Friday, May 31, 2019

Springville Road Librarian Kelly Laney Named District 1 Super Citizen of the Month

Kelly Laney, adult librarian at Springville Road Library, receives May District 1 Super Citizen Award from Birmingham City Councilman Clinton Woods. 

Birmingham City Councilor Clinton Woods has named Kelly Laney, adult librarian at Springville Road Regional Library, as recipient of the May 2019 Birmingham District 1 Super Citizen Award.

Woods said the award is to recognize Laney for her years of dedicated service and genuine love for helping people. "Birmingham Public Library System, you've got someone truly special in Ms. Laney," Woods said.

Laney is the third recipient of the District 1 Super Citizen Award, which Woods set up to recognize people in the district who go above and beyond in helping the community. In a video he released announcing the award, Wood said Laney in her position as adult librarian makes a difference in the lives of patrons of Springville Road Library.

"She really does a great job here, especially with the seniors here at the library in making sure they have regular programming,"Councilor Woods said. "Something is going on every day other than Wednesday. They give people something to come  participate in, celebrate and build community. "

See a link to Councilor Woods' District 1 Super Citizen video on Laney by clicking here to the Birmingham City Council Facebook page and scrolling down to the link.

On the video, Laney said Springville Road - like other BPL locations - is passionate about serving all of its patrons regardless of economic background.

Kelly Laney's District 1 Super Citizen Certificate. 
"I love that the information is available for everybody, it does not matter who you are. Whether you live under a bridge on Seventh Avenue or whether you live in a mansion, you're going to get the same service at the library. You're entitled to that, you're allowed to have that. It's a privilege of the country we live in."

Laney said she has had patrons who are homeless and came in to use the library and were as good a patron as anybody else.

"We need face time with human beings, it is a human need, so we started developing programs allowing patrons to have face time with other adults," Laney said.

One example she cited was Coffee Conversation and Crafts (CCC) a weekly program that developed out of a night craft program for adults another Springville Road adult librarian started several years ago. When Laney took over the adult services department, she saw a need for daytime programs for seniors who don't like driving at night.

"I wanted something for men and women. I wanted something as an ice breaker so adults could come together and talk," Laney said. On the video, she talked of how a patron battling cancer alone found a support team in Coffee Conversations and Crafts.

"They  formed a community around CCC and that led to development of some other programs," Laney said.

Woods was appointed to the District One sear by the Birmingham City Council last December after Lashunda Scales was elected to the Jefferson County Commission District One seat.

BPL Southern History Department Summer 2019 Genealogy Workshop Schedule Announced

If you desire to gain knowledge about how to research your family tree this summer, the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department is hosting several genealogy workshops throughout Birmingham during June and July.

Workshops are free of charge, but advanced registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or Learn more about the resources the Southern History Department has to help research your family tree by following the Southern History Facebook page 

 The summer 2019 workshop schedule, some of which are a part of BPL's 2019 Summer Learning activities, are as follows:

 • Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 10:30 a.m., Central Library  Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) - Optimize Your DNA Genealogy Experience, Part 2 

Gain useful information on testing companies’ services and websites, and get answers to your questions about them.

 • Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 2:00 p.m.,  Avondale Library - Census and Sensibility: Using and Interpreting U.S. Census Records

First taken in 1790, the U.S. census is probably a genealogist's most-used resource. Beginners and experts alike use the federal census as the starting point for their research. Learn the ins and outs of the census, how it’s changed from year to year (and why it matters), and how to interpret your ancestors’ responses.

 • Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 11:00 a.m., North Birmingham Library - Finding African American Records in,,, and FamilySearch 

Learn how to use our most popular genealogy databases to pinpoint African American records. This workshop will show you some tips and tricks for quickly locating records specifically relating to African Americans and will be useful for historians and genealogists.

 • Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 3:00 p.m. Central Library, Southern History Department - Introduction to Genealogy

Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census.

Sunday, June 16, 2019, 2:30 p.m. Central Library, Arrington Auditorium -  DNA and Family Secrets (Beyond the Basics of Genealogy) 

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.

• Monday, June 17, 2019, 2:00 p.m., East Ensley Library Introduction to Genealogy

Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census.

• Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 2:00 p.m., West End Library Jump Into the Gene Pool: Genetics and Your Family History

 Discover how genetic research can help you explore your family history. Find out what a gene sample can tell you about what parts of the world your ancestors came from and more.

 • Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 11:00 a.m., East Lake Library Introduction to Genealogy

Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census

 • Monday, June 24, 2019, 2:00 p.m., Avondale Library -Finding African American Records in,,, and FamilySearch 

Learn how to use our most popular genealogy databases to pinpoint African American records. This workshop will show you some tips and tricks for quickly locating records specifically relating to African Americans and will be useful for historians and genealogists.

 • Sunday, July 7, 2019, 2:30 p.m. Central Library, Arrington Auditorium 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.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Birmingham Public Library hosts 2019 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Honorees Elinor & Winfield Burks of Ensley Library, with Mary Merchant.

L-R, Dr. Stephanie Yates of UAB, a representative of SCORE, Jim Murray of Central Library & John Whitman who does a nonprofit management class. 
The Birmingham Public Library held its 2019 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Thursday, May 29, at Five Points West Regional Library.

Volunteers at Avondale Library.
The annual gathering is BPL's way of publicly thanking the dozens of volunteers who donate hours at our 19 libraries and the BPL Friends Bookstore , located in the Central Library downtown, or share their talents by hosting programs for patrons of our 19 locations across Birmingham. BPL also showed appreciation to the volunteers who serve on the BPL Board of Trustees and the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library. 
Thanks for all that you do to help BPL "put people first" in the City of Birmingham.

2019 Local Author Lectures: Ruby Y. Davis Presents Hearsay

2019 Local Authors Lectures
Local Author Lectures: Saturday, June 8, 10:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. at Five Points West Regional Branch Library

About the Author: Ruby Y. Davis is author of Hearsay and founder of The Davis Law Group

How to reach the author:

About the book: Hearsay is defined as unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge. In a court of law, hearsay is often disregarded and cannot be used when presenting testimony. Ruby Y. Davis, Attorney at Law, knows firsthand how hearsay can affect not only a court case, but life. She has had to work her way up the ladder to become a top attorney in Birmingham while balancing life, being a mother, and starting her own law firm. Her desire in life is to positively influence others that seek to do what she has already done...beat the odds. Through this book, Davis puts the hearsay to rest.

Read more about Davis’ book Hearsay by clicking here.

Since becoming a teenage mother, Birmingham’s Ruby Y. Davis has defied the odds and refused to let hearsay—what others said about her—stop her from pursuing her dreams.

Davis, founder of The Davis Law Group in Birmingham and author of the new book Hearsay, will kick off the Birmingham Public Library’s 2019 Local Author Lectures series by sharing her story on Saturday, June 8, 10:00 a.m. to noon, at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Davis said she chose the title of her book as Hearsay for a reason, not only because lawyers deal with hearsay all the time in the courtroom, but also due to the fact it defines what she faced in life as a teenage mother. “Hearsay is defined as a rumors, a bunch of gossip,” Davis said. “It’s my life story. Being a young parent, I had to overcome many obstacles. I used my naysayers as motivation.”

While raising a daughter, Davis made a name for herself as a hard worker and gained a job at an employer that paid her entire cost of college and law school. She worked her way up to become an attorney, spending 15 years working at an Alabama insurance company. As she worked her way up the ladder, Davis balanced life and motherhood, then stepped out on faith to form the Davis Law Group in 2013.

Since Davis book Hearsay was published by Atlanta publisher Danielle La Von of Dee Moon Publishing in March, she has spoken to groups across Alabama, sharing her message of hope. Davis, whose daughter is now 21, hopes her story inspires other women to refuse to give in to obstacles. Davis hosts a book club, and though her audience started out mostly as women, her message has also resonated with men.

She hopes attendees of her Local Author Lecture on June 8 at Five Point West Library will be motivated to use hearsay as inspiration to prove doubters wrong.

2019 NBA Finals

2019 NBA Finals

The 2019 NBA Finals tip off tonight.  In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors have fought their way back to a fifth consecutive NBA Finals and are seeking their third straight win.  They are returning to the NBA Finals despite injuries to two of their starting players, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.  Kevin Durant is suffering from a calf injury he sustained during the second round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets.  DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad muscle in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers.  Although Durant will not play in Game 1 tonight, DeMarcus Cousins is questionable.  

In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors are going to the NBA Finals for the first time.  Despite having playoff success in the past, the closest the Raptors came to reaching the NBA Finals was in 2016 when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Cleveland went on to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals to win their first NBA Championship.  The X factor for Toronto this season has been the addition of all-star forward Kawhi Leonard.  Leonard is averaging over 30 points per game and his spectacular defense essentially shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Leonard's ability to score, rebound, make assists, and play great defense has made all the difference in this playoff run for the Toronto Raptors.

