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Showing posts from February, 2016

Children's Book Review: Circus Mirandus (Ages 9-12)

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Circus Mirandus
Cassie Beasley

Micah Tuttle is about to lose his best friend and guardian, Grandpa Ephraim, to lung cancer. To make matters worse, his cantankerous Great-Aunt Gertrudis has come to town to tend her brother and she makes Micah miserable. The only bright spot in such a bleak situation is the assurance that Grandpa Ephraim’s stories about a magical circus are true and the circus’s most talented magician owes him a favor. With no time to waste, Micah and his friend Jenny have to locate the Circus Mirandus and make the magician cure his grandfather. Things are never as simple as they seem and setting out to conquer death even more so. Micah and Jenny marvel at the circus’s wonders while they learn that with miracles and magic, you don’t always get what you ask for.

This is a wonderful middle grade reader full of adventure, whimsy, and heart. It’s likely to appeal to both boys and girls, especially those that enjoy a bit of magic. The plot is exciting, if a little sad, and f…

Voter Info for Alabama's March 1 Primary Election

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Below are three resources our reference librarians chose to help you find the information you may find useful before you vote tomorrow. 



Voter Guide
BirminghamWatch and Weld For Birmingham, Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, Starnes Publishing, B-Metro, and Kaleidoscope collaborated to offer an interactive, factual, nonpartisan voter guide. It includes candidate profiles, sample ballots, answers about issues, campaign contributor lists, info on where to vote, and more. Good site for biographies of candidates. 

Alabama Votes: The State of Alabama's Official Election Center
Presented by the Secretary of State John H. Merrill, this site covers topics such as voter registration, the dates of the elections, and the voting procedures. There are links to sample ballots and the 2016 voter guide. Good site for sample ballots and voter status. 

League of Women Voters: Alabama Elections
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in gov…

Central Library to Host Final Small Business Seminar on March 7, 2016

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The Birmingham Public Library, in conjunction with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, will host the final Steps to Starting Your Business seminar on March 7, 2016, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminar by contacting Valencia S. Fisher in the Economic Development Office at valencia.fisher@birminghamal.gov or by phoning 205-254-2799.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the local chapter of SCORE. SCORE is a national nonprofit association consisting of volunteers with business skills and experience who want to share their knowledge with prospective entreprene…

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshops are Back!

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Our first Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop for 2016 will be Nonpopulation Schedules: A Sensible Guide to the Rest of Census, and it will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 10 am in the Arrington Auditorium. You are probably reading the title of the workshop and saying to yourself, “Wait, there are more types of censuses!” The U.S. federal census is the foundation of most genealogical research, but many genealogists overlook nonpopulation schedules as another valuable source of information. This Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop will introduce you to nonpopulation schedules (agricultural census, mortality schedules, social schedules, and even state censuses) and allow you to create a more complete record of your ancestors and the times in which they lived.

Workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us. The class will b…

Your Vote, Your Voice

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As Black History Month comes to a close, and during this 2016 election year, I’d like to focus on our president, President Barack Obama, and the importance of registering to vote.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a white mother and a black father. Mr. Obama overcame insurmountable odds to become the nation’s first African American president. As commander in chief, Obama has created jobs for thousands, defeated Osama Bin Laden, and implemented a health care plan that provides health care for even the poorest of individuals. President Obama is a shining example of how someone from simple obscurity can rise to hold the highest office in the land. President Obama is our 44th president, and, in my opinion, will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents that has ever served. If you would like to know more about the life of our president, BPL has several adult biographies, juvenile biographies, and DVDs for more in-depth study.

So in the spirit of patriotism and during this …

Central Library to Host Small Business Legal Strategies Seminar on Thursday, February 25

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On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the Central Library will be hosting the SCORE-sponsored small business seminar How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business. The seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, located on the 4th floor of the Linn- Henley Research Library.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=qlarezcab&oeidk=a07ec9rixveb06b329e.

The presenter for the seminar is Josh Andrews, a local Birmingham attorney who specializes in legal issues that are of concern to small business owners and entrepreneurs. A member of the Alabama State Bar since 2008, Mr. Andrews maintains the Legal to English Academy website, an important resource for e-books, webinars, and podcasts aimed at providing answers to business law questions.

