Monday, May 27, 2019

BPL Closed May 27 for Memorial Day

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Wylam Library Summer Programs Moved to Ensley Library, Faith Chapel Christian Center

While a new Wylam Branch Library is being built by the City of Birmingham, all 2019 BPL Summer Learning programs scheduled for the old building are being relocated.

All of the Wylam Branch Library Summer Learning programs for youth will be held at Faith Chapel Christian Center.

All of the Wylam Library adult summer programs are being rescheduled to Ensley Branch Library.

The old 2,000 square foot Wylam Library was demolished in early May and is being replaced with a new 6,000 square foot building slated to open in January 2020.

Here is a listing of Wylam Library Summer Learning programs and locations

Tuesday, June 4 & 11, 10:00 a.m. - Exploring Stories from Around the World
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center.
Join Miss Fontaine for storytelling adventures with the audience playing a role in the tale telling.

Tuesday, June 18, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Critters and Constellations
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center.
Have you ever gazed up at the night sky and wondered what stories the stars have to tell? Many of the constellations grouped in our night sky resemble the shape of real creatures that we see today. Grab your space helmets and blast off with Alabama 4-H and their crew of kid-friendly animals

Wednesday, June 19, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Wylam Book Club
Location: Ensley Branch Library
The Wylam Book Club meeting will discuss the book A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux

Tuesday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. Creative Movement
Location:Faith Chapel Christian Center
Explore a world of stories told with movement as old as time.

Freegal/Kanopy Wednesday, June 26, 11am – 12pm
Location Ensley Branch Library
This is a one hour session broken into two parts. 1. Freegal music service includes millions of songs. These are MP3 files that can be played on any device. The downloaded music file is yours to keep with no due date and no expiration date. 2. Kanopy is a video streaming platform with over 30,000 videos.

Tuesday, July 2, 10:00 a.m.- The Story Factory
Location:Faith Chapel Christian Center
Join Ms. Candice for an engaging reader's theater that will utilize storytelling and dramatic play to increase children's confidence.

Tuesday, July 9, 10:-00 – 11:00 a.m. - Rocket Science
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center
Join Jan Mattingly The Science Lady for an exciting look at rockets. This explosive program includes demonstrations of the basics of flight and Alabama's role in the history of rockets. Participants will be blown away by all the fun.

Tuesday, July 16, 10:00 a.m. - Science Stories that Changed the World
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center
Learn about Mae Jemison, Gladys West, and the Hidden Figures ladies in this fun workshop led by Elinor and Winfield Burks. We will build a game, test your knowledge of the planets, and learn about experiments in space

Wednesday, July 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. - Wylam Book Club
Location: Ensley Branch Library
Wylam Book club members gather to discuss the selected read of the month.

Wednesday, July 17, 2:00 p.m. - Rollin' Beats Traveling Music Lab
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center
Rollin' Beats will be an introduction to digital music creation and manipulation. The kids will learn drum sequencing and editing techniques using digital and live samples with professional software such as Pro Tools and MPC Studio. We will also show them low-cost and free alternatives they could use

Tuesday, July 23, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.  Tug of War
Location: Faith Chapel Christian Center
This interactive activity utilizes tug of war to teach students about major civil rights events such as the Children's Crusade, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Greensboro sit-ins.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 BPL Summer Learning Spotlight: Youth Rocket Science Program

Kids of all ages who have a fascination with rockets need to take advantage of the Birmingham Public Library's 2019 Summer Learning program Youth Rocket Science, led by Jan Mattingly, aka The Science Lady.

Mattingly’s free program will share information about the basics of flight and Alabama’s history of rockets in a fun way. It is among more than 400 free programs for kids, teens, and adults BPL is hosting between June and early August to help students on break avoid “summer learning loss," a phrase referring to when students lose knowledge gained during the preceding school year.

In addition to her Youth Rocket Science program, Mattingly is hosting a Rocket Engineering Challenge at Pratt City Branch Library at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, in which kids will make paper rockets and try to launch them 50 feet into the air.

Mattingly, whose company is called Dynamic Education Adventures, is a longtime supporter of BPL’s Summer Learning activities.

Below are the dates and library locations of Mattingly’s Youth Rocket Science programs:

June 5, 10:00 a.m. – Springvlle Road Library
June 6, 11:00 a.m. – Eastwood Library
June 10, 10:00 a.m. – Powderly Library
June 12, 10:00 a.m. - Avondale Library 
June 13, 10:00 a.m. - Woodlawn Library 
June 18, 10:00 a.m. - Five Points West Library 
June 20, 11:00 a.m. - West End Library 
June 21, 1:00 p.m. - Inglenook Library 
June 25, 10:30 a.m. - Titusville Library 
June 26, 10:00 a.m. - Central Library
June 27, 10:30 a.m. - North Birmingham Library 
June 28, 10:30 a.m. - Southside Library 
July 9, 10:00 a.m. - Wylam Library  (Wylam youth programs are being moved to Faith Chapel Christian Center)
July 10, 10:00 a.m. - Smithfield Library  
July 11, 10:00 a.m. - East Ensley Library 

BPL launching "Real Men Talk," an after school male mentoring program

The Birmingham Public Library is launching "Real Men Talk," a new after school male mentoring program debuting in September 2019.

