Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Scheduled for Saturday, August 19

When: Saturday, August. 19, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
About the 2017 Local Authors Expo: Event featuring over 40 authors selling their books and sharing writing/publishing tips for the public. Keynote speakers are Chandra Sparks Splond (10:30 a.m.), author of nine books, and Nia Mya Reese, 8, (1:00 p.m.) author of the best-selling children's book How to Deal With and Care For Your Annoying Little Brother

Want to meet 40 authors from across Alabama, buy their books, and learn more about the book publishing process? Then make plans to attend the Birmingham Public Library's annual Local Authors Expo this Saturday, Aug. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place in downtown Birmingham.

The free event will showcase authors, including many from the Birmingham area, selling and signing their books and sharing their writing process. Drop by and visit your favorite author, learn more about local authors, and get tips for publishing your work. There will be books across many genres: motivational books, fiction including young adult fantasy, and nonfiction such as inspirational memoirs and stories of overcoming tragedy.

The 40 Authors with books at the 2017 Local Authors Expo are as follows:
Shirley A. Aaron
Ed Abernathy
Kathy-Ann Alexis
Scott Blasingame
Franky A. Brown
BJ Burgins
C.D. Collins
John. B. Davis
Gwendolyn DeLaine
Byron De'Vinner Story
Tymetric Dillon
Patricia Eleby
Alethea & Eddie Fells III
Kenneth Friday
Mark Hart
Carol McVay Hull
Richard S Jaffe
LaJuan Jones
Lucy B. Jones
Peter Kirchikov
Tondra L. Loder-Jackson
Billy McDonald
Betsy Lowery
Shirley Mitchell
Brittany Nicole
Jack Owens
Jamie Porter
Twylia Reid
B. Wayne Seals
Nancy Seay
Doug Segrest
Dr. Akeam A. Simmons
Betty Smith
Jerelyn Sneed
Lyn Stafford
Joe Stahlkuppe
Jade Stewart
SL Stoutermire
Carlos B. Taylor
C. Duane Wheeler
Sherman Williams

An Expression of Appreciation for the Women of the Inglenook Community

by Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library

Ready to pamper and honor the women of Inglenook 

Turn screaming alarm clock off. Check. Roll out of bed and crawl to the bathroom and take care of daily personal hygiene. Check. Make sure lunches are fixed, clothes are ironed, children’s homework is completed, gas is in the car, etc. Check. Cook breakfast. Check. Turn into a drill sergeant to get children out of bed and ready for school. Check. Load groggy, slow moving children and all of their things in the car and manage not to leave anything. Check. Fight unrelenting school traffic to get kids to school. Check. Now, time to go to work!

More and more households are being led by women. In addition to filling the traditional roles, women are tasked with providing for their households. Many complete these tasks without assistance, leaving them exhausted and depleted. With that in mind, the Inglenook Branch Library created a program titled An Expression of Appreciation for the Women in the Inglenook community to provide women with the fuel, encouragement, and fortitude that they need to improve the quality of their lives and successfully move forward in their journeys. The program also celebrates and honors them for their contribution to the Inglenook Community. Additionally, speakers are invited to discuss effective ways to manage issues such as self-esteem, nutrition, money, and other prominent issues that affect women daily.

The next Expression of Appreciation program will be held on Friday, September 15, at 6:30 p.m. The seating is limited and if you are a woman and live or work in the Inglenook Community and are interested, please contact the Inglenook Library to register.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Delivered to Your Door

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have anything you bought delivered directly to your house for free? Companies, like the Birmingham-based Shipt, firmly believe that the convenience of having someone shop for your groceries and deliver them to your door outweigh the added cost from using this service. Grocery and store delivery used to be the custom instead of it being an innovative service.

Carry Packages
In 1917, the citizens of Birmingham were accustomed to go into a store picking up what they wanted and having the goods delivered to their house. One of the reasons for this was because not everyone owned a car. With the outbreak of World War I, merchants saw an opportunity to cut back on delivery service and reduce their overhead. Under the guise of patriotic duty and a war measure, Birmingham merchants reduced their delivery service to once a day and charged an additional 10 cents fee for special deliveries. The slogan was “A bundle in hand is a badge of patriotism.”

Hill Grocery's Take It With You Campaign
Hill Grocery Company went even further than the other Birmingham merchants by abolishing free delivery service beginning August 18, 2017. The business adopted the idea that customers should just “take with” them their purchases, and in turn, the customers would pay a lower price for their goods. Owner James Hill suggested that “It was fashionable for women to carry bundles. It is coming to be a demonstration of patriotism to carry home purchases.” He added, “The capable housewife is going to see that there is no wasted money, no wasted strength of resources in the operations of her household.” This “Take With It You” plan was a means of reducing waste that could be measured in savings in the household budget.

Enjoyed this story of life 100 years ago in Birmingham? It is part of our Throwback Thursday series that runs each week on the Southern History Department’s Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Solar Eclipse Glasses Are All Gone

Unfortunately, all BPL locations are OUT of solar eclipse glasses. See the image above on how to safely view the solar eclipse without special glasses. Here's a link to a video showing you how to make your own viewer:

Be safe and happy viewing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: Jade Stewart

Author Jade Stewart

About the Author: Jade Stewart, 23, is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, obtaining a BA in English Writing with a minor in French. She is currently attending Columbia University to pursue an MFA in writing. She lives in Irondale, Alabama, with her parents, James and Kimberly Stewart, and brother Christian, 18.
Book: Fate
How to reach the author:,, and
Quote Stewart uses as a guide in life: “No matter the obstacle, always persevere.”

Jade Stewart is a living witness to the power of perseverance and never giving up on your dream. Seven years ago while attending Jefferson County International Baccalaureate (JCIB) High School, the Irondale native came up with the idea of a book about a teenage girl adapting to life in a new school and supernatural forces combating her. Bit by bit while taking rigorous classes at her IB high school and pursing a degree in English at Loyola University in New Orleans, Stewart worked on her novel.

In February 2016—seven years into her writing journey—Stewart self-published her first novel, Fate. Stewart will meet the public as one of 40 authors participating in the 2017 Local Authors Expo taking place on Saturday, August 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Central Library. She will sell and sign copies of her book.

