Showing posts from November, 2014

Springville Road Library's Holiday Craft Sale, December 7

Support your local crafters and the Springville Road Library! So, it’s a month before Christmas and you still haven’t got your holiday shopping done? Don’t despair! On Saturday, December 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. , you can visit the Springville Road Library and shop our Holiday Craft Sale. We’ll have items for adults, teens, and children; for decorating, wearing, and practical use. Most of the items are made by hand (we’ll have some Trash and Treasure items that have been donated for the library sale table), and the sale supports the library craft and quilting programs. You can also meet some of the Coffee, Conversation & Craft participants who will be delighted to tell you about their creations. If you've ever wished you could sit in on an old-fashioned sewing bee, you’ll enjoy meeting these folks. There will be free demonstrations of crocheting, knitting, hand-quilting, loom knitting, tatting, and other crafts. If you see something you like and want

November is Family Literacy Month

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald Do you remember sitting with your parents when you were very young, listening to them read to you? Did you read back to them? You didn’t realize it at the time, but this interaction was family literacy, the practice of involving children and parents in developing reading skills and positive attitudes toward education. Family literacy is a learning method that involves children and parents learning together. The parent becomes the advocate for the child’s education as he/she becomes more involved in the learning process. A report done by Kent State University, “ Family Literacy Programs: Who Benefits? ” found that four groups benefit from family literacy programs: children, parents, families, and society. Among the many benefits of family literacy, children will improve their school achievements and reading skills, parents and families learn to value education, and society sees positive c

Children's Book Review: Frostborn (Thrones and Bones #1)

Frostborn Lou Anders Frostborn is the first in a series of adventure books set in a Norse inspired fantasy realm complete with dwarves, giants, wyverns, and dragons. The book’s two young protagonists are each at odds with their place in the world (a feeling that young readers are sure to identify with). Karn is the firstborn son of his family. That means he is next in line to inherit the prestige and responsibility of his father’s position as hauld of the family farm. No one asked Karn if that’s what he wanted to do, if it were up to him he would travel the world and master his beloved board game, Thrones and Bones. But his birthright saddles him with responsibility beyond his years. Thianna is half giant and half human. She lives with her father in the mountains among full-blooded frost giants. At seven feet, Thianna is a dwarf in comparison to her full-blooded peers. She constantly feels like a misfit and is anxious to dismiss her human heritage on her mother’s side and live

The Holiday Challenge

You've worked so hard throughout the year to reach your ideal weight and/or eat healthier and may still be working. You've forced yourself to get out of the bed to go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning, steered clear of junk food, and even exercised during your lunch break. You've overcome these challenges and more, but now comes your biggest challenges of the year: the holidays. With all the turkey and dressing, the pies and cakes, how do you maintain your goals for your weight and healthy eating habits? Well, check out the books below for alternative recipes and strategies that will help you maintain your goals. Happy Holidays! The Healthy Home Cookbook: Diabetes-Friendly Recipes for the Holidays, Parties, and Everyday Celebrations The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook: Healthy Recipes for Entertaining Family and Friends Healthy Holidays: Total Health Entertaining All Year Round Diabetic Recipes for the Holidays Karnecia Williams Inglenoo

Southern History Department's Book of the Month: Co. Aytch or A Side Show of the Big Show

Co. Aytch or A Side Show of the Big Show By Sam R. Watkins During these years marking the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War there has been renewed interest in personal narratives of the conflict. One of the best-known accounts was by Samuel Rush Watkins , who wrote his memoirs of the time he spent in the First Tennessee Infantry, Company H, also known as the Maury Greys. Watkins served throughout the war and was one of the very few survivors of his group; of all those who had enlisted with Company H, fewer than 10 were still alive at the time of General Johnston’s surrender to General Sherman. Watkins is certainly capable of dramatic recollections of the events that took such a heavy toll on his comrades, as in his memories of the horrific battle of Franklin, Tennessee: “Forward, men! The air loaded with death-dealing missiles. Never on this earth did men fight against such terrible odds. It seemed that the very elements of heaven and earth were in one mighty uproar. Fo

A Librarian's Guide to Holiday Travel

Image The holidays can be a very stressful time, particularly if you are traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas.   The weather is unpredictable, so traffic jams, flight delays, and cancellations are always possible.   Since I almost never travel during the holidays, I thought I would give you, the reading public, some advice on holiday travel. Tip 1:   Leave early – If you are traveling by car from Birmingham to Cleveland, Ohio and you know that the family meal is at 3:00 pm, don’t wait until 10:00 am to leave Birmingham.   You cannot make it to Cleveland that fast, and if you can, don’t drive anywhere near me.    You will spend Thanksgiving in the pokey rather than at grandma’s house.   The same holds true for airline travel.   It takes time for the TSA to hold you upside down and shake everything out of your pockets, so arrive early enough to allow for that.   Tip 2:   Put some gas in the car – If you only have a quarter tank of gas in the car and no money, please

