Showing posts from May, 2016

Bards & Brews Goes on the Road to Avondale Library on June 3, Vestavia Hills Library in July

The Birmingham Public Library's popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series is going on the road from its usual home downtown this summer. On Friday, June 3, Bards & Brews will hold an open mic performance at the Avondale Regional Branch Library. On Friday, July 8, spoken word artists will be able to participate in an open mic night at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest.

The Avondale Library event on June 3 will feature free craft beer sampling courtesy of Avondale Brewing Co.The J. Clyde will handle the pouring. The festivities start at 6:30 p.m. with live music from Bob Marston (performing in place of Josh Wheeler), 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 the public; however, attendees must be at least …

Central Library Hosting Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar on June 6

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host several small business seminars over the next several months beginning Monday, April 4, 2016. The seminars will take place at the Central Library.

The small business seminars are being offered by BPL in partnership with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development.  The final Steps to Starting Your Business seminar will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 6, in the Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium, located on the fourth floor of the Linn-Henley Research Building.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the Birmingham chapter of SCORE, a national nonprofit comprised of volunteers willing to share their business knowledge and experience with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of business owners start or grow their business.

The seminars are free but registration in advance is requir…

Summer Beach Reads

I know it's not unusual for Alabama, but it feels like we went from winter directly into summer.  Our 70-degree days have been replaced by 80s and 90s.  We may as well head down to the beach, lie around in swimsuits, and listen to the waves.  Grab a cool glass of your favorite beverage, put on some sunscreen, relax, and enjoy these new summer titles.  Descriptions are from the publisher.

Forever Beach  by Shelley Noble
Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter, Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug-addicted mother who abandoned her. Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very surviva…

Book Review: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome 
Mary Beard

I’ve always looked askance at "revisionist history." I mean, if a history is good enough for Livy, Suetonius, and Gibbon, it should be good enough for the rest of us, right? To be more honest, I don’t want to be confronted with the possibility that what I learned in school was actually closer to myth, or worse, propaganda. So I stick with the traditional interpretations, but if anyone could change my taste in history, it’s Mary Beard.

Mary Beard is a professor of classics at Cambridge. You may know her for her popular blog, A Don's Life, which is available through the Times Literary Supplement webpage. SPQR is a revisionist history, but a revisionist history without any particularly slant or bias. She covers the era of 63 BCE to 212 CE. (And yes that’s a lot of years to cover in a mere 536 pages, but her entertaining tales make the pages fly by.)

Beard begins her work not with the mythical beginnings of Romulus, Remus, and the …

Award-Winning Children's Entertainer Anna Moo to Hold Free Concert at Central Library on June 8

Award-winning children's singer/songwriter Anna Moo will perform at the Central Library on Wednesday, June 8, 10:00 a.m.

Anna Moo grew up on a sheep ranch outside of Sacramento, California. In the early '70s, she moved with her family to Chile and later Venezuela. In Chile Moo learned to play the guitar at the age of 11.

Upon returning to the United States, Anna began singing and performing professionally while in high school. She sang original songs in coffee houses and clubs in Florida, California, and New York City. After almost a half a decade living in New York City, she returned to the quiet countryside near Gainesville, Florida. She married entertainer Terry Moo, and they currently live on four acres of farmland in Newberry, Florida.

Anna Moo was inspired to write music for children after having two children of her own. Moo's first release; Making Moosic, was picked up by Warner Brothers Records and Music for Little People.

After the success of Making Moosic—a …

Free Tailgate Party with NFL Football Player Jerricho Cotchery

The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host Score Big with the Cotchery Foundation. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with BPL to host yet another amazing series of events for the 2016 teen summer reading program.

Qualified Get In The Game, READ participants will have the opportunity to attend a free teen tailgate party at the Central Library on June 24, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Visit any BPL location for more details and to register.

Southern History Book of the Month: Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division

Send the Alabamians: World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division
Nimrod T. Frazer

One hundred years ago, America was on the brink of its entry into World War I. Though our country’s involvement was not official until the declaration of war against the German Empire in 1917, there was already a feeling that our participation could not be delayed much longer. In Send the Alabamians, Nimrod Frazer traces the role of the 167th Infantry Alabama Regiment in the 42nd “Rainbow” Division and their exploits during WWI, starting with the Mobilization of the Alabama National Guard in 1916 in case troops were needed for fighting in Mexico. As Frazer points out, many young men saw enlistment as a valuable opportunity:
The Guard . . . suddenly offered young men to walk away from the simple lives that many had never been able to escape. Now they might travel to unknown places, eat healthy food, wear good clothes, and earn income for doing work that upright citizens respected and valued. Many young m…

Library Board Awards First “Innovative” Award to Pratt City Library

A new program at the Pratt City Branch Library that provides career survival tips for teenagers is the first recipient of the Birmingham Public Library Board of Directors’ new "Innovative” grant.

