Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: Extreme Government Makeover: In Your Face

by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Extreme Government Makeover
Ken Miller

In response to the widely accepted belief that public sector jobs provide individuals with security, great opportunities for growth, and full visibility—as it relates to budget and accountability—these jobs are not without its share of problems. In the book Extreme Government Makeover by Ken Miller, he has produced a valuable introduction to the government’s work culture and, in particular, the necessity of process change.

Although the book is titled Extreme Government Makeover, this work brings all career pitfalls to life in a humorous, yet telling display while revealing strategies and secrets for making work better.

We could all use a little makeover every now and then!


The book Extreme Government Makeover is not available for checkout through the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) system. But wait! Did you know that JCLC offers a service called Interlibrary Loan (ILL) where books (and photocopies of articles and government publications) may be borrowed from outside our system and sent to a library of your choice for pickup?

  • Interlibrary Loan is available to anyone 18 years of age or older with a current, full-use Jefferson County public library card. 
  • Requests can be made in person at any Jefferson County public library, by phone, or online. 
  • This service is free of charge. Occasionally, however, the lending library will charge a fee. The patron may preauthorize acceptance of any fees on the ILL request form and will be notified of any fees before the material is ordered.

For all the details about this convenient service, visit

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Southern History Book of the Month: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
Blaine T. Bettinger

If you’ve read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, you know that Harry is often told that he looks like his father—except for his eyes. “You have your mother’s eyes.” Many of us generally think of genetics only as it pertains to family traits like hair and eye color or certain health conditions, but genetics for genealogical research is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. If you are interested in genetic testing to help you seek out ancestors and relatives, Blaine Bettinger’s The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy is an excellent place to start your research.

Bettinger, the creator of The Genetic Genealogist blog, starts with the basics of genetic genealogy, rightly pointing out that “Genealogical records are not perfect. Our ancestors had poor memories just like we do. They bent the truth to make themselves younger or seem more favorable just like we do, and they made up stories just like we do . . . Trapped within your DNA, however, are the stories of your ancestors.” Some research into genetic genealogy can possibly solve that family mystery and break down that brick wall that’s been frustrating you and halting your progress for years. Bettinger begins with a short history of DNA testing with its medical and genealogical applications, followed by “Common Misconceptions” about DNA research. There is a thorough examination of basic and advanced terminology, including some of the thorny issues that can arise if you are an adoptee who is interested in locating family members, along with some speculations about future developments that may increase the accuracy of your results from a DNA test.

For the researcher at any level, beginning, intermediate, or advanced, this is an excellent guide to keep handy when you get your test results back and start to interpret them—be sure to take a look at the research forms that will help you sort out all those cousins. Or if you’re still in the early stages, you may want to consult the chart that gives you suggestions for how to choose a testing company depending on the results you are trying to find.

Also, if you’re interested in genetic genealogy, don’t miss our upcoming Beyond the Basics of Genealogy class on April 7: “Map Your DNA.”

Good luck with your research!

For further information:
International Society of Genetic Genealogy
7 Resources to Get You Started with Genetic Genealogy
Introduction to Genetic Genealogy
FamilySearch Wiki: DNA Basics
How to Choose the DNA Testing Kit That’s Best for You

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Bards & Brews Open Mic/Art After 5 Being Held at Birmingham Museum of Art April 5

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry/Art After 5
When: Friday, April 5, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Museum of Art
Details: This collaboration of BPL’s Bards & Brews and the Birmingham Museum of Art’s “Art After 5” will feature art making, spoken word poetry and a beer tasting. Free food and beer samples will be available for attendees aged 21 and older. Open to attendees 18 and older.

Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's signature monthly spoken-word poetry program, is joining forces with Art After 5, a popular art making program held at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Bards & Brews Open Mic/Art After 5, a collaboration of both programs, will take place from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2019.

The Birmingham Museum of Art will kick off the event at 5:00 p.m. with its “Art After 5” program, featuring art making. It will be followed from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. by Bards & Brews, BPL’s popular monthly spoken word poetry/craft beer event.

Both events will include a beer tasting hosted by Birmingham Museum of Art. You must be 21 or older to drink beer samples. The event is free to the public, and spoken word artists aged 18 and older are invited to share their talent behind the mic.

Join us for an unforgettable night featuring art making and many of metro Birmingham's best spoken word poets sharing their talent in one of the city’s most popular art venues.