Join us for a kickoff informational session taking place on Saturday, June 15, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the Central Library East Grand Reading Room in downtown Birmingham. Snacks will be provided. Youth organizations, church groups and men interested in volunteering are invited.

"Real Men Talk" is an after school library male mentoring program series featuring men of various professions talking to BPL teens about their careers, sharing advice about real life issues and answering questions any teen would like to ask an adult male. It is modeled after “Real Men Read,” a program held annually at  Fairfield’s Robinson Elementary. Real Men Read is a product of I See Me Inc., founded by Robinson Elementary teacher Devon Frazier.

Though designed to provide a positive male mentor toward teen boys who do not have a father at home, it will be open to both boys and girls who would like to have a discussion with a father figure about “real issues” such as dealing with bullies, overcoming low self-esteem and boosting self-confidence.

Real Men Talk is recruiting adult men willing to volunteer to mentor youth beginning this fall. If interested, contact Roy L. Williams, Birmingham Public Library Public Relations Director, at (205) 226-3746 or email

Through Real Men Talk, BPL desires to partner with organizations that already provide services for young people and churches desiring to partner with BPL to mentor youth who visit BPL's 19 libraries after school.

Bards & Brews Open Mic at Birmingham Art Crawl June 6

Bards & Brews will have a change of day and scenery in June with our participation in the Birmingham Art Crawl. The Birmingham Art Crawl is scheduled for Thursday, June 6, 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., in downtown Birmingham, rain or shine; Bards & Brews performances are scheduled from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Voice Porter will serve as host.

Bards & Brews will be open air and open mic across from the Pizitz Food Hall on 19th street. Food and beer will be available for purchase at the Pizitz Food Hall.

As you check out the amazing visual artists of the Magic City, join us for an unforgettable night featuring many of Birmingham's best poets sharing their work against the backdrop of the city's evening lights.

For more information, visit Bards & Brews on Facebook.

Bards & Brews is made possible by a generous donation from the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library.

Southern History Book of the Month: Lost Attractions of Alabama

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Lost Attractions of Alabama
Tim Hollis

This is the time of year to be thinking about summer activities and family vacations. Some of you will remember getting up for an early start to beat the heat, because the car only had a “4-60” air conditioner. (And no seat belts—did you ever ride standing up on the seat?) Before the interstate highway system, businesses counted on unusual displays and attractions to bring in customers who were anxious to break the monotony of a drive that could last for many hours. If you fondly recall those days, you’ll want to take a look at Lost Attractions of Alabama by Tim Hollis. It is a chronicle of the weird and the wonderful, of the “gone but not forgotten.”

In fact, it’s amazing just how long some of these lost attractions continue to make their presence felt. Take, for example, the Giant Nehi Bottle:

One of the state’s earliest roadside attractions was this sixty-four-foot-tall bottle on what would eventually become U.S. 280, just north of Auburn. Its existence was brief—built in 1924, the wooden structure burned in 1933—but to this day, some maps still include a dot representing “The Bottle” as a location. (p. 64)

It’s interesting to see the different trends in roadside attractions, such as the Western craze of the 50s and 60s that gave us the Dry Gulch Ghost Town near Gardendale and the Ole Fort Limestone Pioneer Village close to Athens. There’s also a nod to Space City USA—in keeping with the launch of Sputnik that set off the space race—which leads Hollis to ask the question, “Can it be classified as a ‘lost attraction’ if it was never built in the first place?” The elaborate Space City Theme Park would have been located near Huntsville but apparently never got much further than the very early stages, so few relics of it are left.

Other attractions are by no means completely lost, such as Vulcan, Birmingham Zoo, and Birmingham Botanical Gardens, but they have gone through many transformations. Remember the zoo’s Monkey Island? The Floral Clock at Botanical Gardens? Or you may have seen Vulcan’s green torch signaling that Birmingham had no traffic fatalities that day. You may also remember school trips to Moundville, only in those days the skeletons buried in the mounds were still visible. Now they have been covered over out of respect for the remains, but many of us can recall (as early as second or third grade) being shown the excavation with the bodies clearly in view.

Other changes are on a far larger scale. Anyone who vacationed in South Alabama during the 1960s and early 1970s will remember the long stretch of Gulf beaches with their oddball tourist lures like the Lighthouse Motel, Surfside Golf—AKA Spooky Golf, featuring a large purple dinosaur in a pre-Barney world—and a conspicuous lack of condos, which didn’t make much of an entrance until after Hurricane Frederic.

