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Showing posts from August, 2014

Take a Selfie and Share it on Social Media to Support World Literacy Day, September 8

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WHO: The Birmingham Public Library, Instagram Birmingham, The Literacy Council, and REV Birmingham will celebrate World Literacy Day, September 8, by encouraging people to take selfies in cool places to read in Birmingham.

WHAT: World Literacy Day's aim is to highlight the importance of literacy. About 776 million adults lack minimum literacy skills, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Also, one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. However, there are about 4 billion literate people in the world, according to UNESCO.

WHEN: Monday, September 8, 2014

WHERE TO POST PICS: People may take photos of themselves at the library, their favorite coffee shop, the park, etc. Then, they should share the images on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. People may also send images to TLC@literacy-council.org so that the Literacy Council may share the images on social media.

HOW: When posting images, people should use the h…

Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Event at Ruffner Mountain, September 5

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Enjoy the perfect blend of free beer samples and a night of poetry during the Birmingham Public Library's monthly Bards and Brews, Friday, September 5, at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. Live music by Susan Lawrence; beer provided by Blue Pants Brewery. Light snacks will also be served. Open Mic Night poet registration and music starts at 6:30 pm., and poetry performances start at 7:00 pm. Attendees must be 18 years or older to be admitted, and 21 years or older to be served. IDs will be checked. Bards & Brews has its own Facebook page which features a wealth of information about the event.

This program is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Free Wills to be Prepared at Birmingham Public Libraries This Fall

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Legal Services Alabama, a nonprofit law firm in Birmingham, will prepare wills at three Birmingham Public Libraries in the coming months.

To qualify for a free will, a person must be a Birmingham resident and must fall into one of the required income areas: under $34,200 for a single person; $39,050 or less for a family of two; $43,950 or less for a family of three; or $48,800 or less for a family of four. For those unable to meet the income requirements but are over 60 years old, the law firm may still be able to help.

Locations
Central Library/Arrington Auditorium
Thursday, August 28, 2014
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

North Birmingham Library
Thursday, September 25, 2014
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

East Lake Library
Thursday, October 23, 2014
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

"Basically, we think everybody should have a will. If you have parents or kids, you should have a will,'' said Dru Clark, an attorney with Legal Services Alabama. Those also in need of a will should be anyone: owning a home, with a…

Book Review: Winter's Tale

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Winter’s Tale
Mark Helprin

Mark Helprin’s acclaimed 1983 novel, Winter’s Tale, has been called a fantasy novel, and, although it is brimming with the fantastic, it is a genre of its own. It has more in common with the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but is best described as a tall tale, an American tall tale, perhaps told around a fire over a snowbound winter by a visionary storyteller deeply in love with New York City. Helprin is entranced by color and light, and is more than willing to let narrative wait patiently while he, and his readers, are immersed in visual wonder. This brick of a book is chock full of descriptive scenes like the following:

“By the Battery itself the harbor took color with the new light, rocking in layers of green, silver and blue. At the end of this polar rainbow, on the horizon, was a mass of white – the foil into which the entire city had been set – that was beginning to turn gold with the rising sun. The pale cold agitated in ascending waves of he…

Food for Fines Begins September 1 at All Jefferson County Public Libraries

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Through the month of September, all public libraries in Jefferson County will be participating in a food drive that helps support local charities by replenishing food pantries in anticipation of the coming holidays.

How does it work?
$1.00 in fines will be waived for each food item donated in September for up to $10.00 per library card holder. The donations will go toward fines only, not lost/damaged materials. The drive is open to all who wish to participate.

When and where can donations be made?
Donations will be accepted at all 40 Jefferson County public libraries circulation desks during September 2014. Here is a list of acceptable/unacceptable canned and boxed food items.

Food for Fines is held in conjunction with the annual National Library Card Sign-up Month. In September, cardholders can also trade in their old card for a keychain card or receive a replacement for a worn out card without paying the usual $3.00 fee.

