Showing posts from August, 2018

Tina Samuel of Titusville Library to Represent BPL at National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color in New Mexico

Kudos to Tina Samuel of the Titusville Branch Library. She has been selected to represent the Birmingham Public Library at the 3rd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, to be held September 26-30, 2018, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Samuel, a 30-year BPL employee, won an essay contest established by BPL Executive Director Floyd Council in which BPL staff of color were asked to write about library diversity and how attending the conference would help them fulfill their dreams in the library profession.

In an interview Samuel said she is excited and looking forward to attending the conference. Samuel will talk about her experience at the BPL Annual Staff Day on October 18, 2018. “It’s going to be awesome and I look forward to bringing back some knowledge I can share with my fellow employees,” she said.

The conference is organized by the Joint Council of Librarians of Color, Inc. (JCLC Inc.) which brings together the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacifi…

Birmingham Public Library Hosts Livestream of 2018 National Student Poets Pinning Ceremony of ASFA Student

Creative Writing students from the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in Birmingham, attended a livestreaming at the Central Library of the 2018 National Student Poets Pinning Ceremony in which ASFA senior Daniel Blokh was one of five student poets honored.

The ceremony took place in the Linn-Henley Research Library's Arrington Auditorium on August 30, 2018, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (CST). Attendees were able to watch on a screen the pinning ceremony taking place live at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Blokh, a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, was among five teens chosen from among thousands of applicants as 2018 National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.

Read more about the program at this link

Central Library Hosting Free Google Workshops in September

Maurice Harley, Birmingham Public Library's education training coordinator, is sharing knowledge with patrons that he gained by attending an all-day series of Grow With Google workshops held August 6 at the Central Library.

Over the next three weeks, Harley will lead several free Google workshops in the Linn-Henley Research Library’s fourth floor Regional Computer Center. The first class, Google Docs, was held on August 29 and introduced patrons to a free cloud-based word processor and its features.

The four classes to be offered in September are as follows:

September 10, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
Google Email – Participants will set up a Google email, and explore the apps available with the email.

September 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Google Job Search – Learn how to use Google job search to filter through jobs near you to find the types of jobs you are interested in.

September 17, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
Google Docs – This class introduces participants to Google Docs, a free cloud-based word processor a…

Painting at UAB Exhibit Begins September 7 at Central Library

What:Painting at UAB, an exhibit of paintings created by University of Alabama at Birmingham students
When: Friday, September 7-October 25, 2018. An opening reception will take place on Sunday, September 9, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery

Painting at UAB, a free exhibit featuring paintings created by students of University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Professor Gary Chapman, will be on display in the Fourth Floor Gallery in the East Building of the Central Library beginning September 7 through October 25, 2018. An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, September 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., in the gallery.

The exhibit will highlight the diverse work created in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Art and Art History painting studio under Chapman's guidance. Chapman said the entire exhibit is from current and recently graduated students of painting at UAB, mostly fine arts majors. Each student will have two to three paintings in the show, an…

Patrons at Five Points West Library Gather for Prime Time Family Reading Time

Five Points West Regional Branch Library has kicked off the 2018 summer and fall season of Prime Time Family Reading Time, a six-week program that encourages parents and their children to celebrate the joy of reading together. About 40 adults and children participate in the program, said Fontaine Alison, a storyteller at Five Points West Library.

The program at Five Points West Library runs through September 18, then will be followed by a bilingual PrimeTime Family Reading Time program in Spanish/English. Prime Time Family Reading Time is sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

Each 90-minute session includes storytellers reading up to three books followed by a discussion. During the August 28 Prime Time Family Reading Time, the group discussion was led by Keiah Shauku, a longtime BPL volunteer and director of outreach at Urban Avenues, a nonprofit in Woodlawn. Attendees were provided with a light meal to the reading and book discussion.

Prime Time Family Reading Time features…

Book Review: The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone, 1932-1940

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932-1940
William Manchester

Appeasement, appeasement of Hitler, is so strongly linked with the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, that it seems like personal fecklessness, a mistake made by a single powerful man. In fact, appeasement was a policy position with nearly universal support in the British Parliament, and among the British people. After the horrific trauma of the Great War, World War One, it was inconceivable to the British, and to the French, that anyone would want to descend once more into industrialized warfare and slaughter. They were wrong. Hitler wanted war. Winston Churchill stood up to Hitler, and he was alone.