So if you knew where to find every Stuckey’s in the state of Alabama or if you wanted to “Travel the Wigwam Way” or if you spent time on the rides of Kiddieland in Fair Park, pick up a copy of Lost Attractions of Alabama. It’s a fun, nostalgic read that will have you asking “Do you remember?” Maybe these attractions will never be completely lost as long as someone remembers them.

For further information:
Tim Hollis on Facebook
The Tim Hollis Museum
Birmingham Rewound
The Giant Nehi Bottle
Space City USA
History is not standing still in Moundville
Gulf Shores before Hurricane Frederic

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2019 Summer Learning: BPL hosts Science Stories That Changed the World

Elinor and Winfield Burks, with a BPL patron

Winfield and Elinor Burks, who for years have shared their passion for science with young patrons at the Birmingham Public Library, are a new edition to the Birmingham Public Library’s 2019 Summer Learning program lineup.

Winfield Burks helps a patron at the Math & Science Day
 The Burks will lead a series of activities called “Science Stories that Changed the World.”

 Join BPL as the Burks lead young patrons in building a game, testing their knowledge of the planets and learning about experiments in space. Through the program, participants will learn about people who made a contribution to the world of science such as:

* Mae Jemison, the Alabama native who was the first black woman in space

Gladys West,  a black mathematician and one of the "Hidden Figures" heroes, who is lesser known for inventing the Global Positioning System, better known as GPS. West was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame in December 2018. 

* The three black women featured in the movie Hidden Figures, a hit film about three black women who played a pivotal role in NASA's space program during the late 1950's and 1960's.

The Burks are well known for the Ensley Science Club they have hosted at Ensley Branch Library and the Math & Science Fun Day, slated for this year on Saturday, July 27, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Five Points West Regional Library.

Elinor Burks assists patrons at Math & Science Day. 
 BPL’s Science Stories That Changed the World by the Burks schedule, open to children of all ages, is as follows:

Tuesday, June 18 - 10:00 a.m. - Ensley Library
Thursday, June 20 - 10:00 a.m. - East Ensley Library
Friday, June 21 - 10:00 a.m., - North Avondale Library
Tuesday, June 25 - 10:00 a.m. - Pratt City Library
Wednesday, June 26 - 10:00 a.m. - Avondale Library
Thursday, June 27 - 11:00 a.m. - West End Library
Monday, July 1 - 10:00 a.m. - Powderly Library
Tuesday, July 2 - 10:30 a.m. - Titusville Library
Wednesday, July 3 - 10:00 a.m. - East Lake Library
Tuesday, July 9 - 10:00 a.m. - Five Points West Library
Wednesday, July 10 - 10:00 a.m. - Inglenook Library
Thursday, July 11 - 11:00 a.m. - Eastwood Library
Monday, July 15 - 10:00 a.m. - Woodlawn Library
Tuesday, July 16 - 10:00 a.m. - Wylam Library (to be held at Faith Chapel Christian Center)
Wednesday, July 17 - 10:00 a.m. - Springville Road Library
Thursday, July 18 - 10:30 a.m. - North Birmingham Library

For a full listing of BPL programs, click on the BPL calendar

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2018 Bram Stoker Award Winners

Each year the Horror Writer’s Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror work, Dracula. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted immediately after the organization’s incorporation in 1987. The 2018 Bram Stoker Award winners were announced May 11, 2019, at StokerCon.

And the Bram Stoker goes to...!

Superior Achievement in a Novel
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Victor LaValle’s Destroyer by Victor LaValle
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) by Rena Mason
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
"Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) by Jess Landry
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
That Which Grows Wild by Eric J. Guignard
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady by Meredith Averill
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea by Ellen Datlow
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
The Devil’s Dreamland by Sara Tantlinger

The Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award went to the prolific master of British horrorGraham Masterton.

See the complete list of the 2018 Bram Stoker Award nominees and "other award" winners.

For books listed but not available in the JCLC catalog, try borrowing them through our convenient interlibrary loan service

Monday, May 20, 2019

Meet an Astronaut! at Springville Road Library

by Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Dr. Larry DeLucas

The whole family is invited to join us at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library for the summer learning program Meet an Astronaut! on Friday, June 7, at 4:00 p.m. We will be hosting Dr. Larry DeLucas, who is a scientist at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and NASA's first civilian scientist-astronaut. He worked aboard the Columbia conducting 720 experiments for two weeks, travelling over 5.7 million miles in 221 orbits. He later served as chief scientist for the International Space Station from 1994-95. Visit us to meet him and learn more about his amazing experiences.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Game On

by Carla Perkins, Avondale Regional Branch Library

Avondale Library is happy to announce that we are now circulating PlayStation 4 and Xbox video games! Titles include Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, Madden 19, NBA 2K19, Just Dance 2019, LEGO Ninjago, Minecraft Season Two, and more. The video games may be checked out for one week, one game per card. You must visit the Avondale Library to pick up and return them.

