Showing posts from November, 2018

BPL Friends Bookstore hosting annual holiday $10 book bag sale

In photo left to right are Friends Bookstore manager Thracie Pace, volunteer Christina Richburgh,Central Library assistant Kimberly Wiley, and volunteer Larry Stinson.
BPL Friends Bookstore's Annual Holiday $10 book bag sale is in progress from now through Christmas weekend. Visit us at the Friends Bookstore on the first floor of the Central Library during our operating hours, Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For just $10, fill a Friends Classic Navy Tote bag with audio books, hardback and paperback books, art,cookbooks, classics, magazines, CDs, DVDs and more. Our yellow tag books are available to you for a fraction of the cost from Amazon and other sellers.
All proceeds benefit the Birmingham Public Library and Friends Bookstore. Every purchase and donation helps support our community. Help Friends Grow by "Putting People First." For more information, visit us or call 205-226-3676.

Support the Birmingham Public Library on #GivingTuesday November 27

by Pat Rumore, President of the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library

“Libraries, the best of our ‘social infrastructure’” is the theme of this year’s #FFBPLGivingTuesday campaign sponsored by the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library. #GivingTuesday, a date to support nonprofits in our community, is November 27, 2018.

“Social infrastructure” is a term coined by Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University, who has written the book Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. His definition of the term is “the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact.” In an opinion piece for the New York Times, he describes why libraries are a crucial part of our social infrastructure.

The professor points out that, while libraries are routinely being starved for resources, their usage is actually increasing. The real problem that libraries face i…

BPL Archivist Publishes Article on 1918 Influenza

Thinking back on the time when the 1918 influenza pandemic struck Alabama, Edna Boone of Houston County remembered her mother cooking soup for sick neighbors. Bertha Moore Merrill of Eufaula remembered all the people who died. “We lost so many,” she told an interviewer half a century later.

The terrible pandemic, which killed thousands in Alabama and tens of millions worldwide, is explored in the latest article by Birmingham Public Library (BPL) archivist Jim Baggett. Titled “’It Came Like a Cyclone’: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Alabama,” the article is published in the fall issue of Alabama Heritage magazine. Alabama Heritage is available at BPL locations and other area libraries.

Baggett is the author of more than 50 articles, including two published earlier this year. “Birmingham Bound: The Magic City’s Melting Pot” looks at Birmingham’s immigrant communities and appeared in the spring issue of the Alabama Historical Association Newsletter. And the article “’A Law Abiding Peopl…

Retirement Planning Workshop: "Make the Most of Your Home's Value" at Central Library November 14

What: Money Matters Retirement Planning Workshop: "Make the Most of Your Home's Value"
When: November 14, 2018
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, 4th floor

Retirement is something that most of us look forward to. It is indeed an appealing notion to think that one day you will not have to get up every day and go to work. But retirement can also be a troubling notion as well, especially if you are worried about your financial situation. Concerns about money and finances are the primary reason that people do not enjoy their retirement years to the fullest.

Perhaps these concerns can never be totally alleviated, but thoughtful financial planning can certainly help to lessen the stress that we feel when we contemplate our post-work years.

Planning for retirement is the focus of the Birmingham Public Library’s 2018/2019 edition of Money Matters. Once again, this series of workshops is made possible through a partnership between BPL and…

Fall Inspiration

By Selina Johnson, Wylam Branch Library

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. The trees are taking on their vibrant hues of red, gold, and yellow along with there being just a nip of chill that is starting to lurk into the air. The chilly mornings are an invitation to cut off the air conditioning and open the windows to take in the fresh crisp air that permeates the house. A scenic drive is a must during this season because the brilliant foliage and striking landscapes are breathtaking.

Fall is simply inspiring. It is about renewal and getting prepared for the upcoming holiday seasons. Now is a perfect time to get a thorough house cleaning underway, pull the fall and winter décor out, and prepare for making your favorite fall and winter recipes. Check out these resources at the library for assistance in finding your fall inspiration.

Autumn: From the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch
Autumn in a Jiffy
The Cleaning Ninja: How to Clean Your Home in 8 Minutes Flat and Other Clev…

Life without Retirement: What Does It Look Like?