Final Road Trip of the Summer

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It is getting close to the final summer road trip and sometimes it is hard to find audiobooks of interest to a carload of family members. Over the summer, I listened to two action adventure audiobooks that might keep your family awake and interested in “what comes next.” Fans of Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson books could enjoy Gregor the Overlander and The Paladin Prophecy.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins is the first volume in the Underland Chronicles. This is the same Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame. Gregor is a scrappy teen who has to forfeit summer camp to take care of his 2-year old sister, Boots, while his mother is at work. A few years earlier, their father disappeared causing the family to fall on hard times. Boots accidentally slips down a hole behind a loose grate in the laundry room. Gregor follows her into a strange world beneath New York City.

The Underlandwas founded centuries ago by a disillusioned Englishman who thought he could create a better w…

College Football is Back

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Rise and Shine!

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Getting up early in the morning can be an intense challenge. By the time you get settled and snugged, it seems like it’s time to get up again. However, after assessing the worth of getting up early, the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. Just picture the things that can be accomplished while the world is still. You can start working on the blog you’ve always wanted to start; finish reading the book you’ve wanted to finish since forever; start an exercise regimen; meditate; and the list goes on. While many of us have good intentions to maximize the time in our days, we must make a conscious commitment and turn those good intentions into a reality even if it causes a temporary discomfort. 

The beginning of change in anything can be a challenge, but can be well worth it in the long-term. It is often stated that breaking an old habit and developing a new one for this matter takes an average of 30 days. Are you willing to commit 30 days to make a lifetime change? To find out how to wake …

Kaiju Explosion

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Do you know what a kaiju is? I didn’t until recently but the literary market for them is exploding. kaiju are the next big science fiction/fantasy trend. We’ve had superheroes, space adventurers, and werewolves. Also, for the past few years, we’ve been up to our armpits in vampires. Now come the days of “kaiju.” Whether you know it or not, everyone knows, at least, one kaiju. If you’re familiar with Godzilla, then you know a kaiju. However, these are not your father’s kaiju.

Kaiju is defined as a Japanese word that literally translates to "strange beast." The word has been translated and defined in English as "monster" and is used to refer to a genre. Kaiju films usually showcase monsters of any form, usually attacking a major Japanese city or engaging another (or multiple) monsters in battle.

With the success of the movie Pacific Rim, we are being put on notice that they are here to stay. Pacific Rim already has a sequel, or rather a prequel in the works. Ther…

Book Review: Planet of the Apes

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Planet Of The Apes
By Pierre Boulle

When I was a kid in the Sixties, my dad had a copy of a book called Monkey Planet on his bookshelf. I was intrigued by the title. I was old enough to realize it was a made-up story but I knew almost nothing about it. Many years later it was made into the movie Planet of the Apes (1968), which referenced the more-common name of the novel. I liked the movie and have seen it several times over the years. Some (well, more than some) of it is silly, dated, and embarrassing, but it still tells a great action story, and the soundtrack is astonishing. Recently, I read that the novel is more serious than the movie. That caught my attention, so I started reading it and discovered that the serious bit is only one of many differences between the book and film. And its seriousness is tripped up by flaws anyway. Two aliens discover a message in a bottle. It’s the story of an Earthman, Ulysse Merou, who travels to Soror, the titular Planet of the Apes. The apes-no…

Job Hunting Made Easier at Your Local Library

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Hardly an hour goes by without one of my patrons saying, “I’m looking for a job online but I’m not sure where to go,” or “How do I fill out this online job application?” or “How do I attach my resume to this online job application?” Having been hired recently as the new branch head at East Lake Library, I can certainly identify with those who are navigating the online job search tools and figuring out what is required to apply for a job online.

