Showing posts from October, 2018

2018 Veterans Small Business Week: Five Points West Library Hosting Business and Marketing Workshops

What: 2018 Veterans Small Business Week workshops
Where: Five Points West Regional Branch Library
When: November 7-9, 2018
Details: To register, visit the Five Points West Library Information Desk, call 205-226-4015 or visit the BPL events calendar

The Five Points West Library is hosting a series of free workshops and events November 7–9 in celebration of 2018 Veterans Small Business Week. This is part of a national celebration honoring our veterans leading up to Veterans Day, which will be observed this year on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Schedule of events:

Wednesday, November 7 – Tech Day

9:30 a.m. class – Computer Resourcing for Veterans and Families12:30 p.m. class – Your Business Online Presence, Sponsored by GoogleSchedule one-on-one 45-minute sessions throughout the day. Call the Five Points West Library at 205-226-4015 to get a list of available times.
Thursday, November 8 – Entrepreneur Workshops

1:00 p.m. – Learn About the Resources at SCORE Birmingham
Alin Johnson, director of de…

Book Review: Sourdough

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

Robin Sloan

“It was a fungal party hellscape.”
― Robin Sloan, Sourdough

I’m actually on my 2nd time through Sourdough, if that is any indication of my affection for the novel. I am a true lover of sourdough (any bread, to be honest), so I read this book for that reason alone. But it also spoke to my soul—because I like a little bit of magic thrown into real life. AKA the “magical realism” genre, if you’re trying to be fancy.

Lois moves to San Francisco to work a million hours a week creating coding that teaches robotic arms all kinds of tasks. Which is going fairly poorly, until she is gifted a sourdough “starter” that happens to be equal parts: magical, picky, moody, and delicious. Lois’ journey to happiness and self-discovery is funny and uplifting, while also being relatable to those of us who have struggled with the questions: “what are you doing with your life” and “can bread sing/am I crazy?”

Here are …

Alabama LegalForms

by Mark Skinner, East Ensley Branch Library

Google is helpful for a lot of things and for giving a lot of answers. However, Google can make it difficult if someone is searching for a legal form. In general, most legal forms are state specific, and most of the time, it is difficult to tell if you found it from a reliable source. Sometimes, you might have found that perfect legal form on a website. You fill out all your information, and everything looks great. But then, when you try to print or save it, the website lets you know that, by the way, you will need to pay us money to use this form. As you can imagine, it is a pretty frustrating experience.

The Birmingham Public Library has access to a database called Alabama LegalForms. If you have a simple matter, such as a bill of sale or a residential lease, you should be able to find what you are looking for on Alabama LegalForms. You can save yourself some time and potential heartache down the road by using these forms rather than relyin…

Fall Make-and-Take Crafts Program at Titusville Library in November

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library 

November is right around the corner, and the Titusville Branch Library is encouraging our adult patrons to embrace the autumn season by participating in a make-and-take craft program.

On Wednesday, November 7, at 10:00 a.m., the library will present a class in which participants will create their own fall-themed candles. All supplies will be provided by the library, and this event is free (although registration is required). You may register online through the BPL events calendar or by calling the library at 205-322-1140. There are still some available slots, so if you’d like a chance to explore your artistic side, register today!

Southern History Book of the Month: Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath
John Philip Colletta

“Sometimes Genealogy Can Be Murder . . .”

This tagline on the back cover of Only a Few Bones sounds like the hook for a series of mystery novels featuring a genealogist detective—and that would be close to the truth. After hearing family legends of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and how one of his ancestors was murdered when his country store burned down, John Colletta spent thirty years trying to determine exactly what happened on the night of March 4, 1873. The result is every bit as compelling as a suspense thriller:
As a boy, all I wanted was to draw a family tree. I never imagine, as I transcribed all the names and dates Grandma dictated . . . that one branch of my ancestry would lead me to this gigantic building collapsing in flame. I never imagined that I would become obsessed with unpuzzling what really happened, and wh…

Teens Engineer BHM Afterschool Program Continues through End of November 2018

Teens Engineer BHM, a partnership between the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering, continues to offer free activities for middle and high schoolers with a passion for engineering at several BPL locations through the end of November.

The free program is teaching young people how to program robots, soldering, and computer coding skills at 12 of BPL’s 19 locations: the Central Library, Avondale Regional Branch Library, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library, Five Points West Regional Branch Library; and eight branch libraries: Ensley, East Ensley, North Avondale, East Lake, Southside, West End, Smithfield, Inglenook, and Powderly.

Teens Engineer BHM is a past recipient of a $95,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and a $50,000 grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund. Learn more about Teens Engineer BHM.

The remaining schedule of Teens Engineer BHM afterschool programs is as follows:
East Ensley Library

Celebrate Halloween 2018 at the Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Public Library is helping our patrons get in the Halloween spirit. Besides candy give-aways for young patrons at most of our 19 locations across Birmingham on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, there are plenty of free activities for patrons of all ages taking place all week.