Visit us today to get your game on!

Graphic Novel Review: Sabrina

Nick Drnaso

Sabrina goes missing on her way to work one day. She is mourned by a sister and a boyfriend, and their depression and sadness bleeds into the lives of several others over the course of a year.

I've always wondered how survivors deal with the disappearance or homicidal death of a loved one. Sabrina illustrates the hour-to-hour anguish of missing someone and barely being able to function as a human being, until that one eventual morning when you can get out of bed, you can brush your hair, you can even hop on a bike for a nature ride or fill out a job application—things you never thought you'd feel like doing ever again.

Sabrina has a lot to say about our current plugged-in society in terms of its if-it-bleeds-it-leads journalism, fake news, keyboard warriors, and a tech- and gadget-obsessed populace that barely has time to mourn a victim or indulge in all the gory details of a crime before another violent act takes its place in the news.

If you're looking for colorful, precise illustrations, you won't get them here. The art of Sabrina—like today's headlines—is depressing and grim. The characters are as formless and faceless as the strangers tapping away at their keyboards all over the world, trolling and whipping up the readers. But it's a timely read about how isolated many feel, even as their privacy slips away.

Sabrina made the 2018 Man Booker Prize Long List, a first for a graphic novel.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2019 BPL Summer Learning Registration Is Now Open

Registration for the Birmingham Public Library's 2019 Summer Learning programming is now under way.

BPL is hosting more than 400 free programs for kids, teens, and adults as part of 2019 BPL Summer Learning between June 1 and early August.

Many of the programs are designed to help students on break from late May through early August avoid “summer learning loss," a phrase referring to when students lose knowledge gained during the preceding school year.

BPL’s website has a 2019 Summer Learning online calendar of events for kids, teens, and adults, and links to reading lists including Hoopla. Click here for details.

You can download the Beanstack app to track the number of minutes of books you read. BPL thanks the Alabama Power Foundation for its generous support of our Summer Learning programs. Other sponsors include Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Rally’s, The City of Birmingham Division of Youth Services, and the Birmingham Legion.

For a full listing of all BPL programs, click on the BPL calendar

The Atlantic Spotlights BPL Computer Workshops, Google Partnership

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) received a special visit this week from the Atlantic, a New York-based magazine.

Writer Jordan Teicher and art director Drew Campbell led a team representing Atlantic Re:think, who spent three days at BPL Monday, May 13, through Wednesday, May 15. While in Birmingham, the Atlantic took photos and interviewed BPL employees and patrons for an upcoming June 2019 spotlight on the essential role libraries play in providing digital skills training for the public. The magazine will also highlight BPL's partnership with Google.

Jordan Teicher and Calvester Sanders

Teicher sat in on computer workshops at the Central Library and Ensley Branch Library led by Maurice Harley, BPL training coordinator. He interviewed BPL patrons, including Calvester Sanders, who was promoted to lead the housekeeping staff at the Redmont Hotel thanks to computer skills she gained from free computer workshops at the Central Library.

Teicher and Executive Director Floyd Council

The Atlantic also interviewed BPL Executive Director Floyd Council and other BPL staffers about the role that BPL can play in helping patrons learn new skills and achieve success.

"The Birmingham Public Library and City of Birmingham offer special thanks and appreciation to the Atlantic for profiling our library system and our vision for digital skills and the role of the public library space in supporting 21st Century workforce development," Council said.

Since April of 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King mailed a copy of his historic Letter from the Birmingham Jail to The Atlantic in New York, Birmingham has shared a long historic relationship with the Atlantic, Council said. 

"After the Atlantic featured BPL in November 2016 as a Birmingham treasure, iconic photos of our Linn-Henley Library have become a core part of our branding thanks to the Atlantic reporters and photographers," Council said. "In this new information technology age, BPL has a mission to sustain a community village of digital inclusion with the provisions of innovation, technology, and digital skills empowerment."

Dominique Agee and Maurice Harley teach a computer workshop 
to patrons at the Ensley Branch Library 

This upcoming feature in the Atlantic is a result of a partnership BPL began with Google after hosting the first Grow With Google workshops in Alabama last August. Council said that BPL's collaboration with Google is allowing the library system to better serve patrons of the Birmingham metro area.

"As an intentional Grow With Google Library Partner, we are very excited about how our profile in the Atlantic will lend inspiration and motivation to library systems around the world where the need for digital skills is just as essential as the need for clean water and electricity. "BPL is also excited for our patrons to Grow With Google."

Azul: An Abstract Tile Game of Beauty

by Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library

Introduced by the Moors, azulejos (originally white and blue ceramic tiles) were fully embraced by the Portuguese when their king Manuel I, on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles. The king, awestruck by the interior beauty of the Alhambra, immediately ordered that his own palace in Portugal be decorated with similar wall tiles. As a tile-laying artist, you have been challenged to embellish the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora.

