactly six months earlier, had, unfortunately, caused a change in plans. Although he was not known for his oratorical skills, the new President rose to the occasion and made the day memorable. In an address that las…

Bards & Brews Open Mic Event To Be Held at Bessemer Library, June 6

The Birmingham Public Library’s monthly Bards & Brews poetry performance and beer tasting will be held Friday, June 6, 2014, at the Bessemer Public Library. The open mic event will feature music at 6:30 p.m., with poetry starting at 7:00 pm. The beer tasting will be provided by the Druid City Brewing Company of Tuscaloosa, AL.

Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins will emcee the event, which is free and open to the public. Attendees must be 18 years or older to attend, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked.

The July 11 Bards and Brews will be a Slam at the North Birmingham Regional Library of the Birmingham Public Library.

Bards & Brews, which is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, is usually held on the first Friday of the month at various locations around Birmingham. For more information call 205-226-3670, email or visit the Bards & Brews Facebook page.

Book Review: e. e. cummings: a life by Susan Cheever

e.e. cummings: a life
Susan Cheever

Susan Cheever begins this most recent exploration into Edward Estlin Cumming's life with a first-hand account of meeting the poet as a young student, successfully introducing and shaping the biography with her heart-felt and intimate view. The author is inspired by E.E., he gives her advice, and ultimately this interaction helps shape a small part of her life. That slightly-biased view of the verbally-acrobatic poet is a running thread throughout Cheever's new title. She handles Cummings' life and its relationships with deft, surgical sweetness, allowing the reader to delve quickly and easily into the read without being bogged down with scholastic prose.

The idyllic childhood which begat E.E. Cummings is fairly well-known. He was the eldest son of affluent and supportive parents in Cambridge, Massachusetts, growing up surrounded by books and in contact with the intellectuals in his neighborhood. The family split their time outside of th…

Children's Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle
Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie is the oldest of three sisters. Introverted and retiring, she is certain that in every story the eldest child is destined for abject averageness. When her father dies, her stepmother puts her to work in her father’s hat shop while her sisters (as expected) are sent off to find their fortunes in the world. Sophie embraces her role admirably until she unwittingly insults the wrong customer, The Witch of the Waste. The furious witch turns Sophie into a crone and Sophie is forced out of her bland existence to break the witch’s curse. Sophie becomes reckless in her old age and sneaks into the flying abode of a wizard reputed for stealing the souls of young girls. She makes a deal with Howl’s captive fire demon and installs herself as a maid in the floating castle. As an old woman, Sophie finds courage, stubbornness, and pluck that she never had as a young girl. She also finds that the supposedly vile Howl is not everything that the storie…

Children's Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June and July

For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

Do You Hear What I Hear? - Join Alabama 4-H and their cast of kid-friendly critters as they present the sounds animals make and why. We say Fizz, Boom, Read…they say Chirp, Squeak, Ribbit!

Central – July 15 – 10:30 a.m.

The Fizz, Boom, Zap, Wow Super Science Show - Kids will be mesmerized with this exciting and educational exploration of science. They will learn about atoms, molecules, and matter. The show is full of experiments to impress and everyone is guaranteed a hair-raising good time. This program is truly booming with explosions, crazy chemistry, and volts and jolts. It will be a blast!

Springville Road – July 16 – 10 a.m.

Radical Reactions – Fizz, Bang…Wow! 
Young scientists will experience fizzing foam, colorful concoctions, and many more science-filled surprises from the McWane Science Center.

Powderly – July 14 – 10 a.m.
Five Points West – July 15 – 10 a.m.
East Ensley – July 22 – 1 p.m.
Ensley – Ju…

Teen Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June and July

For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

The Magic of Larry Moore – First you see it, now you don’t. Join Larry Moore for a program of senseless magic where the impossible becomes possible and the unbelievable—it will blow your mind!

Avondale – July 3 – 2 p.m.
Central – July 21 – 10:30 a.m.