Programs include a Harry Potter Party at Smithfield Branch Library, Mardi Gras murdery mystery program for adults at Five Points West Regional Branch Library, Spooky Science Family Night program for kids at Avondale Regional Branch Library, Halloween crafts for kids at North Avondale Branch Library, and edible Halloween treat-making activities at Wylam Branch Library and Inglenook Branch Library.

Ensley Branch Library and Southside Branch Library are also hosting “count the candy in a jar” contests in which the person guessing the closest will win prizes.

Halloween programs through October 31 at BPL:

Avondale Library
Family Night: Spooky Science, Tuesday, October 30, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Join Avondale Library f…

From Page to Stage: Peter Pan – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children

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

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of Peter Pan, 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 Peter Pan production on December 8 or 9, 2018.

This fresh adaptation of the classic J.M. Barrie tale has everything you love—Wendy and the Lost Boys, the dastardly Captain Hook, and the boy who never grows up. Let your imagination soar as—through the magic of shadow puppetry —Peter Pan and his friends sail through the night sky to Neverland. Daring s…

Church Records and Histories for Genealogy Research

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

One source that can give additional insight into our ancestors and their lives is church records. Given that most states did not require the registration of births and deaths until the early 20th century (1908 in Alabama), church records have the potential to help genealogists break through the dreaded “brick wall.” Many churches kept records of those joining and leaving, baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

Of course, locating the records can be challenging. The logical place to start is with the church your ancestors attended. If you already know this and if the church is still operational, then you’re halfway there. Just give them a call or an email and ask if they have historical records. If the church closed, they may have left their records with a depository or historical center. Many faiths have libraries or historical societies that maintain records from congregations that are no longer in existence. The links …

SCORE Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library November 16

What: Steps to Starting Your Business seminar
When: Friday November 16, 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 SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business on Friday November 16, 2018. The seminar is scheduled to be held 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.

Topics to be covered in the seminar 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 Valencia Fisher in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at Valencia.Fis…

For Freedoms – Alabama Art Exhibit Opening at Central Library October 28

What:For Freedoms – Alabama art exhibit 
When: Sunday, October 28, 2018, through Friday, January 25, 2019
Where:Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery
Details: For Freedoms – Alabama is free and open to the public during Central Library operating hours. Call 205-226-3601 for more information or visit
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a new art exhibit that is part of a non-partisan, nationwide campaign using art as a means to inspire civic participation by celebrating freedoms in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. For Freedoms – Alabama will open on Sunday, October 28, 2018, in the Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery and be free and open to the public through Friday, January 25, 2019.
Curated by Paul Barrett, the exhibit includes paintings, photographs, prints, and mixed media works from Alabama artists: Lanette Blankenship, Becky Delgado, Carey Fountain, Frances Hackney, Ira Hill, Josh Hoggle, Angela Hollowell, Devonte Holt, Holland Hopson, illartpeac…

Birmingham Public Library 2018 Staff Award Winners

Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Executive Director Floyd Council awarded the inaugural BPL Staff Awards to several employees, as well as Best All Around Library and Best Branded Program of the Year during the 2018 BPL Staff Day held Thursday, October 18, at the Central Library.

The honors were presented to BPL employees who go above and beyond in serving the public, as well as the best community program and best library locations. The winners were as follows:

Best All Around Library – Five Points West Regional Branch Library This award is to a library location that demonstrates exceptional all-around public service, community engagement, programs and sustainable partnerships.

BPL Career Service Award – Sandra “Sandi” Vick Lee, BPL Deputy Director This award is for exemplary service and impact for 20 plus years in a leadership role.
Heritage Preservation Award – Paul Boncella, Central Library, Southern History Department This award is for substantial archival and preservation work that sust…

Employees Receive Encouraging Words and Training at 2018 BPL Staff Day

Staff development and training is a year-long commitment at the Birmingham Public Library. From sending employees to national conferences such as the American Library Association to local leadership and management courses at the Personnel Board of Jefferson County, BPL makes giving employees the job skills needed to better serve our patrons a top priority as our 19 libraries strive at "Putting People First."

On Thursday, October 18, 2018, all 19 BPL locations were closed as our nearly 300 employees gathered at the Central Library for BPL Staff Day. BPL is committed to staff growth and development, providing staff with "the opportunity to take formal academic courses and job-related meetings and training that helps prepare them for new opportunities and enhances their job skills."