The Pratt City Branch Library Career Survival Kit program was the first recipient, and presented four teenagers from the surrounding community a gift pack during an event held on May 18.

During the program, speakers shared tips on such topics as:

Proper preparation for the job searchProper introductions and tips on “The Importance of the Handshake”Tips on first impressions and how attitude and body language can impact a job interview (both good and bad)Appropriate conversations to have on the jobAppropriate dress in the workplaceThe importance of showing integrity at all times and going the extra mileHow to lead by being a team playerHow to give a good interview

The four participants who attended the initial program were all South Hampton School eighth-graders: Khaleb McDonald, Omari …

Book Review: The Sound of All Things

The Sound of All Things
Myron Uhlberg; illustrated by Ted Papoulas

A young teen is frustrated because his father is always asking him what things sound like. He doesn’t have the words and when he tries it isn’t good enough. His dad is deaf and so is his mom. He sometimes wishes he had normal parents. Myron Uhlberg and Ted Papoulas’s The Sound of All Things takes place in the vibrant Brooklyn of the nineteen-thirties, mostly on Coney Island on a sunny day when the beach and the amusement park are swarming with people. The illustrations are like a colorized movie from that era, lush and full of detail. Every corner of the illustrations has its own sound. We know the sounds, but, just like the deaf father, we can’t hear the sounds. The illustrations are as silent for us as Brooklyn is for the deaf parents. How to describe the sounds?

The underlying story of The Sound of All Things is the boy’s everyday struggle for empathy with his parents. He gains a whole new way to communicate with hi…

Inglenook Library’s Summer Reading Kickoff Party

On Tuesday, May 31, at 3:30 p.m., the Inglenook Branch Library will have its summer reading kickoff party! There will be light refreshments, games, summer reading registration, an opportunity for folks to sign up for library cards, and a live performance by the Springville Road’s Children’s Department. Carolyn Cauthen, president of the Inglenook Neighborhood Association, will also assist us in getting the community excited about reading and participating in the summer reading program.

If you need some motivation and would like to know what the Inglenook Library has in store this summer, come out on May 31 and party with us!

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Branch Library

Registration for 2016 Birmingham Public Library Summer Reading Programs Under Way

The 2016 summer reading schedule has over 500 programs and activities for youth, teens and adults at 19 library locations across Birmingham.

Last summer, 18,418 BPL patrons attended 558 programs at 19 library locations and read more than 52,000 books.

Registration is under way now, with forms available in any of the 19 BPL locations. If you don’t have time to visit a BPL location, click on the link below to register online, log your books, and view the event calendar:

Have a teenager who loves to play video games? Ever wondered what goes into designing them? Then register your teen for Get in the Game with Virtual Reality, a workshop in which UAB’s ETLab (Enabling Technologies Laboratory) will provide an awesome interactive presentation and discussion for teens regarding virtual reality complete with giant screens

Want to have fun exploring chemical reactions, such as mixing diet Coke with Mentos candy? Then your teen…

Miss Iwate, BPL's Japanese Friendship Doll, Gets Visit from the Japan External Trade Organization

Miss Iwate, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)'s Japanese Friendship Doll, received a visit on May 19, 2016, from representatives of her home country. Motoi Hotta, director of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and Norikazu Mori, chief executive director of JETRO, got an up close and personal view of Miss Iwate inside the Linn-Henley Building at the Central Library.

Miss Iwate, who originally came to BPL in July 1928 as part of a Japan-United States goodwill doll exchange, returned to Japan in September 2015 for a “makeover” carried out by the Yoshitoku Doll Company. When her restoration was completed, Miss Iwate was on display from December 24, 2015, to March 6, 2016, at the Iwate Prefectural Museum in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. She returned to Birmingham in mid-March 2016 ready to continue her role as ambassador of peace and friendship with renewed enthusiasm. A “welcome home” celebration was held for her at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival sponsored by the Jap…

Poetry In You Contest, Summer Poetry Seminars to Be Held at Birmingham Public Library

Roderick Woods has been hosting free Poetry In You workshops at various Birmingham Public Library (BPL) locations and city schools for 14 years.