BPL Diversity Reading Challenge Kicks Off April 7 During National Library Week

Join the Birmingham Public Library in celebration of National Library Week by participating in a reading challenge celebrating diversity through literature.

The theme for the Diversity Reading Challenge is the same as the one for 2019 National Library Week: Libraries = Strong Communities, April 7-30, 2019.

As part of the reading challenge, patrons in all 19 BPL locations are encouraged to read at least 240 minutes - that's just 10 minutes a day – between April 7 and April 30, 2019, and log the minutes in their Beanstack account.

You can create a Beanstack Diversity Reading Challenge account by clicking here

The BPL staff has a list of suggested readings of books reflecting the topic of diversity. The reading suggestions are listed for children, teens and adult patrons.

For a listing of BPL suggested books on diversity, click here

Patrons who complete the challenge will be entered into a drawing to win prizes.

Friday, March 22, 2019

For Spring Break, How About a Trip to Fireball Island!

by Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library

During spring break week (March 25-28), the Eastwood Branch Library will be hosting tours/games of Fireball Island. Come see beautiful tropical wilderness, including the awesome volcano Vul Kar. While taking photos and collecting treasure, try to dodge tigers, wasps, snakes, other players, and, of course, fireballs! Tours/games start at 2:00 p.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. March 25-28.

Seating/playing is limited so reservations are necessary. Call the library branch or register online through the BPL events calendar. The game/tours are open to ages 8 or older. No passport is required although having a will made out before departure is suggested. Come by and have fun with Fireball Island!

Also while at the Eastwood Library, come check out our awesome board games!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Several BPL Locations are Hosting Spring Break Activities March 25-29

Looking for free, family-friendly activities while your kids are out of school for Spring Break next week?

Several Birmingham Public Library locations are hosting programs to give students on break something fun to do. Here is a listing by library location:


Tot Time with Mrs. Eve: Happy Spring!, Monday, March 25, 9:30, 11:00 a.m.
Yes, we have a Spring Break Tot Time, and Mrs. Eve be sharing some of her favorite stories! Hope to see you here! Tot Time is designed for 2 to 4 year olds, with a parent or caregiver; no groups, please. 24-hour advanced registration required.

Family Fun Night: "Mo Madness," Tuesday, March 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Looking for a fun, free family activity during Spring Break? Join us for an evening of "Mo Madness" as we feature award-winning contemporary children's book author and illustrator Mo Willems. An evening of stories, songs, and games are just a few of the festivities that await you and your family. It's Mo Madness!

East Ensley 

Fun with Cozmo, Wednesday, March 27, 3:45-4:45 p.m. 
Cozmo is a curious little AI robot that is a blast to play with and learn new things.


Travel to Fireball Island for Spring Break, Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26, 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Come to the Eastwood Library and travel to wonderful Fireball Island! Visit tropical scenery and view the mighty volcano Vul Kar! Don't mind the snakes, wasps, tigers or fireballs as you try to survive to get off the island! Free but registration is required. This game is limited to 5 participants. For more information, call 205-591-4944. Free but registration is required.

Five Points West 

Beginning Origami, Tuesday, March 26, 12:00-1:30 p.m
Learn to make a traditional origami crane, paint over it with clear lacquer for strength, and make an ornament out of it! Free but registration is required.

A Better Bubble: The Science of Making Bigger, Stronger Bubbles, Wednesday, March 27, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Learn the science behind what makes bigger, stronger bubbles, why pipe cleaners make great wands, and how to make the bubbles you can stick your hand in.

North Avondale

Spring Break Riddles and Fun, Monday through Friday, March 25-29
Use your brain to solve riddles that could have the simplest answers or ones that require deep thinking. Participating in this activity will keep your mind sharp and focused. Prize packs will be given to winners.

Spring Break Movie Magic, Tuesday, March 26, 2:00 p.m.
Join us and bring a friend to enjoy a movie with free popcorn and punch.

Spring Break Wreath Making, Friday, March 29, 2:00 p.m.
Celebrate the arrival of spring by creating your very own spring wreaths. All materials will be provided.

North Birmingham 

Spring Break – Popcorn Week: Gameplay Day, Monday, March 25, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
We will be playing games and enjoying popcorn. Come join us!

Spring Break – Popcorn Week: Craft Day, Wednesday, March 27, 10:00 a.m..-12:00 p.m.
Come celebrate spring  by making paper crafts and enjoying popcorn.