Whether you are forming a new business or already running an established business, this seminar will help you develop a …

BPL Teens Engineer Program to Receive $50,000 Grant from UAB During February 25 Basketball Game

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The BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham, a program of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), will receive a $50,000 grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund grant program during the UAB Blazers men's basketball game Thursday, February 25. The check will be presented on the court to BPL staff during a commercial break. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. at Bartow Arena on the UAB campus.

Lance Simpson, system teen librarian for the Birmingham Public Library, said the grant will help expand the BPL’s teen engineering afterschool program, enabling it to serve more young people in Birmingham. Simpson and Carrie Campbell, grants and special projects librarian, submitted the grant application on behalf of BPL. He said the BPL Teens Engineer Birmingham program is grateful for the UAB Benevolent Fund and UAB employees for supporting their efforts to serve the teens of Birmingham.

“Our teens are very excited, and so are the UAB students with whom we've been working,” Simpson said. “This program will …

Bards, Brews, & Haiku

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Join us for Bards, Brews, & Haiku on March 4 at the Central Library.

Its an open mic event but there will be some haiku poets on hand for the event, including Terri French from Huntsville and Laurence Stacey from Atlanta.

There will be saké tasting along with beer from Band of Brothers. Katie Lott will be performing some musical selections beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Voice Porter will take over the mic at 7:00 p.m. to emcee an evening of poetry and haiku!

Southern History Book of the Month: The Night That Changed Our Lives: The Devil Pushed Me in a Pit but God Pulled Me Out

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The Night That Changed Our Lives: The Devil Pushed Me in a Pit but God Pulled Me Out
Kelly Garner

Two years ago Birmingham was still reeling from the aftermath of a snowfall that would come to be known as “Snowmageddon.” The weather forecast had predicted a light dusting of snow for the Birmingham metro area, with some heavier accumulation to the south of Jefferson County.

The forecast was wrong. Very wrong, much to the dismay of travelers and commuters who were caught in what would be considered a light snowfall in some cities, but in the Deep South our relationship with snow is . . . complicated. In The Night That Changed Our Lives, Kelly Garner shares how his experience with the storm could have ended in disaster for him and his family. Garner, who is diabetic, had been fasting in preparation for a hand surgery and left his home on foot to assist motorists stranded in the storm, figuring that people needed help and he was close to his house so there shouldn’t be a problem. But fast…

Registration Open For March 2016 Classes

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Registration is now open for staff and the public for the March 2016 classes.  During this month, we include our popular computer classes, as well as a variety of personal development classes.  All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.

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.

To register for any class, please email us at cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681.   You may also download and print a pdf copy of the March 2016 class schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the March 2016 class schedule can also be sent to us as an attachment attachment.

Book Review: Bad Blood: A Memoir

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Bad Blood: A Memoir
By Lorna Sage

Growing up in a “rural slum” in Hanmer, Wales, in the '40s and '50s wouldn’t have been easy for anyone, and Lorna Sage couldn’t begin to fit in. She was socially inept, her family was more than usually dysfunctional, and her grandfather, a priest, had shamed the family with an extramarital affair in the Thirties, and the shame lived on into Lorna’s generation.

Lorna’s family didn’t speak Welsh. They had poor-to-nonexistent social skills. They lived in a dirty environment, but didn’t care too much as there was their dirt and other people’s dirt, the only kind that counted. Her home relied on gas lamps and candles, common in Hanmer at the time. Lorna’s madrassah-like school stressed two things above all, “obedience and knowing things by heart.” The village was characterized by “hierarchy and immobility,” something that Alabamians can recognize.

Lorna’s grandpa, an Anglican priest in the Church of Wales, had his affair with a young woman, shaming…

Four Shillings Short to Perform Free Family Concert at Springville Road Library on March 15

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Four Shillings Short will perform a concert on Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m., at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library. They will perform traditional and original music from the Celtic lands, medieval and Renaissance Europe, India, and the Americas on over 30 world instruments. The husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland, and Christy Martin from California, have been performing together since 1995. They tour in the US and Ireland, traveling from town to town playing at music festivals, theatres, performing arts centers, folk and historic societies, libraries, museums, and schools.

