Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Brought the Joy of Giving for Our Library Patrons

Tracey Stitt, teacher at Martha Gaskins Elementary School
As September comes to an end, it has really been an exciting month. We call it benevolent month for library patrons. Patrons had the privilege of receiving replacement cards for free. Who doesn’t like something for free? The most common phrase we heard was “I am glad I came to the library this month in order to get this free replacement card." This matter of goodwill goes a long way with our patrons. Thank you Public Libraries of Jefferson County for September National Library Card Sign-up (and replacement!) Month.

This month also represents Food for Fines month. This is an annual event where you can assist in helping people in need by giving up to ten non-perishable items in place of money (or fines) for local food banks. Of course the holidays are around the corner and there are a lot of people in need in the Greater Birmingham area.

We had a very unique situation at Pratt City library where one of our most dedicated patrons, Tracey Stitt, decided to implement a food drive through her school, Martha Gaskins Elementary. She and two other teachers, Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Spencer, were teaching a unit on weather and the impact of weather on recreational activities, agriculture, the economy, and society. Mrs. Stitt said they learned about weather such as tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods. (Pratt City Library was destroyed by an April 2011 tornado.) Since Mrs. Stitt is an avid library user she, decided to tie that in to the library’s September food drive.

Mrs. Tracey Stitt has been a teacher for 22 years and a library patron for as many more years. She, along with Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Spencer, had their 2nd grade students bring food to support Pratt City’s food drive. These teachers represent innovative thinking and teaching, and the children learned a valuable lesson about giving and its importance.

 Kudos to Mrs. Stitt. Dr.E. Finley is the principal of Martha Gaskins Elementary School.

Deborah Drake
Pratt City Library

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pepper Place Market for Eat Drink Read Write Fest: Saturday, Oct. 4

Pepper Place Market Saturday, October 4
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Pepper Place Market
2817 Second Avenue South

Bring the kids to BPL’s crafts table at Pepper Place Market for food-related art projects. Admission is free and fun times are certain.

On Twitter, join the Birmingham Public Library and Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine for a live chat about food in Southern literature. Follow the hashtags #EDRW and #SouthernLit to join in the conversation. @BPL and @DeepSouthMag will be leading the chat.


We're thrilled to have Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine as part of our festival!

The Eat Drink Read Write Fest is made possible by gracious contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

Food, Music, Writers, and Creativity @ Avondale Park and Library, October 5th

Sunday in the Park with Food Trucks, Crafts, Vendors & Sweet Sweet Music
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Avondale Park
4101 Fifth Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222

Enjoy music and spoken word poetry during the food truck and craft fair at Avondale Park. Vendors will be selling hand-crafted items with a literary twist.

Several popular Birmingham food trucks and local companies will be selling food (Nola Ice, Copper Pot Kitchen, Continental Bakery, Cantina, Saw's Street Kitchen, Dreamcakes and more. Admission is free.

Food Writers Fair in Avondale Library
Sunday, October 5
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Avondale Library
509 40th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35222
Chef Clayton Sherrod (Pic from al.com)

Chef Clayton Sherrod of the Lawson State Community College’s Culinary Arts Program and chefs Adam Elliott and Deborah Harris will do a cooking demo of Sherrod’s Bananas Foster. Sherrod will also sell and sign copies of his cookbook Truly Southern.

Chris Bennett of Hollow Spring Farm will speak on foraging.


Erin Bass from Deep South Magazine will discuss food writing and Southern cuisine.

Free admission for all Sunday events thanks to contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

EDRW festival banner

Soul Food Bards & Brews EDRW Kick-Off Poetry Slam, October 3

EDRW festival banner

Join us for Eat Drink Read Write Festival’s kick-off party on Friday, October 3, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Central Library, with poetry, beer, coffee and soul food. Back Forty Beer Co. and The J. Clyde will provide beer samples.


The area’s best poets will compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. Admission is free but it’s $5 to compete. All contestants must perform at least one food-related poem. First place winner will receive $300 and second place will receive $200.