Iron Bowl Madness

On Saturday, November 29, 2014, in my hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL,  the Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Auburn Tigers in the 79th Iron Bowl. Football is serious business in the state of Alabama, and it doesn't get any bigger or better than this. The Iron Bowl is a historic American college football game between the two largest public universities in the state of Alabama: The University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn University Tigers. Since 1893, the Iron Bowl has been one of the most heated rivalries in sports. The name of the Iron Bowl comes from Birmingham's historic role in the steel industry, since so many of the early games were played in Birmingham at the historic Legion Field. The Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers have battled it out 78 times. Since 2000, the games alternate and are played at Jordan–Hare Stadium in Auburn every odd-numbered year, and Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa every even-numbered year. So far the Tide leads the series 42-35-1.

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Workshops Scheduled for Selected Birmingham Public Libraries, December 1-January 12

Free Affordable Care Act enrollment sessions will be held at various Birmingham Public Library locations through January 2015. Trained officials with Birmingham Health Care , a nonprofit health organization, will lead the sessions. The enrollment period will be November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015 . Enrollment will be available during the library sessions. Future library sessions will be announced in early 2015. The sessions will be held at these libraries  on: Monday, December 1, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Pratt City Library Monday, December 1, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Smithfield Library Tuesday, December 2, 9:00-11:30 a.m., Five Points West Library Monday, December 8, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Avondale Library Monday, December 8, 1:30-3:00 p.m., North Avondale Library Monday, January 5, 2015, 9:00-11:00 a.m., North Birmingham Library Monday, January 12, 2015, 1:00-3:30 p.m., North Birmingham Library For more information about the Affordable Care Act, please visit

Have Yourself a Merry Little (Stress-Free) Christmas!

The holiday season can be stressful! For most of us, life gets busier and costlier during the holiday season. The holidays can make some people depressed when they think of how the special day won't be shared with lost or absent loved ones. For others, the to-do list has gotten twice as long. And you may be spending more money than you want or are able, due to traveling or entertaining. And while there is a lot of pressure to make sure everyone's Christmas is perfect, it's the simple pleasures of the season that can remind you of the joy and wonder of Christmas and its traditions. I invite you to share in the simple pleasures of the season by beginning with gratitude (look at all of the good you have in your life); set a budget (know exactly how much you are going to spend); buy gifts mindfully (don't purchase a gift for the sake of having something to give); plan something together as a family; visit shut-ins; send a letter or gift to a soldier (imagine being in

Friends Bookstore Bag Sale Ends Dec. 7th!!

The Friends Bookstore is hosting a “fill-a-bag” sale beginning Monday, November 24th . For only $10, you can fill one of our fancy orange Friends bags with as many Bookstore treasures as will fit (books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, etc). Friends’ members will receive a 10% discount on top of this wonderfully low price. If you're not already a member of the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, you may join at the store and receive the discount. The Bookstore is making way for new inventory, so come do some holiday shopping and help us clear the shelves. All proceeds will fund library programs and initiatives. (Remember that the Bookstore is selling the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook $20. Also, we have Bob Moody's Birmingham: City in Watercolor for $35. These books will not be included in our Bag Sale, but they make excellent gifts!) We'll be closed for Thanksgiving (Nov 27 –Nov 30) but we will resume our sale on Monday, December 1 until supp

Say "Thank You" to Your Toilet on World Toilet Day!

I have always believed that everything you really need to know in life may be found in a children’s book, at least the interesting stuff. For instance, while reading the book Death by Toilet Paper written by Donna Gephart, I learned 37 fun filled toilet/toilet paper facts. Did you know… • It takes about 384 trees to produce the toilet paper one person uses in a lifetime. • Toilet paper didn’t exist in the Middle Ages. Rich people used wool or hemp. Poor people were stuck using stones, mussel shells, or grass. • Seven percent of Americans steal toilet paper from hotel and motel rooms. • In 2013, after the Super Bowl, toilet use spiked 13% in New York City. This caused a 2-inch drop in a 30-foot water reservoir in Yonkers, New York. • In a public bathroom, the first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used and consequently the cleanest. In addition to these strange but fun facts, I also learned something quite serious: World Toilet Day is November 19. The mission of Wor