They have tailored their library concerts, which last from 40 to 90 minutes, to be educational as well as entertaining. During the program they will introduce each instrument, talk about its history, and follow with a demonstration in the form of a song or instrumental piece. The group's main objective is to give people, young and old, an opportunity to experience traditional folk a…

Birmingham Public Library Mourns the Death of To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee, a native of Monroeville, Alabama, died on February 19. She was 89.

“Lee’s voice in the literary world will be sorely missed,” said Angela Fisher Hall, director of the Birmingham Public Library.

“The Birmingham Public Library joins fans across the world in mourning the death of author Harper Lee,” Hall said. “She was a true icon in American Literature.”

Lee’s family released a statement to the media confirming her death, saying she died in her sleep early Friday, February 19. Though Lee had a stroke several years ago, she had been in good health despite her age recently. Her death caught family and fans off guard.

“This is a sad day for our family. America and the world knew Harper Lee as one of the last century's most beloved authors," Hank Conner, Lee's nephew and a spokesman for the family, said in a statement Friday morning. "We knew her as Nelle Harper Lee, a loving member of our family, a devoted friend to the many g…

Miss Iwate Gets a Makeover!

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Miss Iwate Gets a Makeover!

Miss Iwate will soon be ready for her “big reveal” after a major makeover in Japan. The lovely lass is 89 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 6.
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA), is planning an extraordinary Cherry Blossom Festival for March 2016 around the return of BPL’s friendship doll, Miss Iwate. Miss Iwate, who has called BPL home since 1928, went to Japan in September 2015 for long-awaited restoration work and will return to Birmingham just in time for the festival.
Miss Iwate’s Story Miss Iwate, a dollmade by master Japanese doll makers, came to the United States in 1927 as part of a goodwill effort during a period of growing tension between the United States and Japan. Dr. Sidney Lewis Gulick, an American missionary to Japan, organized an effort to raise funds to send dolls to the children of Japan in an effort to ease tensions. About 12,700 dolls American-made dolls were sent to …

Throwback Thursday 100 years ago in 1916

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You may be familiar with the social media trend of Throwback Thursday #TBT in which users post pictures of a different era on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms and fondly remember what life was like during that time period. The Southern History Department is adapting Throwback Thursday on its Facebook page and giving you a glimpse into what life was like in Birmingham 100 years ago in 1916. The staff of the Southern History Department have scoured the Birmingham newspapers on microfilm to bring you interesting stories, people, places, and advertisements. Here are just a few of the exciting things that happened already in Birmingham by February 1916.
Florence Hotel

Boys' Industrial School 

Roebuck Springs 

This week, we are highlighting a Birmingham first. Here’s a hint: Eddie Rickenbacker was a World War I ace pilot, but prior to the war, he was famous for what?

Find out by visiting Southern History Department's Facebook page. Then, like The Sout…

Central Library to Host Small Business Seminar on February 25

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On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the Central Library will be hosting the SCORE-sponsored small business seminar How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business. The seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn- Henley Research Library building. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=qlarezcab&oeidk=a07ec9rixveb06b329e.

The presenter for the seminar is Josh Andrews, a local Birmingham attorney who specializes in legal issues that are of concern to small business owners and entrepreneurs. A member of the Alabama State Bar since 2008, Mr. Andrews maintains the Legal to English Academy website, an important resource for e-books, webinars, and podcasts aimed at providing answers to business law questions.

Whether you are forming a new business or already running an established business, this seminar wil…

Downton Abbey Celebration Tea Party

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You are invited to attend an elegantly English tea at Central Library in the Arrington Auditorium on Saturday, March 12 @ 2:00 to celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey.

 We will have tea, enjoy delicious treats, discuss our favorite episodes, talk about our favorite characters and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6. Costume is encouraged but not required. Please bring your favorite tea cup and saucer.  Prizes will be awarded to the trivia winners, best costume and most unique tea cup.
We hope to see you there dressed in your Downton best!



Please send an email to cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line “Downton Abbey Tea ” to register for this event.

For more information, please contact Leslie Deason @ 205-226-3680 or at ldeason@bham.lib.al.us

Central Library to Host Local Authors Expo February 20, Author Talk by Todd Gerelds and Free Screening of Woodlawn February 21

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What: 2016 Local Authors Expo and Book Fair, free event featuring 100 authors selling their books and two workshops on writing a children’s book and marketing your book
When: Saturday, February 20, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What: Book signing/talk by Todd Gerelds, author of Woodlawn, followed by free showing of the movie Woodlawn
When: Sunday, February 21, 2:15 p.m.