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

More and more seniors are finding themselves facing a life of never-ending work and they never thought of being employed well into their 70s; however, there are some who have worked a number of odds and ends jobs but never held a steady job that paid into Social Security or a pension fund. Consequently, many of them feel stuck. They have reached retirement age and do not have enough savings to cover their day-to-day expenses such as medical expenses, housing, and rising food costs. As a result, the options are few and include dramatically cutting down on spending or keep working. We are seeing our mothers, grandmothers; aunts and uncles become “poor” for the first time in their old age. This is hard to watch but there are some measures that we can take to decrease the occurrence of poverty in our families and our communities. One measure is to help people save for old age and another is to expand affordable housing options for older Americans. …

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…

Veterans Day in Birmingham

by Ellen Griffin Shade, Avondale Regional Branch Library

If you watch the Veterans Day parade marching through the streets of Birmingham on November 12, you’ll be taking part in the oldest and largest Veterans Day celebration in the country.

Expanding Armistice Day, founded in 1919 to honor the veterans of World War I, into a national holiday honoring all veterans was the brainchild of a World War II veteran from Birmingham named Raymond Weeks. Weeks established the first Veterans Day celebration in Birmingham in 1947, and led a delegation to Washington, D.C., to ask General Dwight Eisenhower, then Army chief of staff, to create a national holiday honoring all veterans. After years of lobbying, President Eisenhower signed the bill establishing November 11 as Veterans Day in 1954. Raymond Weeks led the first National Veterans Day Parade in 1947 here in Birmingham, and every year after that until his passing in 1985. He was honored for his efforts with the Presidential Citizens Med…

Circulating Board Games at Eastwood Library

By Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library

On November 5 the Eastwood Branch Library began making available for checkout to the public the following board games (all geared for patrons middle school age and up): King of Tokyo, Carcassonne, Forbidden Island, Ticket to Ride, Farkel, Pandemic, Azul, Puerto Rico, Dice Town, Catan, and the Downfall of Pompeii.

Board games can be checked out with a valid adult library card. Board games are checked out for one week, but must be returned to the Eastwood Library. If you have any questions, please contact the Eastwood Library at 205-591-4944.

"Board games are entering a new renaissance in the United States," said Vincent Solfronk, branch manager of the Eastwood Library. "Board games are being designed with more interesting subjects and features. People of all ages are trying to move away from their "screens" and to a more interactive lifestyle. Board games bring people of all ages a fun learning experience."


Birmingham Public Library Medical Databases Provide Reliable and Relevant Answers to Your Health Questions

by Mark Skinner, East Ensley Branch Library 

Finding answers to medical questions can be overwhelming. Many books on medical issues that are a few years old can be outdated and provide inaccurate information. On the other hand, the amount of information when searching on the internet can seem far too vast and the sources of that information can be somewhat suspect. While online message boards or Google searches may be helpful for finding support in others diagnosed with similar conditions, these resources may provide inaccurate information to you.

At the library, we have access to a wide array of information from trusted sources that can help point you in the right direction. Certainly, these databases are no substitute for your medical provider, but they may be able to help ease some of your worries or help you better understand a topic, diagnoses, or medication.

Below are links to a few medical resources that oriented toward consumers rather than medical professionals.

The Lexi-PAL…

Springville Road Library Adult Programs Offer Fellowship, Instruction in a Relaxed Environment

by Kelly Laney, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

With the colder weather and darker days, don’t huddle alone this winter. Come to the library to have fun and meet people! There are many opportunities to have fun, learn crafts, learn healthy tips, and stay fit.

This is the time of the year when nimble (and maybe not-so-nimble) fingers turn to crafting to prepare for the holidays. There are several venues for participating in crafting handmade gifts from the heart for friends and loved ones. If you are a fan of visual learning, you can type in just about any craft on YouTube and view a how-to video to get ideas, learn a new technique, or practice an old one. If hands-on is more your learning style, you can check the events calendar on the Birmingham Public Library website to find a class near you. At the Springville Road Regional Branch Library, we offer several opportunities for expressing your craftiness while making new friends.

Coffee, Conversation & Crafts meets…

Powderly Library Hosting Book Signing by Author Hugh Hardy Jr. November 9

What: Book Launch and Signing with Hugh Hardy Jr. – Maysa Brown: Rise to Power When: Friday, November 9, 2018, 10:00 a.m.
Where:Powderly Branch Library

For two years Hugh Hardy Jr. has been spending much of his spare time writing his debut novel about a black character's unlikely rise from unknown college student to become president of the United States. And no, it's not his take on Barack Obama’s journey to become the nation’s first black president from 2008 to 2016.

