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Showing posts from December, 2016

Chapter Chatters Book Club Celebrates Joy of Reading Monthly at North Avondale Branch Library

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Gwendolyn Welch has read over 100 books in 2016 alone. Thanks to monthly meetings of the Chapter Chatters Book Club at the North Avondale Branch Library, Welch has been able to build friendships with over a dozen other women who share her love of reading.

Among them is Lucretia Quinn, a loyal patron of the North Avondale Library since as a teenager she attended the former Hayes High School, now Hayes K-8 School, adjacent to the library. During the group’s December 28 meeting, Quinn and Welch, a Birmingham Public Library board member, got into a fascinating debate about Chapter Chatters December book of the month Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson.

For Quinn, who lives in Roebuck, attending Chapter Chatters meetings over the past year has been a joy that extends beyond their book discussions because it allows her to reconnect with her favorite city library that was a positive gathering place during her teen years.

The club chats over lunch about African American-themed books…

Copies of Industrial Pollution Documentary Toxic City Donated to All Birmingham Public Library Locations

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Gasp, a Birmingham-based health advocacy nonprofit, has given the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) 19 DVD copies of Toxic City: Birmingham’s Dirty Secret, an award-winning documentary about the impact industrial pollution has on area citizens.

Gasp produced Toxic City in 2014 to shine a light on how individuals in Collegeville, North Birmingham, other communities in the northern part of the city, and Tarrant are impacted by hazardous industrial pollution. The 26-minute documentary explores how the issue arose as well as possible solutions to the problem. See a preview of the DVD at the organization’s website, www.gaspgroup.org.

Founded in 2009 as Alabama First, the organization changed its name to Gasp in 2010 to honor the Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution, a group formed in 1970 by young activists, students, public health professionals, elected officials, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to bring attention to Birmingham’s air pollution problems that created a …

Money Matters – Dealing With Debt Workshop Scheduled for January 4, 2017

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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 Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

Dates/Workshops
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 Keys to Investing Success

For more information about the workshop series and other financial li…

Book Review: Flaubert’s Parrot

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by David Blake, Central Library, Fiction Department

Flaubert’s Parrot
Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes is a Flaubert fan-boy. Were he a Tolkien fan, he’d be the King of the Ringers, but nineteenth century French literature needs its knights, and few knights are as ready for battle as Barnes on behalf of Flaubert. Critics and academicians are the villains to be vanquished.

Flaubert’s Parrot is organized around the mystery of a stuffed parrot that resided on Flaubert’s desk, and became divine in his story "A Simple Heart." As he has researched Flaubert’s life, Barnes encounters two stuffed parrots, both credentialed as authentically Flaubert’s. Before we learn the truth of the parrots, though, Barnes takes us on discursive journeys back to the nineteenth century in long essays about the man himself: his mistresses, his train journeys, his friends, and his petty flaws.

The star of the show, however, is Barnes himself. One imagines an epic battle of epigrams between Barnes and Oscar Wi…

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Out of This World @ Birmingham Public Library Reading Challenge Continues Through January 22, 2017

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With Christmas over, all 19 Birmingham Public Library (BPL) locations are now open. There is still time for students on their New Year’s holiday break to read some cool library books and earn a circus ticket at the same time.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and BPL are partnering to host the Out of This World @ Birmingham Public Library! Through the program, which began December 12, kids can earn virtual badges and prizes including a Ringling Bros. circus ticket by simply reading. Children of all ages through 12th grade can register online or at one of BPL's 19 locations. The BPL Reading Challenge ends on Jan. 22, 2017.

See details on how to sign up online below:
http://www.bplonline.org/Programs/Reading.aspx

Library Champion: Silvertron Café Owner Honored for Supporting Avondale Library

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Since Marco Morosini bought Silvertron Café nine years ago, he has seen first-hand the many contributions the Avondale Regional Branch Library has made in the community.

Morosini said he has been impressed with the phenomenal job the Avondale Library has done in providing family-friendly programs and educational services for the surrounding neighborhoods. That has encouraged him to be involved in their programs. From giving free meals to volunteering at some of its programs, Morosini has been available anytime he is needed, said Carla Perkins, manager of the Children’s Department at the Avondale Library.

In a show of appreciation, Perkins said, Avondale Library named Morosini its 2016 Library Champion at the Jefferson County Public Library Association's (JCPLA) annual holiday luncheon, recently held at the Florentine Building in downtown Birmingham. The awards are presented annually by the JCPLA to recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to…

Registration Open For January 2017 Classes

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Registration is now open for staff and the public for the January 2017 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 cenrtc@bham.lib.al.us or call 205-226-3681. You may also download and print a January 2017 Class Schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the January 2017 Class Schedule can be sent to us as an email attachment.