Fate is a young adult fantasy novel. It tells the story of Ophelia St. Cloud, a teenage girl from the Bronx who moves to Buffalo with her mom to attend the prestigious Jules Perdot Academy. Thinking she would have the "typical" school year, Ophelia has no idea about the supernatural forces against her, and even more, the powers she has to fight against them. Mixed in with some new friends, "mean girls," and guys who are vying for her attention, Ophelia unexpectedly joins with three less-than-normal classmates to combat the supernatural beings around them.

Aside from the main plot, Fate tackles the issue of bullying and cyberbullying and features multi-ethnic characters with a diverse range of personalities. It teaches readers to not judge by outward appearances and to accept people of all cultures and backgrounds.

Stewart, who plans to pursue a writing career, said she is excited to be participating in the Local Authors Expo for the first time.

“I love that this event promotes reading and appreciation of local authors,” Stewart said. “No matter the obstacle, always persevere.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Celebrate Innovation Week at the Birmingham Public Library

What: Innovation Week at the Birmingham Public Library
When: August 17-24, 2017
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC), 4th floor

It’s August and that means it’s time for Birmingham Innovation Week. Since 2014 Birmingham’s entrepreneurial minded community has set aside a week each year to celebrate and provide inspiration for those individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses engaged in creative activities that stimulate local economic growth and opportunity. This year the Birmingham Public Library will be hosting five programs during Innovation Week that promote the resources the library has to help its patrons develop their innovative ideas. Here are the descriptions of the individual programs and the days and times that they will be offered:

Thursday August 17, 2017, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Using Google to Grow Your Business: Getting Started with Social Media and Email Marketing using Google
The Birmingham Public Library is partnering with the City of Birmingham's Economic Development Office and Zeekee, a local digital marketing firm, to offer a seminar aimed at helping small businesses make the most of the free tools and resources available on Google.

Monday August 21, 2017 2:15-3:15 p.m. Webinar: Yes, You Can Start a Nonprofit
If you are interested in starting a nonprofit organization, then you should plan to attend this recorded webinar. Produced by SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), the hour-long webinar covers such issues as corporate structure, articles of incorporation, by-laws, board management, and tax exempt status.

Monday August 21, 2017 3:30-4:30 p.m.
BPL Database: Foundation Directory Online Professional
Learn how to navigate the Foundation Directory Online Database. Developed by the Foundation Center, the database provides the most current and comprehensive information available on U.S. grantmakers and their grants that are available for nonprofit organizations.

Thursday August 24, 2017 2:15-3:15 p.m.
Patent Basics
Participants will learn about the different types of patents, why you might need one, and how to begin your patent search. Follow along as we go through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's seven step strategy for patent searching.

Thursday August 24, 2017 3:30-4:30 p.m.
BPL Database: Reference USA for Business
A staff member from the Business, Science and Technology Department will give a hands-on demonstration of the Reference USA database. Reference USA is an excellent business research tool that contains current information on over 24 million companies, 260 million customers, household lifestyle and purchasing habits, and job listings. The Business module can be used for locating your competition and making contacts and the Lifestyle module is good for locating and contacting your customers.

For more information about the Innovation Week programs at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at or by calling 205-226-3691.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back to School...Again

Back to School

This year I did not take tax-free weekend, all those television commercials, or department store fliers seriously. Even the parents who came in to register their children for school online didn't give me a clue. Unlike all the students who made the journey back to school this week, the new school year literally crept up on me. I kept seeing children throughout the day in the library and I thought the opening of the school year was weeks away. Every year it gets a little earlier. The Facebook photos of people's children going back to school really should have tipped me off.

As a student, I personally did not enjoy going back to school. It meant the end of my opportunity to sleep late every morning, particularly as a teenager. My grandmother was up every morning at first light and it drove her crazy how long I wanted to stay in bed. She would start banging pots and pans in the kitchen to wake me up, but it didn't phase me. Finally, she would simple yell upstairs for me to get up. My grandmother didn't have any specific chores for me to do, she just wanted me out of bed. I am still not a morning person, but I manage to make it to work on time each day. I admire the discipline it takes for students to drag themselves out of bed, get ready for school, eat, and perhaps walk to school or the bus stop. Students of America, I salute you. Now put the phone down and try to learn something.

During the school year, we will see many students and parents here in the library. We have an abundance of resources to assist students with their schoolwork. In addition to resources that assist with coursework (books, DVDs, databases, downloadables), we also have materials on study skills, time management, test-taking skills, coping with stress, and academic achievement. Furthermore, the library offers an online tutoring service through which provides free tutoring for students in a variety of academic subjects. They also provide AP, PSAT, SAT, and ACT test prep. Please take advantage of the many resources available at the library and I hope you have a great school year.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database

by Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

A Project of the Birmingham Public Library Archives

The Alabama Decorative Arts Survey, begun in 1985 and directed by the Birmingham Museum of Art, was a nine-year state-wide search for 19th and early 20th century ceramics, quilts, coverlets, furniture, carvings, paintings, photographs, metals, textiles, and grave markers created by Alabama artisans.

The records of the survey are now preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives and the Archives has created an online, searchable database containing digitized photographs and information for hundreds of objects. The database will be expanded to include additional objects as funding becomes available.

Explore the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey Database at

The creation of this database was made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mind Your Own (Family) Business

Family Store

This Saturday, August 12, at 10:00 a.m., the Southern History Department will offer another workshop in our popular Beyond the Basics of Genealogy series. This fast-paced workshop will focus on how to research your ancestors' occupation, place of employment, or family-owned business. Given how much time we spend at our jobs and careers, knowing what our ancestors did for a living gives us a much fuller picture of what their lives were like on a day-to-day basis.

We'll take a look at some familiar sources (city directories, census records, newspapers) and show you how to use them to piece together the history of a business or simply determine what your ancestors did for a living. We'll also be looking at the Alabama Secretary of State's Business Entity database which can be useful for finding out when and where a small business was established.

As we all know, genealogical information can turn up in the strangest places. Was your ancestor an inventor? Was he or she ever granted a U.S. patent? Did they work for the federal government? The railroad? We'll take a look at some easy to use online sources that can answer these questions for you.
Work was an integral part of our ancestors' lives. We're very excited about this upcoming workshop which aims to help patrons take their research in a new direction and give them a better understanding of their ancestors and the communities in which they lived.

