Showing posts from October, 2016

Alabama Public Library Service Conducting Online Survey and Town Meetings for Five-Year Plan Feedback

The Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) will host an online survey at your public library through November 18 to assist in gathering information to develop APLS’ next five-year plan. This plan is needed in order to receive federal funds. The survey may be taken online at or at one of the 225 public libraries around the state.

APLS will also conduct town meetings at seven locations throughout Alabama during November. Agency director Nancy Pack said, “These meetings will provide an opportunity for community leaders and all citizens to explain what they think about Alabama’s public libraries, what they value in libraries, and what they think libraries should provide. Their voices will be heard by those who will write the next Five-Year Plan for Library Development in Alabama.”

The meetings will be held at these locations and times:
November 1, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Baldwin County Cooperative Building Auditorium
November 2, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 …

Springville Road Library's Afterthoughts Book Group to Focus on Emerging Technology

by Kelly Laney, Adult Department, Springville
Road Regional Branch Library

There are so many exciting new technologies in the world that it’s tough to keep abreast of them all. The Afterthoughts, a nonfiction reading group which meets at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library, has come up with an interesting solution for their November 15 meeting: each member of the group will choose one or more emerging technologies for light research, then get together to share their findings.

Copies of books and articles will be available in the adult department so that patrons can pick up one or more and read about whatever interests them. 3D printing (especially new research that involves printing with human cells for medical use), virtual reality goggles as teaching tools, new technologies in archaeology, the effect of the usage of personal “smart” devices by our military personnel, and zero-net-energy construction are some of the topics we’ve pulled, but any new technology is accep…

Money Matters – What Every Woman Should Know About Money Workshop Scheduled for November 2, 2016

It’s never too late to start building a better understanding of your personal finances and begin developing a plan for the future. To assist you in this endeavor, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is partnering with the staff of the Regions Institute for Financial Education at UAB to offer a series of Money Matters workshops at the Central Library on the first Wednesday of each month from July 2016 to May 2017. Please join us on the dates below to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to help you achieve your economic goals.

When: First Wednesday of the month
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Building/Richard Arrington Auditorium

11/2/2016 – What Every Woman Should Know About Money
12/7/2016 – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud
1/4/2017 – Dealing With Debt
2/1/2017 – Where to Invest Your College Money
3/1/2017 – Your Credit Report
4/5/2017 – Saving Through Tax Refunds
5/3/2017 – Five …

Southern History Book of the Month: The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault 
William C. McDonald III & Barbara L. Evenson

One of the more memorable experiences of my teen years was the opportunity to interview an African American veteran of World War I for a school assignment. Though I would now ask many more questions (and have better questions to ask), I can remember a feeling of awe as he gave his reminiscences of the war and his life afterwards, including the deadly Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. It was a privilege to speak with him and it is one of my treasured memories since our World War I veterans are all gone.

Now that veterans of World War II are going the way of their Great War predecessors, every scrap of information about their lives and careers is valuable—and as I looked through The Shadow Tiger, I was thinking, “Why have I not heard of this man before?” The Shadow Tiger is William McDonald’s account of the life and exploits…

Registration Open For November 2016 Computer Classes

Registration is now open for staff and the public for the November 2016 Class Schedule. During this month, we include classes on a variety of topics including computer skills, career guidance, and genealogy. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) Library. PRE-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 the November 2016 Class Schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the November 2016 Class Schedule pdf can be sent to us as an email attachment.

Expanded Mango Languages Learning System Offers More Languages, ESL Courses, Foreign Film Tutorials, and More

by Carrie Campbell, Arts, Literature and Sports Department, Central Library

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) now offers a greatly expanded package of the Mango Languages online language-learning system to patrons.

Mango is free to all BPL patrons and can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection. Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers with simple, clear instructions. The courses are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application by focusing on the four key elements of language learning: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture.

Mango now offers access to:
60 foreign language courses17 English courses taught completely in the user’s native language the opportunity to learn through foreign film with Mango Premiere™a variety of specialty mini courses, like Pirate, Medical Spanish, romance courses, and many more

Mango can be accessed at the library, remotely, or even on-the-go with apps for iPhone®, Android™…

Coalesce: Collaborative Work by Joseph and Misty Bennett Exhibit Scheduled at Central Library November 3-December 30, 2016

What:Coalesce: Collaborative Work by Joseph and Misty Bennett exhibit
When: November 3-December 30, 2016, during library hours
Where: Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery

"These collaborative works started out as an experimental conversation between two artists.”