Best of a Librarian's Guide to the Holidays

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Happy Holidays!  My favorite blog posts to write are my librarian's guides.  I especially enjoyed writing the guides to the holidays (gift-giving, decorating, travel).  I like to make people laugh through my blog posts whenever possible.  The holidays can be stressful, so taking time to relax and have a good laugh puts you ahead of the game.  I decided this month to provide a "greatest hits" from my previous blog posts.  I still laugh when I read through the old ones, so I hope this highlight reel brings a smile to your face.

Holiday Travel  (Nov. 2014)

Tip 2:Put some gas in the car – If you only have a quarter tank of gas in the car and no money, please stay at home.You may make it to the corner store and back, but that’s about it.Your V8 does not get 100 miles per gallon.



Tip 4:  Pack for the time you will be away– Don't give your relatives a heart attack by showing up with a U-Haul truck full of luggage.  They are happy to see you, but they DO want you to leave.�…

Birmingham Public Library Board Names Innovative and Cool Award, I Am BPL Award Winners for December

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A new book club at the Smithfield Branch Library has tripled in size since starting in June. The library is hosting a special holiday party to help spread the word to potential new members thanks to a $100 gift from the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees.

The Central Library is hosting a Trivia Night @ BPL event to help the staff engage and connect with their patrons in a night of fun. At the Avondale Regional Branch Library, a monthly jewelry-making adventure for adults is adding new activities thanks to an influx of cash from the BPL Board as well.

Those three library programs are the latest recipients of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Innovative and Cool Award, presented during the December 13, 2016, board meeting. The award was established in April to encourage library staff to come up with unique ideas to serve the Birmingham community.

Also, the BPL Board named four winners of the I Am BPL Award, which honors staff who come up with unique ideas that help the 19…

Southern History Book of the Month: Kodachromes

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by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Kodachromes
William Christenberry
Introductory essay by Richard B. Woodward

Alabama has lost one of its treasures. William Christenberry, celebrated for his body of photographic work featuring rural scenes and structures in Alabama and other Southern states, died November 28 at age 80.

Kodachromes is a departure from form for Christenberry—or at least the format for which he is best known. Unlike many of his photographs taken with old-school Kodak cameras like the Brownie, this work concentrates on his use of 35mm Kodachrome slide film and features many images that had never before been published; the book begins with shots from the 1960s and continues until 2007, and the compilation is a treasury of subjects ranging from storefronts to cemeteries to kudzu. As Woodward points out in his introduction:
The seeming naiveté of Christenberry’s approach to his subjects . . . can disguise the originality of his endeavor. Along …

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Out of This World @ Birmingham Public Library Reading Challenge

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Kids, are you interested in reading some cool library books? Are you interested in earning a circus ticket at the same time? Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will be hosting some serious fun with Out of This World @ Birmingham Public Library! The reading challenge is easy and fun for kids and teens to participate in. The best part is that you can earn a Ringling Bros. circus ticket by simply reading. Children from ages two to 12 can register online or at one of BPL's 19 locations to earn virtual badges and awards.

The winter holidays are here and it's a wonderful time of year to visit with friends and family and few good books! So, during this holiday season don’t leave out one of the most important and fun activities—READING.

Join the Out of This World @ Birmingham Public Library Challenge. It's as easy as 1-2-3.
Register and read to earn virtual badges and awards.Visit any BPL location to check out books and receive an achie…

Book Review: Half Broke Horses

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by Richard Grooms, Fiction Department, Central Library

Half Broke Horses
Jeannette Walls

A few years back I blogged on this site about Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, one of the most enjoyable reads of my life. I put off reading Half Broke Horses because I noticed it was officially fiction and I wanted another nonfiction experience like The Glass Castle. But the more I looked into Half, the more I realized that it’s largely nonfiction and that many of the book’s reviewers consider it so. It’s a bit complicated but Walls’ Author’s Note at the end of the book explains it well. More important than any of this is the fact that Half is a prequel to Glass, so if you found the first book absorbing, you’ll want to read the second. But the order of the books doesn’t matter: you can read them in any order you wish. At the very least, Half is another outstanding Walls book, not as outlandishly impressive as Glass, but marvelous anyway.

About that prequel bit. If you were fascinated by the ecc…

Money Matters – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud Workshop Scheduled for December 14

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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 Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

Dates/Workshops
12/14/2016 – Protecting Yourself Against Targeted Fraud (this workshop will be held in the Youth Department/Story Castle/2nd floor)
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…

Southern Environmental Law Center and Black Warrior Riverkeeper Donate 19 Southern Exposure DVDs to Birmingham Public Library

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For the second consecutive year, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Black Warrior Riverkeeper have partnered to donate to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) 19 Southern Exposure DVDs educating the public about Alabama’s natural resources.