Spring Break: Meet the Pets Day (Grubdown & Petting of Library Pets), Tuesday, March 26, 10:00 a.m..-12:00 p.m. 
This is the perfect time to hold or pet your favorite library animal. Enjoy popcorn and take your pick among North Birmingham's library animals the hedgehog, the chinchilla, the bearded dragon, the spider, the turtle, and the Lionhead rabbit.

Spring Break – Popcorn Week: Cartoon Flicks Day, Friday, March 29, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
Come by and enjoy a cartoon or two and share some yummy popcorn.

West End 

Broadway Today Presented by the UAB Theatre Department, Friday, March 29, 2:00-3:00 p.m. 
If you aren't already hooked on the musicals Hamilton, Wicked, Frozen, and more, you soon will be. Young writers and performers have brought new energy to the stage making musical theater more accessible than ever. Join us at West End Library for this wonderful event, Broadway Today,  featuring a medley of contemporary songs currently on Broadway and at the movies.


Storytime with Ms. Fontaine, Thursday, March 28, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Weekly stories, songs, movement, and more that encourage development of early literacy skills in young children.

BPL 7 Neighborhood Libraries Expand Operating Hours for Daylight Saving Time

The Birmingham Public Library's seven neighborhood branches have ended their winter operating schedule and expanded hours to better serve BPL patrons.

The change went into effect on Monday, March 11, after daylight saving time went to effect.

 Neighborhood libraries—East Ensley, Ensley, Inglenook, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam— are now open on an operating schedule listed below.

 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 Wednesday 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 These BPL neighborhood locations are closed on weekends and from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

All other BPL locations will maintain their regular schedules.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Avondale Progressive Taste & Trivia: Clues to Questions

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

Are you preparing to make sure your trivia team wins this year's progressive taste and trivia event happening Tuesday, April 23, in the Avondale district? Check out this essay about the history of Avondale and its eastern neighbors. There are clues to the trivia answers in the essay below. Good luck!

You might call Birmingham a planned city since its founders incorporated the Elyton Land Company in 1871 for the purpose of creating an industrial center where the Alabama & Chattanooga and the South & North railroads were to intersect in Jones Valley. Conveniently located at the foot of Red Mountain, which was full of iron ore and limestone, and within a few miles of three different coal fields, the new city had the natural resources upon which to build the coal and steel industries with which it would become identified throughout its first 100 years.

The “city” was incorporated by the state legislature in December 1871 with a mere 1.4 square miles in its first city limits. Within three years the county seat was moved from the nearby town of Elyton to Birmingham. By 1889 Birmingham annexed new residential areas to expand its boundaries to three square miles, mostly within a one-mile radius of the original town.

On the eastern side of Birmingham in the Lakeview district, early industrialist James Withers Sloss is still remembered for his namesake Sloss Furnace, producing steel from 1882 to its closure in 1971, and today a national historic landmark near Avondale. Braxton Bragg Comer, who became governor of Alabama in 1906, organized the Avondale Mills in 1897 across the railroad tracks and 1st Avenue North from the town of Avondale, incorporated in the same year.

Avondale Mills
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number 1556.22.34

Looking down 41st Street from 1st Avenue North. Note the railroad tracks that divide Avondale from the mill site. This same track continues to carry trains through Avondale to this day.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number BN720

Avondale was considered by some historians as Birmingham’s first suburb and a “company town” attached to Avondale Mills since many of its residents lived in the 120 homes built on the campus of the Avondale Mills for its employees. The railroad tracks that divided Avondale Mills from the town of Avondale, which still run through Avondale today, are the original tracks of the Alabama & Chattanooga railroad whose crossing in Jones Valley inspired the establishment of Birmingham.

A second set of tracks at 1st Avenue South still crosses 41st Street. Note the 3rd building on the left side of the street — today's Avondale Brewery.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number BN719

This Avondale Mills site was at one time the headquarters of a whole system of textile mills located primarily in Alabama but also in Georgia and South Carolinas, and it operated from 1897 until the 1960s when the headquarters was moved to Sylacauga, Alabama. The textile mill and its village were subsequently torn down and a business park was developed on the site along 1st Avenue North.

