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Showing posts from April, 2017

Summer Beach Reads

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It's time for another installment of titles for your beach reading pleasure.  Whether you like to lounge by the pool at the condo or feel the breeze from the Gulf of Mexico on your face, you simply must have a good novel to read while you relax in the sun.  As people frolic and play in the water, while others point out the sharks close to shore, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you are far enough from the water to be out of harm's way.  Editorial note:  Apparently the sharks are feeding close to shore down in Orange Beach.  In any case, check out one of these fun beach reads and enjoy the coast.  Descriptions are from the publisher.


Same Beach, Next Year  by Dorothea Benton Frank (5/16)
A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston's most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. …

West End Library Filmmaking Workshops for Teens Continue on April 29

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Hey young people, ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker? Then make plans to be at the West End Branch Library on Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 p.m., for week two of its free filmmaking workshops for teens.

The workshop, Do You Want to Make a Movie? Filmmaking for Teens, kicked off last Saturday, April 22, 2017. The teacher is Birmingham filmmaker Denzale Butler. There is only room for 10 students, so register in advance online or by calling the West End Library at 205-226-4089.

The remaining three classes, all taught between 3:30 and 4:45 p.m, are as follows:
Week Two (April 29) is "ABC’s of Film (Shot Sizes)"
Week Three (May 6) is "ABC’s of Film (Camera Movement)"
Week Four (May 13) is "ABC’s of Film (Composition)"

The teacher will bring a camera to class. However, students are asked to bring their camera phones since they will use them to create shots that create various moods. Teens will acquire a new skill and additional knowledge about an exciting topic. …

Cahaba Brewing to Partner with Public Libraries in Jefferson County on Goodwill Wednesday

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What:Goodwill Wednesday to support Public Libraries in Jefferson County
When: Wednesday, May 17, 3:00-10:00 p.m.
Where: Cahaba Brewing Company

Every Wednesday Cahaba Brewing Company partners with a non-profit organization at the taproom to enjoy some great beer while also benefiting a good cause. On May 17 the Public Libraries in Jefferson County will be on the receiving end of this goodwill. So stop by Cahaba Brewing Company on this particular Wednesday to enjoy some beer, food, and games and help them support our Jefferson County public libraries.

Cahaba Brewing Company was founded in the summer of 2011 by a group of friends united by their love of craft beer and home brewing. Together, they devised a plan to build a brewery in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama. The group found an excellent location for the brewery in the Pepper Place/Lakeview district of Birmingham on 3rd Avenue South. The 8000 square foot building houses the brewery and tasting room and the building was selected for it&#…

Southern History Book of the Month: How Me and Amos Won World War I

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by Mary Anne Ellis, Librarian, Southern History Department, Central Library

How Me and Amos Won World War I
Dr. Lelias E. Kirby

One hundred years ago this month, America entered World War I. Among the Alabama recruits were Lelias Kirby and his brother Amos, and How Me and Amos Won World War I is the chronicle of their adventures. When I saw the title, I expected a lighthearted treatment along the lines of Edward Streeter’s Dere Mableand Dr. Kirby’s account has its share of humorous happenings, like his take on one of the ever-present scourges of warfare:
Have you ever noticed a photograph of General Napoleon, General De Gaulle or any French soldier? They have one hand inside the lapel of the jacket and the other hand behind the back. They were fighting cooties . . . we scratched our way from Brest, France to Trelaze, a suburb of Orleans where the fifty-second ammunition train was being formed to take ammunition to the Argentan’s front. Kirby maintains this good-natured outlook throug…

Friends Bookstore Volunteers Celebrated during National Volunteer Week

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by Pat B. Rumore
Rumore received a 2016 Library Champions award from the Jefferson County Public Library Association and is a Friend of the Birmingham Public Library


This week has been National Volunteer Week. The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and its Friends Foundation annually celebrate the approximately 100 volunteers who serve throughout our library system by sponsoring a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, held this year at the Central Library.

Today we're spotlighting our largest group of volunteers, a team of about 25 people who operate the Friends Bookstore at the Central Library under the leadership of Thracie Pace and the Friends Council of BPL's Friends Foundation.

The bookstore sells or donates books, movies, and music which have been removed from the library's permanent collection, usually because there are too many copies or they have stopped circulating. The bookstore also receives donations of used books from individuals and groups who are reducing their col…

Money Matters – Five Keys to Investing Success Workshop Scheduled for May 3, 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 at the final workshop in the series to take part in discussions about a variety of money management issues and learn ways to help you achieve your economic goals.

