Showing posts from January, 2019

Black History Programs Focus on Black Migration

The national theme for this year's Black History Month is Black Migration. This refers to the trend in which many African Americans migrated from racism in southern states in search of a better life and higher paying jobs elsewhere.

Five Points West Regional Library  is hosting several free programs during February beginning next week based on black migration. Springville Road Regional Library is also hosting  a screening of Goin to Chicago in February.  On Saturday, February 2, the Central Library is hosting the Birmingham African-American Genealogy Group (BAAGG)'s  20th Annual Black Heritage Fair, with The Great Migration theme.  BAAGG holds its monthly meetings at the Central Library.

The topic is personal to 78-year-old Dianne Moore, a Birmingham native whose parents migrated up north to Ohio when she was a child to escape racist Jim Crow laws. "We as African Americans need to learn more about our past," she said. Moore, who is director of public relations for t…

Lady Sings the Blues Screening at Central Library February 3

by David Ryan, Arts, Literature and Sports, Central Library

I grew up listening to rock and the occasional folk album. Perhaps this is why I’ve never felt completely comfortable exploring other types of music as an adult. The fact that I never learned to play an instrument, or read music, leaves me feeling even more lost. Jazz in particular has always left me intimidated. The dizzying improvisation, the voices, chords, and notes jumping from the top of the scale to the bottom is simply too much for me to comprehend let alone discuss intelligently. So, I’ve always steered myself aware from this quintessentially American art form. A composer friend recently told me that was nonsense. “You don’t have to understand the notes to feel the music,” he said.

I reluctantly took his advice and dove into the jazz end of my intimidation pool. I decided to begin with Billie Holiday. You can’t listen to any genre of music without hearing about the contributions of Lady Day. "God Bless the Chil…

Book Review: Glass Houses

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

Glass Houses, #13 in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series,
Louise Penny

Glass Houses by Louise Penny is one of the most "can't-put-it-down" mysteries that I've read in a long time. I knew when I started reading earlier Louise Penny works that I loved her off-kilter characters in the small town of Three Pines, Quebec. To me, Inspector Gamache was reminiscent of Hercule Poirot, so obviously I'm going to read this whole series. But in this book, I was surprised to find that Penny takes the suspense and intrigue to a different level— thank goodness that I had insomnia all this week anyway, because I had to finish this book!

The intrigue takes the form of a Spanish "cobrador," a person who arrives in Three Pines and stands on the village green, dressed in all black with a mask concealing their identity. The menacing figure acts as a silent conscience–pointing the proverbial finger at someone who…

Bards & Brews Goes on the Road to Black Market Bar & Grill February 1

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic poetry event
When: Friday, February 1, 2019, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Where:Black Market Bar & Grill, 1035 20th Street South
Details: Free to the public, but you must be 21 or older to buy alcohol. Food and beer will be available to purchase from Black Market Bar & Grill.

Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's popular monthly spoken word poetry event, is going on the road to Birmingham's Five Points South entertainment district.

Spoken word artists are invited to share Open Mic poetry on Friday night, February 1, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Black Market Bar & Grill. Food and beer will be available for purchase inside the establishment.

Join us for an unforgettable night of fun and fellowship with friends as you enjoy hearing many of metro Birmingham's best spoken word poets. Even novice poets are encouraged to share their talents during this event open to the public in one of the city's most popular nightspots.

For more inform…

BPL Friends Bookstore Has New Operating Hours Beginning February 1

The Birmingham Public Library Friends Bookstore, located on the first floor of the Central Library downtown, will implement new operating hours for 2019 beginning Friday, February 1.

The bookstore will now be open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The new hours will better accommodate the needs of bookstore volunteers and fulfill its overall mission of serving the needs of patrons in the Birmingham community, said BPL Friends Bookstore Manager Thracie L.Pace.

"We appreciate you and your patronage whether you're new to Friends Bookstore or have been with us for many years," Pace said. "Let us know your positive suggestions as to how we may better serve you because, after all, it's you and our volunteers who make Friends the Best Little Bookstore Around."