The second volume of a trilogy, Alone, is the story of that period when Winston was out of power. He had held several of the highest offices in the British government, but in 1932, considered a warmonger and a relic of the past, Churchill was shunned a…

Southern History Book of the Month: The Southern Sympathy Cookbook: Funeral Food with a Twist

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook: Funeral Food with a Twist
Perre Coleman Magness

Here in the South we believe wholeheartedly that “Food is Love” and there is no occasion more likely to spur an outpouring of love—and food—than a funeral. At times of loss our neighbors who have been brought up in the tradition of funeral food will knock at our doors with cakes and casseroles and platters and sheet pans; as a friend told me right after I lost my mother, “I brought you a lasagna, because this is the South and that’s what we do.” The Southern Sympathy Cookbook pays tribute to this tradition with a wonderful collection of recipes that will have readers nodding and smiling in recognition, along with a few others that may raise eyebrows. This is where the “with a twist” part comes in. Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Hummus? Really? But Magness includes some entertaining explanations of why dishes like this are included:
George Washi…

Five Points West Library Offers Series of Classes on Building Websites

by Sam Medlin, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

The Five Points West Regional Branch Library has begun a new series of classes on website building. This course offers insight into websites and how to create them. If you ever wonder why certain websites look great, how Google finds the information you are looking for, or how to make an online marketing platform to reach customers for your small business, this class is for you.

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. Anytime you “surf” the internet you are being redirected to a multitude of computers that contain HTML code. This code is then accessed by your browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and turned into a picture, sort of. This picture is a website. This website is written in HTML. Seems complex, I know, but, like any other language, when you learn how it works it becomes easier to understand. Like baking a cake or fixing a car, you don’t have to know the exact chemistry of what you are working wi…

Inglenook Branch Library Spotlights Minority Mental Health Month

July's An Expression of Appreciation for Women of the Inglenook Community, a quarterly program held at the Inglenook Branch Library, focused on Minority Mental Health Month with the theme “The Battle of the Mind.”

Licensed Professional Counselor Sonya Wilson, owner of her private practice, PeaceLovHarmony Counseling, spoke to women about about the importance of mental health. Karnecia Williams, branch manager at Inglenook Library, said the attendees and library staff at the event enjoyed the knowledge gained at the program.

Williams came up with the program more than a year ago to give back to the community surrounding Inglenook Library. Her idea was a recipient of a BPL Board of Trustees Innovative and Cool Award, which honors programs that go above and beyond service to library patrons.

“To delve into the issues of the community, I must first start with the women who are mostly considered the head of household in their families and address issues that are prominent to them,” …

Birmingham Public Library to Host Livestream of 2018 National Student Poets Ceremony August 30

What: Livestreaming of 2018 National Student Poets Ceremony; Alabama School of Fine Arts senior Daniel Blokh one of five student poets to be pinned
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
When: Thursday, August 30, 2018, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (CST)

A Birmingham student is among five teens from across the country chosen from among thousands of award-winning poets to serve as National Student Poets, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Daniel Blokh, a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, will participate in a pinning ceremony taking place live at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, August 30, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. (CST).

The National Student Poets Program is an initiative in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the nation’s primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries, and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

BPL Perspectives: Joan Black, Crochet Instructor, Has Been Teaching the Art of Crochet at West End Library for Eight Years

Joan Black was taught the art of crocheting by her family when she was in the fourth grade. Black, 76, has now built a loyal following sharing her gift with others who take advantage of a free weekly crochet class she has hosted every Tuesday for eight years at the West End Branch Library.

“We have such fun,” Black said. “It’s a class for ladies to get together. We welcome gentlemen; my sons know how to crochet too.“

Black said the class began after she dropped by the West End Library one day to check out a book and struck up a conversation with Denise Ford of the West End Library, who was admiring her socks. After finding out Black made them, Ford asked if she would teach a crochet class at the library.