Workshop: Five Keys to Investing Success
When: May 3, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor

For more information about the workshop series and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at jmurray@bham.lib.…

Springville Road Library Stitched Art Drawing Set for May 1 during Crafts Program

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What: Stitched Art Drawing
When: Monday, May 1, 12:00 p.m., during Coffee, Conversations and Crafts program
Where:Springville Road Regional Branch Library
Details: Tickets for the stitched art are $1 apiece or 6 tickets for $5. You can buy them at the library through the morning of May 1 or from any CCC member. You do not have to be present to win.

Time is running out to buy tickets for a stitched art drawing taking place at the Springville Road Library on May 1 during its popular Coffee, Conversation and Crafts (CCC) adult program.

The hand-stitched, framed art was created by a Birmingham area artist and donated to the Springville Road Library to raise money for its adult programs. The stitched art was on display during the 2017 craft fair held April 2 at the Springville Road Library.

For more information, contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or kslaney@bham.lib.al.us. Go to the BPL events calendar to view upcoming library programs.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

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It's that time of year.  From pollen covering cars in a nice layer of yellow dust to rainy days full of the potential of severe storms, spring has finally made its arrival in Alabama. And what better time to start your summer garden than now?

Our collection widely varies with picture books, youth nonfiction, and adult nonfiction. With easy-to-follow gardening instructions and advice, even a novice gardener can easily create a beautiful space in their home or outdoors.  Soak up some Vitamin D, get out in the yard, and start planning your next (or new!) gardening adventure.  Check out our list of books recommended by staff to help you along.

The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening with Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers by Kelly Orzel

The “garden to table” movement is inspiring another generation of gardeners but many of them have questions. How important is composting? Is seed saving really worth it? Focusing on sustainable, organic growing practices and plants, The…

Only One Week Left to Visit Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps

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by Mary Beth Newbill, Department Head, Southern History and Government Documents Departments, Central Library

Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps is on display in the downtown library's Fourth Floor Gallery for one more week. The exhibit has been garnering rave reviews and is a must see for anyone interested in the history of Alabama or the Southeast. Dr. Melinda Kashuba, visiting scholar from California, said it rivals exhibits she has seen in "Chicago and Washington, D.C." The library's Southern History Department worked for almost two years putting the exhibit together and is thrilled with the community response.

The exhibit is partially funded by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation and consists of high quality reproductions of 54 maps carefully selected from the library's collection of over 2,000. Beginning in 1545 and continuing through the 1990's, the maps tell the story of Alabama from the Age of Discovery through the territorial period…

Money Smart Week Programs at Inglenook Library

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by Karnecia Williams, Branch Manager, Inglenook Branch Library


According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and to take effective actions regarding the current and future use and management of money. During Money Smart Week, April 22-29, financial institutions, libraries, and other community entities across the county will provide several programs and activities to help communities obtain financial literacy. The Inglenook Branch Library will be amongst those offering pertinent programming. See program listing below.

April 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Wells Fargo Bank: How To Open and Maintain a Bank Account
Shedrick South, personal banker at Wells Fargo, will discuss the importance of a having a bank account and how to use them effectively to save money.

April 26, 10:00 a.m.
Information Systems Security Class

Join Inglenook Library’s own Michael Fagin as he discusses security measures to take to keep online content safe.

On Apr…

Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt Exhibit, May 11-June 25, 2017

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What:Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit
When: May 11-June 25, 2017
Where: First floor exhibit cases and Fourth Floor Gallery at the Central Library
Details: Exhibits will be available during library hours. Opening reception Saturday, May 13, 2017, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery

Featuring quilts by master artists from Gee’s Bend and works by Miller’s Pottery of Brent and Ham Pottery of Selma, the Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt exhibit will present two living traditions of the region.

Acclaimed nationally and internationally, the Gee’s Bend quilters are continuing the tradition through their families and community. Sixteen quilts by different women, some of whom will be exhibiting for the first time, will represent the amazing colors and innovative techniques often associated with the textiles produced by several generations over the years.

