Showing posts from May, 2015

Teen Book Review: None of the Above

None of the Above
I.W. Gregorio

At 18, Kristin Lattimer discovers something shocking: although she has feminine features, she has male chromosomes and a hidden pair of gonads. In other words, she's intersex. When she makes the mistake of trusting her friends with this secret, word spreads quickly throughout the school. Friends turn into tormentors, and her boyfriend, Sam, publically humiliates her for "lying" to him about her true gender. Suddenly adrift in a hostile environment, Kristin struggles to come to terms with her new identity, and with the loss of the people she once thought were her friends. While Gregorio's characters aren't exactly memorable, the heroine's struggle certainly is. This gripping, issue-driven debut successfully makes Kristin's dilemma relatable to all readers, and takes pains to correct common misconceptions about this little-talked-about condition. Recommended for Ages 16-18 for sexual content.

Summer Reading Kickoff Party at Inglenook Branch Library

Summer reading, here we come! With over 30 programs, the Inglenook Branch Library will ensure that the Inglenook community is always engaged and entertained. These events will be kicked off with a party on June 1 at 3:30 p.m. The party will consist of summer reading registrations, activities, games, motivation from community leaders to read, promotion from the 98.7 Kiss FM Radio Station, and light refreshments. The Birmingham Public Library Literacy and Outreach Department will also be on hand to sign folks up for library cards.

If you would like to motivate your child to read over the summer and prevent the summer slide, or even motivate yourself, stop by the Inglenook Library on Monday, June 1, for inspiration!

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Branch Library

Local Artist Shares A-maze-ing Technique of Drawing in One Continuous Line in Free Workshop

Birmingham artist Cory Casella creates“one-liners,” exquisitely intricate pen drawings produced with a single continuous line that never crosses itself…His works boggle the brain and the eye as you try to figure out how they were done.
And he’s willing to share his secrets so you too can attempt your own “one-liners.” On Saturday, June 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Casella will teach his technique in the Story Castle, 2nd Floor at the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place. The event is free; however registration is requested. Call 226-3670 to participate. Casella explained why he restricted his drawing to a one-line act. “I have found for me that my creativity is born from constraint. Having the constraint of only having one line allows me to focus on making shapes and shadows in interesting ways.”
Casella is a User Experience designer for a local software company, Alden Systems. He graduated from Birmingham Southern College in 2005. He participates regularly in the Birmingha…

Southern History Department's Book of the Month: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning; but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat. — George Eliot

My first reading of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was when I picked up a cheap paperback edition of the book—I can remember how it felt in my hands, with the brittle pages ready to crumble at the edges—with Gregory Peck on the cover. And that is all I remember about that afternoon, except for what was happening between the covers of that paperback, for the novel completely captured me. I had not seen the film and this was before the days of the Internet, or a time when the book would appear on school reading lists far and wide, so I came to it blessedly free of the sort of pop-cultural osmosis that would have spoiled the story for me before I ever had a chance to read it.

The plot is relatively simple: Atticus Finch, a white…

Teen Summer Reading Programs

The Adventures of Moore Magic – Tricks of the Trade - First you see it, now you don't. Unmask the mysterious world of magic with Larry Moore. The impossible becomes possible and the unbelievable believable—it will blow your mind!

Pratt City Branch – June 2 – 1:00 p.m.
Springville Road Branch – June 3 – 10:00 a.m.
Powderly Branch – June 4 – 1:30 p.m.
Central – June 8 – 2:00 p.m.
North Birmingham Branch – June 9 – 2:00 p.m.
Avondale Branch – June 11 – 2:00 p.m.
Wylam Branch – June 18 – 2:00 p.m.
Five Points West Branch – July 1 – 2:00 p.m.
West End Branch – July 8 – 1:00 p.m.
East Ensley Branch – July 9 – 2:00 p.m.
Smithfield Branch – July 14 – 10:00 a.m.

Unmask the Artist in You with Cherie Hunt - Local artist, Cherie Hunt, will provide step-by-step instructions for participants to complete their very own canvas masterpiece.

Smithfield Branch – June 9 – 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Branch – June 11 – 1:00 p.m.
East Ensley Branch – June 23 – 1:00 p.m.
West End Branch – June 24 – 1:00 p.m.