Southern Environmental Law Center has donated each of BPL’s 19 locations one DVD copy of the 2016 edition of Southern Exposure, a series of documentary shorts on various Alabama environmental topics by independent filmmakers. Read more about the films at www.southernexposurefilms.org. A year ago, SELC and Black Warrior Riverkeeper donated 57 DVDs, copies of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Southern Exposure.

Charles Scribner, executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, said his organization and SELC’s Birmingham office are honored to donate the 2016 DVDs to BPL as an avenue for educating the public. Scribner said partnering with BPL makes Southern Exposure available to many more people.

“Clean water and air are necessities f…

Jefferson County Public Library Association Announces Its 2016 Library Champion Award Recipients

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The Jefferson County Public Library Association (JCPLA) awarded 11 recipients with its 2016 Library Champion Award during its annual holiday luncheon at the Florentine Building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

The purpose of the luncheon is to recognize the outstanding achievements of volunteers and community partners. The Library Champion Award is presented annually by JCPLA. The award recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution(s) to libraries and/or librarianship in Jefferson County, Alabama.

The honorees are as follows:

Birmingham Public Library
Eastern Region: Sam Rumore, former BPL Board of Trustee memberAvondale Regional Branch Library: Marco Morosini, owner of Silvertron CafeWest End Regional Branch Library: Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila TysonNorth Birmingham and Springville Road Regional Branch Libraries: Pet Supplies Plus Store # 8009 in Roebuck.Central Library: Pat Rumore
Municipal Libraries
Homewood Publ…

Bloom County Returns after 25-Year Hiatus

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by Lorraine Walker, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
Berkley Breathed

Berkley Breathed is back! If you do not know Breathed, it is possible that you are not a fan of his most famous creation. Over 25 years ago, he made the comic strip Bloom County one of America’s most famous destinations. Featuring all your favorite characters—Opus, Milo, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, Cutter John, and many more—Bloom County has finally come home.

When he left us, the characters were knee deep in the controversial topics of the day. Topics such as Reaganomics, women’s lib, the Moral Majority, and Phil Donohue were fair game. This newest book brings the subjects forward. They now deal with the presidential election, Star Wars, Starbucks, Facebook, and many other issues of today. His take on them is hilarious as well as thought-provoking. You’ll want to get your hands on a copy ASAP.

Southern History Department Closes out 2016 with Introduction to Genealogy Workshop, Announces Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshop Schedule for 2017

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The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department gets calls and visitors daily from patrons trying to unravel the mysteries of their family tree. Southern History Department staffers are presenting several genealogy and local history workshops to close out 2016. Also, the department has now set dates for its popular Basics of Genealogy workshop schedule for the first half of 2017. You can go ahead and register to secure your spot and get an e-mail reminder a few days before the workshop.

"Genealogy is a hobby for many people,” said Southern History’s librarian, Laura Gentry. “The Southern History Department specializes in local history and genealogy, and we are here to help you research your ancestors."

Tuesday, December 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Introduction to Genealogy– Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. This class meets on the first floor of the Linn-Henle…

Celebrate the Holidays at the Birmingham Public Library

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People will have plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday mood during the month of December at many of the 19 locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system.

Activities kick off Saturday, December 3, at the Southside and West End Branch Libraries with the first of several library performances of From Page to Stage: A Christmas Carol: The Musical – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children. On Sunday, December 4 at 3:00 p.m., BPL continues a holiday tradition with Irondale storyteller Dolores Hydock’s popular one-woman performance of “A Christmas Memory,” the Truman Capote holiday classic. This time, Hydock’s event will have a special treat: slices of fruitcake for the public from Birmingham Breadworks.

Springville Road Regional Branch Library will host its Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 4, with refreshments from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and the Seasoned Readers performing at 4:00 p.m. Also, patrons who find the elves on the shelves and solve the mystery of the missing Sant…

Dolores Hydock to Peform Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" at Central Library, December 4

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What: "A Christmas Memory" performed by Dolores Hydock
When: Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

The Christmas season doesn’t really begin until you have experienced Birmingham storyteller Dolores Hydock’s incredible one-woman performance of "A Christmas Memory," Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama.

As an added treat Birmingham Breadworks will join us to share their own fruitcake creations. In "A Christmas Memory"Capote lovingly describes making fruitcake with a favorite relative. Birmingham Breadworks will offer a new twist on an old holiday favorite.

For more information on the program contact Jim Baggett at jbaggett@bham.lib.al.us or 205-226-3631.

And catch up with Dolores Hydock at http://www.storypower.org/.

There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments.

Lear…