Enjoy Full Moon Bar-B-Que sandwiches and food from Todd English P.U.B. and Earth Fare.


Sample BPL’s new coffee blend from Higher Ground Roasters:


Soft drinks by Coca-Cola. Music by Clutch Band. Must be at least 18 to enter and at least 21 to be served.

This program is made possible by contributions from Wind Creek Hospitality and the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, as well as these following partners and sponsors:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bank on Birmingham Financial Program to Be Held at Community Education South, September 30

A sound understanding of banks and banking plays an important part in assuring one’s personal financial health. Acquiring such an understanding, however, takes some time and effort. In the world of banking, there exist different kinds of institutions offering a variety of accounts, products, and investment opportunities. But it is not a matter of one size fits all; which banking services are suitable for you depends upon your particular circumstances, needs, and goals. Therefore, in order to make good decisions about banks, you should try to get good, solid information about what is available so that you can compare their offerings with your priorities.

Bank on Birmingham (BoB) is a local non-profit organization that was created to provide information to the public about banking products and services. The membership of Bank on Birmingham, which consists of both local financial institutions and community organizations, is particularly interested in reaching low and moderate income consumers who have been underserved by the banking industry. Through advocacy, education, and outreach, BoB strives to make better banking awareness a catalyst for increasing the financial self-sufficiency of individuals and families in the Birmingham area.

As part of its educational initiative, Bank on Birmingham is holding a series of Snack and Learn events at several locations of the Birmingham Public Library during September and October of 2014. Two similar events will be held at Community Education South. These events are scheduled to last about an hour and BoB representatives will be available to share their knowledge on a variety of topics including banking, credit, budgeting, identity theft, home ownership, and small business finance. Light refreshments will be served. Both adults and older youth are encouraged to attend.

The Snack and Learn events are free but registration is required. You can register online on the Events Calendar page on Bank on Birmingham’s website or at the library location where the event is being held:

Community Education South
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Central Library 
Monday October 6, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Avondale Library
Tuesday October 14, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Community Education South
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Not Your Grandparents' Catalog

Today I was helping a customer find something to read, using our library catalog. The image that springs into your mind may be the old wooden card catalog with drawers filled with typed cards holding a brief description of the book and its call number. Today’s catalog offers much more.

The Online Public Access Catalog, or OPAC, features all the standard options for searching: keyword, title, author, and subject. The OPAC can be accessed from anywhere that you have access to the Internet. JCLC offers three flavors of library catalog, Classic, Encore, and Kids Catalog. All three offer the familiar searching tools, but Encore is flashier and features many of the online shopping tools used by Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.

The Kid’s catalog provides guides for searching with images and general topics. Also available on kids on line are helpful links to Award Winning books, and Back to School links to Live Homework Help, and databases such as Britannica Learning Zone and Encyclopedia of Alabama.

All three catalogs allow users to log into their library accounts and place holds on books and media that will be sent to a library of your choice. You can review what is currently checked out and what is on reserve, place Inter-library loan requests, and pay for any outstanding fines or fees. The OPAC allows users to search for additional information about an item by providing links to Amazon books, Google Books, and Open Books. All three catalogs will allow searches limited to format such as print, large print, paperback, electronic, video, and audio.

Today’s catalog is a powerful multipurpose research tool that is only limited by your imagination. If you need help learning more about using the OPAC, contact your local library where friendly knowledgeable staff are ready to help you begin your exploration.

William Darby
East Lake Library

Young Adult Novelist Stephanie Perry Moore Brings Book Tour to the Birmingham Public Library, September 22-25

Go ahead and ask because Stephanie Perry Moore has heard the question too many times to count.

Yes, people have told her she looks like Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer of The Help fame. And yes, Moore knows Spencer.

The two were high school classmates at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Alabama, where they were both in drama class.

While Spencer has a large following for her acting, Moore has one for her writing.

Moore, who’s written more than 60 books full of heart, sass, and grit, will be in Birmingham on September 22-25 for a fall book tour and talk at several Birmingham Public Library locations. She’ll kick off her tour at 10:00 a.m. at the Central Library. (See the complete tour schedule at the end of this release.)

