Showing posts from February, 2019

So, You Work with the Library

by Caitlin Jackson, Youth Department, Central Library

What does a librarian do? When another librarian and I went to a career fair, most replies dealt in books. It is true that librarians work with information and providing said information can often come in the form of books. However, when working with today’s youth, we also have to provide opportunities through programming and programming requires partners.

So, “shhhhhhhh,” here’s the secret: You don’t have to be a librarian to work with the library. Just ask two of our University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Engineering mentors, Allaire and Mo.

A few years ago, a librarian had a dream (thank you, Lance!) which was to create a STEM-based program that could travel to many different branches throughout the city. This afterschool program would allow middle and high schoolers access to coding, soldering, and robotics classes. The people who developed these programs were librarians and UAB engineering students and professors.

The Green Book

by Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

This year’s Academy Award winner for best picture, Green Book, tells the story of an African American man and a white man traveling together in the 1960s segregated South. The inspiration for the film’s title is a little pocket size book that was well known to black Americans of the time.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a travel guide for African Americans published in New York from 1936 to 1966 and distributed throughout the country. Known simply as The Green Book, the guide helped black people who were taking trips find hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that welcomed black customers. Many white owned businesses in the South and throughout the United States did not serve African Americans. For a black traveler in an unfamiliar town or city, walking into such an establishment could be embarrassing or even dangerous. The Green Book and other guides like it (similar books were published for Jewish Americans) helped marginaliz…

From Page to Stage: Charlotte’s Web – 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: Charlotte’s Web - A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of Charlotte’s Web, 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 Charlotte’s Web production on April 6 or 7, 2019.

The farm gang is all here: Wilbur, the young pig with a zest for life; Fern, his first friend and savior; Templeton, the gluttonous rat; the Zuckermans; the Arables; and the extraordinary spider, Charlotte. When “Some Pig” mysteriously appears written in the web, Wilbur is given a second c…

African American Read-In at East Ensley Library

by Mark Skinner, East Ensley Branch Library

In an effort to promote literacy during Black History Month, the National Council of Teachers of English created the African American Read-In. Started in 1990, the read-ins are held throughout the United States and participants are asked to read the work of an African American author. So far, over 6 million people have participated in this important event that spotlights African American authors and their works.

For Black History Month, the East Ensley branch hosted a Read-In and encouraged some of our younger patrons to participate. They were asked to read aloud for two minutes from their favorite book by an African American author, or they could choose one of the books available at the library. They chose to read from authors like Deloris Jordan, Eloise Greenfield, Spike Lee, Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below is a sample of the works that were read and are available at your library.

The Other Side by Jacqueli…

Graphic Novel Review: The Highest House

by Maya Jones, West End Branch Library

The Highest House
Mike Carey (Writer), Peter Gross (Artist) & Fabien Alquier (Colorist)

I’ve always loved graphic novels and anime and when I ordered this book, for West End Library’s collection, I thought it might be a good choice. This graphic novel is excellent. The story takes place in a fantasy world/country called Ossaniul that was conquered by the Koviki 90 years ago. This is the tale of Moth who is sold as a slave by his mother at the beginning of the novel and is taken to Highest House, which is the castle and stronghold of the Aldercrest family.

After he is brought to Highest House, he is begins working as a roofer. Roofing is the most dangerous job at Highest House because the castle has a hundred roofs that need constant upkeep. Moth befriends a mysterious entity that lives under the castle and speaks to him telepathically to give him advice and help him magically. Moth wants to free all the slaves and through the interven…

Bards & Brews Returns to the Central Library on Friday, March 1

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry
When: Friday, March 1, 2019, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library East Grand Reading Room
Details: Free to the public aged 18 and up, but you must be 21 and older to drink beer samples

If you want to hear some of metro Birmingham's most talented poets, make plans to be at the Central Library downtown Friday, March 1, 2019, for Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's monthly spoken word poetry-craft beer event.

Sign up begins at 6:30 p.m. and poetry will begin to flow at 7:00 p.m. Voice Porter will again serve as host and emcee. Both seasoned veterans  and novice spoken word artists are invited to share their poetry.

Bards & Brews is made possible by a generous donation of the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library Foundation. Craft beer samples are being provided by Hop City Craft Beer & Wine. Light refreshments will be served.