The workshop is free of charge, but registration is requested. You may register online through the BPL events calendar. For more information, contact the Southern History Department at 205-226-3665 or at

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: Doug Segrest

Author Doug Segrest

Books: A Storm Came Up (Author House 2011) and The Sea of Mississippi (in progress)
How to reach the author: e-mail Doug Segrest at or visit him at,, or twitter: @dsegrest
Quote Segrest uses as a guide in life: “I just follow the Golden Rule.”
Quote from author about being involved in Local Authors Expo: “This will be my second appearance at the Local Authors Expo. I was blown away the first time by the talent of the other authors from across Birmingham and Alabama, the size of the crowd, and how accessible everyone was that day. If you are an avid reader or an aspiring author, this day is a treasure trove of opportunity.”

Doug Segrest will be one of over 30 authors featured in the Birmingham Public Library’s 2017 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

A veteran journalist, Doug Segrest loves history. And he loves character-driven novels. In his debut novel, A Storm Came Up, he combines both, dropping three innocents into the chaos and confusion of a small Alabama town caught up in the apex of the civil rights movement. The result is a personal, fast-paced Southern novel that’s part suspense and part coming of age. The book is well written and historically accurate, drawing strong critical praise from newspapers and readers who have taken the time to delve into the world of fictional Takasaw, Alabama.

Segrest is better known for his work outside of fiction. A long-time sports writer for the Birmingham News and Nashville Banner, Segrest remains a weekly regular on The Zone, ABC 33/40’s long-running Sunday night sports talk show, with Jeff Speegle and Kevin Scarbinsky. He has also contributed stories to Sports Illustrated and newspapers across the country, ranging from the Chicago Tribune to the Dallas Morning-News. He remains a Birmingham resident, working for a company based out of the Magic City.

He is well into his second novel, The Sea of Mississippi, which is a radical departure from his debut. Set in the future, it’s a wild ride into the unknown set in the New South.

Segrest has written as vocation and hobby since he was a child, inspired by legends such as John Updike, William Faulkner, and Gay Talese. He’s comfortable with the everyday technology of the 21st Century, but knows that only a good, hardcover book offers true freedom.

A Sample of Reviews for A Storm Came Up
"Doug Segrest may write sports for a living, but he has found his calling—novelist. In this, his debut novel, he captures the tenor and the times of the sixties South as few have done. Preachers and sheriffs who are Klansmen, good people, everyday people, trying to do the right thing, some fearfully but steadfastly and, of course, bad people doing really bad things...southern terrorists, if you will. Doug Segrest brings those times to life once again in an evocative story told in an evocative style."

“His sense of place and personality is superb, as are his characters and their development. In reading this book, you get to know these people, you admire them and they inspire you, you laugh with them and cry/ache with them. Others you abhor. This is very much a human odyssey and the characters, though fictional, are real, as real as the people were in that day and time.”

"This book captures the intensity of the times. Following three young boys, Brax, Moses, and Andy into adulthood, revealing how troubling times shaped their futures. This is a thrilling book that will captivate you from beginning to end. A must read!"

"The story races and turns against the backdrop of the slow south—never trite nor predictable. I literally could not put it down. Segrest has the gift of painting the time and place and bringing the people to life in such depth that you feel you are watching a movie in your mind. Don't miss this very strong first novel!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: SL Stoutermire

Author SL Stoutermire

Books: Strength: It’s What I Found When I Removed My Makeup; I Said Yes
How to reach the author: e-mail SL Stoutermire at or visit her website at
Quote SL Stoutermire uses as a guide in life: Psalm 138:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 – Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 8 The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.

SL Stoutermire will be one of over 30 authors featured in the Birmingham Public Library’s 2017 Local Authors Expo, taking place on Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

SL Stoutermire was introduced to books at a very early age by her role model and aunt. She fell in love with books and would read everything she could get her hands on. The library was the greatest place to be. She would lose herself in the books she read. She always considered herself a reader, but never thought she would be adding to the wonderful world of books.

Stoutermire has endured personal pain most people couldn’t cope with; she had ten miscarriages. But she and her husband survived it, and are now proud parents of seven children. In her new inspirational book, Strength: It’s What I Found When I Removed My Makeup, Stoutermire describes personal trials she has overcome in life and the process she went through to find her way back to God. She goes into details about physical, emotional, and social difficulties she faced.

“I had no plans to write a book, especially one that spoke of my life in any way,” Stoutermire said. “God led me to this book. He placed it in my heart and allowed the Holy Spirit to pour it out of me.”

During her journey, Stoutermire realized how so much of her life was pretense. No one knew the personal battles she dealt with nearly every day.

“Every time someone asked, ‘How are you doing?’ I did what we all do,” she said. ”I gave a generic response, ‘I'm doing well.’ The truth was, I wasn't good at all. I was so lost. I felt as if I couldn't share what I was going through with anyone because, well, you just don't do that. Right?”

In the book, Stoutermire says that is where the makeup comes into play. Everyone uses makeup in a metaphorical way to cover up issues so that they can appear picture perfect.

“What we end up doing is denying ourselves the opportunity to get help and give a testimony for God,” she said. “That's what I did for a very long time. I metaphorically hid behind the makeup. Once I started to remove the makeup, I discovered my true self. I discovered God in new ways. He led me to who I was called to be in Him. He told me that I had to go out and share my testimony regardless of how uncomfortable it was for me in the beginning.

Join Stoutermire at the Local Authors Expo as she follows God’s instructions and gives her testimony. “It's okay to not be okay. I'm encouraging everyone to remove the makeup,” she said.

Stoutermire has co-authored another book, I Said Yes, which is being released on August 12, a week prior to the Local Authors Expo, and will also be available at her book signing table. The book is co-written with a group of fellow entrepreneurs who all overcame their fears or roadblocks to become amazing entrepreneurs. Stoutermire also has three more books scheduled to be released later this year and two more coming out in 2018. She’s also a contributing writer for an Alabama publication.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Smithfield Library’s Eclipse Programs

by Heather McWilliams, Smithfield Branch Library

The Smithfield Branch Library will be having a full week of crafts and activities leading up to the solar eclipse. Our events will begin Monday, August 14, with free eclipse glasses. We will be giving them out on a first come, first serve basis, one per patron. We will have a craft every afternoon at 4:00 pm. Our schedule is as follows:

Monday, August 14 – Galactic Coasters
Tuesday, August 15 – Moonrocks
Wednesday, August 16 – Galaxy Jars
Thursday, August 17 – Cosmic Space Dough
Friday, August 18 – Galaxy Slime

Our main event will take place on Monday, August 21. We will be having an eclipse viewing party from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. This schedule is following the eclipse and how long it will be visible in the Birmingham area. We will have free eclipse glasses, games, crafts, trivia, and snacks for all ages. Before the eclipse, we will have space bingo, Saturn ring toss, eclipse trivia, and we will be talking about safely viewing the eclipse. Everyone is welcome to participate! Birmingham’s best view of the total eclipse will be around 1:30 p.m. Bring a chair and be ready for an out of this world experience!