The young adult novelist will target youth in her Birmingham message. She’ll discuss the importance of following dreams, writing books, and how she’s still on a journey of trying to get her books made for television and movies. Her goal is to inspire youth to live their purpose.

“If you are still living, breathing and going, you are supposed to keep striving,’’ says Moore, a married mother of three now living in the greater Atlanta area. “So that means more networking, more education ... and (more) prayer.’’

What is her advice for pursuing a D.R.E.A.M.? She has five tips:

Be Dedicated
When going after a dream, you have to work on it all the time. You can’t put it down and pick it up. You have to prepare for the test and ace it. Athletes practice nonstop. Those 3-point shots just don’t happen. They happen because a person practices.

Be Resourceful
Find a mentor and ask how they excelled and how they failed. Avoid people not doing anything.

Elevate Yourself
Always reach high. If you are making Bs in school, go for As. Keep climbing.

Have an A-plus attitude
Wear a smile even when you feel like frowning. Maintain a positive attitude through disappointment.

Focus on “Me’’
If you make “me’’ important, you will take care of that “me’’ just like you will take care of that dream. Learn to be your own cheerleader.

Here is Moore’s Birmingham tour schedule:

Monday, September 22
Central Library, 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
Springville Road Library, 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 23
Powderly Library, 10:00 a.m.
Titusville Library, 1:00 p.m.
West End Library, 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 24
Smithfield Library, 10:00 a.m.
Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Library, 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 25
Five Points West Library, 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Library, 4:00 p.m.

For more information on Moore, please visit www.stephanieperrymoore.com.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tailgating Time

If you were raised in the south, Friday night lights and SEC games are the norm. Of course, you have to decide if you are an Alabama or Auburn fan at birth. Yes, crazy as it seems, this state has some pretty diehard fans.

College football rules the south on Saturdays. We can’t forget our Friday night high school games. But, it can’t compete with college football and tailgating. Tailgating involves sharing deep fried fish, ribs, hamburgers, and hot dogs with old friends and making new ones.

Since all things have a beginning, it is believed that the first tailgating was held in 1861 at the Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. Of course, they weren’t playing football, but in fact cheering for soilders in blue or gray.

Charles Goodnight in 1866 after the Battle of Bull Run is credited with taking a U.S. Army wagon and transforming it into a portable feed wagon. Since cowboys were always on a range, Goodnight created the chuck wagon. It was named after a cheaper cut of beef. This was the beginning of portable cooking on wheels for the ranching industry. The chuck wagon setup is reminiscent of today’s setup for tailgating.

It wasn’t until 1869 that the tailgating centered around a sporting event between Princeton and Rutgers at an intercollegiate football game. The game was more like today’s version of rugby, which consisted of 25 players, playing three different positions. Each team would have two men that would hide in the back field, waiting to score, while 11 other men operated as defenders, the remaining 12 were called bulldogs.

So, at your next tailgate party, don’t forget to have a few essentials to make this a great outing: folding tables, garbage bags, ice cooler, beverage of choice, canopy, grill, food, and chairs. Get some great tailgating tips from these books available in the library system.

Felita Hawkins
East Lake Library
Southern Region Coordinator

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New from the Southern History Department: Book of the Month

This is the beginning of a new series from the Southern History Department: “Book of the Month.” Read on to discover things that you didn’t know existed—or if you did know, you didn’t expect to find them in our collection. Without further ado, our first item is . . .

Texar’s Revenge or North Against South
By Jules Verne

When most people hear the name Jules Verne they think of books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or A Journey to the Center of the Earth. But did you know Verne wrote a novel about the American Civil War? Originally published as Nord Contre Sud (North Against South) in French, the novel has various titles in English translations. The straightforward North Against South became a subtitle in the first American edition, with Texar’s Vengeance as the title, which was then changed to Texar’s Revenge. One can only speculate about the motives of the translators and publishers who made the changes; the revenge element seems more immediate and gripping than the general “north against south,” especially to readers for whom the Civil War would still be a vivid memory when this novel was published in 1887.