I tell my patrons that Birmingham Public Library is a good place to start when looking for a job. The BPL website has a guide specifically for Job Searching. From there you can access local and national job listings like Alabama Joblink, Best Local Jobs which is powered by al.com, or CareerBuilder.com, Simply Hired, or SnagAJob. If you want reliable, current career information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you are about to apply for a job but need help with your resume, try Creating…

Learning to Live with Diabetes

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.9 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes every year. The disease affects more than 8% of the United States population, and that number is growing. It’s also the seventh leading cause of death—but it doesn't have to be a death sentence.

The doctor’s report indicates you have diabetes, your mind is inundated with questions: Why Me? What am I going to do? What life changes do I need to make?

Take the 90 Day Diabetes Challenge to jumpstart a healthier diet and exercise routine to combat diabetes. Here are some resources to help you get started.

Books
Diabetes & Heart Healthy Cookbook
Simply Smoothies
Curing Diabetes in 7 Steps
No More Diabetes

Websites
http://www.diabetes.org/
http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/
http://americasdiabeteschallenge.com/

Diabetic Recipes/Blogs
http://www.pinterest.com/oaksilver/diabetic-recipes/
http://www.diabeticfoodie.com/
http://diabeticenjoyingfood.blogspot.com/

Fitn…

E-Books Available for Required Reading Assignments

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School is back in session and students are looking for copies of books for their required reading assignments.  We are called  to check our shelves for such classics as The Outsiders, Animal Farm, and The Giver. Fortunately, many of these titles are now available as free e-books. Just Google the title and "e-book" to see if the book you're looking for is online.

Birmingham Public Library has e-book and audio book versions as well. You can find them by checking the catalog for the online version or at downloadable e-books and audio books on the BPL website.

The website Goodreads has a list of 100 classics for teens. I checked the top ten and found ebooks for all but I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Ender's Game.  I've linked the library epub versions for those titles.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pri…

Dreamland Bar-B-Que and Birmingham Public Library to Host K-8 Classroom Recipe Contest

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Dreamland Bar-B-Que and the Birmingham Public Library invite K-8 classrooms to put on their chef hats and create a kid-friendly Dreamland recipe. One winning classroom will be treated to a Dreamland classroom party for submitting the most creative and delicious recipe.

The Jr. Pitmasters Cookbook Recipe Contest is open to all K-8 classes and homeschool programs within Jefferson County. The contest is part of the Birmingham Public Library’s Eat Drink Read Write Festival, set for October 3-10, 2014.

Each classroom may submit one or more recipes using Dreamland Bar-B-Que Sauce, Dipping Sauce, Seasoning Shake, and/or Rub. These items are available for purchase at Dreamland Bar-B-Que restaurants, local grocers, and online at www.dreamlandbbq.com. The recipes can be for appetizers, main courses, side dishes, or desserts. The recipes should be easy to make for kids.

Recipe submission forms can be found at Dreamland and the Birmingham Public Library’s website. The deadline for submission is

Central Library Will Host a Free Haiku Workshop, August 23

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Release your inner poet and attend a free haiku workshop on Saturday, August 23, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library.

Terri L. French, the Southeast region coordinator for the Haiku Society of America, will lead the session. French's 2010 book of haiku, A Ladybug on My Words, was illustrated by her son. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama.

The event is ideal for teens and adults. For more information call 226-3670.

Fond Library Memories Inspire Sanspointe Dance Company's September 24 Tour Set for the Birmingham Public Library

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Sanspointe Dance Company will present "Creative Catalog," dances inspired by library experiences, on Wednesday, September 24, at 5:00 p.m. in the atrium of the Central Library. Admission is free.

From dances that embrace everything from research and the Dewey Decimal system to the energy, imagination and fun found in children's books, the show will celebrate what libraries do for the community and for the imagination. The company’s 30-minute performance will be comprised of four dances with seven dancers and narration. Sanspointe has performed at the Birmingham Public Library and other libraries in the past.