Folk potter Steve Miller an…

Money Smart Week Programs at Central Library Begins April 24

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Money Smart Week is an annual nationwide campaign aimed at increasing financial literacy and promoting better decision making on issues related to personal money management. This year, Money Smart Week will be held from April 22 to April 29. The Birmingham Public Library will be doing its part to celebrate the week by hosting three public programs at the Central Library location:

The A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare
Date: Monday, April 24, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC)/4th Floor
Karen Haiflich, an independent health benefits advisor, will provide simple, straightforward answers to help participants better understand Medicare and the options available to beneficiaries.

Estate Planning: A Guide to Life Organization
Date: Tuesday April 25, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Place: Linn-Henley Research Library/RLCC/4th Floor
Participants will learn the basics of estate planning including how to examine their financial needs and a…

Sow the Seeds of Victory: Birmingham's Victory Gardens

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Spring has arrived, and people have started to plant flowers and gardens. One hundred years ago this month, the citizens of Birmingham were planting gardens for a very different reason as the world was engulfed in World War I. There were severe food shortages in Europe as farmers left to serve in the military, and fertile ground had been turned into battlefields.

To solve this problem, Charles Lathop Pack organized the National War Garden Commission for the purpose of encouraging Americans to plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables. Any idle land including school and company grounds, parks, backyards, or vacant lots could be converted for agricultural production, which would generate surplus food that in turn could then be exported to Europe. The National War Garden Commission formed in March 1917, and the United States entered the war in April 1917.

Birmingham citizens rushed to do their part by planting "victory gardens," and the Birmingham News led the effort w…

Birmingham Bound: Author Talk and Book Signing with Art Black

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What: Author talk and book signing with Art Black, author of Showdown at Rickwood
When: Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. Jim Reed, owner and proprietor of Reed Books, will offer introductory remarks.

Before major league baseball came south, the Dixie Series was the crowning event of the summer for Birmingham sports enthusiasts. Pitting the champions of the Southern Association and the Texas League, the series produced many memorable moments during its heyday from 1920 to 1958. For fans of the Birmingham Barons, however, the contest of 1931 was the most memorable of all.

The dramatic 1931 Dixie Series between the Birmingham Barons and the Houston Buffaloes serves as the backdrop of the newly published book Showdown at Rickwood. Written by local author Art Black, the book focuses not only baseball culture in the Magic City,…

Registration Open For May 2017 Classes

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Registration is now open for staff and the public for the May 2017 classes . During this month, we include classes on a variety of topics including computer skills and career guidance. 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 pdf copy of the May 2017 class schedule to bring to a Computer Commons staff member on your next library visit. Please note that the May 2017 class schedule (pdf file) can be sent to us as an email attachment.

West End Library Hosting Filmmaking Workshop for Teens on April 22

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Hey young people, ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker? Then make plans to be at the West End Branch Library the next four Saturdays for free filmmaking workshops for teens.

The workshop, Do You Want to Make a Movie? Film Making for Teens, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.  on Saturday, April 22, 2017. The teacher is Birmingham filmmaker Denzale Butler. There is only room for 10 students, so register in advance by calling the West End Library at 205-226-4089.

The workshop has four classes, all taught between 3:30 and 4:45 p.m.:
Week One (April 22) is "Introduction to Cinema"
Week Two (April 29) is "ABC’s of Film (Shot Sizes)"
Week Three (May 6) is "ABC’s of Film (Camera Movement)"
Week Four (May 13) is "ABC’s of Film (Composition)"

The teacher will bring a camera to class. However, students are asked to bring their camera phones since they will use them to create shots that create various moods. Teens will acquire a new skill and additional …

Five Points West Library Hosting Meet & Greet for Authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray

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What: A Blessing & a Curse—a book launch/meet & greet for ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray
When: Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m.
Where:Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Five Points West Regional Branch Library will be hosting a book launch/meet & greet for popular authors ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray. The event will take place on April 25, 2017. The title comes from the new collaborative novel by Billingsley and Murray.

The book A Blessing & a Curseis about first ladies of the Baptist church and sworn “frenemies” Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Cox Larson Bush, who are stunned to learn they may have more in common than they thought—like who’s their daddy. A Blessing & A Curse has it all: a heated American Baptist Coalition election, a murky murder cover-up, an outrageous reality TV show, and other drama.