This summer, the Birmingham native is taking his passion for teaching young people the benefits of honing their poetry and spoken word skills to the next level in partnership with BPL and the Bessemer Public Library. In addition to several free poetry workshops being offered at three area libraries, on July 23, Woods will be hosting the first Poetry In You Contest at the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library. The winners will receive $1,000 in cash, gifts, and prizes.

The poetry contest in two divisions—ages 7 to 12 and 13 to 16—will be open to the first 80 entries, Woods said. The theme “Global Warming, My Future” is designed to get young people to learn research skills about an important topic that affects everyone, Woods said. Participants can sign up on the Poetry In You Facebook page or contact Woods for details at 205-260-0326.…

Book Review: Chess for Dummies

Chess for Dummies
James Eade

Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of chess? With elements of art, science, arithmetic, and sport, chess is not merely a game to me, but rather an intellectual matching of the minds between two individuals trying to reach the inevitable goal of checkmate! I’ve been playing chess for years, and the more I play, the more I am fascinated by this intriguing game. Whether you’re a beginner trying to learn the ropes, or an experienced player trying to improve your game, Chess for Dummies is a wonderful book.

Chess for Dummies covers a brief history of chess, the basic rules of the game, and how to best play the game. With clear and easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations, anyone can pick up this book and be ready to play a legitimate game of chess within a couple of hours. For anyone interested in learning how to play or improve on his/her chess game without all of the in-depth theory, dogma, and rhetoric that other chess books offer, this book is for you.


Summer Reading 2016 Programs for Adults

The Birmingham Public Library has a summer of fun planned with activities, programs, and prizes for children, teens, and adults. Register for Summer Reading 2016 at your favorite branch, or visit BPL's summer reading page to register online, log your books, view the event calendar, and more.

Below is a list of system-wide summer reading programs for adults, but check the event calendar for a complete list of programs happening at all BPL locations this summer.

Coloring for Adults – Summer is the perfect time to discover something new, have fun, and relax. Join us to explore your creative side and discover the benefits of coloring. We supply the coloring sheets, color pencils, and crayons. Come by for a fun and creative experience. We hope you will join us.

North Birmingham – June 20, 10:00 a.m.
Woodlawn – July 18, 2:00 p.m.

Device Training – Downloadables – Summer is the ideal time to explore an interesting subject or learn something new. Would you like to learn how to download an…

Summer Reading 2016 Programs for Children

The Birmingham Public Library has a summer of fun planned with activities, programs, and prizes for children, teens, and adults. Register for Summer Reading 2016 at your favorite branch, or visit BPL's summer reading page to register online, log your books, view the event calendar, and more.

Below is a list of system-wide summer reading programs for children, but check the event calendar for a complete list of programs happening at all BPL locations this summer.

On Your Mark, Get Set…Dance!  – Come down to the library to learn the latest dance moves with M.A.D Skillz Dance Company. Dance is a great way to exercise and lots of fun at the same time. Learn to move and groove and have lots of fun.

North Birmingham – June 9, 10:30 a.m.
Central – June 14, 10:00 a.m.
Woodlawn – June 16, 10:00 a.m.
Powderly – June 20, 10:00 a.m.
East Ensley – June 21, 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City – June 22, 10:00 a.m.
Avondale – June 22, 2:00 p.m.
East Lake – June 23, 10:00 a.m.
Wylam – June 28, 10:00 a.m.

Summer Reading 2016 Programs for Teens

The Birmingham Public Library has a summer of fun planned with activities, programs, and prizes for children, teens, and adults. Register for Summer Reading 2016 at your favorite branch, or visit BPL's summer reading page to register online, log your books, view the event calendar, and more.

Below is a list of system-wide summer reading programs for teens, but check the event calendar for a complete list of programs happening at all BPL locations this summer.

Get in the Chemistry Game – Have some fun with chemical reactions and see that chemistry is cool. We'll be exploring states of matter by making elephant toothpaste, mixing Diet Coke with Mentos, and much more. Don't miss this explosively good time.

Pratt City – June 1, at 2:00 p.m.
Ensley – June 2, at 10:00 a.m.
North Birmingham – June 7, at 2:00 p.m.
Wylam – June 16, at 1:00 p.m.
Powderly – June 30, at 1:00 p.m.
Five Points West – July 6, at 2:00 p.m.
East Ensley – July 7, at 2:00 p.m.
Smithfield – July 19, at 10:00…

Registration Open For June 2016 Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the June 2016 Computer Class Schedule.  During this month, we include our popular computer classes, such as Basic PC and Keyboarding, as well as job search 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 or call 205-226-3681.   You may also download and print a pdf copy of June 2016 Computer Class Schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the June 2016 Computer Class Schedule pdf can be sent to us as an email attachment.