All proceeds of the BPL Friends Bookstore benefit programs and services provided by BPL's 19 locations across the city of Birmingham.

Pace said BPL Friends Bookstore is appreciativ…

Intro to Yoga Series Begins at Central Library January 28

If you are interested in yoga but don't know where to start, make plans to be at the Central Library in downtown Birmingham for the kickoff of a weekly series of Intro to Yoga classes beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 28, 2019.

The class will take place in the Arrington Auditorium 4th Floor of Central's Linn-Henley Research Library. Intro to Yoga will be taught by certified yoga instructor Kim Richardson, RYT-200. Richardson taught free yoga classes at BPL last fall. 

Participants will be introduced to a gentle practice in a non-judgemental environment. You will learn poses and modifications that will inspire self-confidence.

"This will be an open and inclusive class for the person who has been wanting to try yoga but feels unsure about where to start, or the person who has tried yoga in a traditional space and felt unwelcome or out of place," Richardson said. "Our focus will be on making the practice accessible for everyone."

BPL is excited to int…

Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents Department, Central Library

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sound suggestions on how to stay safe and healthy in the winter. These include steps for winterizing your home, how to prepare your car, precautions to take outdoors, and what kind of equipment to have on hand for emergencies and travel preparations. For more information read "Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter."

BPL Presents Dr. Anthony Pattin, Pianist at Central Library February 24

by Russell Lee, Arts, Literature and Sports Department, Central Library

What: BPL Presents Dr. Anthony Pattin, Pianist
When: Sunday, February 24, 2019, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library/Arrington Auditorium

Dr. Anthony Pattin is a native of Toledo, Ohio. He made his professional orchestral debut performing Gershwin’s Concerto in F with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yuval Zaliouk. He has also performed with the Alabama Symphony, the Tuscaloosa Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, and the Abilene Philharmonic, as well as others. He has performed on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, which was broadcast live on National Public Radio. In addition, he has performed two concert tours of Japan, and presented recitals throughout cities in Europe and Central Asia. He will return to Japan in May 2019 to perform recitals throughout Tokyo and other major cities in Japan.

His New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall was in 1998. In a review of th…

Central Library Hosting Two New Art Exhibits Beginning January 31, February 12

Two new exhibits will open in January and February 2019 at the Central LibraryDowntown: Photographs from the Archives' Collection in the Fourth Floor Gallery on January 31, and A Portrait of Birmingham at Work in the First Floor Gallery on February 12. The current art exhibit in the Fourth Floor Gallery, For Freedoms – Alabama, will be on view through January 25, 2019. 

Downtown: Photographs from the Archives' Collection
When: January 31–April 5, 2019 Where: Central Library, Fourth Floor Gallery Details: The Downtown: Photographs exhibit contains historic photographs of downtown Birmingham that have been housed in the BPL Archives Department.  
On Thursday, January 31, 2019, the Fourth Floor Gallery is bringing back the popular exhibit Downtown: Photographs from the Archives' Collection. This exhibit, which will be open to the public during Central Library operating hours through April 5, 2019, originally was on display at BPL 25 years ago.

Downtown: Photographs contain…

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin Delivers State of the City 2019 Address

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin touted progress made during the first year of his administration while delivering his 2019 State of the City address January 14 at Boutwell Auditorium.

Woodfin, who took office as Birmingham's youngest mayor in a century in November 2017, began his address to city employees and managers by honoring the memory of Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, who was fatally shot around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 13, while investigating a car break-in in the 900 block of Fifth Avenue North downtown. Another police officer was wounded and is recovering in a hospital from his injuries. The suspected gunman was taken into custody. 

Woodfin also paid tribute to former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, who died last week in a Birmingham hospital after a long illness. The mayor focused on several accomplishments and goals during his address. Among them:

Commitment to focus on Birmingham's 99 neighborhoods, including continuation of town hall meetings in all…

For Freedoms – Alabama Artist Reception to be Held at Central Library January 20

The Central Library is hosting a reception allowing the public to meet 24 artists featured in For Freedoms – Alabama, an art exhibit that is part of a non-partisan, nationwide campaign using art as a means to inspire civic participation by celebrating freedoms. The reception will take place from 2:30-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2019, in the Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery.  