Because of his experience in Birmingham and with Avondale Mills, B.B. Comer supported the “Greater Birmingham Movement” in 1909 and 1910 while he was governor. Through the efforts of this movement which resulted in the adoption of legislation its proponents guided through the legislature, on January 1, 1910, seven independent municipalities and unincorporated lands which surrounded Birmingham were annexed to the city and Birmingham’s city limits expanded to enclose 48 square miles. They stretched 14 miles from Ensley to East Lake and five miles at their widest point from Red Mountain through the central business district and through the former town of North Birmingham. Its population “exploded” overnight from approximately 38,000 to an official 1910 census count of 132,685. Birmingham called itself “The Magic City” since overnight it became one of the top five largest cities of the old Confederate South. Among the seven towns which were absorbed into Birmingham were three on its eastern side: Avondale, Woodlawn, and East Lake.

Avondale was an industrial suburb with not only Avondale Mills, but also various foundries, machine shops, and railroad car works. Woodlawn lay further east along streetcar tracks originating in the central city.

Woodlawn's original city hall (1910) which still stands on 1st Avenue North today.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number1556.32.74

Mule-drawn streetcar at on its way to Avondale on June 17, 1887.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number 1556.43.01

At First Avenue, North, near 22nd Street, a steam dummy engine pulling an unusually long line of eight cars preparing to leave on an excursion to East Lake Park on June 15, 1893.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number OVH100

It was a residential suburb which was relatively sparsely settled at the time when compared to East Lake, which was five miles farther out on the streetcar line, a middle-class residential suburb built around a popular wooded amusement part anchored by a thirty-acre spring-fed lake, today’s East Lake Park.

East Lake Park amusement park on the south shore of the lake.  Rides included a Baby Rack, House of Mystery, roller coasters, Merry-Go-Round, Shoot the Chute, the Whip, Aeroplanes, and 1001 Troubles.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number OVH407

At that time, Howard College (today’s Samford University) was an East Lake streetcar stop. It had 200 students on a nicely landscaped campus.

”Old Main” the Main Building at Howard  College.  The college (established in 1841) was located in East Lake from 1887 to 1957.  The name of the college was changed to Samford University in 1965.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number BN98

Another important historic industry operating in the Avondale area, which was organized in 1896, was the Continental Gin Company. In its heyday it was the largest cotton gin manufacturing company in the world. Birmingham-based Ram Tool Company bought its property in the 1960s after Continental Gin closed and currently uses the renovated office building on the 28-acre industrial site as its headquarters. Also operating in this huge industrial park is the popular Cahaba Brewing Company’s brewery and tap room, United States Senator Doug Jones’ Birmingham campaign office, as well as the Southern Vintage Fire Apparatus Association and a mix of other small-business tenants.
Continental Gin Company’s office building at 4500 Fourth Avenue, South; February 18, 1959.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number 98.19415

Spectators at Continental Gin Company for a ceremony to award the company the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance flag and the U.S. Navy ”E” pennant on November 8, 1941.
Credit: Birmingham Public Library Archives Dept. Collection Number 1556.16.87

The Continental Gin property abuts the Woodlawn neighborhood, which today is experiencing significant neighborhood-guided revitalization under the auspices of the Woodlawn Foundation and REV-Birmingham. Both are non-profits whose partnership with the Woodlawn community is demonstrating the success of revitalization based on building a vibrant commercial district that is a hub of cultural commerce.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It's So Easy to Exercise at Central Library March 22

What: It's So Easy to Exercise
When: Friday, March 22nd
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

Wednesday is the first day of spring.  What better way to kick off the new season than to start getting some exercise.  A lot of people will be heading to the beach for spring break and this is a great time to start a new exercise regimen.  You may feel intimidated about going to a gym or health club, but there are a number of low-impact exercises that you can do at home.

On Friday, March 22nd, certified fitness instructor Russell Lee will introduce participants to a low impact/chair exercise program designed for cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility techniques.  Participants are encouraged to bring a towel, wear workout clothes and athletic shoes.  One of the benefits of doing chair exercise, in my opinion, is that it allows you to exercise while you are watching March Madness on television.  Enjoy the basketball games this week and be sure to join us on Friday at noon in the Arrington Auditorium.  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Board Game Ticket to Ride Available at Eastwood Library

by Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library 

Staying home during spring break? Then take a train ticket and play the board game Ticket to Ride!

Designed by Alana R. Moon in 2004, Ticket to Ride is a railroad-themed board game. With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets—goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route. There are several country expansions out, and even a children’s version of the game.

Ticket to Ride has won several awards and is one of the most popular board games in the world. The rules are simple enough but offers enough complexity that it offers continual enjoyment. Children can learn geography and have a great time playing it as well.