Although six games were necessary in the first and second rounds to achieve victory, Golden State swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals. They haven't played since May 20th, so they are well-rested.  Toronto played seven games in the second round against Philadelphia followed by a physical six-game series against top-seeded Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals.  With less time to rest, it will be interesting to see how much energy they have to face the Golden State Warriors in Toronto tonight.  It will certainly be a hard-fought game with great offense and defense from both teams.  Enjoy the series and I hope your team wins, as long as it's Golden State. 

North Birmingham Library Family Nights Kicks Off June 3

During the month of June, the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library is hosting a new series of family activities called North Birmingham Family Nights. There will be a light dinner at 6:00 p.m. with information and fun for the hour afterward.

The programs kick off on Monday, June 3, and is among more than 400 free programs for kids, teens, and adults being held from June to early August as part of the 2019 Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning.

North Birmingham Library's programs, all being held on Monday nights between June 3 and June 17 at 6:00 p.m., are designed to help students avoid “summer learning loss," a phrase referring to when students lose knowledge gained during the preceding school year while on summer break.

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

Below is a breakdown of the North Birmingham Library Family Night programs, sponsored by the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham:

STEM Workshop, Monday, June 3, 6:00 p.m. – Learn how to incorporate science, technology, engineering and mathematics into daily routines. Register

Literacy Workshop, Monday, June 10, 6:00 p.m. – Parents and children are invited to brainstorm and explore fun, inexpensive ways to increase kindergarten and first-grade readiness this summer. Register

Child Development Workshop, Monday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. – Did you know the first five years are the most important part of a child’s development? Join us as we demonstrate how to build simple motor skills essential to development such as learning how to turn a knob and hold pencils. Register

Nonprofit Management Class Series Returns to Central Library on First Tuesday Evening of the Month Beginning July 2

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 classes will be offered at the library’s Central Location from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the following months: July–October, December 2019. 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 University, Babson College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He recently served as a member of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin's Transition Committee for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

What: Birmingham Public Library’s Nonprofit Management Class Series
When: First Tuesday of the following months: July-October, December 2019
Time: 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library, 4th floor, Arrington Auditorium

Brief descriptions of the classes:

Tuesday July 2, 2019
How to Start a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Organization – This class will provide an overview of the steps involved in starting a charitable, religious, or educational organization that is exempt from taxation.

Tuesday August 6, 2019
Introduction to Grant Writing – Participants will be taught the basics of writing proposals for the purpose of securing grant funding from organizations such as philanthropic foundations and government agencies.

Tuesday September 3, 2019
Assessment and Evaluation of Nonprofit Programs – This class will introduce participants to the systematic collection of data that can be used to assess and evaluate programs.

Tuesday October 1, 2019
Logic Models and Theory of Change – Participants will be introduced to basic conceptual models that can help them develop more complete and thorough justifications of the programs for which funding is being sought.

Tuesday December 3, 2019
Tools for Social Change – Participants will be introduced to over 10 different approaches to help them, and their nonprofit organizations, achieve incremental and systemic social change.

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

New Southern Exposure DVDs Donated to All 19 Birmingham Public Library Locations

L-R Executive directors Cindy Lowry of Alabama Rivers Alliance,
Council of Birmingham Public Library, and Charles Scribner
of Black Warrior 

Cover of 2018 edition of "Southern Exposure" DVD
The Alabama Rivers Alliance and Black Warrior Riverkeeper have partnered to donate to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) 19 copies of the latest edition of Southern Exposure, a film series educating the public about Alabama’s natural resources.

Each of BPL’s 19 locations will soon have one DVD copy of the 2018 edition of Southern Exposure, a series of documentary shorts on various Alabama environmental topics by independent filmmakers. Read more about the film by clicking here.

DVDs of previous Southern Exposure editions are available at all BPL branches thanks to prior donations.

“Clean water and a viable environment are like unto the free flow and access to information,” said Floyd Council, executive director of BPL. “The Birmingham Public Library is honored to participate in this amazing community engagement effort to inform and call everyday people to empowered action. As a major Urban Libraries Council Public Library in the Southeast, we are excited about making the Southern Exposure DVDs available at all of our 19 Library locations.”

Sponsored by the Alabama Rivers Alliance and made possible through the support and partnership with environmental and conservation groups across the state, Southern Exposure fellows have the opportunity to create inspiring, captivating films that give viewers a sense of how much Alabama has to offer and the importance of protecting its resources.