Cooking with Chef “E” – Chef “E” is in the house cooking up some tasty treats that are guaranteed to spark a positive reaction with your taste buds. Join us for a program filled with healthy creative culinary fun. Limited space; registration required.

Pratt City – July 9 – 2 p.m.
Avondale – July 10 – 2 p.m.

May the Force Be With You – Did you know that centrifugal force is a part of hula hooping? Be a member of the Centrifugal Force Club (CFC) as you listen to some tunes and learn how to move and groove with your hoop. The library is a circle of fun when the hoops start turning.

North Birmingham – July 8 – 1 p.m.
Springville Road – July 9 – 10 a.m.

Tug-O-War – The B…

Adult Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June-August

For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

Magic and Science with Larry Moore
What happens when you mix magic and science? You get a program that can only be explained by Larry Moore, the magic man. He shows you how your senses can be fooled by magic and how magic and illusion can be really confusing at times. According to Larry, “It doesn't make Sense!"

Inglenook - July 21 - 4:00 p.m.
Five Points West - July 23 - 10:30 a.m.
Smithfield - July 24 - 10:00 a.m.

Elementary! The Story of Shirley Holmes Featuring Hitman with a Heart
Shirley Holmes is an elderly—but spry—woman who is convinced that she is the only living descendant of the legendary crime solver Sherlock Holmes. She refuses to be convinced the Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character. Shirley goes around giving lectures on how ordinary people can hone their crime-solving skills. And she snoops around a lot as well. Some people humor her by attending the lectures. Some, like her,…

Memorial Day

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed Monday, May 26, in observance of Memorial Day.

BPL to Participate in Family Fishing Rodeo at East Lake Park, June 7

The Birmingham Public Library will be one of several vendors to participate in the 17th Annual City of Birmingham Park and Recreation Family Fishing Rodeo on Saturday, June 7, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. It will take place at East Lake Park.

The lake will be full of catfish, giving children an opportunity to try their hand at the "Biggest Fish Contest.'' There will also be free prizes, music and games, a chance to win a Regions Bank bicycle and a Walmart Fun Tent.

For more information call 254-2391.

How to Research Your Family Tree Workshop, May 27

The Birmingham Public Library's Southern History Department will present "How to Research Your Family Tree'' on Tuesday, May 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The free class will be held on the first floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place.

The class is ideal for beginners. No registration is required. The course will give attendees an idea of what's in the Southern History Collection, what's not, and also what's available in the library's archives and mircoforms departments to help with genealogy research. Go to for information on how to get started researching your family tree. 

For more information, call 226-3665.

25 Years of Moore Magic

Longtime lover of libraries and advocate of reading Larry Moore—aka “The Magic Man”—has been sharing his special brand of magic with the Jefferson County Libraries for 25 years. He will be performing for adults, teens, and children in the Birmingham Public Library's Summer Reading Program. His first performance will be on June 2, 10:00 a.m., at Powderly Library. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry and finding out what makes him do what he does.

Q: At what age did you become interested in the world of magic?
A: I became interested in performing magic at the age of seven when my aunt gave me a Marshall Brodien magic set for my birthday.

Q: Who was/is your mentor?
A: My mentor and teacher, although he never actually taught me magic, was Cousin Cliff Holman. He led by example. There is where I learned to pack it all in a briefcase and think simple but entertain first.

Q: What was the first trick you learned?
A: I went to a store called Tricks and Treats located ins…

Music Collection at the BPL

Music-related materials are a significant part of the collection of the Arts, Literature, and Sports Department at BPL. Many in the music community in the Birmingham area may not know about all of our resources.

Scores - We have a large number of music scores, ranging from baroque and classical to show tunes, gospel, jazz, and pop. We also have over 50 hymnals from a variety of backgrounds. See our new scores here.

Books - We have a variety of resources including biographies of musicians and composers, and music instruction, as well as music history for a range of styles.

CDs and DVDs - We have thousands of CDs including several hundred Classical and Choral pieces, as well as gospel, inspirational, show tunes/soundtracks, country, pop/rock, world music, and blues/jazz. A listing of new CDs can be found here. We also have DVDs of operas and other performances.