Come by the Eastwood Library to check out this and many more board games.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

BPL among 145 Members of Urban Libraries Council Signing Commitment to Racial and Social Equity

Birmingham Public Library Executive Director Floyd Council announced the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees’ vote to officially sign on to the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Statement on Race and Social Equity to all BPL staff today. “This is a strong investment in all American communities,” he said.

Susan Benton, president of the Washington, D.C.-based ULC, said she is “thrilled” to hear that BPL has signed the statement. Libraries, Benton said, are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.

ULC began an initiative on issues relating to race and social equity in libraries and communities in 2015. Since then, members have shared their libraries' work through webinars, the annual Innovations Initiative, and ULC conferences.

Benton said the list of 145 member library signatories has real value—giving voice to ULC’s commitment to racial and social equity in communities across North America. ULC uses the statement as a platform that informs all of member libraries’ work in advancing education, digital inclusion, and healthy, sustainable communities. As the issue of race and social equity gains attention locally and nationally, government, nonprofit and business leaders are focusing on the topic. The ULC statement can be used to make others aware of the public library's value as an agent and essential partner for achieving positive change.

“We share this list with organizations that we work with including the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, the Council of Large Public Housing Agencies and others,” Benton said. “Race and social equity are critical to each of these organizations and it is vital that we can demonstrate that urban libraries are ‘showing up’."

BPL To Celebrate 2019 National Library Week April 7-13 with Nearly 30 Programs

The Birmingham Public Library’s 19 locations will host nearly 30 programs as part of the 2019 celebration of National Library Week from Sunday, April 7 through Saturday, April 13. The 2019 theme is “Libraries = Strong Communities.” 

The American Library Association will kick off 2019 National Library Week on Monday, April 8, by releasing the 2019 State of America's Libraries Report.  Other highlights include National Library Workers Day  on Tuesday, April 9,   National Bookmobile Day   on Wednesday, April 10, and  Take Action for Libraries Day on Thursday, April 11, a day to speak up for libraries and share your library story on social media via the hashtag #MyLibraryMyStory. 

Here is a detailed listing of BPL's Library Week programs by participating locations alphabetically: 

All 19 locations

National Library Week Reading Challenge with Beanstack - Theme: Libraries = Strong Communities, April 7-30, 2019-  
Join the Birmingham Public Library in celebration of National Library Week by participating in a reading challenge celebrating diversity through literature. Patrons are encouraged to read at least 2,400 minutes - that's just 10 minutes a day - from April 7 to April 30, 2019 and log the minutes in their Beanstack account. Suggested readings for children, teens and adults will be provided by BPL staff. 

Tot Time with Mrs. Eve: “I’m a Little CowpokeMonday, April. 8, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. 
Calling all cowhands: mosey on over to the Tot Time corral where we’ll be having a round-up of our favorite western stories. Tot Time is designed for 2 to 4 year olds, with a parent or caregiver.  No groups, please.  24-hour advance registration required.

Terrific Tuesday: Building Bricks - Tuesday, April. 9, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. 
Can you build a house, school, park or library?  Join us for an afternoon of LEGO building fun as we celebrate National Library Week, Libraries = Strong Communities. 

Time for Tales, Thursday April, 11, 9:30 a.m.  
 An action-packed preschool storytime with stories, songs, and lots of fun for everyone. 

Map Your DNA, Sunday, April 7, 2:30 p.m., Arrington Auditorium
Discover how to trace segments of your DNA to specific ancestors and how to use this information to identify unknown matches. You need only one known match to get started.

The Bases Are Loaded! Databases for Genealogy, Monday, April 8, 2:15 p.m., RLCC
Don't be left sitting in the dugout. Make use of all our resources in your game plan for family history research. Learn how to locate genealogy databases and discover the wealth of genealogical information they have to offer. Let us help you knock one out of the park.

Introduction to Genealogy, April 10, 2019, 3:00 p.m., Southern History Department, first floor Linn-Henley Research Library

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 federal Census.

Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Build and Battle Competition Finale, April 7, 2:00-5:00 p.m., Central Library East Grand Reading Room
Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Build & Batttle competition begins Saturday, April 6, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and concludes with a finale Sunday, April 7. A total of 9 teams (5 students each) will design and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Participation is open to current middle or high school students in grade 7-12. Each member of the winning team will receive a $50 gift card. To register, call 205-226-3655 or email The program is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

I love my library because..., Sunday, April 7-Saturday, April 13
There is SO much more to the library than just checking out books. All week, patrons are invited to share with Central Youth and Teen staff “Why I love my library?”

