Showing posts from December, 2017

Southern History Book of the Month: Abstracts from Alabama Newspapers

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Abstracts from Alabama Newspapers
Compiled by Larry E. Caver, Jr.

At this time of the year when the weather turns colder, I really enjoy those mornings when I can linger over my coffee and read the newspaper. But newspapers are more than just entertainment—if you’re doing genealogical research and not checking newspaper records, you can be missing out on some fantastic information. Abstracts from Alabama Newspapers is a two-volume set of notices from newspapers in fourteen different Alabama counties. We’re so accustomed to instant news sources that it’s easy to forget how much our ancestors depended on the newspaper for their information about what was going on in the world. Newspapers can contain notices of births, deaths, and marriages and this can be a lifeline for family history research in times before vital records laws became the order of the day. A local newspaper might also contain property transactions, orphans’…

New Christmas Releases

Looking back through my blog posts, I discovered that I had not introduced any of this season's new Christmas books.  Many Christmas titles are published in October, so these are already available to enjoy next to the fireplace with a glass of eggnog.  Take a break from the holiday rush, relax, and escape into one of these delightful books.  I hope all of you have a festive and enjoyable holiday season.  The book descriptions are provided by the publishers.

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery  / Jenny Colgan

In the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne, the Christmas season has arrived. It's a joyous time for family, friends, and feasting, as decorations sparkle along the town's winding streets and shop windows glow with festive displays. And in Polly's Little Beach Street Bakery, the aroma of gingerbread cookies and other treats tempts people in from the cold.  Though Polly is busy keeping up with the demands of the season, she still makes time for her beekeep…

Shot in Alabama: Historical Birmingham Photographs Exhibit Opens at Central Library

What:Shot in Alabama: Historical Birmingham Photographs exhibit
Where: Central Library, First Floor Gallery near the display windows
When: December 10, 2017-February 4, 2018
Details: Free and open to the public during library hours. On Sunday, January 7, Shot in Alabama author Frances Robb will give a gallery tour of the exhibit at 2:30 p.m., followed by a lecture at 3:00 p.m. in the Fiction Department.

If you like looking at historic photographs, make plans to make your way to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)’s Central branch to view its new exhibit Shot in Alabama: Historical Birmingham Photographs. The exhibit is open to the public through February 4, 2018, in the First Floor Gallery.

The photo display features nearly 30 pictures from the book Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839-1941, and a List of Photographersby author Frances Osborn Robb, released by the University of Alabama Press in 2016. Shot in Alabama is Robb's visual and textual narrative of Alabama's …

Flipster App Now Available for Chromebook

The same Flipster app for Android phones and tablets is now available for Chromebooks via Google Play. This means that library patrons can easily access the enhanced Flipster app and download digital magazines using a supported Chromebook. Learn more.

Flipster is a free digital magazine service available through the Birmingham Public Library for residents of Birmingham with a JCLC libary card. Full-text popular magazines are available to be read on a mobile device or computer.

Marvel Graphic Novels Now Available on hoopla

On December 8 hoopla digital announced a new agreement with Marvel Entertainment that adds over 250 collections and graphic novels to the service. Through this agreement, patrons of participating public libraries can now borrow Marvel works such as Thor: God of Thunder, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Civil War, and X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga via hoopla digital on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Marvel content arriving on hoopla digital includes heroes and villains that have been a part of Marvel’s blockbuster films and acclaimed television shows, including The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Punisher, and The Runaways. Marvel’s collections add to hoopla’s catalog of more than 600,000 movies, TV shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks, and comics.

“Through this agreement, we are building a digital home for comic book fans where they can find all their favorite characters and have instant access to hundreds of acclaimed works—all with a l…

Reaching Out to the Community

by Maya Jones, West End Branch Library

This week Kimberley Wiley and I enjoyed our hours spent staffing a Birmingham Public Library table at the Birmingham City Schools Community Services Information Fair at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church. We created library cards, renewed library cards, and checked out books, DVDs, and graphic novels to parents. This program is presented every year and is open to all parents/guardians of Birmingham City School children. I had the privilege of presenting information about the Birmingham Public Library and presentations about services were given by the following agencies. Feel free to check out their websites.

Alabama Partners for Clean Air
Birmingham Fire and Rescue
Birmingham Healthy Start Plus
Birmingham Public Library
Boy Scouts of America
Childcare Resources
The Dannon Project
Girls Inc. of Central Alabama
Family Court of Jefferson County
Family Guidance Center
Jefferson County Department of Health
Jefferson County Department of Human Resourc…

Historical Newspaper Articles Covering Birmingham's Elementary Schools Online


Sign Up for Text Message Notifications

Keep up-to-date with your library account on your mobile phone using the library's Shoutbomb text messaging service.

Sign up using your phone
Text the word SIGNUP to 205-358-4149.Then reply to the messages from Shoutbomb with your library card number and PIN.Once your Shoutbomb registration has been completed, you will automatically get text notices about items available to pick up, items that are due soon, overdue items, and fines. A text will be sent only when activity on your account triggers a message.

Book Review: Leonardo da Vinci

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

Leonardo da Vinci
Walter Isaacson

Our enduring image of Leonardo is one he created for himself— the discerning sage with his long hair and beard. The pleasure of Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci is that we get glimpses of the beautiful, endearingly vain man who, through his insatiable curiosity and unmatched visual acuity, evolved into the authentically wise sage we see in his self-portraits. Biographers, including Sigmund Freud, have long been fussy about Leonardo’s homosexuality, but Isaacson’s Leonardo is an unselfconscious gay man, athletic, with long golden curls and widely remarked upon for his androgynous beauty, who drew like an angel even before he was apprenticed in Florence at the age of twelve. In his youth, unusually, he wore his robes, often pink or purple, above the knee. It is said we get a glimpse of the young Leonardo in his master Verrocchio’s statue of David, standing triumphant over the head of Goliath. Even th…

Money Matters Workshop – Holiday Shopping on a Budget Scheduled for December 13 at Central Library

The Birmingham Public Library is partnering again this year with UAB’s Regions Institute for Financial Education to offer a series of Money Matters workshops to be held each month at our Central location. Each of the workshops covers a different topic, but all are designed to help you gain a better understanding of your personal finances and begin making a plan for the future.