In the game Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they've placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player's score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Azul is a game that the whole family can play and enjoy. Each game lasts 30-45 minutes and can be played with 2-4 players. Come check out Azul and other board games at the Eastwood Library.

An Expression of Appreciation for Women: "Whose Label Are You Wearing?"

by Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library

Join us at the Inglenook Branch Library on Friday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., for an evening of relaxation and empowerment at our Expression of Appreciation for Women program. Held on the 3rd Friday of every other month, this program successfully targets and addresses issues that affect women daily.

This month Cassandra Woodson, business owner and educator, will use a holistic approach to host the workshop “Whose Label Are You Wearing?” In this workshop she will first address the many labels placed on women by family, friends, society, and themselves. She will then encourage women to examine those labels and ultimately remove any labels that are unproductive and fruitless while embracing labels that encourage growth and productivity in every area of their lives. Mothers of the group will also be acknowledged and celebrated in honor of Mother’s Day.

Space is limited so if you are compelled to attend, please contact the Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739 by Friday morning on May 17 to register. Dinner will also be served. We look forward to fellowshipping with you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library May 21

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: 3rd Tuesday of each month, January–June 2019
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in collaboration 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 from January to June 2019. 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: May 21, June 18.

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 Valencia Fisher in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at or 205-254-2799.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors from the local chapter of SCORE. SCORE is a national nonprofit association consisting of volunteers with business skills and experience who want to share their knowledge with prospective entrepreneurs and small business owners. For over 50 years, SCORE mentors have helped millions of Americans start and grow their own businesses.

For further information about the seminars or about resources available at the Birmingham Public Library relating to small business development, please contact Jim Murray in the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department at or by phoning 205-226-3691.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Rojo Taco Tuesday Fundraiser June 4

Dine at Rojo in the Highland Park area of Birmingham on Tuesday, June 4, any time from 5:00 p.m. to midnight, and support the Young Professionals of the Birmingham Public Library at the same time! Tell the cashier and 10% of the food proceeds will go to benefit YPs and BPL.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Mother's Day Craft at Titusville Library

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library

Are you ready for Mother's Day? The Titusville Branch Library assisted members of the community in celebrating this upcoming holiday by offering a Mother's Day-themed arts and crafts program on May 8. Participants created flower pots using Mason jars, miracle grow, pebbles, and an assortment of flower seeds. They expressed their artistic sides by painting the exterior of the jars, and in about one week, their morning glories, petunias, and pansies will be in full bloom!

Patrons were also provided with instructions on proper care for their new plants. We hope to educate and inspire some budding gardeners! The Titusville Library's adult craft program is led by Shronda Major, and typically meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. For additional information regarding our programs, call the library at 205-322-1140 or visit the BPL events calendar.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

2019 Summer Learning: BPL Hosting more than 400 programs

The Birmingham Public Library's 19 locations are hosting more than 400 free programs for kids, teens and adults as part of 2019 BPL Summer Learning.

The 2019 theme is "A Universe of Stories." Many of the programs are designed to help students on break from late May through early August avoid “summer learning loss," a phrase referring to when students lose knowledge gained during the preceding school year.

For a full listing of these and other BPL programs, click on the BPL calendar

 Among the highlights of 2019 Summer Learning:

 • Two workshops on the documentary filmmaking process by Birmingham filmmaker Sonya "Sam' Mitchell on June 23 and July 18 at the Central Library. Mitchell previously premiered two of her documentaries at the Central Library, including "Jessie Speeks" in 2015.

 • Teen Rocket Engineering Challenge at nine BPL locations between June 11 and July 3

 • Animal Helpers: Hand in Paw, Friday, June 28, 4 p.m. at Springville Road Library. Hand In Paw brings real live dogs and their owners to illustrate how amazing dogs are training to help sick people feel happier and promote kindness.

 • Five Points West Family Nights, sponsored by McWane Science Center, North Birmingham Library, Monday nights in June. The schedule is as follows:
 1) STEM Workshop, June 3 –Learn how to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics into daily routines.
 2) Literacy Workshop, June 10 – Parents and children are invited to come brainstorm as we demonstrate fun, inexpensive ways to increase kindergarten and first-grade readiness this summer
 3) Child Development Workshop, June 17- Did you know the first five years are the most important part of a child’s development? Join us as we demonstrate how to build simple motor skills essential to development such as learning how to turn a knob and hold pencils.

 • The McWane Center Visits BPL Wednesday June 12 at 10 am in Central East Grand Reading Room- Rocket demonstration and spotlight on gravity in space as BPL spotlights 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The McWane Center will bring this same program to Smithfield Library on Thursday, June 27 at 10 a.m. and the Springville Road Library at 4 pm. Friday, July 5.

 ·  Dance Discovery – Free dance workshops featuring members of the Alabama Ballet Co. sharing an up close look into the daily life of a professional ballet dancer.