The heart of the story is the feud between Texar and his adversary Burbank. Texar is a pro-slavery Southerner and Burbank is a Northerner and anti-slavery advocate, a natural object of suspicion in the community near Jacksonville, Florida where the novel takes place. Apparently Burbank has caused legal problems for Texar in the past and the vindictive Southerner takes every opportunity to wreak havoc in the life of his Northern enemy; Verne makes it clear early in the novel that Texar is not the forgiving sort:

“Texar was then about thirty-five . . . A Spaniard by birth, he did not hide his origin. His hair was black and coarse, his eyebrows thick, his eyes greenish, his mouth large, with thin indrawn lips, as if it had been made by a sabre-stroke, his nose short, and his nostrils like those of a wild beast. His whole physiognomy denoted craft and violence . . .

“Nevertheless, if Texar was better known than respected, that did not prevent his exercising a real influence in the county, and particularly at Jacksonville, although it was, it is true, among the least reputable inhabitants.”

Apparently the responses to the novel ranged from lukewarm to derisive due to Verne’s inaccurate grasp of Civil War history. Nevertheless, the existence of Texar’s Revenge shows us a completely different side to the Jules Verne who is best known as one of the founders of science fiction.

To examine this title for yourself, visit us in the Southern History Department of Birmingham Public Library.

Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Central Library

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reading List Titles on World Book eBooks

It happens all the time.  The phone rings and the voice on the other end asks the question, “Do you have the book …?”  If it’s a school reading list title, often we have to respond, “No, but we can put it on reserve for you.”   

Now, in addition to our downloadable eBook collection, there is another place you can search for reading list titles online.  Birmingham Public Library provides a database called World Book eBooks.  The database offers a lot more than classic novels and it’s a great place to look if you have a school reading assignment.  Along with novels, you will find other reading assignments such as Shakespeare's plays, Greek drama, and epic poetry.  World Book is continuing to expand the database, so if you don’t find a book immediately, check back in the future.

When using the database, you can either do a keyword search for your title (e.g. Ethan Frome) or choose one of the categories under the Fiction & Literature or Drama subject headings in the left-hand column.  Popular reading list titles include:

The Awakening by Kate ChopinEthan Frome by Edith WhartonHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BronteMoby Dick by Herman MelvilleThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A great benefit of using the database is that you are not checking out the title.  There is no due date to worry about.  You can read the book online at your leisure.  In addition, you can highlight the text, make notes, and bookmark pages.  Setting up an account allows you to save your highlights, notes, and bookmarks.  It also allows you to download the book to a supported device to read offline.  Take some time to browse the World Book eBooks database.  You may be amazed at what you find.

Legal Services Alabama to Offer Will Preparation Assistance at North Birmingham Library, September 25

Legal Services Alabama, a nonprofit law firm in Birmingham, will prepare wills at selected Birmingham Public Libraries through October.

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.

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 bank account, with elderly parents, with dependents with special needs, or without close relatives but interested in leaving items to a friend.

"The goal of the wills clinic is to raise awareness of how easy it is to get a will done. It's not a painful experience,'' Clark said. "There's a stigma associated with a will - that you will die tomorrow. But that's not the case. Having a will is just good planning.''

Those needing help with what to do with a loved one's estate may also seek help during the clinics. The service is part of “Preserving the Wealth of Our Communities Project (PWOCP),” which is made possible because of Birmingham Mayor William Bell's RISE initiative. The RISE initiative is an effort to strengthen neighborhoods, eliminate blight, and increase property values. The program is also for low-to-moderate income property owners and senior citizens of Birmingham.

For more information, call Dru Clark at 205-328-3540, ext. 3508.

Sanspointe Dance Company to Perform "Creative Catalog" at Central Library, September 24

Sanspointe Dance Company will present "Creative Catalog," dances inspired by library experiences, on Wednesday, September 24, 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 registration may be made at the downtown library's Youth Department. The class is free. Call the Youth Department at 226-3655 for more information.