Where: Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama, 35203

Note: All author slots have been filled. Attending the Local Authors Expo is free for the general public, no registration required. For more information, contact David Blake at 205-226-3686 or dblake@bham.lib.al.us. Media requests for interviews should go to Roy L. Williams, director of public relations, at 205-226-3746 and rlwilliams@bham.lib.al.us.

If you are an avid reader or want to learn more about how to publish and market a book, then you don’t want to miss the 2016 Local Authors Expo and Book Fair taking place February 20 at the Central Library.

Black Heritage Expo to Be Held at Central Library, February 13

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On Saturday, February 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group (BAAGG) will host its Black Heritage Expo at the Central Library.

At the expo, you can experience black history displays, African dance and music, and workshops on genealogy and how to research your African American ancestry. Various vendors will display their wares. The expo will be in the Arrington Auditorium located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail info@baagginc.org or check out the group’s website, www.baagginc.org.

BAAGG, founded in 1999, is the oldest African American genealogy organization in Alabama, said John Lanier, parliamentarian and one of its instructors. The group’s purpose is to educate African Americans about their ancestry. He said with assistance, many African Americans can trace their family history back to 1870, when former black slaves and their ancestors were for …

To Boldly Go…

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I have always read science fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels. By the time I entered junior high school, I was an avid science fiction and fantasy reader. It was the excitement and possibilities of other worlds and civilizations that grabbed and held my attention. As the title of this article suggests, I didn’t just restrict myself to reading science fiction and fantasy, I watched it as well. I always wondered why there weren’t many black science fiction and fantasy writers and it always made me sad when I would think about it.

Fast forward thirty years...there are now several black science fiction and fantasy authors who have made a name for themselves in these genres. Because it’s Black History Month, I thought this would be a timely topic. Please remember, if we don’t have some of these author’s works in our collection at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), we would be happy to do an Interlibrary Loan and acquire the book for you. Also, please note that these authors ar…

BPL Young Professional Board Member Profile: Latasha Watters

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What is your full name, age, and occupation?
Latasha Denise Watters, 30, Customer Service Coordinator at Zyp Bikeshare

Why did you get involved with the Birmingham Public Library Young Professional Board?
I have a background in scholarly publishing and a masters degree in library and information services. I love the library and the smell of books, so I figured why not participate in something that gives me joy.

Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch of the Birmingham Public Library system?
It would have to be fifty-fifty between the Central Branch and the North Birmingham Branch. I get books from downtown and movies from North Birmingham.

Would you rather read on an e-reader or a book?
I prefer the smell of books and the feel of them. I do have books on my iPad but they are kinda just sitting there at the moment.

What is your favorite website or form of social media.
I use Facebook. A lot.

What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham?
I've only been back in Bir…

Online Databases Great for That Last-Minute Project Your Kid Just Told You About

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Help! It’s 10:00 on Sunday night and my child has a report due in the morning!

Parents, don’t despair. Although we certainly don’t advocate waiting until the last minute, with a library card and an Internet connection, your child can actually make that deadline.

We’re seeing a lot of folks doing Black History reports this month, but the databases are great sources for all kinds of reference work—including financial, business, automotive repair, genealogy, legal, medical, and social. The Internet is a powerful tool, but there are no laws or rules regulating the content. You might get lucky with a Google search and get to some accurate and current information, but why gamble with your grade? Using the library’s free resources you are guaranteed the information you need will be current, accurate, and (critically important for school papers) citable.

Search databases by subject, audience, name, and accessibility. You’ll be amazed at the types of information available through …

Postcards from Miss Iwate #7

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前略

My “Welcome Home” party at Senmaya Elementary School in Iwate. The school’s “blue-eyed dolls” are with me. Aren’t the kids adorable?

草々
Suzuko Iwate

Andrew Glaze (April 21, 1920 – February 7, 2016)

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Alabama poet, playwright, and novelist Andrew Glaze died on Sunday February 7th at the age of 95. The 7th Poet Laureate of Alabama, Glaze was inducted as part of the first class of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, which included Harper Lee and Zora Neale Hurston.
Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston
A Birmingham resident, Glaze was the focus of an exhibit, Daze of Glaze, that at the Central Library from November 6th through the end of last year. His work was also featured at the November 2016 Bards, Brews & Haiku.