Book Review: In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and The Fugitive

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Fiction

In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and The Fugitive
Marcel Proust

By all accounts Marcel Proust was a neurotically possessive friend. In his The Prisoner and The Fugitive, Proust’s full powers are directed toward portrayal of a passion he understood intimately— obsessive jealousy and its ruinous impacts. Often published separately, volumes five and six of In Search of Lost Time: The Prisoner and The Fugitive were published from his drafts after Proust died. The two linked narratives are bridges to the penultimate volume seven Time Regained, wherein the design of his great work is revealed.

Possessive jealously is an affliction well covered in the four previous volumes of In Search of Lost Time. The Narrator and his mother, Swann and Odette, Robert St Loup and Rachel, the Baron and Morel, all of their destructive obsessions have been observed and reported in excruciating detail by the Narrator. Yet, knowing all the pain these jealous relationships created for himself and others, the Narrator turns all his thoughts toward the possession of the heart and will of Albertine, one of the young girls in flower. She lives with him in Paris. He’s fearful for her to even leave their apartment. She might be seeing someone, possibly another young woman. Like his aunt in Swann’s Way, the Narrator uses his poor health to manipulate his lover and keep her at hand. They have both become prisoners of obsessive love, and even after their escape, jealousy dominates the Narrator’s life.

The Narrator’s passionate affair seems to exist outside of the flow of time, yet as he re-emerges into society he is welcomed by the aristocrats as an old friend from a lost golden era when the bourgeoisie were excluded from the highest levels of society. The aristocratic society of Paris, which he believed to be enduring, had changed during the years he’d wasted on an unrequited love.

The changes wrought by time do not wait for our foolish obsessions.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Getting Started with Social Media and Email Marketing Seminar Scheduled for August 17 at Central Library

What: Using Google to Grow Your Business seminar series
When: Thursday August 17, 2017 – "Getting Started with Social Media and Email Marketing"
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor
Details: Free but registration is required

The final seminar in the Using Google to Grow Your Business series is "Getting Started with Social Media and Email Marketing." This session will be held from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. in the Central Library's Regional Library Computer Center, located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Building. The seminar series is sponsored by the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development and Zeekee, a local digital marketing agency. The program presenters will be Zeekee’s marketing and IT specialists.

The seminar is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please contact Andy Mayo in the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development by phone at 205-254-2774 or by email at

Zeekee started in 2003 as a small business and has since grown into a full-fledged internet marketing agency with services that include website development, graphic design, internet marketing and website support. They have developed and supported over 2,000 websites and countless campaigns for their clients in all industries from local startups to international Fortune 500 companies. Zeekee has offices in Birmingham and Fairhope, AL.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Free Solar Eclipse Glasses Available at Selected Birmingham Public Library Locations

Update: All locations of BPL are OUT of solar eclipse glasses.

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be viewable from much of the continental United States for the first time in 38 years. Nine Birmingham Public Library locations are among libraries across the country that have received free solar eclipse glasses that are being distributed to the public on a first-come, first-served basis to view this phenomenon.

Millions of Americans will see the moon’s shadow crossing the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Participating BPL locations that have solar eclipse glasses available for patrons are as follows (call each location to get details as there is a limited supply):

Avondale Regional Branch Library
East Lake Branch Library
Eastwood Branch Library
Ensley Branch Library
Five Points West Regional Branc Library
North Birmingham Regional Branch Library
Smithfield Branch Library
Southside Branch Library
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Smithfield Branch Library is hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, August 21. The Smithfield Library is also hosting a full week of crafts and other activities leading up to the solar eclipse beginning Monday, August 14, 2017. For more information, call Smithfield Library at 205-324-8428 or visit the BPL events calendar

See the map of the path of the eclipse and location of participating libraries at the link below:

Here are some interesting articles about the total solar eclipse:
How fast is the solar eclipse? And 35 other questions answered (USA Today)
10 best cities to see the solar eclipse (

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Birmingham Public Library Hosts Six-Word Food Story Contest August 4-September 30, 2017

Urban legend has it that Ernest Hemingway wrote a six-word short story
on a bet. The story has since been debunked, but many have challenged
themselves to write a six-word story as effective as this one.

Ever since legend recorded that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing his famous story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” writers have been challenging themselves to squeeze as much emotion and impact as possible into six words. As part of our annual celebration of food, drink, and literature the Birmingham Public Library is having a six-word story contest. In only six words, tell us about your adventures with food using the form below, Twitter, Instagram, or e-mail.

The contest will run from Friday, August 4, 2017, until Friday, September 30, 2017. Stories must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on September 30 in order to be eligible. Four winners will be selected. Stories will be judged on creativity and originality.

Here are the rules and eligibility:
    Submission Form

    • Must be an Alabama resident
    • To enter the competition, contestants must be 18 or over
    • Birmingham Public Library staff and immediate family members are ineligible
    • All submissions must be in English
    • Stories must be exactly six words long
    • Stories submitted via Twitter or Instagram must be tagged with #edrw6wordstory to be eligible
    • Stories may be submitted via e-mail as well. E-mail your story to
    • Each winner will receive a copy of Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith
    • Judging will be completed the week of Eat Drink Read Write and the winners will be announced on Friday, October 6, 2017

    Book Review: Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference

    by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

    Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference
    Crystal Paine

    For the last few years more and more people have been looking for ways to supplement their primary income, especially women. Many of them are running single family homes or seeking to accomplish long term financial security as a unit. However, Crystal Pain has written a book that is filled with inspiration and ideas to guide you in the right direction of financial freedom. This book is called Money Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference.