For more information on Sanspointe, a Birmingham-based, nonprofit modern dance company, visit www.sanspointe.org. For more information on library programs, visit www.bplonline.org.

Sixty Works to be Featured in the Watercolor Society of Alabama’s Annual Showcase at the Central Library, September 21–October 31

Great Blue & Company, Charlotte McDavid
Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state will be on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library. The free exhibit will be in the library’s Fourth Floor Gallery.

An award ceremony and opening reception will be held on Sunday, September 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., in the gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill.
The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Rogers will host a watercolor workshop at Forstall Art Center in Homewood, September 18-20. The daily sessions will be 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. There is a workshop fee.

To register for the workshop or for more information on the class, contact Charlotte McDavid, chair of the Watercolor Society of Alabama, at charsart@bellsouth.net.

For information about the library exhibit, call 226-3670 or send emails to hm@bham.lib.al.us.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Football Season

I love football season for three reasons: food, family, and football. I love the food that accompanies the football game experience; whether you’re sitting at home watching the game on TV or tailgating at the game, food makes the experience exciting. I really enjoy spending time with my extended family and watching a football game is a great excuse to see everyone. I’m not the most avid football fan, but I do enjoy myself. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the 2012 Alabama vs. LSU game so much that when Alabama won, I jumped up and ruptured my Achilles tendon and spent the next 6-8 months recovering from surgery.

Oh well, I hope these resources on football season food, fun family activities, and the game itself enable you to enjoy “Football Season” to the max this year!

Books - Food
The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking, and More
Fanfare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home
Fox Sports Tailgating Handbook: The Gear, the Food, the Stadiums
The Healthy Home Cookbook: Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for Holidays, Parties, and Everyday Celebrations
The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook
The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: a Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South
Taste of the Town: a Guided Tour of College Football's Best Places to Eat

Books - Football
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
Breaking the Line: the Season in Black College Football that Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights
Game of My Life. Auburn Tigers: Memorable Stories of Tigers Football
Football for Dummies
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
Legends of Alabama Football: Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, Mark Ingram Jr., and Other Alabama Stars
My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football
Nick Saban vs. College Football
The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary Book: Where Greatness Lives

Websites - Food
Allrecipes.com - Check out these tailgating recipes. The Touchdown Taco Dip is easy to prepare and looks delicious.
Kraft Super Bowl Party Recipes - This website has everything: burgers, sliders, ribs, chicken all prepared in interesting and innovative ways. I think I want to try the pulled pork nachos.
My Recipes - This website has healthy tailgating recipes as well as recipes for ACC, Big 12, and SEC tailgaters.
Tailgate Party Recipes - This is a link to Food Networks “Tailgate Party Recipes."  I found some really tasty recipes for tailgating along with Food Network’s “Top 50 Tailgating Recipes.”

Websites - Football
Football.com US Edition - Provides coverage of NFL, NCAA and International football.
NFL Official Website
Official Website of the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
Rivals.com - College football and basketball scores, recruiting information etc…Follow Alabama at alabama.rivals.com and Auburn at auburn.rivals.com.
USA Football - NFL youth football partner.

Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights
The Blind Side
Draft Day
The Express
Facing the Giants
Friday Night Lights
The Longshots
Roll Tide/War Eagle
We are Marshall
You don't know Bo

I hope these books, websites, and DVDs help keep your fall filled with good food, family and lots of football.

Maya Jones
West End Library

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch, published last year, is a long piece of literary fiction. Widely read, it is believed by many to be the worthy successor to the author’s debut novel, The Secret History (1992). Much has been written about the book; there are a jaw-dropping 14,000 reviews of The Goldfinch on Amazon alone. A rich work, it is open to many interpretations, but, plainly said, it is story of two boys from different worlds who become instant close friends, perhaps because of the horrific trauma and loss that afflicted their young lives.

Theo, our narrator, is an upper West Side, private school kid, who loses his mother, a single mom, in a terrorist bombing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ultimately Theo is taken away from his home to live with his drug dependent gambler-father in a vacant, desolate post-economic-disaster suburban development in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Very soon he meets Boris, a Russian-Ukrainian, who lives with his abusive, alcoholic father. They go for days without seeing either of their parents and live by scrounging and stealing.