All workshops will be held in the Youth Department’s Story Castle, which is located on 2nd floor of the Central Library. Representatives from the Regions Institute for Financial Education in UAB’s Collat School of Business will serve as instructors for each of the workshops.

What: Money Matters workshop series
When: Third Wednesday of the Month, October 2017 thru May 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library, Youth Department, 2nd floor, Story Castle

To learn more about the workshop series as well as other personal finance resources available at BPL, contact Jim Mur…

Library STEM Programs Combine Fun and Creativity to Teach Critical Thinking and Tech Skills to Children and Teens

by Mark Skinner, East Ensley Branch Library

One of the great things about the Birmingham Public Library System is its commitment to children’s programs. Along with Summer Reading and other programs throughout the year, BPL has sought to provide STEM learning to its patrons. The library is working to fill in the gap between what the student is learning in school with activities they might not have access to at their school.

At the East Ensley Library and other library branches, we use STEM-oriented toys, puzzles, games, and programs to help bridge that gap. STEM learning allows the children who visit our library to think critically and creatively to solve problems, or to just simply have fun making something with a friend.

The best part about STEM is that is doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many resources that show you how to use everyday household items to learn something new about science or engineering. Here are a few websites to check out:

Science Buddies
STEM Laborator…

hoopla's New Read-Along Feature to Help Young, Reluctant, and Second Language Learners

On December 4 hoopla digital introduced a new line of Picture Books with Read-Alongs for young readers. These read-along titles are displayed in picture-book layout, and feature an audio player with narration as well as text that will highlight in red in sync with the narrative audio, making the read-along feature the perfect tool for new or reluctant readers and second-language learners.

"We developed this eReader with feedback from librarians, patrons, and publishers and created an experience that really celebrates the work of the authors and illustrators on our platform," said owner and founder of hoopla digital Jeff Jankowski.

Click here to view a selection of read-along titles including Disney-Pixar's Coco and HarperCollins' Pete the Cat.

Friends Bookstore Bag Sale Price Has Been Slashed!

Greetings, shoppers and book lovers! Recycling a gently loved book is so much better than regifting that ugly TJ Maxx picture frame from Aunt Ida. While there's still plenty of time for Christmas shopping, the Friends Bookstore is reducing it's fill-a-bag sale price from $20 to $10. So come in and take advantage of tremendous savings and dig around for a thoughtful gift for someone you like. (Excludes T-shirts, albums, and special priced books and items.)

The sale runs through December 22, when the library closes December 23-26 for the Christmas holiday.

The Friends Bookstore is located on the first floor of the Central Library and is open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Call 205-226-3676 for more information.

Miss Iwate, Birmingham’s Japanese Friendship Doll, Is Going to Japan for 90th Birthday Tour

What: Miss Iwate's 90th birthday celebration and tour of Japan
When: Departs Birmingham on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, returns to BPL at end of March 2018
Details: Miss Iwate will be on an exhibition across Japan with other dolls as part of a traveling tour.

Miss Iwate, the Birmingham Public Library’s Japanese Friendship Doll since 1927, is returning to her homeland for a tour of Japan as part of a 90th birthday celebration. A group from Japan that visited Miss Iwate at the Central Library last week is taking the doll back to Japan for a four-month tour on Tuesday, December 5. The delegation includes Masaru Aoki of Yoshitoku Dolls Tokyo, which restored the doll before she returned to BPL in 2016; Hideo Akanuma, curator of Iwate Prefectural Museum, one of the venues Miss Iwate will visit while in Japan; and Katsushi Tsunokake, program director of Iwate Broadcasting Co., which is doing a documentary on Miss Iwate’s trip to Japan.

History of Miss Iwate and Japanese Friendship Dolls
In …

Celebrate the Holidays at the Birmingham Public Library

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

Among the holiday-themed programs being offered in December are open houses and tree trimmings, cooking demonstrations, shopping and entertaining on a budget workshops, a musical, storytimes, arts & crafts, trivia contests, family fun nights, and movie marathons.

To see a complete list of December programs at all BPL locations, visit the events calendar. Some programs and events require registration, but all are free to our patrons.

All BPL locations will be closed for the Christmas holiday from Saturday, December 23, through Tuesday, December 26.

Naughty or Nice?

by Carla Perkins, Avondale Regional Branch Library

Naughty or nice, that is the question! Santa’s List Day is observed annually on December 4. While no one knows the true origin or creator of the holiday, Santa himself is the prime suspect. Throughout the year Santa and his elves have been busily checking on children all over the world and categorizing them by their behavior—naughty or nice. It has been reported that while Santa looks over his list on this day, he reviews and adjusts it all the way to Christmas Eve. If you fear your name may appear on the Naughty List, now is the time to do something about it. Visit the library and check out our self-improvement books. You have 20 days to get your name off the list. Good luck!

Manners Mash-Up: A Goofy Guide to Good Behavior 
The Berenstain Bears Say Please and Thank You by Jan Berenstain
D.W’s Guide to Perfect Mannersby Marc Brown
Nobunny’s Perfect by Anna Dewdney
Do Unto Otters: A Book about Mannersby Laurie Keller
Cowboys Can Be K…