More than a dozen BPL employees attended the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans in June, including Shawn Caddell of Eastwood Library, who shared her experience …

Alabama Voting Rights Town Hall Meeting to be Held at Five Points West Library October 19

What: Town Hall Meeting: Midterms and Beyond
When: Friday, October 19, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Where:Five Points West Regional Branch Library
Details: Sponsored by Alabama Civic Engagement Coalition. Topic of discussion: Voters Rights Restoration. For more information, call John Paul Taylor, a fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center, at 334-235-6789. 
Do you know what your rights are as an Alabama voter as the November 6 election approaches? The Five Points West Regional Branch Library is hosting an Alabama voting rights town hall meeting on Friday, October 19, 2018, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the Alabama Voting Rights Project, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama Civic Engagement Center, and the Campaign Legal Center. National, international, and Birmingham area speakers will answer questions and share their opinions about voting rights, voting injustices, and how to get the vote out during the November midterm elections. 
The Alabama Voter ID Bus will be on site from 2:00 …

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

by Andrei Jones, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

The Shape of Water is a 2017 American romantic dark fantasy drama. The movie, set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, follows a mute custodian named Elisa who falls in love with a humanoid amphibian at a secret government laboratory. Elisa, who only communicates by sign language, teaches the creature to communicate by sign language as well, as they develop a special relationship. Without giving too much more away, the movie shows that love comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

The Shape of Water scored big at the 90th Academy Awards, where it won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. Once I began watching this dark, romantic drama, I couldn’t turn away until I saw the movie’s climactic end. Check the JCLC catalog for the availability of the movie (or book, audiobook, and soundtrack).

Common Core and What It Means to You

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Alabama’s State Board of Education adopted and implemented Common Core Standards in November 2010. These standards have since then shaped how we approach math and language in teaching, parenting, and learning. There are a number of feeder schools to each of our 19 public library locations in Birmingham and its communities, and libraries exist for a number of reasons. One is to allow unlimited access to information, but another is to provide supplemental instruction for K-12 students, parents, and teachers alike. With the introduction of Common Core educational standards, it has become increasingly harder for parents to understand what common core means, how to maneuver strategies, and how to better equip and assist their children with school/homework. Libraries are here to assist all parties involved in this initiative and give you a clearer understanding of how you can and will succeed.

Common Core is defined as a "set of high-quality acad…

Steps to Starting a Franchise Business Seminar on October 22 at Central Library

What: Steps to Starting a Franchise Business seminar
When: 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 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, how to research and select the right franchise, and resources that are available to help you with your research.

The seminar is free, but registra…

State Senator Linda Coleman-Madison Presents $13,000 in Donations to Five Birmingham Public Libraries

Alabama State Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, District 20, has given $13,000 in community service grants to five Birmingham Public Library locations in her district. Coleman-Madison, ADA compliance administrator for the City of Birmingham, presented the checks to BPL during its Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Coleman-Madison's checks were as follows:

North Birmingham Regional Branch Library $5,000Springville Road Regional Branch Library $5,000Pratt City Branch Library $1,000Ensley Branch Library$1,000Inglenook Branch Library $1,000

Coleman-Madison, a former Birmingham City councilwoman, said she was honored to present checks from her Senate Community Service grants to the five public libraries in Birmingham located within Senate District 20.

“We recognize and appreciate the invaluable service provided by public libraries within communities that serve to bridge the gap in learning to supplement public education while offering access to knowledge, job seekers an…

Meet Miss Fancy

by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library

October 12 was a day of celebration in Avondale once upon a time. It was Miss Fancy’s birthday.

Miss Fancy, the legendary Queen of Avondale, may be Avondale’s most famous celebrity. She’s the cover girl for Avondale Brewing Company, where she has a special ale named after her. A restaurant on Fifth Avenue is named Fancy’s on 5th in her honor. A current fundraising campaign is raising money to put a life-size statue of her in Avondale Park.

She is the subject of a subplot in Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Caféa short documentary, Mr. Todd’s Fancy; and Miss Fancy, a play featured in Theatre Downtown’s 2016 season.

Miss Fancy (1871-1954) was a gentle Indian elephant who served as the star attraction at the Birmingham Zoo (when it was located in its original site at Avondale Park) from 1913 to 1934. She was known to routinely stroll through the streets of Avondale, Forest Park, and Woodlawn. …

Bards & Brews October Poetry Slam Winners Announced

Bards & Brews presented three cash prizes to its poetry slam winners at the Central Library on Friday, October 5.

The winners were:

First place ($250 check) – Jahman Hill, a student at The University of Alabama Second place ($150 check) – Jonathan Peterson of Montgomery, Alabama, who performs as "JP Da Poet"Third place ($50 check) – Andrea Taylor of Montgomery, Alabama
A poetry slam is a competition using elimination rounds during poetry performances that are judged by a panel chosen from the audience. Voice Porter emceed the event.

BPL hosts Bards & Brews monthly except December, usually on the first Friday evening. For more information and upcoming dates, visit Bards & Brews on Facebook or the BPL events calendar.

Prizes were made possible by a generous donation from theFriends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library

2018 National Book Awards Finalists Announced

The National Book Foundation has announced its 25 finalists in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people's literature.The winners in each category will be announced November 14, 2018.

How many have you read?

Finalists for Fiction
Jamel Brinkley, A Lucky Man
Lauren Groff, Florida
Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking
Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers
Sigrid Nunez, The Friend

Finalists for Nonfiction
Colin G. Calloway, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation
Victoria Johnson, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic
Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

Finalists for Poetry
Rae Armantrout, Wobble
Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of
Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency