Showing posts from June, 2014

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (AP Photo) On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law what was the most comprehensive civil rights bill up to that time. The bill, Public Law 88-352, is known commonly as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It mandated that persons would not be discriminated against based on color, race, national origin, religion, or sex. The legislation was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, but political wrangling delayed its passage for some time. After House approval in February, voting in the Senate was held back by a 75-day filibuster led by conservatives who vehemently opposed the law (primarily Southern Democrats). It finally passed the Senate by a vote of 73 to 27 on June 19 and was approved in its final form on July 2. The Civil Rights Act contains eleven titles. Three more well-known of them are as follows, in brief: Title II, Injunctive Relief Against Discrimination in Places of Public

Movie Review: Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise Directed by Jim Jarmusch Stranger Than Paradise ignited the 1984 New York Film Festival. No one had seen anything quite like it. Made with leftover film stock, it was bottom-low budget, black and white, deadpan beyond all reckoning, and side-splitting. Well, side-splitting for some. The first time I saw it was like visiting a foreign country, even though it was shot in the United States. NYC, Cleveland and Florida never looked so otherworldly. The two main characters, Willie and Eddie, had so immersed themselves in retro I thought for a few minutes this was a period movie set in the fifties. Willie, a Hungarian who’s lived in New York for years, hangs out with friend Eddie. Cousin Eva, over Willie’s protestations, comes to stay with him. Willie grudgingly introduces her to America. Eddie visits but Willie protects Eve from him and quarantines her from New York. Eva tries to civilize Willie, to no avail. She has a few molecules more ambition than either Will

NFL's Jerricho Cotchery to Visit 5 Points West Library before Teen Tailgate Party

Jerricho Cotchery will visit Five Points West Library at 9:30 am on Friday, June 26th, the morning before BPL's Teen Tailgate Party All those who “Score Big” are invited to a FREE Teen Tailgate Party at Birmingham Public Library on June 27, 2014 . The celebration will take place on the first floor of the Central Library, located at 2100 Park Place, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There will be music, dancing, photo-ops with Jerricho, food, and lots of fun. Tickets are required and are available at all BPL locations. Here's how to become an active participants in the “Score Big” component of the “Spark a Reaction” summer reading program. Seven points are necessary to qualify. Youth may score points by registering for the program (1 point), reading an entire magazine (3 points), and reading an entire book (6 points). “Score Big” registration forms are available at all Birmingham Public Library locations. The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score

Book Review: The Infinities

The Infinities John Banville “I find the pagan world of the Greeks highly appealing, and wish we could regain their state of innocence and sophistication. Bring back the old gods, I say.” John Banville in the Review. In his latest novel, The Infinities , John Banville, who won the Booker Prize for his previous novel The Sea , does indeed conjure up the Greek Gods in a British country home, Edwardian era, sort of. Adam Godley (note the name), the family patriarch is dying. It’s his death day, and his family has come round, as have the Gods. Hermes, we soon learn, is our actually omniscient narrator. He, Zeus and Pan, as Gods do, have their way, lustily, with the gathered humans, but with fine British manners. They wreak havoc, but, are oh so respectful. They’re never noticeably intrusive. Authors conjure up gods and elves and vampires and Martians as a way to find a foothold outside the human race, to view humanity through the eyes of other beings. For example, we ha

Birmingham Public Library to Highlight Birmingham Restaurants in New Book: Birmingham's Best Bites

The Birmingham Public Library will present its annual Eat Drink Read Write Festival, a combination of literacy, food, and drink, on October 3-10, 2014 . During that week, recipes for the dishes we've come to love will be revealed in a new book that will be called Birmingham's Best Bites . The library is currently accepting restaurant nominations for the book. The deadline to enter is July 1, 2014 . The book will be available for sale during the Eat Drink Read Write Festival and will be the main highlight on the finale night, also known as Birmingham’s Best Bites. Restaurants should send their name, recipe, and contact info to by July 1. Food Network Star finalist Martie Duncan of and Connie Blalock, a Birmingham Originals board member, are helping to produce the book. Birmingham photographer Arden Ward Upton will photograph the food. Recipes may cover anything from an entree, sandwich or appetizer, to a dessert, drink, or

Calling All Children and Teens! Looking for a Good Book to Read This Summer?

Summer is a time children and teens can choose to read whatever they like. A bonus is the reading they do in the summer helps them retain what they have learned over the past school year. The Children and Teen Choice Awards sponsored by the Children's Book Council  are chosen by children and teens themselves. They were announced March 14 in New York. There was a controversy this year when Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans made the list for Author of the Year and won. The award is for popularity. Limbaugh was able to promote the purchase of and voting for his book on his show. Your child will have to read it for himself or herself to decide if it is truly a winner. Book of the Year, kindergarten through second grade Winner:  The Day the Crayons Quit  by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Finalists: Alphabet Trucks  by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke Chamelia and the New

The Birmingham Public Library's Air Conditioning Has Been Repaired

After several weeks without air conditioning at the downtown Birmingham Public Library, the unit has been repaired. In May, the library adjusted its hours to cope with warm temperatures. On Saturday, June 21, the library returned to its normal business hours. The library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Wednesday - Friday, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. During a cold snap in February, four of the system’s coils ruptured and had to be replaced. Repairs called for new coils to be made. Because so many businesses and organizations across the country also experienced ruptured coils, there was a high demand for new coils. The coils, which each weighed 600 pounds and had to be hoisted four stories to the library's air conditioning system, were delivered on June 13. Repairs were completed this week. Library employees appreciate everyone's patienc

An eBook Reading Room Just for Kids!

This video was produced for librarians but does have good information about eReading Room for Kids and for Teens and the kids are cute to watch. For many years we have provided downloadable eBooks and audiobooks through OverDrive. Children's and Teen's materials have always been a part of it. Now it's even easier to find the eBooks your child wants in the eReading Room for Kids and for Teens . Please note that once you've accessed the eReading Room for Kids or for Teens, it will default to this page (even when you access Overdrive through the main collection link). To return to the main collection, click on the "house" icon on the upper left-hand side of the page.

Friends Bookstore to Reopen June 23 with a $10 Bag Sale!

On Monday, June 23, 2014 , the Friends Bookstore will re-open for regular hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. As a reward for your patience, we are offering the $10/ bag sale for ONE WEEK ONLY (thru Sat, Jun 23). The bookstore will be closed on Sundays until after Labor Day, and will be closed July 4-6 for the Independence Day holiday. Come in and have an ice coffee or tea while you browse the shelves. At this time the store is overstocked and you may take advantage of tremendous savings during our $10 bag sale.

Health Wise, Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Very Bad

I’ve had a couple of experiences recently that prompted me to spotlight nutritional supplements, specifically vitamins and the dreaded summertime malady of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While speaking with my father this week, I learned that his physician wanted him to stop taking his multivitamin and stop drinking milk because his vitamin D levels were too high. It’s going to take some months for it to return to normal. My father walks everyday so he gets plenty of sunshine, has milk every morning for breakfast, and was taking a multivitamin every day. In his case, too much of what he thought was a good thing was bad! I think summer is a wonderful time of the year. Summer provides plenty of sunshine and the opportunity to be outdoors and participate in a myriad of activities with family and friends. But just like my previous example, too much of a good thing, sun and heat, can be very bad. Last week, while attending an outdoor event, I developed heat exhaustion and had

Library Director Honored by Mayor and City Council

The director of the Birmingham Public Library, Renee Blalock, was recently honored by the mayor and city council for her years of service with the library. Here is the video from that event. Congratulations, Renee.