Much is written about post-traumatic stress disorder, but in The Goldfinch, as we read, we experience, at length, Theo’s long daily struggle against unbidden memories and undeserved, but relentless remorse. But we also see Boris’s lusty response to his own damaged past. Both boys self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. The boys make bad choices again and again, and the reader soon comes to fear for their survival. But a painting, a priceless seventeenth century Dutch masterwork, titled, The Goldfinch, has fallen into Theo’s hands and we are given to wonder if its eternal beauty ultimately saves Theo and Boris from the wreck of their dangerous impulses.

Both Boris and Theo read Russian novels, and it is clear that the author has modeled her narrative on the tortured inner monologues of a Dostoevsky protagonist. With Theo, we spiral down into depression and self-recrimination, while we wonder at his daily efforts to live a normal life, at least as seen by others. Yet, there is hope, and perhaps that hope is symbolized by the little yellow bird in the old painting.

Related links:
Donna Tartt Discusses The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt "Surprised" by Pulitzer for Goldfinch

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch Sells Movie Rights to Warner Bros., RatPac

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Discover Your Inner Artist

Pallet Party

Wylam Library, 4300 7th Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35224

Wednesday, October 7 at 10:00 am

Light refreshments will be served

RSVP 785-0349

You're invited to paint your masterpiece at Wylam Branch Library. Artist Cherie Hunt will help you paint a picture you can frame and hang or give away as a gift. If you would like further instruction, Birmingham Public Library has many resources you can check out. Here is a sampling.

The complete artist's manual : the definitive guide to painting and drawing / by Simon Jennings

Design dynamic paintings [videorecording] : how fundamental design and composition principles can improve your paintings / by Ed Labadie

Just paint it! / Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp

Drawing for painters / text, Gabriel Martín Roig ; translated from the Spanish by Michael Brunelle

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Welcome Back, Pratt City Library

The September/October 2014 issue of American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association, features interesting innovative architectural designs. Pratt City Library is featured as a newly renovated library under Disaster Recovery. The library re-opened February 10, 2014.

The tornado that spread through the Pratt City community three years ago presented an opportunity to rebuild a shiny new light of hope in its new library. The library retained its history and restored faith to the community. The newly rebuilt library is a feeling of "coming home." Patrons are enlightened with what they see and happy to return to a revolving door that is uniquely theirs.

From the BPL Blog archives:
A Look Inside Pratt City Library after the Tornado

Alabama Humanities Foundation Gifts Pratt City Library with New Books

Pratt City Remembers: Special Tornado Anniversary to Be Held Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pratt City Library's Reopening Scheduled for February 10

Deborah Drake
Pratt City Library

Read It Forward 2014 - The Giver by Lois Lowry

You're invited to join Birmingham Public Library's 2014 Read It Forward program. This year's book is Lois Lowry's The Giver.  Here's how to participate:
  1. Visit any BPL location and pick up a free copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry (while supplies last).
  2. Read the book.
  3. Go to the library's Read It Forward page, enter the book's tracking identification number, and leave a comment.
  4. Pass the book forward for someone else to read.
  5. Log onto the library's website often to track your book as it travels from reader to reader. See what others have to say about this book.

September is National Hispanic Heritage Month

Although September officially starts the football season, there are lots of other important events that are coming upon us this fall. National Hispanic Heritage Month is also celebrated in September.