Join us for an unforgettable night of poetry and fellowship in the Central Library. For more …

Southern History Book of the Month: Lizards and Snakes of Alabama

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Lizards and Snakes of Alabama
Craig Guyer, Mark A. Bailey, and Robert H. Mount

It’s almost spring. Warm weather means flowers blooming, birds singing and building nests, and people spending more time outside. If you like to go hiking or dig in the garden, you might want to have a copy of Lizards and Snakes of Alabama on hand, because the change of seasons means increased activity for reptiles as well. This handsome guidebook includes full-color plates illustrating different varieties of snakes and lizards, along with detailed species descriptions and maps showing their distribution throughout the state. In the text, there is also a good balance between the scientific terminology intended for professional herpetologists and the more garden-variety descriptions appropriate for the person who just wants to know what that creature is in his back yard.

Lizards are a common enough sight in our yards and around our houses; most…

Central Library Create205 Learning Lab Allowing Teens to Turn Spoken Word into Rap Music

The Central Library's Create205 Learning Lab is allowing young patrons in downtown Birmingham to get a chance to experience what it is like to record their own rap record.

Through a popular Black History Month program called Poetry + Beats = Unique Rhythms and Sounds, Create205 on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout February opened its mics to aspiring artists of spoken word poetry, music, and rap. Under the tutelage of Gavin Tucker, the Central Library Youth Department's self proclaimed "music engineer," the music studio aims to help patrons create their own rap records, said Bessie Miller, head of the department.

Poetry + Beats has been well received by Central Library Youth Department patrons. It is among the most popular programs used by after school students from nearby Phillips Academy. This week, on Wednesday, February 20, three teens from Higdon Hill School in Birmingham recited original poetry about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as Central Library's Tuc…

BPL Hosting 19 programs to Close Out 2019 Black History Month

The Birmingham Public Library has 19 programs at 14 locations across the city between February 22 and February 28 to close out its 2019 celebration of Black History Month.

Among the events: A Black Panther party on February 22 and a pianist concert on February 24 at the Central Library, free movie screenings at various libraries, and a Springville Road Library tribute to George Crum, an African American inventor famous for making the potato chip.

Below is a listing of many of the BPL programs. You can find out more information about these programs by clicking on the BPL calendar.

Afterschool Black Panther Party and Movie, Friday, February 22, 3:30 p.m., Central Library – Join us in the Youth Game Zone as we make Black Panther masks and watch a showing of the Black Panther movie about an African American superhero.

Screening of Kanopy Documentary Goin' to Chicago, Friday, February 22, 10:00 a.m., Springville Road LibraryJoin us for this documentary about the migration of African Am…

Central Library Hosts The Art of Stepping with Mr. Chris on February 21

The stepping tradition is a popular song and dance ritual practiced by African American fraternities and sororities on college campuses across the United States. At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21, the Central Library Youth Department will host The Art of Stepping with Mr. Chris, a Black History Month program designed to give a brief history and demonstration of the art.

The program, to take place in the Story Castle on the 2nd floor, will be led by Chris Reid, a part-time Library Assistant III in the Central Library. Reid learned how to step as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Alabama State University.

"We will talk about the art of stepping past and present," Reid said.

Stepping is a popular part of African American artistic and cultural heritage. In stepping, the body is used to create rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps, and the spoken word.

In addition to talking about his experience stepping while in college, Reid will show video…

Celebrate Black History Month with Free Black Panther Comics

by Shea Robinson, Fiction Department, Central Library

Comic readers can visit to pick up free digital copies of Black Panther in celebration of Black History Month. Use the code—FOREVER—to receive the following selections:

Black Panther #1 (2005)
Black Panther #1 (2018)
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (2016)
Marvel's Black Panther Prelude #1 (2017) Shuri #1 (2018)
These stories lay the foundation for the adventures of the Wakandan-based superhero, T’Challa and his genius sister, Shuri. Including both the original launch of the Black Panther series in 2005 and the 2018 reboot from Ta-Nehisi Coates, the selections are satisfying solo reads and also provide an entertaining accompaniment to the Black Panther film.

Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Not only is February the month that was chosen to celebrate Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month to celebrate the Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig 2019. The Chinese New Year began on February 5, 2019, and continues until the Year of the Rat takes over on January 25, 2020.

