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Showing posts from September, 2017

September 30 Deadline for Eat Drink Read Write Festival's Six-Word Food Contest

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The deadline to enter the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Six-Word Food Contest is fast approaching. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on September 30 in order to be eligible. Stories will be judged on creativity and originality. The judges are storyteller Dolores Hydock and culinary writer Fletcher Harvey.

As part of our annual celebration of food, drink, and literature the BPL is having a six-word story contest. In only six words, tell us about your adventures with food and submit it to BPL’s Twitter, Instagram, or website via e-mail. View details at the Eat Drink Read Write page.

Four winners will be announced and prizes awarded on Friday, October 6, during the Bards & Brews poetry event taking place at the Central Library as part of the 2017 Eat Drink Read Write Festival.

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 im…

Free Diabetes Workshops Offered at the Wylam Branch Library

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by Selina Johnson, Wylam Branch Library

New cases of diabetes have increasingly grown in the United States over the last 20 years. The African American population has experienced the most significant rise. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, over 12% of African Americans have diabetes with women and the elderly having the highest rates.

Diabetes can be controlled and self-management is a key step toward preventing diabetes complications. To this end, a six-session diabetes self-management workshop series that is sponsored by atom Alliance is being offered at the Wylam Branch Library. The Everyone with Diabetes Counts program has sessions that take place each Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., and the final session will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.


The classes are facilitated by Michael Lawrence, pharmacist and diabetic educator. Lawrence is conducting a stellar education program. The participants are eager with many questions about the disease, and…

Book Review: Living with a Wild God

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by Richard Grooms, Fiction Department, Central Library

Living with a Wild God
Barbara Ehrenreich

Cultural and political commentator Barbara Ehrenreich, a self-professed atheist who was raised by atheists, started having what could be called mystical experiences as a teenager. This book is an account of her life focusing on those experiences: what led up to them, how they changed her and how she’s dealt with similar experiences ever since.

As a teen, Ehrenreich was unusually bright. She read heavily in science, philosophy, and religion. Eventually she came to become a solipsist, a strict scientific materialist and an extreme skeptic. This more or less led her to the conclusion that life had no meaning, that the universe was indifferent to her, that other people were not truly real. Not unsurprisingly, she came to feel there was no reason to go on living. But on a trip to Lone Pine, California, something highly unusual happened. As she was standing outdoors alone “the world flamed into l…

Smithfield Library Hosting Free ACT Test Prep and Tutoring Classes for Students

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Do you need to improve your ACT score? Can you benefit from some free tutoring? Then take advantage of two free programs the Smithfield Branch Library is offering to help Birmingham area students do better on tests.

On Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., the Smithfield Library is offering free practice tests through its online database for students desiring to be more effective in taking ACT tests. For the ACT Prep, students are welcome to bring in their laptop computers, or they can use Smithfield’s public computers, said Heather McWilliams, branch manager at Smithfield Library.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., the Smithfield Library is offering Power Hour, free tutoring for elementary students (Tuesdays) and middle school students (Thursdays). The Power Hour tutoring sessions are led by Cordarell Suggs, a part-time Library Assistant III at Smithfield Library.

Advance registration is required. Register online through the Birmingham Publi…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for October 2 at Central Library

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What: Steps to Starting Your Business seminar
When: Monday, October 2, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Registration required

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 again be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business, from June to November 2017. The final seminar for fall 2017 is scheduled for November 6. 

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 information. Please register for the seminars by contacting Andy Mayo in the Economic Development Office at Andy.Mayo@birminghamal.gov o…

Best Sellers Club Revisions

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In order to keep the Best Sellers Club relevant and up-to-date, some authors are being dropped from the list. Some of the authors being removed are deceased, and some are either no longer publishing new fiction books in hardcover or do not publish frequently enough.

Authors Added
Jeffrey Archer
C. J. Box
Dan Brown
Lee Child
Laura Childs
Nelson DeMille
Heather Graham
Kristin Hannah
Elin Hilderbrand
Susan Mallery
Jo Nesbo
Thomas Perry
Lynsay Sands
Daniel Silva Authors Removed
Maeve Binchy
Lilian Jackson Braun
Pearl Cleage
Jackie Collins
Martha Grimes
E. Lynn Harris
Donna Hill
R. M. Johnson
Stuart Kaminsky
Tim LaHaye
Elmore Leonard
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
John Saul
But what exactly is the club all about?
The Best Sellers Club is the easiest way to get the latest releases from your favorite fiction authors. We automatically place reserves for you and let you know when the new title is ready for pickup. It's just that simple!

So how do you join the Best Sellers Club or add/change your f…

Archives Department Closed to the Public September 25-October 9, 2017

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Due to maintenance on the heating and air system, the Birmingham Public Library Archives and Manuscripts Department will be closed to the public September 25-October 9, 2017.

We recommend checking the BPL website after October 9 to be sure the work has been completed on schedule.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Exercise Your Brain

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by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library


Exercise is good for the body, so it makes sense that exercise would be good for the brain too. Research suggests that challenging your brain with puzzles may help to improve and maintain brain health. In the Avondale Library Adult Department, we’ve set up “Exercise Your Brain” stations with free, fun puzzles to give your brain a workout. Drop by anytime—new puzzles are added weekly. It’s just another way that visiting the library is good for your brain!

Titusville Library Knitting Group

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by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library


In a world in which technology is so prevalent, it’s important to participate in activities that engage your mind without the use of electronics. Taking up a craft is an excellent way to pass the time, while creating something that yourself or others can use or appreciate. That’s why the knitting/crocheting group meets at the Titusville Library every Thursday afternoon at 3:30. Anyone is welcome to attend, but you’ll need to bring your own supplies. If you’re brand-new to knitting or crocheting, our experienced group members can recommend which supplies are best. They’re passionate about their favorite hobby, and would love the opportunity to connect with other individuals who have an interest in this area. All ages are welcome to attend these meetings, and all skill levels from beginners to seasoned crafters are encouraged to participate. Come join the fun!

Southern History Book of the Month: In the Path of the Storms: Bayou La Batre, Coden, and the Alabama Coast

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by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

In the Path of the Storms: Bayou La Batre, Coden, and the Alabama Coast
Frye Gaillard, Sheila Hagler, and Peggy Denniston

After several years of relatively tranquil weather during hurricane season, Harvey and Irma have served as brutal reminders of what an active season can do to our coastal areas and islands. In the Path of the Storms is a look at the devastation along the Alabama coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and focuses on the communities of Coden and Bayou La Batre.

Famous for its annual “Blessing of the Fleet,” Bayou La Batre has had plenty of hard experience with storms; nevertheless, Katrina took a heavy toll on the residents:
In the warm, open waters, it [Katrina] reached the status of a Category 5, sending a massive storm swell surging toward the coast. On August 29, 2005, the water came ashore in Bayou La Batre, and in the lore of that place, there were suddenly new stories of terror and survival. Soph…

Television Shows Based on Books

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Three of my absolute favorite television shows are based on books. When it comes to movies, I have found that reading the book first tends to ruin the movie for me.The books provide a much greater amount of detail and are better able to flesh out the characters and the story. Reading the book also allows you to picture all of the characters in your mind.Two specific films I remember being disappointed with were The Firm (John Grisham) and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice).Simply because of the length of the movies, it was necessary for them to exclude a lot of the details from the books and I didn’t envision Tom Cruise in the lead role in either.Consequently, or perhaps due to laziness, I have not read the books that these television series are based on.

Shooter (Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter) – USA Network

Ryan Phillipe stars as Bob Lee Swagger, a marine sniper who is adapting to civilian life in the States after serving for many years.He is contacted by his former commanding…

Event on Comforting Families after Tragedies to Be Held September 23 Next to West End Library

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What: Inspire Birmingham – Comforting and Encouraging Your Family Featuring Minister Charlie L. Holley
When: Saturday, September 23, 10:00 a.m.-2:00  p.m.
Where: 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW in lot between West End Branch Library and Cahaba Health Clinic
Details: Join us for an informative and entertaining presentation geared towards families. Family members will be taught how to comfort and encourage each other. Charlie L. Holley’s books will be for sale at a discounted rate of $5.

A Birmingham couple who lost their 13-year-old son from a heart condition will be hosting an event designed to help families cope with tragedy and hard times on Saturday, September 23, 2017, next to the West End Branch Library.

Inspire Birmingham – Comforting and Encouraging Your Family Featuring Minister Charlie L. Holley will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00  p.m at 1348 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW in a lot between the West End Library and Cahaba Health Clinic. During this informative presentation, family members wi…

Central Library to Host Informational Sessions on Miles College’s New Online Course Offerings

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by Jim Murray, Business, Science and Technology Department

Representatives from Miles College will be presenting informational sessions regarding the college’s new online course offerings at the Central Library on three dates in September 2017. Topics to be covered in the sessions include the application process, course offerings, credit hours, tuition rates and fees, and financial aid.

What: Informational Sessions about new online course offerings at Miles College
When: Monday, September 18, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor

Miles began offering online programs in the summer 2017 term and programs will continue to be offered in subsequent terms. Currently, online classes are offered in the following subject areas: English, Accounting, Management, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Business Administration, and Computer and Inform…

Lady V’s Crochet Group at Ensley Library

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by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library


On any given day at the Ensley Branch Library, we interact with patrons in a way that goes far deeper than books. Some of our patrons are regulars who come in and share life’s experiences and struggles, while some are more reserved and their communications linger just on the surface. So we thought that it would be helpful and therapeutic for our patrons to have the opportunity to come into the library, where crocheting is the focal point, and connect with others who may be feeling or experiencing some of the same things or different ones at that moment in their lives.

Many of our people in our community are living and coping with difficult situations and we can only hope that coming and talking with others will provide some relief from the day-to-day issues of life. We anticipate that our members will appreciate the great aspects of group crocheting, such as teaching and learning together in the community and accessing deeper levels of friendsh…

Free Chinese Language and Culture Classes Begin September 11 at Central Library

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What: Chinese Language & Culture classes
When: Bi-weekly Mondays September 11-December 11, 2017
Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Youth Department, Story Castle
Details: Free and open to all middle schoolers

Hey, Birmingham area middle schoolers. Want to learn about Chinese language and culture? Then take advantage of free bi-weekly afterschool classes being offered from September through December 2017 at the Central Library in downtown Birmingham.

The classes are being taught by Shuyin Rao of the Confucious Institute at Alabama A&M University, who is also an instructor at Shanghai Eastern Normal University. In addition to learning about Chinese language and culture, participants will learn various Chinese crafts, said Jiemin Fan, head of the Central Library’s Information Circulation Department.

The class schedule is as follows (Mondays from 3:45-4:30 p.m.):
September 11
September 25
October 9
October 23
November 13
November 27
December 11

For more information about …

Crash Course in Family History

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Researching your family history is one of the fast growing hobbies in the United States, and DNA testing has opened new avenues of research. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone to help you get started in research your family history? The answer is the Southern History Department, who has one of the best genealogy collections in the United States.

This September, the Southern History Department is offering a “crash course” covering everything from Ancestry.com, genetic DNA testing, and other genealogy databases to get you started in genealogical research.

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.

Monday, September 11th, 10-11 am, Vestavia Hills Library Tuesday, September 12th, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Southern History Department, 1st floor, Linn-Henley building Sunday, September 24th, 2:30-3:30 pm, Southern History Department, 1st floor…

Bards & Brews: Spotlight on Poet Tomika Glenn

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Tomika Glenn is a poet who performs music and spoken word poetry under the pseudonym Blaque Diamond. She is a Cleveland, Ohio native and regularly performs at Bards & Brews as well as other spoken word poetry events around Birmingham.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed your poetry in front of a crowd?

It was around 2006 and I was still in Cleveland and I was terrified. I don't remember much about the crowd only that it made me feel like Cleveland wasn't the place for me as a poet. After that I stopped performing for a few years. I didn't perform again until 2011, right before I moved to Birmingham and that experience was about the same.

Who are some of the poets or writers that have had the most impact on you?

Definitely people I've met along the way. They're not "famous" but they're awesome at what they do.

What art or artists (in any medium) are you most interested right now?

I'm reading a lot of blogs Negus Who Read, Very Smart…

Book Review: In Search of Lost Time: Time Regained

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by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

In Search of Lost Time: Time Regained
Marcel Proust

For those of us who have begun our third act, time is a mystery. We are no longer the same person we were when we were young. Places change beyond recognition. Everyday devices we took for granted, like rotary phones, have disappeared altogether. Over the years, the great bulk of the past grows ever larger, yet becomes less vivid in our minds.

Time Regained, the last volume of In Search of Lost Time, was, largely, written at the same time as Swann’s Way, but was only completed posthumously. Marcel Proust’s masterpiece consumed the last decade and a half of his life. He knew it would. In Time Regained Proust tells us how he came to the insights that led his dedicating all his remaining asthmatic breaths to his work, in a dark room shut up against dust and pollen that could lead to his suffocation.

Time Regained has a simple structure. Like Swann’s Way, it has three major parts: it is set…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for September 11 at Central Library

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What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Monday, September 11, 2017
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Details: Registration required

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 again be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business, from June to November 2017. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Mondays from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library: October 2, and November 6. 

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…

Food for Fines Drive and Library Card Swap Scheduled for Month of September

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Through the month of September, all public libraries in Jefferson County will be participating in a food drive that helps support local charities by replenishing food pantries in anticipation of the coming holidays.

How does it work?
One dollar in fines will be waived for each food item donated in September for up to $10.00 per library card holder. The donations will go toward fines only, not lost/damaged materials. The drive is open to all who wish to participate. Expiration dates must be visible and legible on all items; expired food will not be accepted.

When and where can donations be made?
Donations will be accepted at all 40 Jefferson County public libraries during September 2017. Visit the Public Libraries in Jefferson County's website for more information.


Food for Fines is held in conjunction with the annual National Library Card Sign-Up Month. In September, cardholders can trade in their old card for a keychain card or receive a replacement for a worn out card without pay…

From Page to Stage: The Jungle Book – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children

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The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Theatre (BCT) and Junior League of Birmingham (JLB), would like to invite you to attend From Page to Stage: The Jungle Book – A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of The Jungle Book, BPL will be hosting free workshops at several of its area libraries. Children, aged 7 to 12, will learn how stories come alive through the magic of theater. JLB members will coach the children and introduce them to similar literature located in their local library. Each child will receive two free tickets (one child and one adult ticket) to the BCT The Jungle Book production in September–October 2017.

This new adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling story finds a child lost in the Indian jungle, where he is adopted by Baloo the Bear, Bagheera the panther, and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home. This fast-paced retelling keeps you perched on the edge…