New this year will be a free Master Class for teenagers from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. on September 24. It will be held in the library's second-floor Story Castle. The introductory, contemporary dance class will blend children's favorite library books with works of dance art. It is ideal for ages 12 to 17. Class space is limited to 15 participants. Advance registr…

Registration Open for September RLCC Classes

When working with Excel 2010, there are options to assist the user in creating a spreadsheet. Templates not only save time but provide a basis to customize a spreadsheet according to the user’s needs and wants. Many times, these templates are already designed with formats and formulas that are included into the spreadsheet. To use a template, follow these steps: Click the File tab. This will take you to the “Backstage” view.Once there, select New. You will see templates. A preview of the selected template appears on the right.Select the template of your choice and click Download or Create, and customize according to your needs.Excel 2010 will be the featured program in September, offering a class on home budgets using templates. CLASS REGISTRATION Registration is now open for staff and the public for the September 2014 Regional Library Computer Center classes. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRE…

Crime Novelist Charles Willeford

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Crime novels are an exceptionally popular genre in the publishing world. James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, and Alexander McCall-Smith are authors that often work in this genre that nearly everyone has heard of and all of whom have an enormous following among readers around the world.   

One of my favorite crime novelists is Elmore Leonard and when I discover an author whose work I really enjoy, I like to seek out the authors and books they found to be influential. 

On occasion, this search may lead down the rabbit hole and open up a literary world that I never knew existed.  This was certainly the case when searching for Elmore Leonard’s literary forefathers. 

I was led to an author by the name of Charles Willeford with the quote below.

No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford. - Elmore Leonard

Charles Ray Willeford was a teenaged hobo during the Great Depression, a tank commander in World War II, a professional boxer, a painter, a horse trainer, a poet, an English profess…

Genealogy for Kids

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Now that “back to school” is in full swing, this might be a good time to introduce your children to a new subject: their own family. Genealogy is a great way for families to spend time together and can be a particularly special way for children to bond with their older relatives. It also provides opportunities to teach important research skills and to impart a love of history in children at an early age.

Starting a genealogy project with your children can be as simple as writing down the names of their parents and grandparents, along with their places of birth and other important dates. Fill out a genealogy chart together to see how much you already know and to get an idea of where you need to look next. If your child has older relatives nearby, have him or her conduct an “interview” in which he asks about their life. Hearing how their grandparents studied, worked, and had fun will make history personal for them.

By taking information about their family and piecing it together, …

Diana Gabaldon's Popular Outlander Book Series Now a TV Series

In 1991 as a young librarian, I ordered a new book by a new author, Diana Gabaldon. The blurb said it was historical fiction and it looked intriguing. I thought my patrons would like it; I thought I would like it. It seemed like a good fit for my little library.

Twenty-three years and eight major books later, the Outlander series has come to television. This series has something for everyone: a great love story, time travel, history, Scottish rebellion against the English, war, colonization of the new world, Native Americans, and the hardships of living in the 17th century. The research, especially in the medical history, is extremely well done. Gabaldon is still working on the series and has also written numerous novellas about minor character in the Outlander series. The first year of the television series will cover the first book in the series. I hope it has a long run.

Books in the series:
Outlander (1991)
Dragonfly in Amber (1992)
Voyager (1994)
Drums of Autumn (1997)
The Fiery…

Library Databases Offer More Reliable Information Than Internet

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The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it bears remembering that there are no laws, rules, or regulations to ensure that what someone puts up has to be true, accurate, current, or trustworthy. This is why so many librarians take exception to sites like Wikipedia: it’s content driven, which means anyone can post anything on it. Yes, wildly inaccurate things will probably be caught and corrected, but why take the chance?

With your access to the databases available to you free with your library membership, you are guaranteed the very best information available. Just go to the BPL homepage and click on the Databases link, then use the subject guide on the left of the page to be shown the correct databases to view.

Most of these can be viewed from any Internet connection, but some are licensed only for use in a library. The best thing is that you know if you linked to it through BPL’s website, the information is good. Since most of these links are to subscription databases, they are…

Birmingham Public Library to Host September 9 Workshop on How to Care for Orchids

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Master Gardener Richard Healy will lead a free workshop on how to care for orchids on Tuesday, September 9, 6:30 p.m., at the Springville Road Library.