These are the reflective words of artists Joseph and Misty Bennett. From November 1 through December 30, 2016, the Birmingham Public Library will showcase the work of both artists in the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery. A process was developed wherein one artist would begin a drawing, then hand it over to the other, and they would continue to pass it back and forth until both felt there was nothing more to add. It was a reactionary and spontaneous way of working, which led to a sense of discovery and a deeper understanding of self for each artist.

Come meet the artists at the opening reception from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 12, at the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery. Both artists are faculty in …

Le Mont Saint-Michel Revisited

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

The Archangel Michael told Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, to build a great abbey on a tall rock island out in the tidal flat. Aubert hesitated and Michael appeared to him again. But the stone needed to build the abbey was in quarries miles away, the island was out in the bay, and the bay had 12-foot tides. When the Archangel came a third time, he pushed his finger into Aubert’s skull, and Aubert built the abbey on top of the rock island—literally on top. He did not have the pinnacle knocked off to create a flat space to build upon. No, he built up the island and created a great flat space for a large church, a banqueting hall, and a cloister, all up at the level of the island’s pinnacle stone wrestled into place with oxen and vast human labor, as things were done one thousand years ago.

Mont Saint-Michel took generations to complete. It became one of the great Christian strongholds of the Middle Ages. Many stories and important people …

Recovering the Classics Contest Winners Announced

The winners of the Birmingham Public Library’s Recovering the Classics contest are:
Adult 1st: Metamorphosis by Julie Borden 2nd: The Time Machine by Eric Poland 3rd: Cyrano de Bergerac by Veronique Vanblaere
Youth 1st: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Alexandra Foreman 2nd: A Tale of Two Cities by Zoe Jacks 3rd: The Secret Garden by Emma Thornsberry
Adult Honorable Mentions Frankensteinby Hillary Floyd The Secret Garden by Amber Orr
Youth Honorable Mentions Around the World in Eighty Days by Elle Squires Moby Dick by Hunter Criddle The Three Musketeers by Cecilia Kong Arabian Nights by Rachael George

To view more winning covers in BPL's Recovering the Classics contest, visit

About the contest: The Birmingham Public Library partnered with Books-A-Million to host a contest for Alabama artists of all ages and abilities to design a cover for a classic book. Over 50 people submitted their cover designs to be judged in the adult…

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop to Be Held at Central Library on October 25

What: D&E’s Foreclosure Prevention Workshop: Preserve Your Home
When: Tuesday October 25, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

Home ownership is a tremendous responsibility and sometimes the pressure of making monthly mortgage payments can be quite a heavy burden to bear. If you have become concerned about your mortgage payments and are fearful that foreclosure is a real possibility, then plan on attending D&E’s Foreclosure Prevention Workshop: Preserve Your Home at the Central Library.

The workshop will provide information about home retention, foreclosure options, and special programs offered to Alabama homeowners. In recent years, the Obama administration has implemented a number of initiatives to assist homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and otherwise struggling with their monthly mortgage payments. The majority of these programs are administered through the U.S. Treasury Department and the Housing and…

Central Library Hosting How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business Seminar on October 27

What: How to Use Legal Strategies to Protect Your Business seminar
When: Thursday, October 27, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: The seminar is free but advance registration is required. To register, go to the Birmingham SCORE website at and click on the seminar title in the Upcoming Events section.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host several small business seminars through November 2016 that 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.

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 mentor…

Learn How People Interact With Your Business Online at Central Library’s Google Insights and Analytics Workshop on November 9

What: Google Insights and Analytics workshop
When: Wednesday November 9, 2016, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library/2nd Floor/Youth Department/Story Castle

Are you getting the most out of your website? Do you understand how people are finding your business online and how they are interacting with you once they get there?

For answers to these questions, please join the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development and Zeekee, a local digital marketing firm, on November 9 at the Central Library for a workshop that will introduce you to the free tools Google offers that allow you and your business to get a better handle on customer behavior.