  • VEX Robotics Camp June 22-26 (for 8th-12th graders) & weeklong S.T.E.M. camp for 6th-8th graders, both at the Central Library

 • Five Pen Craft workshops teaching patrons how to decorate ink pens for themselves or as gifts for others.

 • Inglenook Library on July 17 will celebrate its 40th anniversary of when the building was converted from a Birmingham Fire Station into a neighborhood library.

 • Two Martial arts demonstrations - June 26 by the Birmingham Academy of Martial Arts at the Springville Road Regional Library and another July 18 at West End Library on the art of self-defense by martial arts instructor LaQuan Jackson.

 • The Bib and Tucker SewingOp will lead a quilting session saluting the Alabama Bicentennial, working with an established quilting group in Pratt City Wednesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.

 • Storytime featuring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Heritage Alive Program, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m. –This outreach story time program partners BPL with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

 • Jan Mattingly, aka The Science Lady’s basics of rockets and other science programs taking place at BPL locations across the city all summer long. Her programs include a Rocket Engineering Challenge at Pratt City Library at 2 p.m. Tuesday June 4 in which kids will make paper rockets and try to launch them 50 feet into the air.

 • Color Me Stress Free- Wednesday, June 5, 10:30 a.m. – Join us for a fun and relaxing adult coloring session with jazz music in 2016 did a feature on how adult coloring workshops at BPL helped patrons reduce stress. 

 • Critters & Constellations-Several BPL locations featuring Alabama 4-H and their crew of kid-friendly animals

 • 18 free henna tattoo workshops led by Birmingham’s September Reed.  

2019 BPL Summer Learning Spotlight: Rollin' Beats Program

                                               Gavin Tucker in  Create205 Learning Lab 

Gavin Tucker of the Central Library’s Create205 Learning Lab is giving young people in Birmingham this summer a chance to learn how to create their own music.

As part of the Birmingham Public Library’s 2019 Summer Learning activities, Tucker is offering a program called “Rollin’ Beats” at nine different BPL locations during June and July. Young patrons will get a sample of audio production Tucker has been offering in the Central Library Teen Lab since last fall.

Rollin’ Beats is an introduction to digital music creation and manipulation. Teens will learn drum sequencing and editing techniques using digital and live samples with professional software such as Pro Tools and MPC Studio. Participants will also learn low-cost and free alternatives they can use to build upon their new skills when they go home. Registration required; 6 people per class.

If you’ve ever heard a song and thought you could do that, this program will show you how right you are. Attendees will get an introduction on the basics of digital editing and drum sequencing. You’ll pick out some samples-a deep kick, a quick high hat, maybe a sample you make with your own voice-add a bass line and take those sounds and create a drum loop called a sequence.

Make several and back them up against each other to form your own song and take that song home with you. Today’s technology enables anyone to jump right in with minimal instruction. If you can hum it or tap it out on a table you can figure out a way to create the sound in your head. If you are a songwriter looking to record your demo and have wondered where to begin you will get a taste of Pro Tools and some pointers on how to get an inexpensive set-up at home.

You may have an interest in recording spoken word for a podcast, a family time capsule, a recorded journal, or a play. If so, the same techniques apply and the introduction you get in this program can be followed up on by signing up for additional instruction that we currently offer two Saturdays a month at the Central Library.

The all-ages, 2-hour program will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00 -4:00 p.m. for five weeks in June and July and is limited to six spots per session. Call each library number below to register.

2019 Rollin’ Beats schedule:
June 10 Woodlawn 205-595-2001
June 12 East Lake 205-836-3341
June 17 Smithfield 205-324-8428
June 19 West End 205-226-4089
June 24 North Birmingham 205-226-4025
June 26 Five Points West 205-226-4013
July 8 Southside 205-933-7776
July 10 Avondale 205-226-4000
July 15 North Avondale 205-592-2082

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Game of Thrones Finale Party

by Joan Inman, Avondale Regional Branch Library

What: Game of Thrones Finale Party
When: Sunday, May 19, 2:30–5:30 p.m.
Where: Avondale Regional Branch Library
Cost: Free but registration is required
Audience: Ages 18+

Join us in celebrating the literary writings of George R.R. Martin and the finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Come socialize, take a photograph on the Iron Throne, and enjoy themed refreshments as we play games and create crafts. Multiple prizes will be given and costumes are strongly encouraged!

For more information call 205-226-4000. Register through the BPL events calendar.

Monday, May 06, 2019

BPL Southern History Department Hosting Genealogy Workshops in May 2019

The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department is hosting several genealogy
workshops across Jefferson County during the month of May 2019.

Workshops are free of charge, but advanced registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or

 Learn more about the resources the Southern History Department has to help research your family tree by following the Southern History Facebook page 

 The workshop schedule is as follows:

 Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 10:00 a.m., Bessemer Public Library 
  • Birmingham in 1916 – What was life like in Birmingham over 100 years ago?