Hardy will discuss his new book, Maysa Brown: Rise to Power, on Friday, November, 9, 10:00 a.m., during a book signing at the Powderly Branch Library where he works as a library assistant. Hardy self-published the book this fall. You can buy Maysa Brown online through

Maysa Brown chronicles the trials and tribulations of the main character as she rises from being a brilliant college student in Alabama to becoming the first black female president. While in college, Maysa falls in love with he…

The United States of Books

by Gus Jones, Fiction Department, Central Library

One of the creative library assistants in the Fiction Department saw an idea in the September 4, 2015, issue of Entertainment Weekly and thought it would be perfect to replicate as a department display. It is called The United States of Books.

For each state, Entertainment Weekly picked “the one work of fiction that best defines each state in the union.” The associated article provides a short description of the novels and usually includes how it relates to the state. For example, the novel chosen to represent Alabama is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is described as follows:

Forget the dubious sequel. Lee’s exceptional work is a perfectly contained miracle about the struggle for justice in a system built to deny it. From Birmingham to Tuskegee, Alabama was a burning center of racial conflict, and this novel takes place right on the outskirts of that crucible.
It’s very interesting to discover which novels are considered…

Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Event to Be Held at Central Library November 2

What: Bards & Brews open mic poetry event
When: Friday, November 2, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library East Grand Reading Room
Details: Free to the public age 18 and up

Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's popular monthly spoken word poetry/craft beer program, is hosting its last event of the year on Friday, November 2, at the Central Library East Grand Reading Room.

Both seasoned spoken word artists and novice poets are invited to participate in this open mic poetry event. Voice Porter will again serve as host and emcee.

Join us for an unforgettable night featuring many of metro Birmingham's best spoken word poets sharing their talent. For more information, visit Bards & Brews on Facebook.

BPL Archivist Speaks at Auburn and Beyond

This past week Birmingham Public Library Archivist Jim Baggett delivered an invited lecture at the Auburn University School of Nursing and spoke at the H. Grady Bradshaw Library in Valley and the B. B. Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga. Baggett’s series of talks, “’It Came Like a Cyclone’: Alabama and the 1918 Influenza,” was sponsored by Auburn University’s Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities.

The 1918 influenza killed more than 50,000,000 people worldwide and sickened 145,000 in Alabama. Baggett’s talk explored the social, political, and economic impact of the pandemic on our state.

In addition to this series of talks, Baggett has spoken at three scholarly conferences in 2018: the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators southeastern meeting, the Alabama Historical Association Annual Meeting, and the Plastic Surgery Research Council Annual Meeting.

Besides the invited lecture at Auburn last week, Jim Baggett has delivered invited lectures a…

Web-Based Printing Available at All BPL, JCLC Libraries Effective November 1, 2018

The Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC), which includes all 19 Birmingham Public Library locations, is offering a new web-based printing service in all 40 member libraries throughout Jefferson County.

Patrons using their JCLC member-issued library card inside their library will be able to use an online printing service called SmartALEC to conveniently print from their own laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet to designated print release stations.

The online service allows a patron to send documents to print at the library from anywhere the patron has Internet access—from home, work, inside the library, and other places with WiFi. There is a nominal library fee to print out documents. 

To begin, patrons need to register by visiting and uploading their documents at  this link. After the print job is submitted, the patron can pick up the printed items at any of the 40 JCLC locations.
To login, enter your Library Card number and personal identification number (PIN). If this is your f…

Inglenook Library's Women’s Appreciation Program Spotlights Personal Finances November 9

What: An Expression of Appreciation for Women of the Inglenook Community – "Getting Your Finances in Order"
When: Friday, November 9, 6:30 p.m.
Where:Inglenook Branch Library
Details: This program will feature a financial adviser from the Birmingham Urban League sharing personal finance tips on maintaining a budget for the upcoming holidays. Free but registration required.

An Expression of Appreciation for Women of the Inglenook Community, a bi-monthly program held at the Inglenook Branch Library, will shine the spotlight on the importance of wise spending habits as the Christmas holiday season approaches.

The program, “Getting Your Finances in Order,” will take place on Friday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. Though geared towards women in the Inglenook community, the public is invited to this program. A financial adviser from the Birmingham Urban League will speak about different aspects of financial recovery, along with creating and maintaining a budget for the upcoming holidays.