Community Read, Sunday, April 7-Saturday, April 13
All week the central youth department staff will be on the move during library week to read to local organizations. To schedule a  storytime by BPL, call 205-226-3655 or email

Community Art Project: Blank Canvas with Aaliyah, Wednesday, April 10, 3:30 p.m.
Youth and teens are invited to create artwork to be displayed in the youth department. Students' artwork will be displayed throughout the month of April. Prizes will be awarded for creativity. Canvas and art supplies are provided.

Beyond the Bell Afterschool Library Bingo, Friday, April 12, 3:30 p.m.
Join us for Library Bingo in the Youth Department and win some prizes. Light Refreshment Provided.
East Ensley videos – What Our Library Means to Me, Monday, April 7-Saturday, April 12
East Ensley Library will collect patrons’ thoughts on what the library has meant for them and their community. The video will be posted on East Ensley’s Facebook page Saturday, April 12

National Library Week Trivia Quest - students and adults are invited to find the answers to trivia questions using the library collection.  Customers who answer all the questions correctly will be entered to win a prize at the end of the week.

Blind Date with a Book:  Choose a gift wrapped book for a blind date with a good read!

Meet Children's book Author Ms. Avery Hurt, Wednesday April 10, at 3:30 p.m.
Avery Hurt  a children's book author on a variety to topics such as women in politics, bullying, LGBT issues, and civil rights will be appearing at East Lake Library for discussion and Q and A on what it takes to be an author. 

My Library, My Story April 8, April 10, April 12
Each Day Staff and Patrons will share their stories of how the library has impacted/influenced their lives and the lives of those closest to them

National Library Worker’s Day, Tuesday, April 9
Ensley’s Library Worker’s Appreciation Breakfast, 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Seeking Positive Change and Support for the Ensley Library (Library Survey) April 8-13
We want to hear from you! Complete a survey and tell us what you want and how we are doing!

Customer Appreciation Day, Wednesday, April 10 – 1:00 p.m.
Inglenook staff will serve cookies and lemonade to patrons.

Librarian Visits Inglenook K8 School, Friday, April 12, 10:00 a.m.
 Inglenook Library staff will deliver a small gift of cookies and book marks in appreciation for the teachers continued support of Inglenook.

Get to Know Your Librarian! Thursday, April 11, 3:30 p.m.
In honor of National Library Week, North Avondale library staff will have a panel of children to interview the librarian. This program is a creative way for children to understand the day in the life of a librarian. The goal is to develop relationship building, create an opportunity for youth to learn and build a strong need for them to use the library.

National Library Trivia Challenge! April 8-12.
Can you guess how many books are in the North Avondale Branch Library?  The library patron who gets the closest answer to the number of books will have his or her name entered in a drawing for a National Library Week surprise!

Celebrate National Library Week at the Southside Branch Library
Replace your library card. Get up to $5 in fines removed. Enter your name in a drawing and win a prize by filling out a Love My Library card.
National Library Week Family Fun Night, Monday, April 8 6:00 p.m.
Join the celebration with your entire family! The Science Lady will show off her cutest, coolest, and creepiest critters for a special night of science and fun. Call 226-4085 to register. 

Book Bingo! Wednesday, April 10 4:00 p.m.
We'll be playing bingo all afternoon! Kids 5th grade and under are invited to join in the fun. Winners receive free books! 

Library Putt Putt, Friday, April 12, 4:00 p.m.
Tee up for a special game of mini-golf presented by the Children's Department! 


Share Your Love for Titusville Library, Monday, April 8, all day 
Enjoy free donuts and coffee and share what you love about Titusville Library and some favorite library memories.

"Name That Librarian," Tuesday, April 9, all day
Patrons will try to match different pictures and fun facts with each librarian and learn who is the wackiest of them all. Fun opportunity to get to know your librarians.   

Scavenger Hunt, 3:30 p.m.
After school students will engage in a fun, challenging scavenger hunt where they will learn about fiction, non-fiction, dewy decimals and more.  

"Magazine Strip Art" Adult Crafts, Wednesday, April 10, 10:00 a.m.
Adult patrons will create an art piece made of newspaper and magazine strips by finding words that describe what their library means to them.  