There are more 2,000 orchid species, including several that thrive in Alabama climate and in the home. Healy, who has about 80 orchids in his own greenhouse, will give tips on which orchids do well in this area. He’ll also have orchids on display.

“If you take care of them properly, you can get months of blooms out of an orchid,’’ said Healy, a member of the Alabama Orchid Society. “I’ll even give people tricks to get a second set of blooms after that first bloom.’’

Some of his other tips will include:
How to look for bargains when shopping for orchids
How to drop the fear of caring for orchids
How to avoid killing an orchid

“The biggest thing that causes orchids to die is over watering them,’’ Healy said. “When people feel like something is wrong, they water it.’’

For more information, contact the library at 226-4081. Also, check …

Renasant Offers Entrepreneurial Success Series

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Renasant Bank is reaching out to help small businesses succeed with a free six-part entrepreneurial success series. Series topics include Financial Management, Networking and Relationship Building, Social Media, Tax Information, Business Plan Components, Human Resources and Access to Capital.

Renasant staff and local experts are leading these valuable learning sessions throughout the Birmingham and Shelby County communities. The event is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library System and Trudy Phillips Consulting. Complementary refreshments will be served.

Tracey Morant Adams, Senior Vice President Small Business and Community Development Director said of the series, ‘This free series is part of Renasant Bank’s continuing commitment to further the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our area. We are pleased to provide valuable tools and insight to help our local community businesses thrive and flourish.”

To register for any of the sessions, please visit: http:/…

Birmingham Public Library, a Family Place Library, Presents 1-2-3 Play with Me

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Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding but it is also an educational experience for your child. We are providing a special time and place for you to come to the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with your child. 1-2-3 Play with Me, a five week program, is for children birth through age 3 and their parents/caregivers. We will have toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, we have invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your questions about parenting.

Remember—you are your child’s first teacher. 1-2-3 Play with Me is an opportunity for you and your child to play and learn together. Visit Birmingham365 for the 1-2-3 Play with Me schedule for these Birmingham Public Library locations: Avondale, Central, Five Points West, Pratt City, and Springville Road.

Avondale Branch Library – September 10-October 8 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

Central Library – October 14-November 18 – every Tuesday (except Nov…

“Long National Nightmare” Came to Conclusion on August 9, 1974

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Forty years ago, Richard Nixon became the first, and thus far only, U.S. President to resign from office. His downfall was brought about by the June 1972 Watergate burglary and the subsequent cover-up of the crime orchestrated by the White House. Over the course of those two plus years between the burglary and his resignation, Mr. Nixon did not quietly accept his fate. Using all the political and legal means at his disposal, he fought the efforts of a variety of federal government entities that were trying to get the bottom of the scandal, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. District of Court of the District of Columbia, and a Special Prosecutor. In the end, however, his fate was sealed by evidence that the President himself was responsible for creating and maintaining: audio tapes that had been recorded using a taping system that he authorized to be installed in the White House’s Oval Office. What these tapes revealed…

Learn to Crochet with Instructional Books and DVDs from Your Library

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As I was wandering around a farmer’s market in early April, I came across a table of crocheted items and decided to stop and take a look. I’d always been fascinated with needle crafts and had (briefly) attempted to knit a few years ago, which resulted in a few hastily made scarves and sore wrists. As I struck up a conversation with the lady selling her items, she revealed that she began crocheting as a form of stress relief many years ago. She had a fast paced job and learned to crochet as a way to distress after a long day of work. Her hobby had now turned into a side business which she thoroughly enjoyed. I asked her how she got started, thinking that she took several months or years of in-depth classes from some strict professional crocheter. She had a simple answer: books from the library.

Genius idea! So I did what any self respecting librarian would do in this situation: I turned to my library’s catalog to research what was available to me. I’ve taken the last few mont…