Children's Summer Reading Events

Backyard Heroes - Did you know that most superheroes have strengths and abilities inspired by real animals? Join us as the Alabama 4-H Coosa River Science School reveals some super astonishing facts about a few of our favorite reptiles, amphibians, and birds of prey. Who knows what super animal may be living in your backyard!

North Birmingham Branch – June 3 – 10:30 a.m.
West End Branch – June 4 – 11:00 a.m.
Wylam Branch- June 9 – 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Branch – June 10 – 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Branch – June 11 – 10:00 a.m.
Powderly Branch – June 15 – 10:00 a.m.
Woodlawn Branch – June 16 – 10:00 a.m.
North Avondale Branch – June 16 – 1:00 p.m.
Smithfield Branch – June 17 – 10:00 a.m.
Five Points West Branch – June 18 – 10:00 a.m.
Inglenook Branch– June 19 – 9:30 a.m.
Central – June 22 – 10:30 a.m.
Avondale Branch – June 23 – 6:30 p.m.
East Lake Branch – June 25 – 10:00 a.m.
East Ensley Branch – June 25 – 2:00 p.m.
Southside Branch – June 26 – 9:30 a.m.
Titusville Branch – June 30 …

Popular Urban Street Market in Historic Woodlawn Scheduled for June 20

Everyone in the Birmingham and surrounding areas is invited to attend the next Woodlawn Street Market on Saturday, June 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will be held right in the center of historic Woodlawn on 55th Place. This will be the first Woodlawn market of the year and more than 40 vendors are expected to participate and display their wares and crafts.

“Woodlawn Street Market has almost become the embodiment of renewed energy within Woodlawn, and it’s drawing people in,” said Bekah Fox of Woodlawn-based recording studio and record shop, Communicating Vessels. ”The street market is changing perceptions about our neighborhood, even inciting new levels of engagement amongst merchants. New and old businesses now consider their neighbors partners in a much larger effort to launch this community forward. The change is happening from within, and events like the Woodlawn Street Market showcase that vibrancy for the region to see.”

REV Birmingham is still seeking vendors for…

Ready to Buy a New Home? Find a Cheaper Mortgage

A few months ago, NPR had a great piece on new mortgage-finding tools from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many home buyers only talk to one lender. This can lead to a loss of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the mortgage. It is well worth a borrower's time to research the best mortgage rate available.

Birmingham Public Library has several books to make your home buying experience easier.

Home Buying Kit for Dummies by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown
How to Have a Stress Free Mortgage : Insider Tips from a Certified Mortgage Broker to Help Save You Time, Money, and Frustrationby Linda Fleischmann
Keep Calm... It's Just Real Estate : Your No-stress Guide to Buying a Home by Egypt Sherrod, host of Property Virgins

Book Review: Imogene in New Orleans

Imogene in New Orleans
Hunter Murphy

For those of you who don’t already know, Hunter Murphy is one of Birmingham Public Library's own. He started with BPL in the Business and Economics Department at Central, which is where we met and worked together lo, these many years ago. I can’t pretend to be unbiased—when the author is your friend it tends to color your perceptions. That said, I’ll do my best to be fair: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

If you “know what it means to miss New Orleans” you’ll enjoy this romp through its courtyards and squares. The descriptions of the city and the French Quarter are dead on. Even old friends of the Crescent City may discover facets of life they've only imagined and their appreciation for N’awlins will deepen.

When Jackson, Billy, and Billy’s mom, Imogene, discover one of their friends dead in his art gallery, the action begins. Suspects and suspicions abound until it seems almost everyone (except Imogene and the boys) have something to gain by his…

Children's Book Review: Listen, Slowly (Ages 8-12)

Listen, Slowly 
Thanhha Lai

Mia is a California girl through and through. Her Vietnamese heritage isn't quite as important to her as her beach-bound hometown and circle of friends. She loves her family and everything, but to a twelve-year-old on summer vacation, friends and first crushes trump everything. Mia’s parents just don’t understand the misery they are putting her through when they put her on a plane for Vietnam. Her father insists that she is the one best suited to accompany her grandmother to search for her long-lost husband, but she doesn't even know the language!