    Paine is a well-followed business owner, well-known blogger, speaker, and author. She exclaims that, “she sets out to spark your creativity, stir your heart and inject fresh financial vision into your life.”

    In this book, she encourages us all to find out what our unique skills and talents are and nurture them. She also points out that once we shift our perspective to live more generously for others, we should discover that the feelings you get from being able to help others gives us a sense of personal pride and accomplishment. She takes many instances from her own family life to illustrate the pitfall, sacrifices, and successes of running your own small business and how rewarding it could be in the end.

    Crystal Paine gives great advice that will help one be a good steward over what you have, at the present moment, and how profits increase as a result of it. This book was a very easy, great, and encouraging read! If you are just starting out, looking to supplement your income, or interested in finding a fulfilling career, I would recommend that you check this book out from your local library.

    2017 Local Authors Expo Spotlight: Chandra Sparks Splond

    Author Chandra Sparks Splond

    Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
    Books: Spin It Like That, The Pledge, The Promise, The Greatest Gift of All, He’s Got Game, Make It Work, You’ve Gotta Have Faith, Black Girl Dreaming: Poems About Love, Life and Loss, It’s Like That
    How to Reach the Author: Read her blog at, visit her website at, or e-mail her at
    Quote about the Local Authors Expo: “I spent a lot of time in the Birmingham Public Libraries growing up, so it is an honor and very humbling for me to be selected as this year’s keynote speaker. I am so excited to connect with authors and readers and to let them know if my dreams can come true, theirs can too.”

    The Local Authors Expo will be held Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the Central Library. Splond is the 10:30 a.m. keynote speaker.

    Chandra Sparks Splond first gained her love of reading as a young child by visiting the Central Library and her neighborhood libraries in West End and Five Points West.

    So it should come as no surprise that as an adult Splond is an editor, speaker, and award-winning author and blogger. Her young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama's Great Read 2017, and Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

    Another of her books, The Pledge, was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine also honored Splond as a 2017 Legends & Leaders for her blog, Book of Splond (formerly known as Magic City Momma).

    Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC, and Live Life Creations, a personalized gift and party boutique. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion.

    She has edited books for several New York Times, USA Today, and Essence bestselling authors. Splond has interviewed New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Kimberly Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey, and actress Meagan Good. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times.

    Splond says she uses this quote by Henry David Thoreau as a guide to her personal and professional life: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.”

    Come meet Splond and the nearly 30 other authors at the Local Authors Expo on August 19.

    It’s Like That
    After suffering a tragic loss ten years ago, twenty-six-year-old Jasmine Richardson has traded her love of lyrics for writing legal briefs. It only takes one encounter with the microphone for Jasmine to realize the music is still in her heart—if only it could pay the bills. After making some bad decisions, Jasmine is thrown into a tailspin. She is forced to consider taking a case that could make her legal career from someone from her past. Suddenly, Jasmine finds herself questioning her future. When the music is still in your heart, sometimes life forces you to make some tough decisions. Sometimes…it’s like that.

    Black Girl Dreaming: Poems about Love, Life and Loss
    As a child growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, author and blogger Chandra Sparks Splond spent many days in her room dreaming of forever and writing about someday. In Black Girl Dreaming: Poems about Love, Life and Loss, Splond shares some of her most cherished and personal work on her journey to learning to love herself and others.

    Make It Work (Named Alabama’s Great Read 2017)
    Sixteen-year-old Reagan Davis has landed her dream job, an internship at FIRE 107.1, the hottest radio station in town. It doesn’t take Reagan long to realize that between competitive coworkers and trying to ignore her growing feelings for her oh-so-cute coworker Jayden, there’s more drama at FIRE than she’s ever experienced at school. That might be okay if she could go home and relax, but her mother is acting weird and her father is keeping secrets. Even with all the madness at home, Reagan can’t deny that radio is in her blood, and whatever it takes, this summer she’s determined to…make it work.

    You’ve Gotta Have Faith
    Destini Daniels is excited she is going to be adopted—or is she? When she gets a bad grade and learns her foster mother has a secret that could put her adoption in jeopardy, Destini starts to lose faith she’ll get a forever family—or pass science. When someone volunteers to tutor her, Destini begins to believe she may not only get an “A,” but maybe she’ll get a forever mom—and dad.

    Meet Pratt City Branch Library Manager Tracy Simpson

    Tracy Simpson

    Hometown: Dallas, Texas
    College degree: Undergraduate in sociology and master’s degree in library science at the University of North Texas
    Favorite book: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
    Favorite movie: Talk to Me
    Favorite television show: How to Get away with Murder
    Favorite quote that you use as a guide in life: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

    The Pratt City Branch Library has a new branch manager. Tracy Simpson began overseeing the library on June 26, 2017.

    Before joining the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), Simpson served as lead librarian at the Ralph Ellison Library in Oklahoma City. Prior to moving to Oklahoma, Simpson lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and worked as the medical librarian for John Peter Smith Hospital, where she enjoyed doing research and conducting instruction sessions for new physicians.

    Simpson began her career in libraries as a customer service representative for the Dallas Public Library in 2004 and was promoted to circulation supervisor in 2007. In 2009, Simpson accepted a position with the Texas Woman’s University Health Sciences Library, where she worked as a library assistant II, providing library instruction to students and conducting research for faculty.

    A Texas native, Simpson attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of North Texas, where she obtained a master of library science degree in 2013. Upon graduation, Simpson returned to work at the Dallas Public Library as a librarian before being quickly promoted to branch manager of the Highland Hills Library in 2014.

    “I am excited to join the Pratt City team and I am learning so much about the rich history of the Pratt City community. I am looking forward to my adventures here at BPL as well as new adventures here in the city of Birmingham!”

    Wednesday, August 02, 2017

    Book Review: Cherry: A Memoir

    by Richard Grooms, Fiction Department, Central Library

    Cherry: A Memoir
    Mary Karr

    Cherry is the second in Mary Karr’s three-part memoir series. I’ve blogged on this site about part one, The Liar’s Club which is, like this, first-rate. The third, Lit, is in the same class. I haven’t read these in order and I don’t think there’s a need to.