Survived by his wife and children and a full and diverse body of work, a full posting about Glaze, his work, and decades long career was published last October.

An obituary by the Associated Press is available on al.com.

Allie Graham
Central Library
Arts, Literature, Sports

Birmingham Public Library Inviting Students to Participate in WORD UP! Spoken Word Competition

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The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is inviting young poets in Jefferson County to participate in WORD UP!, a poetry slam for students enrolled in high schools—or homeschooled—in Jefferson County.

The ninth annual event will be held on Sunday, April 10, at 3:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library. The slam is sponsored by BPL and Real Life Poets, a non-profit creative writing organization based in Birmingham. Students in grades 9 through 12 write and perform an original work of poetry inspired by a theme selected by the WORD UP! planning committee. The theme for WORD UP! 2016 is “Speak Out!”

Visit the WORD UP! webpage for details at http://www.jclc.org/wordup.aspx.

Each participating high school holds a preliminary contest, and the winners from each school compete in the WORD UP! competition. The deadline for schools to sign on to participate is February 19. For more information, call 205-226-3670 or e-mail hm@bham.lib.al.us. Each school should designate a sta…

Birmingham Public Library Kicks Off New Sessions of 1-2-3 Play with Me on February 9

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Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is providing a special time and place for parents to visit the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with their babies or toddlers. This five-week program involves children birth through age 3 and their parents or caregivers. The library will have age-appropriate toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, BPL will invite special guests from the community to join parents/caregivers each week to answer questions about parenting.

1-2-3 Play with Me emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitates early intervention, and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy. 1-2-3 Play with Me is the signature event for Family Place Libraries and is a community project grant recipient of the Junior League of Birmingham, said Janine Langston, western region c…

Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Event to Be Held Friday, February 5, at Central Library

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WHO: Birmingham Public Library
WHAT: Bards & Brews Poetry Performance/Beer Tasting
WHEN: Friday, February 5, 2016, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Central Library, 2100 Park Place
TIME: Music starts at 6:30 p.m. and poetry performances begin at 7:00 p.m.

 Birmingham Public Library's (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series will host an open mic event Friday, February 5, at the Central Library.

Usually held the first Friday of each month, the event will feature free craft beer provided by Sweet Water Brewing Company. The J. Clyde will handle the pouring. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with live music from Susan Lawrence, beer tasting, and light refreshments. The poetry begins to flow at 7:00 p.m. with Brian "Voice Porter" Hawkins serving as host.

The event is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Admission is free and open to…

Downton Abbey Celebration Tea Party

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You are invited to attend an elegantly English tea at Central Library in the Arrington Auditorium on Saturday, March 12 @ 2:00 to celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey.

 We will have tea, enjoy delicious treats, discuss our favorite episodes, talk about our favorite characters and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6. Costume is encouraged but not required. Please bring your favorite tea cup and saucer.  Prizes will be awarded to the trivia winners, best costume and most unique tea cup.
We hope to see you there dressed in your Downton best!



Please send an email to cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line “Downton Abbey Tea ” to register for this event.

For more information, please contact Leslie Deason @ 205-226-3680 or at ldeason@bham.lib.al.us

Birmingham Public Library Locations Hosting Variety of Black History Month Programs and Activities

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Our Quilts, Our Souls, Our Heritage is one of the many special events
scheduled during Black History Month at the Birmingham Public Library
There will be plenty of opportunities to learn about African American history at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) during Black History Month in February.

At the West End Branch Library on February 24, Lawson State Community College Adjunct History Professor Gregory Wilson will present The Harton Family: A Photographic Journey, a program highlighting how a student discovered her ancestral family through a Birmingham Public Library exhibit curated by Andrew Nelson in 2012.

The Central Library's Beyond the Basics of Genealogy program on February 6 will present The Ties That Bind: Connecting to your Alabama Slave and Slaveholder Ancestors. On February 19, the Powderly Branch Library will host Healthy Soul Food Cooking with Chef E.

Also on February 19, the Springville Road Regional Branch Library will present Common Threads: Our Quilts, Our Sou…