Mia’s grandmother is a selfless figure who risked everything to leave her home and start a new life for her family. Even though Mia owes everything to her, she can’t help but resent the fact that she has been uprooted for a hopeless quest. As expected, the trip is miserable. The heat is outrageous, Mia didn't pack the right clothing, the mosquitoes are out of control, and she has to use dial up to get…

Searching for a Hobby


Adult Summer Reading Program on Facebook

Adult Summer Reading Program 2015 (June 1-August 14) Welcome everybody! Summertime means reading time.  Don’t let the kids have all the summer reading fun!Join Birmingham Public Library for our Adult Summer Reading Program on Facebook. Summer reading for adults means reading challenges, sharing your reads, finding book suggestions, making book recommendations, great prizes and book fun. Adult Summer Reading Challenge: Every Friday at 5:00 p.m.(see dates below), we will draw names from people who have commented on our post (posted Friday morning) and told us the name of a book they have read. You may read any book you like. You must read at least one book during the week to be eligible for each weekly drawing. June 19
June 26
July 10
July 17
July 24 Read as many books as you can during the summer because on August 7 and August 14, there will be grand prize winners from all of the entries turned in during the summer. Follow our Adult Summer Reading Program 2015 Board on Pinterest. If you don&…

Teen Book Review: Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy
David Levithan

Narrated by Paul, a gay teen, this happy-go-quirky tale chronicles one academic year at a very non-conventional high school, where the quarterback/homecoming queen is a transvestite named Infinite Darlene, the cheerleaders ride Harleys, and being straight-out gay is perfectly okay. But even in this oasis of tolerance, Paul still has ordinary teenage problems. First, he starts dating Noah, a quiet, artistic newcomer at school, but finds that he may still have feelings for his ex, Kyle. Then, his best female friend, Joni, starts dating not-so-nice-guy Chuck, and begins drifting away from their close-knit circle of friends. What's a boy to do? A treasured classic in the LGBT community, Boy Meets Boy is a funny, touching story about acceptance of self and the true love our friends and family give us, despite the stupid mistakes we make. Recommended for all walks of life, Ages 13-Up.

Liz Winn
Microforms/Gov Docs
Central Library

Author Jerry Armor to Visit Springville Road Library, May 19

Join us at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library on Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m., for a book talk by Jerry Armor, author of A Home for Wayward Boys: The Early History of the Alabama Boys' Industrial School. The book tells the inspiring story of the school, its leaders, and the boys who lived there. A book signing will follow the program. Books will be available for purchase for $24.95. For more information call 226-4081.

Registration Open For June Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the June 2015 Classes.  All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES. To register for a class: ((Please note that registration does not necessarily guarantee you a spot in the class. You will receive an email confirming your registration for classes.  You may also call to confirm your registration) Complete name, address and phone information. PLEASE PRINT.Place a check mark in the check box next to the class(es) you would like to attend.Return the entire form to a staff person in the Public Computer Services department.You may also send an email to or use the online form to register.

Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers

Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers
Photographs by Beth Maynor Young; text by John C. Hall

Ah, spring! Time to get out and enjoy the warmth and the sun and the pollen! Recently, my family and I travelled to the wilds of Bibb County to see an increasingly rare sight: the blooming of the flower called the Cahaba Lily.

If you are not into long hikes into nature (like my spouse), then the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge near West Blocton, Alabama, is the place to go. There you can easily drive down the river bank to view one of the largest surviving stands of the Cahaba Lily, a beautiful flower that once was found on almost all Alabama rivers systems. In the 20th century, dams destroyed the habitat of almost all of these, leaving scattered areas of survivors in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

If even a short drive is too much, sit back and relax with this beautifully illustrated book. For armchair travelers, it is wonderful. Covering different Alabama river systems f…

How Do I Research My Family History?

The Southern History Department will offer several classes this month that will teach you the skills needed to start researching your family history. Set yourself up for success by taking one of these classes, and your family tree will begin to grow and take shape.