Freegal (downloadable music) - Freegal, an online resource available through the library, offers millions of songs from te…

Inglenook Library's Grand Reopening Ceremony, May 22

After temporarily closing in fall 2013 for renovations, the Inglenook Branch Library will reopen on Thursday, May 22, with a grand reopening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. The address is 4100 40th Terrace N.

The renovations make the building not only compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but also showcase design concepts that capture the building’s fire house past and tout its important service as a neighborhood library.

The building was used as a firehouse from 1927 to 1978. In 1979, it was turned into a library. The library hasn’t seen a makeover since 1995, which is when a new roof, new carpet, a new heating and air conditioning system, and more were installed.

The 2013 renovations include:

Part of the building’s exterior and the circulation desk are wrapped in 100-year-old reclaimed long leaf pine from an Alabama timber millAn updated Children’s Department with new window seatsA new heating and air conditioning systemA new parking lotAn updated computer areaLandscapingA lo…

Summer Reading 2014 Set to Spark Imagination with Science- and Technology-Themed Programs

Summer Reading 2014 registration is now open at all 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library. Special programs will be held in June and July. However, students may read their Summer Reading books until school starts.

The goal of Summer Reading is to encourage children to read for pleasure and to read often. BPL will offer special programs and incentives to motivate patrons of all ages, from children to teenagers, to read what they enjoy. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers may also participate. Once children read the number of books in their set goal, they are eligible for rewards. Reading rewards range from admission tickets from McWane Science Center and Vulcan Park and Museum to scavenger hunt prizes from the Birmingham Zoo and Red Mountain Park’s zipline.

Themes have been created for children, teenagers, and adults. For example, this year’s children’s theme is "Fizz Boom Read." Several children’s programs will include science and technology. Students don't ha…

Container Gardening - A Simple Way to Grow Flowers and Vegetables in Small Spaces

This month's Wylam Branch Library program on container gardening was informative and fun. There are lots of books to help gardeners get ready for an easy way to grow vegetables and flowers. Container gardening enables gardeners to have much more control over their plants. Containers can be moved so that the gardener determines the sunlight, moisture, and temperature of their gardens. Container gardens are ideal for apartment dwellers.

Container Gardening: a Sunset Outdoor Design & Build Guide
Get great ideas and expert advice on designing, planting, and caring for beautiful container gardens. Covers the basics of working with color, shape, and scale to create eye-catching compositions.

Container Garden Idea Book
The appeal of this book is visual. Over 300 photos of designs for gardens of all shapes and sizes.

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers
Ideas on how to grow food and flowers when you don't have a backyard.

Small-Space Container Gardens : Transfo…

Reduced Hours to Continue at the Downtown Birmingham Public Library Until Air Conditioner is Fixed

The Birmingham Public Library’s Central location continues to find ways to serve patrons and accommodate employees as it deals with a broken air conditioner, which could take five more weeks to be repaired. Starting Saturday, May 10, the downtown location will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays until repairs can be made. The hours do not affect the system’s other 18 locations.

The downtown library operates two buildings—the East Building and the Linn-Henley Research Library. An air conditioning coil in the library’s main handler ruptured in January, reducing the air conditioner’s ability to cool both buildings. Some adjustments have been made to get cool air into the Linn-Henley building. Beginning Monday, May 12, the East Building will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, but Linn-Henley will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The City’s Public Works Department has been assisting library staff in c…


As librarians, we have all had or will have parents who walk into the library searching for books for different levels of readers. There are many resources available in addition to our knowledge as librarians that will help us find the most appropriate books. One invaluable web resource that will enable librarians to complete this task in both an efficient and effective manner is called ABookandAHug. This website is well organized and categorized making searching for a book for different levels of readers simple.

The categories of ABookandAHug include all reading groups of children ranging from reluctant to advanced readers, genres ranging from Chick Lit to Paranormal, and even a category specifically for boys and girls. There is a plethora of categories on this site and creator, Barb Langridge who is also an independent children's bookseller and a children's specialist at a public library, created them all to simply get children excited about reading.