    Karr has said she wrote Cherry because no memoirist has taken on the adolescent female in a direct and honest way. I’m not well-versed enough in memoir to make a comment on that statement, but I can say that her intent to make the book honest, unsentimental, and unabashed has been realized. Like The Liar’s Club, Cherry takes place in Leechfield, Texas. This is actually Groves, Texas. Karr apparently wants to savage her town at a distance; this may be the only punch she’s pulled. Leechfield is an ugly, dirty, boring refinery town in southeast Texas near the Arkansas border and the Gulf of Mexico.

    Early in the book Karr admits “I instinctively knew the rules of girls’ comportment, but I wasn’t yet resigned to them, for to place my head into that yoke was to part with too much freedom.” Comportment—now there’s a word that’ll take to back to the dour old days. Karr is like Huck in that she lights out for the territory, but unlike him in that she stays at home while she does it. This brings great consternation and scandal to family, friends, school, community, police—you name it. I’m glad she didn’t conform in that it makes for an unmissable account. Defiance equals drama equals high interest. In the house, both Karr parents are alcoholics. Mary, in the classic mode, becomes a de facto parent in order to keep her actual parents on track. This mixture of defiance and assuming great responsibility early on makes the young Karr a contradictory rebel, a nonconforming nonconformist. Similarly, she makes outstanding grades through most of her schooling, but she’s so smart that she’s a threat to her schools, which don’t know what to do with her. Admittedly, the action takes place in the late sixties to mid-seventies, before most schools had any notion of the gifted. Dad is resigned to his refinery job. Mom feels she is better than Leechfield and all this, but can only strike out blindly through drink. Sister Lecia, like Mary, parents her parents through their alcoholic bouts.

    The brand names alone bring back the sixties: Prell, Jiffy Pop, English Leather, Wisk, Playtex Cross-Your-Heart. The refinery flames, which summoned a vision of hell in the first memoir, now appear to be “manufactured psychedelic sunsets.” Karr is pleasurably articulate in every sentence. She shows what it feels like to have your first kiss, to move up a grade, to get tight the first time, to worry what in the world your body’s changing into. I’ve circled one word (“aripple”) as inept in this book. It’s the only one. The rest is close to flawless, or flawlessness itself. Karr is almost unerringly right in her writing. She’s not capable of being dull. Other than that one word, pretense, overstatement, easy statements, and anything false are just not here. Karr’s by her own admission a merciless editor, a strict reviser of her own work, and it shows.

    If you are a reader and you want to know what it’s like to grow up one, this is your account. If you didn’t fit in as an adolescent, if you saw through the bilge of your society, if you screwed up a lot, if you crashed and burned, then this is for you also. Karr takes it all on: class, sex, race, bigotry, small-mindedness, the parochial idiocy of the South, drugs, poverty, shame, shaming, embarrassment, alienation, poor teachers, worry. It seems as though nothing essential about her female adolescence, or female adolescence, is left out. Now I can better understand the girls I grew up with. And if you’re female, it’ll probably hit home harder still. Not only is Cherry maximally informative, but here, as always, Karr doesn’t forget the pleasure principle. Something of a triumph, this book.

    Partnership with BPL: The Teen Engineer BHM Afterschool Program, the Teen Mock Trial Experience, and the Spoken Word Poetry Camp

    by Pat Rumore

    Learning Center department head Lance Simpson hosts a program for teens in the Teen
    Zone at the Central Library

    As a volunteer on the board of Birmingham Public Library's Friends Foundation, I continue to be excited by the programs being developed in the Central Teen Zone learning center. Three groups of volunteers with special knowledge have helped librarian Lance Simpson create some really exciting hands-on learning opportunities for the teens, grades 9-12, who participate. (I'm hoping for the day when some of these same learning experiences may be offered to adult patrons as well!)

    UAB School of Engineering volunteer at the Woodlawn Branch Library

    The Teen Engineer BHM program, co-sponsored with the UAB Engineering Department, operated as a pilot program offered at Central Library and two branches for its first two years through a grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund. This year there will be four branch sites in addition to Central because of a $95,000 two-year grant awarded to the library by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. All the program sites are near either high schools or middle schools, whose students are invited to come check out unique projects that represent real life engineering concepts and problems, using robots and micro computers.

    UAB School of Engineering volunteer at the Pratt City Branch Library

    The engineering students, both undergraduate and graduate, work one-on-one with the participating teens, focusing on hands-on learning. These UAB students receive a stipend for sharing their skills that helps with their own education expenses, creating a win-win situation for all involved.

    Lance Simpson with the Spring 2017 Student Mock Trial participants

    During last spring's school term the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the federal Public Defender's Office partnered with BPL to hold a student mock trial program for teens at the Central Teen Zone. About two dozen teens registered for the program and met at BPL after school once a week for eight weeks with lawyers who volunteered their time to explain the criminal justice system. The students were able to play the roles of lawyers, judges, and witnesses. As a final experience, participants put their knowledge to work by holding a mock trial inside the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Birmingham, assuming the roles of defense lawyer, prosecutors, witnesses, and judge in an actual trial setting.

    Lance Simpson (l) and Jim Baggett (r) with the civil rights poetry group

    This summer the BPL Teen Zone was the site of a week-long spoken word poetry camp. For this camp, the Teen Zone partnered with Real Life Poets, Inc. and the BPL Archives Department. The camp titled "Civil Rights Through The Eyes of a Young Poet" gave participants the opportunity to talk about the civil rights movement of the 1960s through artifacts from the Archives of BPL. Each participant wrote, rapped, and spit verse, then completed a spoken word poem which was archived in BPL's digital archives and shared with the world.

    Did you know that BPL receives no funds for programming from the city of Birmingham? This means that the library must seek these funds through grants, individual and corporate sponsorships, and donations paid into the Friends Foundation. We invite you to contribute to the Friends Foundation and become a friend of BPL, joining us in supporting BPL's mission of providing the highest quality experience to our community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment.

    Central Library Hosting Neighborhood Meet and Greet August 3

    The Central Library is hosting a meet and greet reception for Birmingham's newly elected Neighborhood Association officers, community leaders, elected officials, and the general public on Thursday, August 3, 2017, 6:30-8:00 p.m. This event will include music and light refreshments.

    The purpose is to promote the library's education programs, technology services, exhibits, and signature events that are available for the public, as well as to introduce key staff and obtain feedback on the quality of services delivered at the library's 19 locations that serve Birmingham's 99 neighborhoods.