LGBT Rights: A Historical Perspective

With the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots coming up in the next few years, I felt a need to write down a few resources I found helpful to put these issues into perspective. With this in mind, the 38th annual Central Alabama Pridefest will be taking place June 4-12. On Saturday, June 11, the Pride Parade will be taking place. Its route will be on the Southside around Five Points South. Jordin Sparks will be the headliner on Sunday, June 12, at Sloss Furnances. For more information about Central Alabama Pride, see their website at

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
An easy read. The book is 120 pages long, so a fast read as well. Full of illustrations and clear, action-oriented prose. Written in a way that a teenager would understand it. A great introduction to the subject.

American Experience: Stonewall Uprising (DVD)
At 90 minutes long, a great documentary telling about the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969. The f…

Career Survival Kit Program to Take Place May 17 at Pratt City Library

The Birmingham Public Library system’s board of directors and the Pratt City Branch Library will present Career Survival Kit for young adults on Tuesday, May 17, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Pratt City Library.

The program is open to the public and is part of a continuing effort by the library to provide services to uplift the community, said Deborah Drake Blackmon, branch manager of the Pratt City Library.

Refreshments will be served. For more details, call 205-791-4997.

Summer Reading Signup Begins May 16!

Register online or in person at your favorite Birmingham Public Library location for Summer Reading 2016. BPL has a summer of fun planned with activities, programs, and prizes for children, teens, and adults. Check with your library for more information about Summer Reading, and visit our online calendar for a list of BPL summer reading events. (Check back throughout May as the list is updated with additional programs.)

Book Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Maria Semple

I rarely use the word "delightful" in a book review, but that's what comes to mind after listening to this book about depression and some possible mental illness that somehow manages to be somber and hilarious at the same time. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple is told through e-mails, letters, receipts, and official documents, a writing style I normally avoid like the plague because of how it chops up the flow of the story for me. But there is a reason that the story is told mostly through correspondence, and we see it come full circle as the mystery is revealed at the end.

Misanthropic, agoraphobic Bernadette Fox moved from California to gloomy Seattle when her husband, Elgie Branch, a Steve Jobs-type tech guru and "fourth-most-watched TED talk ever" superstar, got a job working at Microsoft on Samantha 2, a secret project that entails slapping a transmitter strip on one's forehead and typing an …

Body Changers Program at Springville Road Library to Offer Weight Loss Support

These days, many people are concerned with reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle, but don’t know where to get started. At Springville Road Regional Branch Library, we're introducing a new, informal community-based health program: Body Changers.

Beginning May 15, 2016, we'll meet every Sunday afternoon from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the meeting room to weigh in, swap successful tips and recipes, pick up information on diets and exercise plans, and encourage each other. There is no diet or exercise plan preferred over any other and no registration or fee. This program welcomes all members of the community. This group is not affiliated with any commercial program, and does not promote any specific plan or product.

Information on diets and exercise will be available for those who need it. We hope to change our lives for the better, enhance our body images, offer support and encouragement to each other, and make new friends.

As part of this program, we will be offering i…

Gifts of a Wordsmith Will Host Poetry Readaround at Central Library, May 10

The Birmingham Public Library invites the public to join an evening of poetry hosted by Gifts of a Wordsmith, the poetry group for adults which meets at the Central Library on the first Tuesdays of each month. On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 6:00-7:45 p.m., Gifts of A Wordsmith will host a special poetry readaround.

Participants have been honing their lyrical skills with the help of instructors Tina Mozelle Braziel and Alicia Clavell, and this event will allow them to share their accomplishments. Fellow poetry lovers are also invited to share their work in a relaxed, accepting setting. Light refreshments will be served.

“The creative atmosphere and spirit of community that the Birmingham Public Library provides is the perfect place for workshop participants from all levels to work on their writing in a safe, friendly environment,” Clavell said.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Haruyo Miyagawa, head of the Arts, Literature and Sports Department at the …

Central Library Hosting New Art Gallery Exhibit Featuring Birmingham Artist Merrilee Challiss

“Everything going forward must be either an elegy (for what we have lost) or a celebration (of what we have left). Or both.”