Introduction to Genealogy: If you do not know where to start researching your family history, this class is for you. We will cover such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, the Federal Census, and more. This month, we will be traveling to Homewood Public Library on Thursday, May 14th at 6:30 pm. This is a great opportunity to attend this class as we only teach it at night infrequently or for special events. The other time the class will be offered will be on Sunday, May 17th at 2:30 pm on the first floor of the Linn Henley building in the Southern History Department. No registration is required. If neither of those times are convenient, please check our upcoming class schedule.

The Bases Are Loaded! …

Book Review: I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist

I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist
Betty Halbreich with Rebecca Paley

Betty Halbreich is divorced. She works at a department store and is in sales. She lives in an apartment and takes the bus to work and I’ll Drink to That is her story, the story of a working woman, but not the average working woman. Her apartment is on Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and she works at Bergdorf Goodman and has a corner office that looks past the Plaza Hotel to Central Park and up Fifth Avenue. She’s a personal shopper and her client list runs from Betty Ford to Betty Cronkite (Walter’s wife), [the late] Joan Rivers and Babe Paley. She routinely advised the costume designers for Sex and the City as it was created and throughout its run. So, if you’re into fashion and in love with grand old department stores, Betty’s story is for you.

Betty gets to work early and spends her mornings pulling clothes from the racks for her clients who show up by appointment later in the day …

Triple Crown Craze: One Jewel Down, Two to Go

A king is seeking his crown.

Thoroughbred racing’s newest star, American Pharoah, tore down the homestretch at Churchill Downs on May 2, winning the Kentucky Derby by a length. The bay colt with the ocean-blue noseband thus victoriously claimed the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Thankfully, this means American Pharoah is more than a prancing, snorting reminder to use spell check. (An Egyptian king, or pharaoh, is misspelled as “pharoah” in his name.) Now, he’s a money-making reminder to use spell check.

On Saturday, May 16, this king’s campaign to conquer the big three of horseracing takes him to the Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness Stakes, only two weeks after the Derby, will test his endurance. Not only will he have to beat the biggest threats again, but he must also outrun fresh competitors that didn't race in the Derby.

Only eleven horses have won the Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. The…

How to Patent Your Invention

Do you have a great new invention? Are you unsure whether or not you’re the first one to think of it? If so, join us from 3:45-4:45 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2015, in the Regional Library Computer Center. We’ll be talking about patents and how to perform a basic search using databases from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are actually three different types of patents: design, plant, and utility. Utility patents are what most people think of when they hear the word “patent” and according to the USPTO, 90% of all patents granted today are utility patents.

The Birmingham Public Library is the only public library in Alabama to be named a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. This means that the staff have been specially trained to help inventors and entrepreneurs begin their patent search. Because patents are only granted to, “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof,” a thorough search …

Updated May 2015 Class Schedule

This is the current class schedule offered at the Regional Library Computer Center. Registration is open to the public and staff beginning the 15th of the month (for the following month’s classes). If the 15th falls on a weekend, the class schedule will be made available the next business day. Please continue to check our blog or Birmingham 365 for upcoming classes and workshops. For a PDF copy, please click on this link: May 2015 Classes .

Please note that the "Job Searching Tips with Jack Norris" class, scheduled previously for Tuesday, May 26, has been cancelled.

*ONLINE REGISTRATION SUBMISSIONS DO NOT GUARANTEE YOU SPACE IN THE CLASS. For immediate assistance or to learn of spaces still available in classes, please contact the Public Computer Services Department during regular library hours at 205-226-3681. Please allow two to four business days for registration confirmation.

Three Birmingham Artists Offer Unique Perspectives in Exhibit

Cory Casella, Melissa Shultz-Jones, and Paul Cordes Wilm are Birmingham artists with very unique perspectives, and their work will be showcased in the exhibit The Amazing Art of Local Curiosities at the Central Library's Fourth Floor Gallery from May 7 to June 26, 2015.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., in the Boardroom on the fourth floor.

On Saturday, June 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Casella will share his technique of drawing in pen with one continuous line. The event will be held in the Story Castle, 2nd Floor at the Central Library. Registration requested; call 226-3670.

On Tuesday, June 16, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., Shultz-Jones will lead a “Hero Art” session for children and accompanying adult family members in the Story Castle. Registration requested; call 226-3655.


One Liner Artwork: Cory Casella

Birmingham resident and software-developer Casella’s “one-liners” are a labyrinth of ink; he …