Read more about the book by publisher Simon & Schuster at the link below: http://www.simonandschuster.…

Birmingham Public Library System Has New Branch Managers at Titusville and Wylam Libraries

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Birmingham Public Library's Titusville and Wylam locations have new branch managers. Amanda Jenkins heads the Titusville Branch Library after spending time at the public library in Alabaster. She previously worked part time at several BPL locations, including Springville Road. Selina Johnson now heads the Wylam Branch Library after spending 18 years as a librarian in the Birmingham Public School system.

Amanda Jenkins
Amanda T. Jenkins began overseeing the Titusville Library in late January. Before joining the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), Jenkins served as the circulation department head at Albert L. Scott Library in Alabaster.

A Birmingham native, Jenkins has a bachelor’s in science degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master of library and information studies from the University of Alabama. Jenkins has been busy meeting patrons and neighborhood leaders over the past two-and-half months, and is excited to be a part of the Titusville community.

“I've wo…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for May 1 at Central Library

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What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Monday, May 1, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

Upcoming Date:
Monday June 5, 2017

The Birmingham Public Library, in conjunction with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Office of Economic Development, will once again be hosting the popular seminar Steps to Starting Your Business in 2017. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the first Monday of each month from February to June, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Each seminar will cover the same topics, but those who are interested are welcome to attend more than one day. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic in…

Book Review: In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

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by David Blake, Department Head, Fiction Department, Central Library

In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
Marcel Proust

For decades the title of the second volume of In Search of Lost Time was translated as Within a Budding Grove, because the actual title was deemed too suggestive for English speaking ears. The narrator, not named, is describing his early adolescence and his intoxication as he is immersed in the company of girls entering adolescence themselves. Most readers, like the narrator, will be years past the age when flirtation was new to us and youths were our peers, but Proust, the author and presumably the narrator, powerfully evokes those emotions for us as he shares passages from his youth.

As the first volume, Swann’s Way, closed, the narrator, a nervous, sickly boy, is drawn out of his cloistered world every afternoon to the promenade of elegant Parisian courtesans in the Bois de Boulogne, in particular Mrs. Swann, mother of Gilberte, the beauti…

TV Series Review: The Feud: Bette and Joan

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by Sam Rumore, Librarian, Springville Road Regional Branch Library


The Feud: Bette and Joan on FX is now up to its sixth episode. I have been watching religiously because it involves the making of one of my favorite movies and two of my favorite actresses. So, I figured it would be a great opportunity to include some resources that the library has that could give some greater context to the show and Hollywood and the movie industry, in general. But first, here’s a little history and context on the show.

Whenever I start something, I like to start with the source material. With that being said, I recommend seeing the movie, Whatever happened to Baby Jane? It stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and is directed by Robert Aldrich. It’s a psychological-thriller-horror film about an aging vaudeville actress who holds her disabled Hollywood actress sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion.

This movie officially started the subgenre of thriller-horror films known as the psycho-biddy films …

How I Finally Came to Appreciate Digital E-Books and Audiobooks

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by Lynn Carpenter, Children's Librarian, Five Points West Regional Branch Library


My favorite thing to do is read. Now this may not seem unusual for a librarian, but I read in many different ways. I love to cuddle up at night right before going to bed and read for a while. Sometimes it is for 15 minutes, sometimes for five to six hours. I will look at the time and suddenly realize I have to get up in an hour to get ready for work. I find that I am not tired—I am awake an hour later and refreshed as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep.

My favorite way to read is with a good old-fashioned book in my hands. I love the feel, the weight, the smell of a good book, even if it is a little musty from age.

Lately, I have been reading the epic Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon. These eight books range in size from 650 to 900 pages. I began reading these books in 1992 when the first book was released. I was delighted when it became a series and continued reading them as they were publis…

Celebrate Central Library During National Library Week

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by Pat B. Rumore, board member of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library

Say you’re interested in Abraham Lincoln, and you want to read the new historical novel by George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo. You stop by your Birmingham neighborhood library, but the book is not there. But there’s no problem. You can go online and request it and ask that it be delivered to your library. And usually, in a matter of days, you’ll have it.

The above example is just one way in which the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) system works. The system has 18 branches throughout the city, all of which serve many purposes in their particular communities, but the BPL system’s beating heart is the Central Library complex downtown.

Central acquires, catalogs, and circulates the books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs that you’re accustomed to finding in the branches. But it also acquires a vast array of electronic media offerings such as downloadable films, e-books, magazines, audiobooks, and music, …