Google's Insights and Analytics tools are powerful and free. Google Insights is part of the Google My Business program and shows you how people interact with your Google listing. Google Analytics is by far the most used analytics tool on the planet and gives you data on how people interact with your website.

Zeekee presenters will tea…

Holiday Reads

Christmas time is here.  What?  Hold the phone.  It is NOT Christmas time.  Oh, but yes.  If you haven’t seen Christmas decorations in your local store yet, give it a week.  Two at the most.  The Halloween masks and candy will be replaced with bows and wrapping paper.  To get you into the holiday spirit (Bah! Humbug!), publishers are releasing their Christmas-themed titles just in time for gift giving season.  Descriptions are from the publisher.
Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke (Sept. 27) The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say “Bah, humbug!” a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues. Like the fact that Lisa’s husband will be playing Mr. Claus to his ex-girlfriend Phyllis Bates’ Mrs. Claus. Or that before the curtains even go up Phyllis is found dead in the snow—wearing a costume that the real Mrs. Claus would put on the naughty list. Soon af…

Halloween Events at Birmingham Public Library Include Super Heroes Costume Party, Movies, Storytimes, and Giveaways

Even adults are getting into the Halloween mood at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL). On Friday, October 21, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., the Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals (BPLYP) are hosting a Super Heroes Save the Library costume party at the Central Library.

Attendees who come dressed as their favorite super hero will enjoy a night of music, drinks, and dancing while helping raise awareness of the important resources provided by BPL’s 19 library locations and providing money for public programs. Buy tickets at $10 in advance online at

The BPLYP's costume party is among several activities celebrating the spooky holiday taking place at many BPL locations across Birmingham during the month of October. From a fall festival at the Smithfield Library to storytime with Ms. Eve at the Avondale Regional Branch Library, from a Hallo-Read Fall Celebration at the North Avondale Branch Library to scary movies at various libraries, there ar…

Central Library to Host Google Workshop for Small Business Owners on October 25

What: Google Workshop for Small Business Owners
When: Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

Did you know that 97% of consumers look for local goods and services online?

And only 37% of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine.

If you are a current business owner and you want to gain control of the information Google displays about your business in Google Search and Google Maps, then this workshop is for you. A Google Trusted Photographer and Trusted Verifier will be present to help your business get online and allow you to choose what people see when they “google” you.

The Birmingham Public Library and the City’s Office of Economic Development are partnering with Google and Zeekee, a local internet marketing firm, to offer a workshop aimed at helping put every business in Birmingham on the map—including yours—for free.

Space for the workshop is limited, so please regist…

Findmypast: Our Newest Genealogy Database

Findmypast is a family history and genealogy database that offers access to a collection of over 2 billion historical records covering the United States, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the globe. Our subscription marks the return of electronic access to PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), one of the most helpful tools in genealogy research. PERSI indexes by surname and location genealogy and family history periodicals from around the world, and Findmypast is the only genealogy database that provides digital images to select periodicals indexed in PERSI. Digital images of articles in the PERiodical Source Index will be increasingly accessible (18,000 images added this summer), which means you can find the citation in PERSI and link to a digital image of the article.

Our genealogy community might not be as familiar with Findmypast as it is a British owned genealogy company whose website has recently been made available to libraries in the Un…

Happy Birthday Miss Fancy: Avondale Remembers the Queen

Today would be Miss Fancy's 145th birthday.

Miss Fancy, the legendary Queen of Avondale, may be Avondale’s most famous local celebrity. She’s the cover girl for the Avondale Brewing Company, where she has a special ale named after her. A restaurant on Fifth Avenue is named Fancy’s on 5th in her honor. A current fundraising campaign is raising money to put a life-size statue of her in Avondale Park.

She is the subject of a subplot in Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, a short documentary Mr. Todd’s Fancy, and Miss Fancy, a play featured in Theatre Downtown’s 2016 season.

If you don’t live in Avondale or were born after 1930, you may not have heard of her, but for those old enough to remember her, Miss Fancy was beloved. Whenever my father meets people around his age from Avondale, he immediately asks if they remember Miss Fancy. They all do.