The For Freedoms – Alabama exhibit opened Sunday, October 28, 2018, and concludes on Friday, January 25, 2019.Curated by Paul Barrett, the exhibition 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, illartpeace; Kiante Johnson, Tara Stallworth Lee, Leanna Leithauser-Lesley, Elizabeth Limbaugh, Erin London, Meghan Malone, Isaac Nunn, Amber Quinn, Meroe Rei, Jared Ragland, Carl Schinasi; Don Stewart, Chris Wade, and Collin Williams.

Real Life Poets Remember Dr. King at Avondale Library January 20

What: Begin the Day: The 16th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture – "Real Life Poets Remember Dr. King" When: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 3:00–4:30 p.m. Where:Avondale Regional Branch Library Details: Teen spoken word artists from Real Life Poets share original poems about Dr. King and discuss how his legacy continues to impact young people today. 
The Birmingham Public Library Archives Department's 16th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture is focusing on the next generation in 2019.
This year a group of talented young poets from metro Birmingham will lead the MLK presentation, "Real Life Poets Remember Dr. King,"  Sunday, January 20, 2019, 3:00 p.m., at the Avondale Regional Branch Library. In the past, most MLK Memorial Lecture events featured adult speakers sharing their thoughts on the life and legacy of King, best known for leading the 1960s civil rights movement in Birmingham. One exception was two years ago when young Muslim college stude…

Free Tax Prep Assistance and Forms at Birmingham Public Library

Please check back for updates. 

As a service to the community, the Birmingham Public Library provides some copies of current federal and Alabama tax forms, instructions, and publications. The following 2018 forms/booklets are currently available at  the Central Library: federal – 1040; state – 40 and 40NR Alabama tax booklets. You can pick up a form or booklet at the Information Desk in the East Building and in the Government Documents and Southern History Departments in the Linn-Henley Research Library. Some BPL branches may also have forms. Please call the department or Birmingham Public Library branch to make sure that the form(s) you need is available. All forms and instructions can be found online at

Federal Forms
IRS forms and publications

State Forms
Alabama Department of Revenue

General Resources
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - This governmental site has United States federal income tax forms, information, and tips. Includes warnings about tax frauds and scams, information…

1-2-3 Play with Me Kicks Off at Avondale and Southside Libraries in February

The Birmingham Public Library is kicking off new sessions of 1-2-3 Play with Me at four library locations.

Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child. We are providing a special time and place for you to come to the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with your child. This five-week program involves children birth through age 3 and their parents or caregivers. The library will have age appropriate toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, we have invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your questions about parenting.

1-2-3 Play with Me emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitates early intervention and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy. 1-2-3 Play with Me is the signature event for Family Place Libraries and is a community project grant recipient of the Junior League of Birm…

Book Review: Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

by Shea Robinson, Fiction Department, Central Library

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
Edited by Roxane Gay

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture is an anthology of essays written by those who have experienced harassment, violence, or assault of a sexual nature. It opens with the following line:
When I was twelve years old, I was gang-raped in the woods behind my neighborhood by a group of boys with the dangerous intentions of bad men. It’s an attention-grabbing statement that flings us immediately into the deep end of the pool. A child was raped by several people. This checks all the appropriate boxes for undeniably bad in my assessment. While I believe that most readers would agree, it must be noted that the victim of this crime does not. After listening to numerous accounts given by other victims of sexual violence, she determined that what she experienced was bad, but not that bad.

The insertion of this qualifier and how society classifies the bad vs. the not that ba…

Make It Your Own

by Gelenda Norman, Arts, Literature and Sports Department, Central Library

I have always had a thing for finding pieces that are unique and different. More intriguing is when the item is handmade. One day while browsing in one of my favorite boutiques, I happened upon a beautiful leather belt. Well, when I looked at the tag, it was $300. Yes, $300 for a piece of leather with a couple of punched holes with leather strings. The typical response: “I can make that myself!” Sooooo I left the shop and headed to a nearby craft shop and purchased a bag of leather remnants. With a nail and hammer, I created my own “$300 boutique belt.” Now don’t get me wrong, I respect the creativity and the workmanship of the designer of that belt. I’m sure someone has gone home and created a similar version of something I have created. That belt opened the door to designing and creating jewelry and other accessories—“making it my own.”