Eight years later, Black says the class has grown and generated new friendships. The class makes all types of garments—socks, blankets, animals, even clothing such as a skirt, shirt, and crochet sweater.

“I have been blessed to have a friend, Ms. Lillie Glenn, who taught me how to ma…

Powderly Library Hosts Book Signing by Vincetta Denise Williams, Author of Black Like Me

On August 16 the Powderly Branch Library hosted a book signing and talk by Birmingham native Vincetta Denise Williams, author of the new children’s book, Black Like Me.

Williams now lives in Katy, Texas, where she is an educator and holds a master’s degree in education. She has written two previous adult works, My Name is Eve and I Was Deceived and Spirit of Loneliness.

Williams said in her books she desires to leave her stamp on future generations to assist them with the challenges they will face. Keep your eyes out for her forthcoming book, Don't Bully Me.

Registration Open for September Computer Classes at Central Library

Registration is now open for the September 2018 computer classes. Topics include computer skills and career guidance. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central Library. Pre-registration is required for all classes. 

Register online through the BPL events calendar or call 205-226-3681. 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.

LearningExpress Library School Resources

by Gus Jones, Fiction Department, Central Library

School is back in session and students will rely heavily on the library to help them find information to complete their assignments. Many of these resources are available online and the library provides a number of subject-specific databases as well as online encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. However, there is a great resource available that you may not be familiar with called LearningExpress Library.

LearningExpress Library offers targeted learning centers to support students from 4th grade through college. The School Center provides skill improvement tools for elementary school through high school. The elementary school component focuses on mathematics and English language arts skills. The middle school component includes both of those areas plus social studies and high school entrance exam preparation. Finally, the high school component provides skill improvement too…

Tailgating Recipes for Party Crowds

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

With the 2018-2019 football season rapidly approaching, many are gearing up for some All-American games and great food. Tailgating is a major part of the sports season and includes friendly competition, fellowship, and great recipes. Some may choose to barbecue and smell that smoky, meaty aroma while others like to keep it simple by preparing easy and portable foods such as wings, meatballs, cheese dips, pizza, hot dogs & chips, and fruit.

Whichever way you prefer your food, get ready for the most delicious gamedays with quick and easy recipes for tailgate foods.

Check out these recipes from some amazing cook books at your local library!

The Hungry Fan's Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking, and Watching Sports by
Daina Falk.
The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook
Fox Sports Tailgating Handbook: The Gear, the Food, the Stadiums by Stephen Linn
More on tailgating

Employment Readiness Bootcamp – New Age Online Application Drill/Interview Performance Training at Central Library August 27

What: Employment Readiness Bootcamp
When: Monday, August 27, 2018
Time: 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Regional Library Computer Center, 4th floor
Details: New Age Online Application Drill/Interview Performance Training. Free and open to the public.

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 Employment …

Steps to Starting a Franchise Business Seminars Offered at Noon, Evening on August 27

What: Steps to Starting a Franchise Business seminar
Dates and Times: Monday, August 27, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m. or 6:00-7:00 p.m.)
Monday, September 24, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m. or 6:00-7:00 p.m.)
Monday, October 22, 2018 (12:00-1:00 p.m.)
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor
Cost: Free but registration is required

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and Birmingham SCORE will be offering Steps to Starting a Franchise Business, a monthly how-to seminar on franchising at the Central Library. The seminar will explore how franchising can take the risk out of starting your own business and becoming self-employed. Greg Foss, a career transition coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source® and SCORE mentor, will facilitate the seminar.

Topics to be covered in the seminar include: common myths and truths about franchising, the importance of knowing your personal goals before taking the plunge, non-standard ownership options, how to finance your business, h…

Prime Time Family Reading Time Spreads Joy of Reading at BPL

The Birmingham Public Library is a proud participant of Prime Time Family Reading Time, a six-week program held at public libraries across the country that encourages reading, discussion, and storytelling as a family.

Five Points West Regional Branch Library hosts Prime Time Family Reading Time on Tuesday, August 21, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is limited to 30 families. The program features award-winning children’s books to stimulate discussion about problems families encounter everyday.