Take a whirlwind tour of everyday life in Birmingham in 1916. Based on coverage found in historic newspapers, this program will cover the difficult and the good times and what was happening on the international scene.

Wednesday, May 8, 11:00 a.m., Trussville Public Library
 • Intro 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. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census.

Saturday, May 11, 10:00 a.m., Central Library, Southern History Department 
 • Intro 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. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census.

 Monday, May 20, 2019, 10:00 a.m., Adamsville Public Library
  • Library Edition

Participants will be introduced to the Library Edition database in which you can research your family history. Learn the tips and tricks about how to search this database like a librarian.

 Monday, May 20, 2019, 2:15 p.m., Central Library, RLCC (Regional Library Computer Center) 
 • Mastering 

Discover how to make full use of a website that enables you to map and index your shared DNA for free. You need only one confirmed maternal or paternal DNA match to get started.

The Southern History Department is also offering the following 90-minute genealogy workshops this summer, each being held at 2:30 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library

Sunday, June 16, 2019
 • DNA and Family Secrets

What happens when your DNA tests reveal unexpected family relationships? Join us as we explore the many ways DNA can upend – and mend – your family tree.

Sunday, July 7, 2019 
• Mad about Magazines 

If you’re not using periodicals in your family history research, you’re missing out. Magazine articles can contain anything from useful how-to information to the contents of a cemetery to a summary of what your ancestors were up to in the early history of this country.

Book Review: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

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

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters
Balli Kaur Jaswal

For the April BPL Diversity Reading Challenge, I picked a few books to read that I thought would be fun, one of them being The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal. This book follows Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina, three sisters who have been guilted into a pilgrimage to their ancestral homeland per their mother’s last request. Jaswal makes sure that this “grief pilgrimage” isn’t too dark though—with mistakes and calamity following the sisters everywhere. Part mystery, comedy, disastrous travelogue, and social commentary, this book also has characters that grew on me as their history was revealed. All three siblings have secrets, struggles, and life-long grudges that they are dealing with alone throughout the book until they can’t anymore. Definitely a well-written book that I’d recommend for a variety of readers who are interested in the various genres listed above.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

September Reed to Hold Henna Tattoo Workshops @BPL Summer Learning

Curious about the art of natural Henna tattoos? You'll have plenty of opportunities to learn from one of Birmingham's top Henna tattoo artists who will be sharing her talents at several Birmingham Public Library locations this summer.

September Reed, owner of Whimmmsy, will be presenting  18 free workshops as part of BPL's 2019 Summer Learning programs. Reed will give a series of workshops geared for teens and another focused on adults. During the classes, Reed will discuss the history of henna, the process of creating paste, and show examples of various tattoos. Participants will get a chance to apply a fresh henna tattoo on themselves.

See the dates and times of Reed's Henna tattoo workshops taking place at BPL below. Space is limited so register in advance at participating libraries. For a listing of  BPL programs at our 19 libraries, click here

Henna programs taking place at BPL as part of 2019 Summer Learning

Hello Henna (Teens), Thursday, June 27, 2:00 p.m.

East Ensley
Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Tuesday, June 18, 10:00 a.m.

East Lake
Henna Tattoos for Fun (All ages), Tuesday, July 19, 3:00 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Wednesday, June 19, 2:30 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (All ages), Thursday, June 20, 10:00 a.m.

North Avondale
Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Thursday, June 13, 1:00 p.m.

North Birmingham
Henna Fun (Teens), Monday, June 3, 2:00 p.m.
Natural Henna 101 (Adults), Wednesday, July 3, 2:00 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Thursday, June 6, 1:30 p.m.

Pratt City
Natural Henna 101 (Teens and adults), Tuesday, June 18, 2:30 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Wednesday, June 19, 2:30 p.m.
Natural Henna 101 (Adults), Wednesday, June 19, 2:30 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Adults), Wednesday, June 5, 11:30 a.m.

Springville Road
Natural Henna 101 (teens), Wednesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Adults), Friday, June 28, 10 a.m.

West End
Natural Henna 101 (Adults), Wednesday, July 10, 2:00 p.m.
Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Wednesday, July 17, 2:00 p.m.

Natural Henna 101 (Teens), Thursday, June 6, 10:00 a.m.

Preserve Your Precious Family Photos with the Birmingham Memory Project Digital Collection

Evelyn Jackson standing next to her carDonated by Pam Jackson.
If you have old photos of Birmingham places, people, and events, we'd love for you to share them with the Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections/Birmingham Memory Project. The goal of the memory project collaboration is to make a free and public online visual history of Birmingham as captured by her citizens.

Learn more about having family photos or written family history added to the BPL Digital Collection. You may also contact our Archives Department.

North Avondale Library Hosts Meet Your Librarian Program

Young patrons at North Avondale Library gained personal insight into life of a librarian, courtesy of Branch Manager Saundra Ross.