    These representatives are key influencers in their respective communities, and they serve as liaisons between residents, local government, and various service providers. The goal is to equip representatives with information about the free programs and services available to library cardholders, so that they can share these resources in their neighborhoods.

    This event is sponsored by the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library, State Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Publix Super Markets, Inc.​​​​​​

    Tuesday, August 01, 2017

    Do You Have Your PIN?

    Starting August 2, 2017, you will need to use a PIN when you log in to your account through the library's catalog. We are requiring PINs for added security and for better integration with library software developed by third-party vendors. These vendors expect libraries to use PINs.

    PINs can be from four to eight characters, letters or numbers, but no special characters. They are not case-sensitive.

    Staff will assist you in adding a PIN to your account before August 2, 2017. After that you can add your own PIN online. If you forget your PIN, you can reset it yourself or you can ask a staff member for help.

    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    Vocational Readiness Workshops in August

    by Jim Murray, Department Head, Business, Science and Technology Department

    What: Vocational Readiness workshop series
    When: Every Friday in August and September 2017
    Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
    Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor
    Details: The series consists of four workshops:  (1) Vocational Introduction Readiness Workshop, (2) Resume Builder, (3) New Age Online Application Process, and (4) Interview Bootcamp

    Choosing a career is not any easy undertaking. Likewise, once you’ve chosen a career, finding a job can be a pretty difficult task as well. When you consider that throughout your lifetime you spend more hours at your job than you do anywhere else, you really need to put the time and effort into making good decisions in regards to career selection and job searching. This is not only true for young people who are entering the job market for the first time, but also for adults who are either reentering the job market after an absence, looking for a new job, or are contemplating a career change. If you fall into any of these categories, then you should plan to attend the Birmingham Public Library’s Vocational Readiness workshops.

    A series of four Vocational Readiness workshops will be held at the Central Library on every Friday in August and September. Each of the workshops will cover a different part of the job searching process, but participants are encouraged to attend all four because each builds on the content presented in the previous one. Here are the descriptions of the individual workshops and the days that they will be offered:

    Vocational Introduction Readiness Workshop provides an individual assessment of personal and professional goals, aspirations, and skills to help determine your best job fit. 1st Friday of each month (August 4, September 1)

    Resume Builder is designed to assist individuals with creating an effective resume that will function as a powerful tool in achieving gainful employment. 2nd Friday of each month (August 11, September 8)

    New Age Online Application Process offers tips and suggestions to guide all job seekers in successfully completing online employment applications. 3rd Friday of each month (August 18, September 15)

    Interview Bootcamp teaches techniques to help you emphasize your skills, overcome objections, and build rapport with your job interviewer. 4th Friday of each month (August 25, September 22)

    The workshops presenter is Tina Thornton. Tina is a professional counselor and founder of Gem Kreations, a nonprofit organization committed to assisting those who have experienced adverse circumstances realize their full personal and professional potential.

    For more information about the workshops, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at or by calling 205-226-3691.

    Friday, July 28, 2017

    Birmingham Public Library Genealogy Workshops through 2017

    The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department has released a slate of workshops through 2017, many aimed at helping patrons in the metro are learn how to research their family tree.

    Parisian, 1928, BPL Digital Collections
    August marks the return of BPL’s popular Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop series with Mind Your Own (Family) Business on August 12. Did your ancestors own a pharmacy, furniture shop, or other business? Many genealogists know that their ancestors owned or started a business. This Beyond the Basics of Genealogy workshop will show you how to use city directories, government websites, newspapers, and other sources to learn more about the history of the family business or the company your ancestors worked for.

    Workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. Register online through the BPL events calendar, or contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or

    Below is a listing of upcoming workshops Southern History Department will be hosting in the coming months over the last half of 2017:

    Tuesday, August 8, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Bessemer Public Library
    Piles of Paper and Digital Dilemmas: Organizing Your Genealogy Research – 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 for both paper and digital files and set yourself up for organizational success. For more information or directions, please contact The Bessemer Public Library at 205-428-7882.

    Tuesday, August 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Central Library, Computer Lab
    DNA Testing at 23andMe – Whether you just want to discover your ethnic composition or if you really want to do DNA genealogy, you will want to learn all you can about the website of this popular DNA testing company.

    Tuesday, August 8, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Central Library, Southern History Department
    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. No registration required.

    Saturday, August 12, 10:00-11:30 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
    Mind Your Own (Family) Business Did your ancestors own a pharmacy, furniture shop, or other business? Many genealogists know that their ancestors owned or started a business. This workshop will show you how to use city directories, government websites, newspapers, and other sources to learn more about the history of the family business or the company your ancestors worked for.

    Thursday, August 24, 2:15-3:15 p.m., Central Library, Computer Lab
    Patent Basics – Are you interested in inventing, or had an ancestor who was an inventor? In this class, participants will learn more patents, basic search methods, and will conduct searches in the U.S. Patent and Trademark databases.

    Sunday, August 27, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Central Library, Southern History Department
    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.

    Saturday, August 12, 10:00 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
    Mind Your Own (Family) Business – Did your ancestors own a pharmacy, furniture shop, or other business? Many genealogists know that their ancestors owned or started a business. This workshop will show you how to use city directories, government websites, newspapers, and other sources to learn more about the history of the family business or the company your ancestors worked for.

    Saturday, September 9, 10:00 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
    Family Tree DNA Services and Website
    – Explore the offerings of Family Tree DNA, a company that offers hundreds of different DNA tests and that supports them with the most detailed website in the industry.

    Saturday, September 23, 10:00 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium – Participants will be introduced to the Library Edition database in which you can research your family history as well as learn how to search this database to locate your ancestors.

    Saturday, October 28, 10:00 a.m., Central Library, Arrington Auditorium
    Google Your Peeps – What do you want to know about your ancestors? Everything. The Internet is a great tool for genealogy, but are you using it to its full potential? This workshop will teach you how to create a research template and look for details that will help you discover more about your ancestors using search engines, genealogy databases, and a few other, perhaps surprising websites.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Do it Yourself Fun

    by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library

    Do you enjoy arts and crafts? We do too! At the Avondale Library, we started offering a jewelry-making workshop for adults once a month last summer, and now we offer arts and crafts programming weekly, with a different program every Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

    All programs are free but space is limited, so register online through the BPL events calendar, call 226-4000, or drop by the circulation desk to reserve your spot. We also offer drop-in adult coloring stations that are available anytime, and we have a great selection of craft books to check out.