After School Craft, 3:30 p.m.
Students will design book covers out of comic magazine clippings and come up with a funny comic book story about heroic librarians. Best book cover wins a prize. 
West End staff members will visit area schools and give out preliminary Summer Learning materials and Licensed to Read (library card) applications.

Wylam Library staff will visit local businesses (Malinda’s Studio, Burger King and McDonald’s) to share library hours and services via flyers and word of mouth.
Wylam Library patrons will fill out sheets completing the following statement 
I love my library because_________________

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Inglenook Library Hosting Appreciation for Women: Relationship Goals Program March 15

What: An Expression of Appreciation for Women of the Inglenook Community: Relationship Goals
When: Friday, March 15, 6:30 p.m.
Details:  This free program, "Relationship Goals,” will feature a movie about marriage followed by a group discussion about how to build positive personal relationships. Refreshments will be served. To help Inglenook Library get an accurate head count, register in advance.  Call 205-849-8739 or visit the library. 

On Friday, March 15, in honor of  National Women's History Month, the Inglenook Branch Library is hosting a program focused on helping women build better personal relationships. The program, beginning at 6:30 p.m., is titled An Appreciation for the Women of the Inglenook Community: Relationship Goals.

Karnecia Williams, branch manager of Inglenook Library, said the role of women in relationships has changed dramatically over the years. As a librarian and mother, Williams hopes the special appreciation Inglenook Library is providing for women has a positive impact throughout the surrounding community.

"In An Appreciation for the Women of the Inglenook Community, women will watch a movie based on a marriage to preference the discussion of the roles of women in relationships," Williams said. "As a result of the discussion, I hope that women see things from multiple perspectives and use them to help them grow in their own personal relationships."

Williams came up with the idea of the series of quarterly Appreciation for Women programs two years ago to give back to women in the community. Many families in Inglenook are led by single mothers who are unsung heroes who deserve recognition and support for their contributions to society, Williams said. The series, featuring various speakers discussing timely topics of interest to women, is a past recipient of the BPL Board of Trustees Innovative & Cool Award, which honors programs that go above and beyond in service to library patrons. 

For more information, call Inglenook Library at 205-8739 or drop by the library. 

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library March 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: 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 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, March 08, 2019

Book Review: The Invisible Man

by Barbara Hutto, Government Documents Department, Central Library

The Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

If you haven’t read this literary novel that won the National Book Award during the 1950s, you might want to look at the narrator’s view of New York City in the late 1940s. In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man, the narrator, a young African American man, seeks an education in spite of his poverty. It is more than a story of race. Within in the story, the tight-fisted wealthy look down at and sometimes abuse those with less. The invisible man lives a life underground, below the subway lines with light bulbs hooked up to the city’s grid to stay warm. Even other African Americans turn their eyes from him because of his darkness and poverty.

In the speaker’s recollection 25 years later, he gives advice from his older self to anyone who is like his younger self: Keep your eyes open to see the possibility of opportunity so it can be discovered, such as winning a scholarship to a college. And the ideal that some people must first have their illusions destroyed so they are disillusioned. Even if it is painful, ultimately, it might be the very best thing that can happen to a person, enabling them to succeed. The novel parallels James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Booker T. Washington’s essays and speeches.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Build and Battle Competition to be Held April 6 & 7 at the Central Library

Hey Birmingham area teens with a love for designing robots and computer programming—want to put your passion for engineering to work in a friendly competition and potentially win a $50 gift card at the same time?

Then make plans now to participate in the Teens Engineer BHM Robotics Build and Battle Competition on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, 2019, at the Central Library East Grand Reading Room.

A total of nine teams, comprised of five students each, will design and build a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Participation is open to current middle or high school students in grades 7 through 12.

Each member of the winning team will receive a $50 gift card. To register, call 205-226-3655 or email

Teens Engineer BHM is a  partnership between the Birmingham Public Library and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering. The program is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Teens Engineer BHM received a $95,000 grant from the foundation in 2017. Teens Engineer BHM also a recipient of a 2016 $50,000 grant from the UAB Benevolent Fund.

Magic City Toastmasters Club to Meet Bi-Weekly at the Central Library Beginning March 11

The Magic City Toastmasters Club will begin meeting at the Central Library downtown beginning Monday, March 11, 2019. The meeting will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the 4th floor Boardroom.

The club will meet on the second and fourth Monday of each month, with the next session slated for the same time and place on Monday, March 25. After March, all future meetings will be held in the Central Library First Floor Conference Room.