According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website: “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

Also from the website: “The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

There are many little known Hispanic citizens who have made significant contributions to our culture in the areas of politics, entertainment, and music, as well as many other areas. This is the perfect time to stop by your local library to pick up a few books or DVDs about prominent Hispanic figures:

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes 
Hispanic-American Crafts Kids Can Do!
Hispanic Holidays 
Sonia Sotomayor: First Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Justice
My Beloved World 
El Barrio 
A Kid's Guid to Latino History: More Than 50 Activities

Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation
Roots of  Rhythm

Pamela Jessie
Woodlawn Library

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Women’s Suffrage Victory—165 Years Later

Women working at suffrage headquarters, 1913
BPL Digital Collections

The women’s suffrage movement was founded in the mid-19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In recognition of Women’s Equality Day, the event is observed annually on August 26. Some of the early organizers included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. As early as 1837, Susan B. Anthony, a young teacher dissatisfied with her wages, asked for equal pay for women teachers; Sojourner Truth in 1851, defended women’s rights and “Negroes rights” at a convention in Akron, Ohio. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony campaigned to encourage women to register to vote using the 14th Amendment as justification.

On January 10, 1878, The “Anthony Amendment” was introduced for the first time in the United States Congress. If approved it would extend the right to vote to women. The amendment stated “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any States on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power by appropriate legislations to enforce the provisions of this action.”

After several failed attempts, the Amendment was finally voted on by the U. S. Senate for the first time on January 25, 1887, and also for the last time in 25 years. The hard fought battle was not won entirely state by state, so the women had to resort to using radical tactics for a federal suffrage amendment to be added to the Constitution: picketing the White House, staging large suffrage marches, demonstrations and going to jail.

Their actions worked and on June 4, 1919, the United States Senate endorsed the Amendment and sent it to the states. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to pass the law; (sadly), Georgia and Alabama rushed to pass rejections. When 35 of the 36 states had ratified the amendment, the battle came to Tennessee and the rest is history.

Votes for women a success, the map proves it, 1914
BPL Digital Collections
The long battle for the vote for women was won when a young legislator, 24 year old Harry Burn from Tennessee voted yes for the amendment. On August 18, 1920, this single vote gave the Anthony Amendment the thirty-sixth and deciding state needed for ratification. Up until this time Burns had often voted with the anti-suffrage forces. His mother had urged him to vote for the amendment and for suffrage. On August 26, 1920, the U. S. Secretary of State signed the Anthony Amendment into law giving women the right to vote in the fall elections and the Presidential elections.
1923: Equal Rights Amendment introduced into the U.S. Congress, proposed by the National Woman’s Party.

Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship, the right to vote was not given to all native born Americans. In 1869, Congress passed the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote. Moving ahead to 1940, only 3 percent of eligible African Americans in the South were registered to vote. Jim Crow laws that required prospective voters to pass literacy tests and pay “poll taxes” served as deterrents to African Americans to vote, because they could not read and were not able to pay the unfair ‘taxes’ that had been imposed on them.

It took the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing the Voting Rights Act into law, to make voting a reality for everyone. My mother, a teacher, could not vote in Wilcox County. When white workers from the North came to assist African Americans in their efforts to vote, she allowed them to live in her home and often bailed others from jail that had been locked up. In 2014, minorities still face significant obstacles in registering to vote and casting ballots.

Women’s rights have come a long way. However, the fight for equality still continues. The Equal Pay Act put into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 helped ensure equal earnings for both men and women by illegalizing discrimination based on sex. The gap has lessened, but unfortunately, has not disappeared entirely. Women are still earning, on average about 80 cents to the dollar, sometimes even less in the case of minorities.

A local Alabama native Lilly Ledbetter, fought for 10 years to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than 3 million dollars after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the first new law of his administration: The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Ledbetter will never receive restitution from Goodyear, but she said, “I’ll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die, is that I made a difference.”

As we recognize the strides women have made in all walks of life--from business to education to politics, we realize our work is not done. Women, and their families, still face tremendous economic pressures.

“I renew my pledge to keep fighting for laws that help America’s women. Because when women succeed, America succeeds: An Economic Agenda for women and Families, focusing on the issues that hard working American women struggle with every day: fair pay, paid maternity leave, and affordable Day care.” — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Related Readings:
History of Woman Suffrage
Failure is Impossible 
The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from the Classic Work of Stanton, Anthony, Gage, and Harper
Slavery and the Woman Question
Women of Uncommon Valor: Life Stories of Women from Birmingham, Alabama
Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

Claudette W. Camp
Avondale Library

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