    Upcoming Programs
    Wednesday, August 2, 2:00 p.m. Club Create - Come together to create something new! We'll tackle a new craft project each month, with instruction and materials provided. Our project this month is making fruit slice coasters.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2:00 p.m. Color Club - Explore coloring for adults. This month we're coloring reusable tote bags.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2:00 p.m.  Books & Beads - Join us for our monthly jewelry-making adventure. Materials, tools, and instructions are provided, and each participant will complete a jewelry project to take home. Adults of all skill levels are welcome. This month we'll be learning to make beaded leather wrap bracelets.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2:00 p.m. Fiber Arts on Fifth Avenue - Knitters, crocheters, and other "fiber artists" of all skill levels can bring their supplies to this informal group to share tips and ideas! The library will have a limited supply of needles and yarn available on a first come, first served basis.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2:00 p.m. Wildcard Wednesday: Adventures in Art - Join us for a fun art project, with instruction and materials provided, and complete your own masterpiece to take home.

    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

    Birmingham Public Library Celebrating 20 Years of Harry Potter

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published June 26, 1997, in the UK; it was
    published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on September 1, 1998, in the US

    The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is paying tribute the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter with a film festival, birthday celebration, and showing of some of the most popular movies based on author J.K. Rowling’s teen wizard.

    The Central Library will host its annual Harry Potter Film Festival on Saturday, July 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Harry Potter films will air back-to-back in the Youth Department Story Castle, 2nd Floor. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the entire family. Come dressed in your favorite Harry Potter costumes.

    The Smithfield Branch Library will host a Harry Potter Birthday Party on Monday, July 31, at 10:00 a.m. Celebrate the birthday of one of the most beloved literary characters of all time. Smithfield Library will have a Hogwarts-worthy feast and spellbinding games. Beware of Dementors!

    From Tuesday, August 1, through Friday, August 4, Smithfield Library will host a Harry Potter Watch-a-Thon featuring a different Harry Potter movie all four days at 10:00 a.m. Refreshments will be served. The party and movies are free and open to all ages.

    Read more about the 20th anniversary Potter celebration taking place worldwide at the link below:

    Southern History Book of the Month: Exploring Wild Alabama: A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas

    by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

    Exploring Wild Alabama: A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas
    Kenneth M. Wills and L.J. Davenport

    It’s the middle of summer and a great time for vacations. But maybe you don’t have an extended trip planned, or don’t care for long trips away from home anyway. Maybe you prefer shorter excursions to augment your “staycation.” If so, Exploring Wild Alabama is an excellent resource for discovering the state’s natural wonders. This guide shows the geographic regions of Alabama and provides GPS coordinates and helpful symbols for the activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, and canoeing that are available to the public at each location.

    When I was paging through Exploring Wild Alabama, the description of Sipsey Wilderness resonated with me because the first time I ever walked through it, I was fresh from a recent reading of J.R.R. Tolkien:
    The canyons of the Sipsey Wilderness truly contain an “enchanted forest.” Each canyon, with its steep sandstone cliffs, shows a waterfall at its head during the wetter times of the year; such a cool microclimate allows the eastern hemlock to thrive far south of its expected range. Standing in one of those canyons makes you feel as if you were looking at a set for a Lord of the Rings movie or the stage for a Wagnerian opera.
    I can definitely remember similar thoughts as I walked through those trails, climbed over rocks, and admired waterfalls. I had a similar experience while I was reading the Coastal Zone section because there is a beautiful color photograph of a pitcher plant—a carnivorous plant I’d read about but never seen—and I still remember seeing them for the first time on family vacations to the Gulf Coast.

    So whether you are in need of a vacation, a day trip with the family, a brief weekend getaway, or just something you haven’t seen before, consult Exploring Wild Alabama. And don’t be in too much of a hurry, because there are plenty of destinations here for a lifetime of sightseeing. As the authors themselves suggest:  ". . . slow down in order to best enjoy Alabama’s natural wonders! Pick one location at a time and get to know it well."

    Which Alabama destinations are on your list this summer?

    For further information:
    Exploring Wild Alabama on Facebook
    Kenneth M. Wills and L.J. Davenport on Absolutely Alabama
    Alabama Road Trips
    Natural Wonders of Alabama—Only in Your State

    Central Library to Host Ballard House Project Community Conversations July 27

    What: Ballard House Project Community-Wide Collective Memory Program
    Where: Central Library’s Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
    When: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m.
    Details: The Ballard House Project will be recording community conversations about Birmingham’s historic past. One-hour session topics will include community building, business, law, civil rights, women’s organizations, food/gardening, health, social & service clubs, fellowship, and faith. For more information, call 205-731-2000 or go to

    Did you participate in Birmingham’s civil rights marches of the 1960s as a foot soldier? Have interesting stories to tell about a family business, church, or important dates in the city’s history?

    Then make plans to come to the Central Library in downtown Birmingham between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, 2017. The Ballard House Project, Inc. is partnering with the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) as it seeks people willing to share personal stories about Birmingham's historic past.

    Last month (between June 19-24), Ballard House Project hosted sign-ups for residents willing to participate at the Central, Avondale, Springville Road, North Birmingham, and Five Points West Libraries. If you missed those meetings and want to participate, call 205-731-2000 or go to for more information.

    The Ballard House

    The Ballard House, 1420 7th Ave. North in the Birmingham civil rights district downtown, is a
    cultural and educational space dedicated to celebrating people, places, and events from Birmingham's past and inspiring citizens of today. The Ballard House was built in 1940 by Dr. Edward Ballard, a prominent Birmingham doctor in the 1920s. Hamilton's husband, Herschell Hamilton, is the son of the late Dr. Herschell Hamilton Sr., who, upon moving to Birmingham in 1958, became the first board-certified African American surgeon in the city.

    Dr. Hamilton became known as the "dog-bite doctor" for providing free medical care including surgery for several foot soldiers and activists injured during the 1960s civil rights movement. He was the personal physician for Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and also treated Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Hamilton's office was located inside the Ballard House, and he spent much of his 43 years of medical practice there. Hamilton's family established the Herschell Lee Hamilton Endowed Medical Scholarship in his honor during the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Birmingham.

    Popular Posts