According to its website, Magic City Toastmasters, also known as Club # 572, was chartered in 1948 and is  the second oldest Toastmasters club in Alabama.  Magic City Toastmasters is a member of Toastmasters International, a US-based nonprofit with clubs around the world that help members enhance their public speaking, listening, and leadership skills.

The March 11 and March 25 meetings will be informational sessions allowing prospective members to learn more about the club. Magic City Toastmasters is open to all with no membership restrictions. The club helps people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. The mission of Magic City Toastmasters is to "provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth."

The Magic City Toastmasters Club will allow the public to attend three meetings as a guest. If an individual decides to join, he or she is responsible for membership dues, which covers the expenses of the online educational program. At each meeting, members can regularly practice communication and leadership skills, and receive support to help them become a more confident speaker and leader.

Carol Skelton of BBVA Compass Bank is president of Magic City Toastmasters. You can see other officers by clicking here.

Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Workshop Series at the Birmingham Public Library

The Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library is offering a series of workshops called Beyond the Basics of Genealogy that will cover various topics of genealogical research. The staff of the Southern History Department will conduct each of these workshops in the Central Library Arrington Auditorium from 2:30-4:00 p.m. Workshops are free of charge but registration is requested.

Sunday, April 7 – Map Your DNA
Discover how to trace segments of your DNA to specific ancestors and how to use this information to identify unknown matches. You need only one known match to get started. Register »

Sunday, May 5 – Exploring
The National Archives and Records Administration's website contains many hidden treasures for genealogists. Take an in-depth look at the genealogy tools available and learn how to maximize the indexes, articles, catalog, and videos for your research. Register »

Sunday, June 16 – 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. Register »

Sunday, July 7 – 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. You might find a publication exclusively devoted to your surname. Even a simple newsletter can provide valuable tips. Come and learn more about this neglected genealogical resource. Register »

Women’s Work: Genealogy Resources for Women’s Employment

by Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

It’s quite likely that you are very well aware of the occupations and professions of your male ancestors, but have you ever wondered about the employment history of your female relatives? While we may think of the “working woman” as a fairly modern invention, women have a long history of working in a variety of occupations. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at several sources that can shed some light on what our female ancestors did for a living.

The first place to look for anyone’s occupation is in the Federal Census which has included this type of information since 1850. Interestingly, the Census Bureau must not have thought that women would be working for pay in 1850, as the enumerators were instructed to list the “Profession, occupation, or trade of each male person over 15 years of age.” By 1860, the instructions had been expanded to include the occupation of “each person, male and female over 15 years of age.” A quick glance at the 1860 census reveals that most women who worked did so as servants, domestics, teachers, and inn keepers. In the more industrialized parts of the country, many women were employed in mills and factories.

The 1940 census included many questions about people’s work and occupations, including whether or not someone was employed in one of the many public works projects that were part of the New Deal. Below is the listing for Audrey Garmany of Gibson County, Tennessee, who, at the age of 18, worked as a stenographer for the National Youth Administration. We learn that she earned $125.00 in 1939.

If your ancestor (male or female) worked for the federal government, see if you can find them listed among the employees recorded in the Official Register of the United States. Published at regular intervals beginning in 1817, the Official Register lists federal employees, the agency they worked for, place of birth, and their salary. Many women are listed as postmasters, clerks, copyists, and more. The Official Register can be found online through 1921 at Hathi Trust.

Perhaps your female ancestors decided to serve their country in a different way by answering the call to join the Cadet Nurse Corps. Signed into law in 1943, the Cadet Nurse Corps offered a free, accelerated nursing education program. The goal was to avert a critical shortage of nurses in civilian and military hospitals. The CNC was completely free of discrimination and was open to all women between the ages of 17 and 35 with a high school diploma. Card files on those who joined the CNC have been digitized and can be viewed using the library’s subscription to The smart uniforms were used as a recruitment tool. They were designed to be very fashionable and included one for summer and one for winter.

The cards include the applicant’s home address, marital status, the name of their husband, parent, or guardian, and the name of the school to which they are applying.

For more information about how to research the employment of your female ancestors check out some of these sources:

"Discovering the Work Your Female Ancestors Did"
"Early Working Women Relatives"
From Working Girl to Working Mother: The Female Labor Force in the United States, 1820-1980
"Women Workers in Wartime"
Out to Work: A History of Wage-earning Women in the United States
"Early Women Occupations, Jobs, and Avocations"

Popular Posts