It’s nothing like having a piece of jewelry or accessory that is “in” or …

Mandala Painting at the Titusville Library

by Amanda Jenkins, Titusville Branch Library

On January 9, the Titusville Library presented our monthly adult craft program. This month's program was centered on the art of creating colorful mandalas, which are abstract circular designs. Participants were provided with a blank canvas and received instruction on various painting techniques in order to create their own masterpieces.

Our craft group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m., and all supplies are provided by the library. To sign up for next month's class, please call the Titusville Library at 322-1140.

BPL Southern History Department Hosting Genealogy Workshops in January and February

Did you make a New Year's Resolution to learn more about your family history in 2019? Then make plans to take advantage of six free genealogy workshops BPL's Southern History Department is hosting over the next five weeks beginning Saturday, January 12, 2019.

Below is a listing of the workshops. Learn more  about the resources the Southern History Department has to help research your family tree by following the Southern History Facebook page.

Saturday, January 12, 10:00 a.m. – Intro to Genealogy, Central Library, Southern History Department, Linn-Henley Research Library, 1st floor Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will 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, January 14, 2:15 p.m. – Jump in the Gene PoolCentral Library, Regional Library Computer Center, Linn-Henley Research Libra…

Dannon Project's Social Workers Help Change Lives @ BPL

The Dannon Project and the Birmingham Public Library are partnering again to offer the Social Workers Help Change Lives @ BPL consultations in 2019. From January 9 through March 27, 2019, library patrons can meet with a Dannon Project social worker to address personal barriers to success. Dannon Project staff will then connect BPL patrons with various service providers offering services such as housing, job search assistance and employment, legal referrals, domestic violence counseling, and healthcare, including mental health programs.

Last year, the Dannon Project began providing assistance for BPL patrons desiring social services at various BPL locations.  

In addition to the social worker program, the Dannon Project and BPL are partnering again to host a Health Fair similar to one held last year.The 2019 health fair will be held on Wednesday, March 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Central Library The dates and library locations of Social Workers Help Change Lives @BPL program, …

CANCELED: Retirement Planning Workshop – "Managing Retirement Plan Assets" at Central Library January 9

The January 9 Money Matters workshop scheduled at the Central Library has been canceled and rescheduled for January 16, 12:00-1:00 p.m. You may register for the January 16 workshop through the BPL calendar at We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Money Matters Retirement Planning Workshop: "Managing Retirement Plan Assets"
When: January 9, 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…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library January 15

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: January 15, February 19, March 19, April 16, 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 inve…

From Page to Stage: The Hundred Dresses – 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: The Hundred Dresses – A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of The Hundred Dresses, 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 The Hundred Dresses production on February 16 or 17, 2019.

Wanda Petronski is the new girl in town. Her Polish accent and single faded blue dress set her apart, but she insists she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home. Her disbelieving classmates tease her mercilessly until one day, Wanda’s desk sits empty. A musical based on t…

Nonprofit Management Class Series – "Introduction to Grant Writing" at Central Library February 21

Nonprofit organizations come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they want to develop, fund, and implement creative programs that serve to fulfill their mission. Most people who work in the nonprofit world have the desire and commitment to make this happen, but they often lack access to learning resources that will help them understand how best to get there. If you feel like this applies to you, whether you are an experienced nonprofit leader or someone brand new to the field, then you will want to attend the Birmingham Public Library’s Nonprofit Management Class Series. The one hour classes will be offered monthly from January to May 2019 at the library’s Central location. The classes are offered as part of a collaboration between BPL and the Harvard Club of Birmingham.

The series instructor is John Whitman, PhD. A veteran of both the private and nonprofit sectors, Dr. Whitman has also taught leadership and management courses at American U…

New Year's Resolution: Take Advantage of Your Library Card