In reference to Chinese astrology, the New Year is very important. The Chinese celebrate by taking part in activities such as putting up decorations, eating reunion dinner with family on New Year's Eve, firecrackers and fireworks, and giving red envelopes and other gifts. Red is the main color for the festivals and is believed to be auspicious. There are some lucky and unlucky things to do at the New Year and giving money in red envelopes is considered to be very lucky. Non-essential staff persons take the seven day Chinese New Year holiday while enjoying one another and at the end of the seven days, life returns back to normal.

To learn mo…

Book Review: The Dinner List

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

The Dinner List
Rebecca Serle

As someone who is very indecisive, I have not been able to create a “dinner list”—you know, the ice-breaker question where you pick the five people you’d like to share a meal with? This simple premise has been turned into a beautiful story of a 30th birthday dinner for Sabrina, which, surprisingly, includes:
We begin to learn about unresolved issues between the players in the present through their dinner conversation, while also being taken back in time to the stories of love and friendship between these complex characters in the past. For me, what gave this book five stars was the turn that occurred halfway through the story, which flipped my expectations upside-down. The story that followed was more profound than I expected from this sweet book and made me love it all the more. This story of longing, grief, and redemption will stay with me for a long time.

"Introduction to Grant Writing" Workshop to be Held at Central Library February 21

What: Birmingham Public Library’s Nonprofit Management Class Series: Introduction to Grant Writing 
When: Thursday, February 21, 2019 
Time: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. 
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Building, 4th floor, Arrington Auditorium 

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a  Nonprofit Management Class Series through May 2019 in collaboration with the Harvard  Club of Birmingham. The second in the series of free monthly workshops, "Introduction to Grant Writing," will be held on Thursday, February 21,  12:00–1:00 p.m., in the Linn-Henley Research Library, 4th Floor, Arrington Auditorium. 

There are no more slots open for the grant writing seminar. BPL, however, will live stream the workshop for those unable to attend. You can watch live on BPL's Facebook page.  

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…

Spring Break and Summer Travel Plans? Apply For Your Passports at BPL

Planning to travel out of the United States during spring break or this summer? You can apply for your passports at five Birmingham Public Library locations: the Central Library downtown and four regional libraries—Avondale, Five Points WestNorth Birmingham, and Springville Road. Read more about BPL’s passport services here
BPL became an official Passport Acceptance Facility last September after several employees underwent months of Passport Acceptance Agent Training. The service is available byappointment only. For details on forms and documentation needed click here
You must supply your own photo except at the Central Library, where passport photos may be purchased for $15. Please note that there are special requirements for minors under age 16, minors age 16 and 17, and no-fee passports when submitting Form DS-11.

Smithfield Library to Host Program Remembering the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing February 21

On Thursday, February 21, at 3:30 p.m., the Smithfield Branch Library is hosting a program paying tribute to the four little girls who died during the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

When the Blast Occurred: Remembering the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing will feature Jim Baggett, head of Birmingham Public Library's Archives Department. In addition to discussing that incident that shocked the world during the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Baggett will discuss bombings of the Bethel Baptist Church in Collegeville.

Using FBI files and forensic evidence stored in BPL's archives, Baggett will recall the experiences of people who survived the blasts. The program is among 90 free Black History Month activities and events being held at BPL's 19 locations throughout February. For a list of Black History Month programs and other activities at BPL, visit our events calendar.

Board Games @ BPL

by Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library

Starting in November 2018, the Eastwood Branch Library has been collecting and circulating board games at its location. Libraries throughout the world collect and check out materials other than books, and board games are a logical addition. Why board games? Board games promote literacy and community. Children and adults are looking for greater connection to their families and community and board games offer an excellent way to connect face-to-face. Board games are fun, entertaining, and educational.

The board game collection at Eastwood Library is founded on several “gateway” games. These are games that help introduce non-gamers to popular and exciting board games. Games like Ticket To Ride, which is about train travel, is entertaining and helps introduce United States geography to players. Terraforming Mars has the players try to turn Mars into a habitable planet and introduces science and economic concepts. Some games are just fun, such a…

Central Library's Diana Prince Begins Baby's First Storybook Program

About Operation: Baby's First Storybook:Provides patrons who hold a baby shower at the Central Library with a gift bag containing a children's storybook, a thank-you note containing a few facts about the benefits of reading regularly to your child at an early age, a comment card, and a tissue pack with the BPL logo that reads "We Are Champions for Learning."