In Alabama, Prime Time Family Reading Time is sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Each 90-minute session includes storytellers reading up to three books followed by a discussion. Prime Time Family Reading Time is typically comprised of parents and children aged 6 to 12. For more information on dates, times,  and location of Prime Time Family Reading Time programs being held at BPL, visit the events calendar.

West End Branch Library Intern Tamika Green Talks about Her Involvement with Inclusive Internship Initiative

2018 Parker High School graduate Tamika Green gained a better perspective of the important role libraries play in Birmingham this summer. In June she was selected to participate in the Public Library Association 2018 Inclusive Internship Initiative, a national program designed to expose teen interns to library careers. Green, who is now enrolled at Alabama State University pursuing a degree in criminal justice, was so impressed that she plans to return to her assigned library, West End Library, to work while home during her Christmas holiday break.

Recently, Green and her mentor, West End Library branch manager Maya Jones, did an interview with Fox 6 News about the Person-to-Person Library program, a concept in which libraries "check out" to patrons human experts who share their stories. They came up with the idea to expose patrons to interesting people in the community. During a recent session of Person-to-Person Library, Green and Jones worked with two Birmingham foot s…

Book Review: The Last Lion: Visions of Glory

by David Blake, Fiction Department, Central Library

The Last Lion: Visions of Glory (1874-1932)
William Manchester

Counted by Time magazine as one of the one hundred great books of the twentieth century, The Last Lion: Visions of Glory is perhaps the most surprising book in William Manchester’s three-volume biography on Winston Churchill. Churchill’s youth and early political career are often overshadowed by his years of greatness before, during, and after World War II, but Churchill was always interesting. He had to be. He lived like a pasha and wanted to direct the fate of the British Empire, and, although he came from one of the most prominent, aristocratic families in England, he had no money. He became a prolific writer, one of the most prolific and best-paid writers of his time. He was world-famous long before he became the prime minister we revere.

And Churchill was a “hottie.” Red-headed and trim in tight fitting uniforms, young Winston made full use of the possibilities for ad…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar Scheduled for August 21 at Central Library

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Tuesday, August 21 (3rd Tuesday of each month, July-October 2018)
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in conjunction with Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business from July to October 2018. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Tuesdays 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: August 21, September 18, October 16.

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 investigatin…

Smithfield Branch Library Helping Students Prepare for ACT with Learning Express Library Sessions

With Birmingham area public schools back in session, the Birmingham Public Library is offering resources available to help students desiring to go to college prepare for the ACT, or American College Test.

The Smithfield Branch Library is offering free weekly practice test sessions on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5:30 p.m. On Saturdays, Smithfield Library is offering ACT full test sessions from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. The Saturday sessions are free but due to space restrictions, pre-registration is required. ACT is a standardized test administered by the American College Testing Program. Read more about the ACT at

Smithfield Library branch manager Heather McWilliams said their goals are through Smithfield’s ACT Prep sessions assist patrons in becoming more comfortable in taking the ACT. These sessions use BPL’s online database, the Learning Express Library, a free tool students can access online from home using their library ca…

Crafting Is a Good Thing

by Selina Johnson, Wylam Branch Library

The month of August begins the start of a new school year for most students. They are now tasked with getting back into school routines that will allow them to reach their academic potential. To this end, there is no reason for creating and learning to cease once school dismisses for the day. After-school crafts are entertaining and students get a kick out of mastering these tried-and-true do-it-yourself projects. Crafts are not only fun but provide many positive benefits.

Creating things with your hands and making decisions about the process of how best to complete crafts stimulates the brain. This, in turn, inspires critical thinking such as contemplating what would be the best color for a birdhouse or determining how to best arrange wooden sticks in order to create a picture frame. Crafting can also be a stress reliever. Once school has ended for the day, decompressing and creating something of their own in a judgment-free zone is a release…

The Diversity of Podcasts

by Jenn Seiler-Patrick, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

I’m a podcast fanatic and am always searching for a new one to binge listen to. If you’re into listening to audiobooks, storytelling, or the radio, podcasts might be the thing for you too! One of the best parts about podcasts is the diversity—almost anyone can make one with very little equipment and talk about anything they like. For me, this has resulted in a greater understanding of and appreciation for those different from myself.