Several students from Hayes K-8 School, located adjacent to the library, have gotten to know Ross and her staff well over the years by attending after-school programs held there. Recently, the students interviewed Ross about her job.

Ross shared with the students some of the duties librarians do, such as stocking shelves and answering questions from patrons. She also gave the students interesting information such as the number of inventory - including books and DVDs - available for check out at North Avondale Library.

Ross talked about her passion for being a librarian, and how she gets joy out of helping patrons find books and other items to check out. The students listened intently, and asked insightful follow-up questions.

Now, thanks to Ross, the students have a better idea of the important role libraries plan in BPL's 19 locations across Birmingham.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Hoopla Book Club Hub

Looking for inspiration on what to read next in your book club? Hoopla has you covered with their Hoopla Book Club Hub. Hoopla's book resource hub offers a quarterly Spotlight section that includes a discussion guide and an exclusive author interview to help you generate discussions in your group. They also curate additional recommended titles to meet the diverse interests of your group.

What's best about using Hoopla for your group reads is that all titles are available instantly with no holds and no waiting, so that your entire group will be able to access the book at the same time. All with no late fees!

Hoopla is free to Birmingham residents with a JCLC library card.

Check the events calendar for upcoming book group meetings for adults at a Birmingham Public Library location:
Avondale Library – Book Club Freestyle
Smithfield Library – Adult Book Club
Springville Road Library – Reading Roadies (fiction); The Afterthoughts (nonfiction)

The Birmingham Public Library's Book Group resource page also has some helpful links for book groups.

Retirement Planning Workshop – "When to Claim Social Security" at Central Library May 8

What: Money Matters Retirement Planning Workshop: "When to Claim Social Security"
When: May 8, 2019
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 the Regions Institute for Financial Education and The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business. All workshops will be held at the Central Library on the second Wednesday of the month from October 2018 to May 2019. Each month a different topic will be covered, but the goal is to present a unified and coherent introduction to the retirement financial planning process. Workshop instructors will be representatives from the Collat School of Business.

The workshops are free of charge, but registration is required. To register for each workshop, please go to the Birmingham Public Library’s events calendar. For more information about the workshop series and other financial literacy resources available at BPL, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by e-mail at or by calling 205-226-3691.

2019 Edgar Awards Winners

On April 25 the Mystery Writers of America announced the winners for the 2019 Edgar Allen Poe Awards that honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2018. The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday and the first Edgar Awards were handed out in 1946.

And the Edgar goes to...!

Best Novel: Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley
Best First Novel by an American Author: Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin
Best Paperback Original: If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin
Best Fact Crime: Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler
Best Critical/Biographical: Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger
Best Short Story: English 398: Fiction Workshop” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Art Taylor
Best Juvenile: Otherwood by Pete Hautman
Best Young Adult: Sadie by Courtney Summers

See the complete list of the 2019 Edgar Awards nominees and winners, or search the database for past winners.

Monday, April 29, 2019

2019 NBA Playoffs

NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs are underway. One of the most notable things about the 2019 NBA Playoffs is the absence of LeBron James.  His current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, failed to reach the playoffs in the Western Conference.  This is very significant because not only has LeBron James competed in the playoffs every season since 2005-06, his teams (Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively) have reached the NBA Finals for the last eight consecutive seasons. This resulted in two championships with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  

What does the Eastern Conference look like without LeBron James?  The top four teams took care of business in the first round.  Two of the series ended in sweeps (Milwaukee over Detroit, Boston over Indiana) while the other two ended with a 4-1 record (Toronto over Orlando, Philadelphia over Brooklyn).  The Western Conference first round looked a lot different, although the top four teams were victorious.  There were no sweeps in the west, but two series ended with 4-1 records (Houston over Utah, Portland over OKC).  Despite being the number one seed, the Golden State Warriors battled the eighth seed Los Angeles Clippers to their 4-2 victory.  The number two seed Denver Nuggets had to play seven games to defeat the 7th seed San Antonio Spurs.  Whenever you play the Spurs in the first round, you better pack a lunch because they do not go away easily. Game seven for the Nuggets was far from a blowout with them winning by only four points (90-86).  

The second round, which started Saturday, has already been exciting to watch.  Toronto comfortably defeated Philadelphia (108-95) at home in game one, but Milwaukee saw a huge upset in game one, losing to Boston (112-90) at home.  Despite being the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee is already playing from behind in the second round.  Their Western Conference counterpart Golden State Warriors traded shot for shot with the Houston Rockets in game one.  The game was tied at halftime (53-53) and ended with only a four-point victory for Golden State (104-100).  In my opinion, not just because Golden State is the defending NBA Champion, this will be the series to watch, perhaps the best in this year’s playoffs.  If you’re not already watching, be sure to take advantage of this great basketball.  Once the NCAA Tournament ends, I start looking forward to the NBA Playoffs.  Enjoy the games.  

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