The Birmingham Public Library’s Air Conditioner Could Be Working Soon after Four New Coils Were Delivered June 6

Crews on June 6 used a crane to lift four specially-made copper coils up to the fourth floor of the Birmingham Public Library, which has been without air conditioning for several weeks. The coils will soon be installed and adjustments made to get the AC in working condition. “This has been a long time coming,’’ said Angela Fisher Hall, the library’s associate director. “We are looking forward to getting back to full operation. We do appreciate the patience of the public as well as our staff, as we work through these issues.'' In May, the downtown library’s East Building adjusted its hours to cope with the warm temperatures. It opens one hour early at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 p.m. The Linn-Henley Research Library, which is across the street, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The temporary hours will remain until further notice. There are eight coils in the East Building’s air handler. When a cold snap hit Birmingham in February, four coils ruptured on the buildin

The Importance of Summer Reading

Students in Alabama have worked even harder this past school year due to the entrance of the Common Core Standards. They were tested and taught like they’ve never been before. Additionally, the knowledge that they obtain from the previous grade has always been necessary for the next grade, but it is especially important now since their success in the upcoming grade depends heavily on it and since the Common Core Standards are benchmarked. So where does summer reading fit into the equation? Well, according to several studies, if children are not engaged in some type of reading activity, their reading skills will surely fall behind. In fact, it is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected (Cooper et al. 1996). Libraries offering summer reading programs to motivate children to read and prevent what educators call the “summer slide” can assist students greatly

Generation Gap is Topic of Springville Road Library's Upcoming Salon Session, June 13

Springville Road Salon will meet Friday, June 13, at 10:00 a.m. Our topic for discussion is: Since ancient times, each generation reaching adulthood has asked the same question: "What's WRONG with these kids today?!?" Friday's Salon discussion will be about the different challenges faced by the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generations X & Y, and the Millennials. We hope this discussion will include how today's kids are uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of the 21st century. All adults are welcome; refreshments will be served, and the program is free. Kelly Laney Springville Road Library

Jerricho Cotchery Is Coming to Town: Birmingham Public Library to Host “Score Big” with NFL Wide Receiver and Birmingham Native Jerricho Cotchery

Update:  The deadline for the Cotchery Skills and Drills Football Clinic has been extended to Friday, June 13, 11:00 a.m. Tune in to JOX Friday, June 13, 7:00 a.m., to hear Jerricho Cotchery talking with Jay Barker on the Opening Drive. The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation . Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for the 2014 Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction.” 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, the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to their roster in 2010, and this year he will join the Carolina Panthers. For his career, he has compiled 437 receptions for 5,558 yards. In layman’s terms, he’s “the man” and the library is lucky to partner with him. Named for the famous Bi

Fiction Authors Live On

I’m sure you know that Maya Angelou died recently.   What came to mind is not only the impact that Maya Angelou had on literature, but also the fact that we will not be graced with any new poetry by the author.   That is, unless a posthumous collection is discovered.   The great thing about fiction, however, is that often an author’s characters continue to live on after the author’s death.   Here are some current releases featuring characters and locations made famous by deceased authors.   Descriptions are from the publisher. Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (1947-2013) A renegade Saudi Prince with ambitions of controlling the world's oil supply has an ingenious plot to manipulate America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran. Next, they would ignite a sleeper cell to attack the American homeland, resulting in a bloodbath unlike any other. Only the men and women of Op-Center, using sophisticated technology, realize what is about to be unleas

Marsh Mud Madness with Roger Day at Avondale Library, June 3

It's time to kick-off the summer with an explosive night of musical fun at the Avondale Regional Library . Grab your boots! Get your hat! And join us Tuesday, June 3, 6:30 p.m., as Roger Day, a two-time Parent's Choice Gold Award Winner , stomps in the mud...the marsh mud! Roger Day: "I Love to Study Mud" from Chalkhill Productions on Vimeo . Carla Perkins Avondale Library

Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas A literary classic and, happily, a wildly popular entertainment, The Count of Monte Cristo is an epic adventure like the author’s, Alexandre Dumas’, The Three Musketeers novels, but set in the contemporary France and Italy of the eighteen-thirties and forties just before the onset of the industrial revolution. This was an era when one traveled by sail and swift horses and depended on letters of introduction, when men fought duels with swords or pistols for the honor of their names and that of their families. The Count of Monte Cristo is the story of a man who comes to believe he is an instrument of divine justice and retribution. Originally published in serial form and full of cliff-hangers, The Count of Monte Cristo is a page turner. The plot is as convoluted as an Indiana Jones movie and as pointless to summarize. However, Dumas demonstrates that a great author needs no computer animation to create vivid special effects. Strong emoti