Those are the reflective words of Birmingham artist Merrilee Challiss. From May 7, 2016, through June 24, 2016, the Birmingham Public Library will showcase the artwork of Merrilee Challiss at the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery. Enjoy energetic paintings and mixed media works of a pensive, psychedelic nature. Together these works make up Challiss’ New Ideal: New Works exhibit.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Merrilee Challiss is an artist based in Birmingham. She received her Bachelor’s in Art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Master’s in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 2015, she did residencies at Signal Fire, Portland, Oregon, and Starry Night Retreat, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. You can check out her work at or

“The …

Cahaba Lilies Are In Bloom

Every year around Mother's Day, the world's largest remaining stands of the Cahaba lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) burst forth into a stunning display of blooms. Each bloom lasts for one day before wilting and falling into water.

These lilies require a habitat that includes swift moving water, lots of direct sunlight, as well as the presence of the plebeian sphinx moth which pollinates the flowers and once allowed them to flourish in shoals in many of the rivers and streams of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The lily is currently listed as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The plant is known as the Shoal Spider lily or Shoals lily in other states and - historically - the largest stands could be found in the Black Warrior River before locks and dams were built to raise the water level for river traffic in the early 20th Century. I have heard that the stands of Cahaba lilies on the Black Warrior contained hundreds of thousands of blooms before the…

YA Book Review: Carry On

Carry On Rainbow Rowell
Remember how much Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hate each other in the Harry Potter series? Imagine if they were forced to be roommates. Imagine if they were forced to work together! Now, imagine that, despite their intense mutual dislike, they’re both secretly crushing on each other! Now: put them into a situation that forces them to both work together, and confront their undeniable attraction. Now change their names from Harry and Draco to Simon and Baz, and you have Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. That’s essentially what it is: a Harry Potter slash fiction rip-off. But oh, what a magnificent rip-off it is! Here’s the plot in a nutshell:
Simon Snow, an eighth-year student at Britain’s Watford School of Magicks, is the most powerful magician of his generation, and the one prophesied to defeat the Insidious Humdrum. His latest year at school isn’t going so well. His headmaster and mentor, the Mage, normally lets him in on his battle-plans against the Humdrum, but now…

Public Libraries Abundant Source of Professional Development Resources

A few weeks ago, I attended the Public Library Association (PLA) conference in Denver, Colorado. The experience was enriching and reaffirmed the passion that I have as a librarian and the impact that I would like to make in the community that I serve. I attended several sessions and interacted with librarians from all over the country and from unique libraries. I was able to exchange ideas and share my experiences on many levels—from the overarching passion to some of the frustrations—and listen to those of other librarians. That part of the experience was especially liberating and therapeutic and that, along with the sessions that I attended, made me realize the importance of professional development.

Professional development in any field is a necessity in order to stay relevant and knowledgeable of different trends and changes and to even evaluate job performance objectively. Additionally, studies on professional development prove that when employees are well trained and receive …

Library Board Challenges Staff to Develop Innovative Programs

In an effort to help staff provide cool and innovative public programs, the Birmingham Public Library Board is paying it forward.

At its March 2016 board meeting, the group adopted a recommendation from the Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development Committee to establish an award program for staff. The award will provide up to two $50 stipends to each Birmingham Public Library location to sponsor an innovative program. The funds should assist staff in bringing new ideas to the library or provide extra support to existing programs. In order to qualify, staff should submit a brief paragraph or two explaining to the board how they will use the funds. Submissions are due by the 15th of each month.

The idea for the award was brought to the Advocacy Committee by committee member Gwendolyn Amamoo. The Advocacy Committee presented the idea to the board for approval. Upon the board’s approval, the committee will review the selections and forward their recommendations to the full board for ap…

Computer Skills Development Class at Inglenook Library, May 11

The Inglenook Branch Library will host a basic computer skills development class on Wednesday, May 11, from 10:30-11:30a.m. A series of lessons ranging from keyboarding basics to troubleshooting tips and shutdown procedures will be taught followed by an assignment to test students’ progress and knowledge learned. Contact the Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739 to register. Limited availability.

Bards & Brews Poetry Slam at Central Library, Friday, May 6

WHO: Birmingham Public Library
WHAT: Bards & Brews Performance Poetry/Beer Tasting
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 2016
WHERE: Central Library
TIME: Music starts at 6:30 p.m. and poetry performances begin at 7 p.m.

Birmingham Public Library's (BPL) popular Bards & Brews poetry performance/beer tasting series returns with a poetry slam on Friday, May 6, at the Central Library. Usually held the first Friday of each month, the event will feature free craft beer sampling provided by Yellowhammer Brewing. The J. Clyde will handle the pouring.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with live music by 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 the public; however, attendees must be at least 18 to e…