Miss Fancy (1871-1954) was a gentle Indian elephant who served as the star attraction at the Birmingh…

Former BPL Director George R. Stewart Inducted into UA College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame

For 37 years in his career at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and with the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, George R. Stewart touched thousands of lives of librarians across metro Birmingham.

He played a role in getting a Library of Information Science program established at the University of Alabama, integrating the workforce at BPL, and helped convince the Jefferson County Commission to allow the creation of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative that tied nearly 40 libraries in the county together under one umbrella.

On Thursday, October 6, 2016, Stewart received one of the highest honors in the library profession in Alabama as he was inducted into the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame. The award recognizes his leadership and significant contribution to the field of Library and Information Science education.

Stewart was featured in an article on the University of Alabama website. See link below:…

Online Genealogy Help Now Available at All Libraries

Popular Internet resource lets you discover your roots in the library
All locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) have a new resource that uses technology to make tracing family trees easier. Ancestry® Library Edition, a Web-based reference tool distributed by ProQuest, will allow you to start exploring your roots by searching a surname. Anyone can come into the library to dig into Ancestry Library Edition's millions of records—as far back as the 1400s.

The library is responding to a growing interest in family history that’s captured not only Birmingham but America as a whole. A new nationwide survey* shows 73% of Americans want to learn more about their roots, up from 60% in 2000. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed became interested after searching for a family surname online, pointing to the increasing popularity of Internet-based genealogy.

Ancestry Library Edition is available at every BPL location. To get the most out of the experience, come prepared with a…

Lecture on the Gay Bar in American History Led by Dr. Nancy Unger at Central Library on October 16

What: From Jook Joints to the Stonewall Inn to Orlando's Pulse: The Gay Bar in American History – A lecture by Dr. Nancy Unger of Santa Clara University
When: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public. For more information contact Jim Baggett at
205-226-3631 or

For more than a century, gay clubs and bars have served as havens and sanctuaries as well as party spots and hook-up sites. They've been the centers of solidarity, community, and education. But as evidenced by the June 12, 2016, attack on The Pulse, an Orlando nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 people in a hate crime, gay bars and nightclubs have also been the sites of violence and persecution that ultimately led to great advancements in pride, rights, and freedoms.

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a richly illustrated talk highlighting the histo…

BPL's Digital Library is There for Your After-Hour Needs

All-too-familiar scenario: It’s nine o'clock on a Sunday night when your child suddenly remembers that they need an article on current events for a class on Monday morning. You’ve stopped taking the local newspaper, your printer is out of ink, you’re in your jammies, and the very last thing you want to do is get dressed and go to a store to pay for a magazine you don’t want for a homework project that is not your problem…Birmingham Public Library to the rescue!

If you have access to the Internet and a library card in good standing, this is not a dire situation—BPL's Digital Library is open 24/7, including periodical databases with full-text articles. These articles can be printed,
e-mailed, or shared on social media sites. The results will include the correct way to cite the work, as well as any other information a teacher might request.

Now that the crisis is averted, let’s discuss why you shouldn't just Google an assignment. The Internet is a fabulous tool, and the…

BPL’s Southern History Department Hosting Several Classes in Celebration of Family History Month

October is Family History Month. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Southern History Department is celebrating by teaching six different classes, including the debut of a new program called Findmypast.

The Southern History Department will also be teaching genealogy classes at several libraries across metro Birmingham. See its October schedule below:

Introduction to Genealogy 
Wednesday, October 12, 2:00-3:00 p.m., Clay Public Library
Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. For more information or directions, please call the Clay Public Library at 205-680-3812.