All that to say—here are some recommendations!

True Storytelling
Ear Hustle – A truly unique podcast produced and written by inmates incarcerated at San Quentin. Inmates share their stories, which are sometimes sad but often funny.

Reply All – Weird things happen in our modern world all the time and this podcast seeks to figure out why. Some of the episode topics include: Facebook spying, the New York Pizza Rat, micro-dosing on LSD, and a computer dominatrix.

Fictional Storytelling
The Black Tap…

Meet Patricia Campbell, Author of Pocket Inspiration: 31 Days of Inspiration

Books:Pocket Inspiration: 31 Days of Inspiration, one of several authors featured in the best seller 1 Word, Discover, Reflect, & Connect with Words That Can Transform Your Life How to reach the author: email:; website:; Facebook: Minister Patricia Campbell; Instagram: MinisterPatricia; Twitter: AuthorPatriciac; LinkedIn:
Quote Campbell uses as a guide in life: “In today’s society, many times we become so focused on ‘me’ that we forget about the real joy in life! Early on in life, a very great woman imparted to me this simple motto from a song written by Alma Bazel Androzzo: 'If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain!'"

If you need to be inspired, join Patricia Campbell at the Birmingham Public Library 2018 Local Authors Expo as she shares the vision behind the spiritual devotional she has written, Pocket Inspiration, 31 Days of Inspiration.

Campbell will …

Meet Anthony D. Sparks, Author of Confessions of a Dreamer

Books:#BETTER, RelationTIPS, Confessions of a Dreamer How to reach the author: email:; website:; Facebook: Anthony D. Sparks: Instagram: @AnthonyDSparks; Twitter: @AnthonyDSparks
Quote Sparks uses as a guide in life: “My purpose is to help others live a life OF purpose ON purpose!” Quote from Sparks about being involved in Local Authors Expo: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Local Authors Expo.Sharing the space with so many creative minds is both humbling and exciting, and I’m just looking forward to being in the room!”
Anthony D. Sparks is the owner and operator of Anthony D. Sparks LLC, a company in which he serves as a certified development coach, author, and motivational speaker. In these roles he seeks to empower others via personal and professional development, relationships, branding, and corporate training. Sparks has written three books: #BETTER: 7 Keys to Living a Life of Progression, Not Perfect…

Newspaper Clipping Files: A Local History Resource that Never Goes Out of Style

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

Long before databases, digitization, and optical character recognition software made researching newspapers (somewhat) straightforward, the librarians at BPL were quietly clipping and organizing thousands upon thousands of newspaper articles. The result is a collection of local history and biography that is totally unique to the Birmingham Public Library. It represents decades of work and dedication and remains an essential tool for students, genealogists, and historians.

The clipping files are made up of almost 10,000 individual file folders arranged by subject. Although, the subject headings can cause some head scratching even among those of us who have worked with them for years. Looking for the file on Loveman’s Department Store? Well, it’s not filed under Loveman’s or Department Stores or Businesses. It’s actually filed under Merchants – Birmingham – Loveman’s. Since there is no digital access to the Birmingham …

Meet Lauren Bailey, Author and Illustrator of Finding Me Beneath the Kapok Tree

Book:Finding Me Beneath the Kapok Tree (March 2018) How to reach author: website:; Facebook: Lauren Bailey; Instagram: Rebearthling1 Quote Bailey uses as a guide in life: “I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”– Zora Neale Hurston
In her new children’s book, Finding Me Beneath the Kapok Tree, Birmingham native Lauren Bailey chronicles the life of a baby elephant that searches for an identity all his own. She hopes that through his journey of self-discovery, readers will, like the baby elephant, learn that they too already have everything they need for success in life on the inside.
Bailey will be among 39 authors and publishers featured at the Birmingham Public Library’s 2018 Local Authors Expo at the Central Library on Saturday, August 11, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
“I am beyond excited about participating in the Local Author’s Expo for the first time,” Bailey said…