Pratt City Creepy Crawlers

On Halloween day, Pratt City Library staff members Len Creer and Alexandria Mitchell decided to mix work and fun. Len is on the left wearing her super girl spy glasses; Alexandria is on the right wearing animal print face paint. We started the day by announcing the winner of our “Creepy Crawler” guessing game. Aniya Hunt, a 6th grader from Bottenfield Middle School, was the winner out of 72 entries. Before entering the contest, each person was required to check out two items. The day was filled with trick-or-treaters and fun. Alex and Len had a great day at the Pratt City Library. Len Creer & Deborah Drake Pratt City Library

A Christmas Memory with Dolores Hydock, December 7

Join us for our annual tradition with Birmingham storyteller and actress Dolores Hydock as she presents A Christmas Memory . Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama is bought to vivid life in this wonderful holiday performance. Details A Christmas Memory with Dolores Hydock Sunday, December 7, 2014 3:00 p.m. Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium Central Library

Renasant Bank Workshop on Self-Employment and Small Business Tax Scheduled for November 20

  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

Job Searching Tips with Jack Norris Returns on Tuesday, November 18

Local career counselor, Jack Norris, will be making an encore presentation of his program, Job Searching Tips at 2 PM on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, in the RLCC at the Central Library . The 45-minute program will cover a variety of topics related to the job search process, including resume building; interviewing skills; networking; and, most important, keeping a positive attitude! Following the presentation, Mr. Norris will entertain questions from the attendees and will be available to provide individual consultation to address particular concerns. Mr. Norris is a very energetic septuagenarian who, though a native of Baltimore, MD, has lived in Alabama for many years. He has had an interesting and varied career that includes stints in sales, marketing, public relations, executive recruitment, and employment and career counseling. He has even owned and operated his own small business. In recent years, he has tapped into his experience to provide career and job searching ad

Some Libraries Closed This Weekend: Updated

Three BPL locations will be closed this weekend due to problems with heating systems. The Central Library, North Birmingham Regional Branch , and Southside Branch will be closed over the weekend so that the BPL's maintenance crew and the Birmingham Public Works Department can make necessary adjustments. Several other BPL locations will be open for your library needs. Update 11/15: North Birmingham's heating system is now working properly and the library will be open regular hours this weekend. Update 11/16: All BPL locations will open at their regularly scheduled time tomorrow (11/17).

Thieves Target Birmingham Public Libraries

East Lake Branch  For the fifth time in the last three months, thieves have broken into a Birmingham Public Library. Police responded to a call shortly after 7:30 a.m. regarding a glass break at the East Lake Branch location on Oporto Madrid Blvd. Upon arrival, police determined that other items may have been taken from inside the building. On yesterday, police responded to an alarm at the Smithfield Branch—the third break in at this location in as many months—where items were taken as well. In September, thieves broke into the Titusville Branch and made off with a costly piece of equipment. “It is very disheartening that our libraries continue to be targeted,” stated Interim Library Director Angela Fisher Hall. “The public library is so important to the community it serves. The money that it takes to clean this up and make the necessary repairs or replacements, takes significant dollars away from library improvements, collections and programs. I think the community can help us

BPL Closed November 11 for Veterans Day

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Tuesday, November 11, for Veterans Day.

Veterans Day Observed

Veterans Day window display at Central Library. On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, crowds coming from all over the metro area, the country, and perhaps even some international visitors will converge in Birmingham for the 67th annual National Veterans Day parade which starts at 1:30 p.m. Birmingham can take pride in the fact that the National Veterans Day was originally established here in 1947. Raymond Weeks and other local veterans and interested parties established Veterans Day to replace Armistice Day which only focused on veterans of the Great War ( World War I ). National Veterans Day was signed into law in 1954 by President Eisenhower only seven years later. It was designated to take place annually on November 11 and to honor all U. S. veterans from all wars involving U. S. troops. Many parades take place on this date, but Birmingham’s parade is the oldest and is still the largest. It is now the 100th anniversary of the Great War (World War I) and much attention is being gi

Reading Out Loud

Mary Cassatt, Katherine Cassatt Reading to Her Grandchildren , 1880  A few weeks ago, I thought I’d share something with you that I really enjoy doing: reading books out loud with my family. This idea started while my mother and I were reading P.D. James’ book Death Comes to Pemberley in time to watch the PBS Masterpiece Theater mini-series. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one my favorite books and I enjoy the mystery component that James brings to her novel that shows what has happened to the characters in Pride and Prejudice six years after the novel ends. I’ve been a P.D. James fan for years, her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries are always a treat to read and as an added bonus they were adapted for television by Masterpiece Theater. Reading out loud in my family is a tradition. My mother read to me when I was young; my grandmother read to my mother when she was young; and my great-grandfather, who was a school teacher, read to my grandmother when she was a child. My mo