Piles of Paper and Digital Dilemmas: Organizing Your Genealogy Research
Tuesday, October 18, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Homewood Public Library
Is your genealogy research out of control with piles of paper and scattered files on your computer? If you answered yes, come learn about different methods of organization and techniques…

Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Presents An Evening of Literary Cocktails

What:Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals – An Evening of Literary Cocktails
When: Thursday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.
Where:The Wine Loft
Details: Free admission, but attendees must be 21+. Event is part of the 2016 Eat Drink Read Write festival. See event schedule at

Did you know certain alcoholic beverages are inspired by literary works? The Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals (BPLYP) board is presenting an evening of literary cocktails at the Wine Loft with complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

Several of Birmingham’s top bartenders will compete in a cocktail contest in which they will create cocktails inspired by works of Latin American literature. The judges for the contest include James Little, Anamaria Santiago, and Brandan Stuckey. FunnyMaine, a comedian who is also a DJ at 95.7 JAMZ in Birmingham, will provide entertainment. Follow him at

The event will take place in the heart of October’s Birmingham Art Crawl. This…

Roderick Royal to Present Mentoring the A.G. Gaston Way at the Birmingham Public Library in October

It’s been 40 years, but Roderick Royal still vividly remembers the day when at age 11, while visiting the A.G. Gaston Boys Club on Seventh Avenue North, he asked the black millionaire who founded the club if he could drive his car. “He said, ‘Sure,’ and as he reached for his keys I asked how much he would pay me. Dr. Gaston told me, 'You don’t get paid for everything you do.' It was the first of many lessons Dr. Gaston taught me and many other boys.”

In October, Royal will share other advice he gained from a friendship that started when Royal was 11 until Dr. Gaston's death at age 103 in a series of talks titled Mentoring the A.G. Gaston Way that he will give at the Birmingham Public Library.

Schedule of Programs
Smithfield Branch Library, Wednesday, October 12, 10:00 a.m.
North Birmingham Regional Branch Library, Thursday, October 13, noon
Five Points West Regional Branch Library, Sunday, October 16, 3:00 p.m.
Pratt City Branch Library, Wednesday, October 19, 6:00 p.m.


Learn How People Interact With Your Business Online at Google Insights and Analytics Workshop on October 12

What: Google Insights and Analytics workshop
When: Wednesday, October 12, 2016, noon-1:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Richard Arrington Auditorium

Are you getting the most out of your website? Do you understand how people are finding your business online and how they are interacting with you once they get there?

For answers to these questions, please join the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development and Zeekee, a local digital marketing firm, on October 12 for a workshop that will introduce you to the free tools offered by Google that allow you and your business to get a better handle on customer behavior.

Google's Insights and Analytics tools are powerful and free. Google Insights is part of the Google My Business program and shows you how people interact with your Google listing. Google Analytics is by far the most used analytics tool on the planet and gives you data on how people interact with your website.

Zeekee presenters will teac…

Wordsmiths: Poetry Workshop for Adults Begins October 4

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. ― Emily Dickinson

What: Wordsmiths: Poetry Workshop for Adults
When: First Tuesdays 6:00-7:45 p.m. First meeting October 4.
Third Saturdays 3:30-5:30 p.m. First meeting October 15.
Where: Central Library, First Floor Conference Room
Who: Volunteer poets lead workshops for beginners to old hands
Cost: Free & open to the public

The Birmingham Public Library announces that after a brief hiatus, its popular Gifts of the Wordsmith workshops will again welcome poets of all ages, experience, and levels of confidence. Renamed “Wordsmiths,” the workshops will offer informal, welcoming programs for poets to improve their writing and enjoy one another’s poetry.

Wordsmiths poetry workshops are designed for poets to participate as much or as little as they wish. While workshop leaders choose the program, all will include opportunities for poets to share their work with their peers and, if they wish, receive f…

Birmingham Public Library to Host 2016 Eat Drink Read Write Festival October 1-7

What: 2016 Eat Drink Read Write Festival
When: Saturday, October 1–Friday, October 7, 2016
Where: Central Library
Details: Six-day schedule online at

If you’re the type of person who relishes eating adventurous foods, mark your calendar for October 1-7 when the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) hosts its 2016 Eat Drink Read Write festival (EDRW).

This year’s EDRW festival is dedicated to the idea that taking a risk and seeking out adventurous foods can result in great culinary experiences, said Brandon C. Smith, coordinator of the event.

“Whether it’s trying a Thai restaurant located in a gas station, buying ribs that have been cooked in a 55-gallon steel drum smoker in a parking lot, or foraging for wild blackberries along an old fence line, some of the best meals I have ever had involved taking a little risk,” said Smith, manager of the Eastwood Branch Library.

Headlining the 2016 festival is Chef Bryant Terry of Oakland, California, who has built a n…