This website is availab…

John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake: Top Music Downloads at BPL!

The hottest music downloads are from Freegal at Birmingham Public Library. Get up to THREE FREE SONGS every week with your Birmingham Public Library card. Freegal downloads never expire and are yours to keep for as long as you want.

Top Songs
"All Of Me" - John Legend "Happy" - Pharrell Williams "Not a Bad Thing" - Justin Timberlake "Praise You In This Storm" - Casting Crowns "Mary Mary" - Bruce Springsteen "We Are One (Ole Ola)" - Pitbull feat. Jennifer Lopez & Claudia Leitte

Top Albums
Regatta Mondatta - A Reggae Tribute To The Police Love In the Future - John Legend Lifesong - Casting Crowns American Beauty - Bruce Springsteen The Best of Candy Dulfer The Very Best of The Stone Roses
Staff Pick of the Week

Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow - Counting Crows
Freegal provides access to millions of free songs from thousands of music artists and labels.
To access Freegal, you must be a resident of the City of Birmingham with a valid, up-…

No Rocking Chair for Me

Today’s seniors are vibrant, energetic, and enthusiastic about life. They embrace their age with grace and beauty. They are empowered with wisdom, approaches change without reservation—they are forward thinkers. Here are some books on technology, health, fitness, and lifestyle that may appeal to some seniors.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Using Your Computer—for Seniors
by Paul McFedries
"Over 38 percent of all seniors in the U.S. now use the Internet. This book covers the most popular activities seniors enjoy: Facebook, Google Search, and more."

iPad for the Older and Wiser: Get Up and Running with Apple iPad2 and the New iPad 
by Sean McManus
"The over-50 crowd is keeping up with technology like never before and they're eager to learn what the new iPad has to offer them. If you fall into that category, then this book is for you! Featuring an accessible, full-color interior, this new edition gets you up and running on the latest software release and features of t…

New Teen and Kids Free eReading Sites

Introduce your kids and teens to the friendly digital library experience provided by the Public Libraries In Jefferson County. The Public Libraries In Jefferson County has expanded its digital reading and listening services with two new digital collection websites, one just for kids and one just for teens. The main digital collection,, now has separate sites to provide safe and easy browsing experiences for kids and teens. These pages can be found at or

The Public Libraries in Jefferson County recognize the need to provide a safe environment for kids and teens to browse library materials. Just as the children’s and teens sections of a physical library are sectioned off, the same experience is now available on the county’s digital collection. These appealing and user-friendly pages contain eBooks and eAudiobooks. Browsing can be done by subject, reading level or interest level.

The Kids…

Smart Art Festival, May 17

BPL will participate in the city's Smart Art Youth Arts Festival at Boutwell Auditorium on Saturday, May 17,11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The free event was created to highlight the types of cultural arts events nonprofit organizations offer during the summer. BPL will promote summer reading, which will launch on May 12. Officials expect 300 to 500 children to attend Smart Art, which will feature a food truck food court, games, entertainment, and about 30 vendors, including BPL.

A New Member of the Family

Last week at my cousin’s 70th birthday, I met a new family member, Chloe. She is a 10-week-old Corgi puppy. We were all enthralled by her vivacious personality and her good looks. She already knows how to “sit” and is being taught to obey other commands. This started me thinking about resources available at Birmingham Public Library on dog training and care.

ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual 
Choosing a Dog: How to Choose and Care for a Dog
Complete Dog Care
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training 
The Dog Encyclopedia Consultant 
The Everything Dog Training and Tricks Book: All You Need to Turn Even the Most Mischievous Pooch into a Well-Behaved Pet
Dog Training for Dummies
Learning to Care for a Dog
Oh My Dog: How to Choose, train, Feed, Nurture, and Care for Your New Best Friend
Puppies for Dummies
Your Child's Dog: How to Help Your Kids Care for Their Pets

Everything You Should Know Series
Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan - The Complete Third Season
Dogs for Dummi…

May is National Inventor's Month