Diana Prince had a passion for reading as a child, even before she had two daughters of her own. Now Prince is helping spread the joy of reading to young mothers thanks to a new program she calls Operation: Baby's First Storybook.

Prince, an administrative clerk at the Central Library, in early January 2019 began Operation: Baby's First Storybook, a program that offers a free gift bag to patrons who book baby shower at the Central Library. In an interview, Prince talked about how Baby's First Storybook came about.

Williams: What inspired you to do this as a service for BPL patrons?
Prince: I want to e…

Shuttlesworth, the Night He Lost All Fear

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents Department, Central Library

Civil rights activist Fred Shuttlesworth was a man who realized how much hate some white groups had. These groups did not want equality but wanted to keep the invisible line of segregation and discrimination going even though constructional law said otherwise. As a man he feared for himself and his family.

All that change on December 25, 1956, when Ku Klux Klan bombs exploded at his home and Bethel Baptist Church. His home collapsed around and on top of him while he was in bed. He walked away, declaring it a miracle and a sign from God that he had divine protection. This gave him a passion that existed regardless of circumstances.

There were to be two more bombings of Bethel Baptist Church in 1958 and 1962, and multiple attempts on Reverend Shuttlesworth and his family’s lives. They were guarded around the clock by the by the Citizens Guard Police.

The Birmingham Institute of Civil Rights has so generously shared som…

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library February 19

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: 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 investigating so…

Stream African American Movies and Documentaries on Kanopy

by Kelly Laney, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Looking for something new to view? Did you know that the Kanopy platform is available free for Birmingham residents who have a Jefferson County library card, and offers hundreds of videos to stream online?

Kanopy is a video streaming platform for libraries with one of the largest collections in the world (5x Netflix)—over 30,000 films featuring over 1,000 producers including Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation, Great Courses, Kino Lorber, etc. Kanopy's films are more typically "educative" in nature (documentaries, foreign language films, etc) and their motto is "thoughtful entertainment"—seeking to provide patrons access to films of social and cultural importance.

If you’re looking for something new and different, especially if you are interested in exploring diverse cultures, lands, or people, Kanopy is a great resource. Current offerings include two documentaries on different aspects of A…

Central Library Hosts An Emblem of Segregation: The 1926 Birmingham Zoning Map on February 12

Even before residential segregation was legal, leaders in the City of Birmingham used laws to keep blacks separate from whites. On Tuesday, February 12, at 6:00 p.m., in the Central Library Arrington Auditorium, Paul Boncella of BPL's Southern History Department will share details of this effort in a program called An Emblem of Segregation: The 1926 Birmingham Zoning Map.

During his discussion, Boncella will talk about how a scheme to segregate the population by race existed both in theory and practice long before the legislation that made it legal was passed in 1926. Boncella's program, among 90 Black History Month programs BPL is hosting in February, is free and open to the public.

Boncella said he came up with the idea for an in-depth examine of the 1926 Birmingham zoning map after seeing a need to educate the public about the history of racism in America.

"Explorations of the African American experience tend to focus on slavery and the mid-20th century quest for civi…

Central Library Hosts I Am Not My Hair Program February 13

As part of Black History Month, the Central Library is hosting a program for youth designed to build self-esteem and encourage black children to take pride in their hair. Called I Am Not My Hair, the free program will take place on Wednesday, February 13, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., in the Central Library Youth Department, 2nd Floor.

The program is the brainchild of Youth Department head Bessie Miller, after noticing that the kids, particularly young girls who come in after school, would gather in the bathroom "fixing their hair."

"We observed there would be occasional teasing about the style, the texture, etc., of their hair," said Gelenda Norman, a library assistant in the Youth Department. "Hair has an effect on the self esteem of children, tweens, and teens, even adults."

T.J. Dudley, owner of King's Grooming Lounge, will share his knowledge and expertise in hair care and grooming, along with teen mentor Aaliyah Taylor, to empower and uplift self-esteem a…

Nonprofit Management Class Series – "Assessment and Evaluation of Nonprofit Programs" at Central Library March 7

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…

Retirement Planning Workshop – "Managing Savings and Investments" at Central Library February 13

What: Money Matters Retirement Planning Workshop: "Managing Savings and Investments"
When: February 13, 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 R…