This innovative summer fellowship brings emerging filmmakers from across the country to tell authentic, engaging stories through short documentary films about Alabama’s environment—and the people who cherish it—from the mountains to the coast.

“We are honored to have these films available to the Birmingham community and beyond through this partnership,” said Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance. “The messages in these short documentaries are critical to the protection of Alabama’s 132,000 miles of rivers and streams, and to the protection of our land and way of life as Alabamians.”

As a result of these poignant stories depicting the triumphs and challenges facing the state, numerous films from past fellowship years have been selected for screening in juried film festivals around the country. Live screenings and online distribution of the films reach a variety of audiences, in Alabama and across the nation, helping Southern Exposure fulfill the mission to spread awareness, appreciation and inspire action on behalf of Alabama’s environment.

“We enthusiastically promoted Southern Exposure with its founder, Southern Environmental Law Center, and are thrilled to maintain that tradition with the Alabama Rivers Alliance,” said Charles Scribner, executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “It means a lot that anyone can visit any Birmingham Public Library location to borrow the DVDs for personal viewing or an event with their friends, family, church, and school.”

Birmingham Public Library’s mission is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for over 131 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.

Alabama Rivers Alliance is a statewide network of groups working to protect and restore all of Alabama’s water resources through building partnerships, empowering citizens, and advocating for sound water policy and its enforcement. For more information, please click here 

Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The citizen-based nonprofit organization promotes clean water for improved public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout the Black Warrior River watershed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Nonfiction Book Review: Vegan with a Vengeance

by Shea Robinson, Fiction Department, Central Library

Vegan with a Vengeance
Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Instead of diving into a new vegan cookbook this month, I decided to revisit a classic that's been on my kitchen bookshelf over a decade. Isa Chandra Moskowitz guided my initial expedition into vegan cooking with her 2007 release, Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. While Veganomicon offers a comprehensive experience with more elaborate recipes, Vegan with a Vengeance delivers a straightforward approach to simple meals requiring minimal effort.

The layout of the book is clean and uncluttered, with color photos located only in the middle. While the visuals may be limited, the information is abundant. Every recipe is detailed and I’ve found the serving quantities to match correctly with the ingredient amounts. It’s always a plus for me when the two are in sync. There are also additional tidbits of side-notes sprinkled throughout the book to help beginners master tofu, prep vegetables, and learn about veganism.

Though I’ve made nearly every recipe in the book, I repeatedly target the breakfast/brunch section since it is my favorite meal. My frequent dishes are the Pumpkin Waffles, Tempeh Bacon, and Scrambled Tofu. I also like that the main entree section consists of several non-tofu based main dishes which offers more variety. My usual picks are the Chickpea and Spinach Curry, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

Whether you’re new to vegan cooking, attempting to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, or simply looking to vary your meal plan a bit, this cookbook is a great place to start. Isa makes vegan cooking easy, tasty, and fun with this timeless classic.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Rojo Taco Tuesday Fundraiser June 4

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

Podcast Club

Podcast Discussion Club

When? Monday, June 10 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Where? Avondale Public Library Conference Room

Do you love listening to podcasts? Do you wish you could discuss your favorite episodes with a group?

Well, look no further. Our newest group is like a book club but for podcasts. We’ll meet, listen to selected podcast episodes, and have a lively discussion. We welcome new listeners, as well as podcast enthusiasts. You’ll probably leave with some new podcasts to add to your listening list.

This month, we’ll listen to an interview with travel documentarian, Anthony Bourdain, as he discusses the intersection of food & culture. Join us for what promises to be an interesting discussion about food, science and culture.

See you there!

Book Review: Ayesha at Last

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

Ayesha at Last
Uzma Jalaluddin

“Because while it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Muslim man must be in want of a wife, there's an even greater truth: To his Indian mother, his own inclinations are of secondary importance.”

For the April Birmingham Public Library Diversity Reading Challenge, I picked a few books to read that I thought would be fun—the first one being Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. And while it’s described as a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the reader won’t be bored with a repeat of the original. There are definitely some unexpected twists and, more importantly, since Ayesha is a person of color with a Muslim heritage living in Canada (like the author herself!), we get a P&P retelling from a different perspective. Ayesha is a poet, teacher, and as her family likes to point out, a spinster, struggling with the expectations she has for herself and the ones that her family has for her. Many of the conflicts in this book touch on matters that women feel conflicted about in our modern world, which is why this retelling connects with me in a new way. While Khalid may not have surpassed the beloved Mr. Darcy, in my opinion, the characters are wonderfully created, and the story of love and growth in this novel is beautiful.

So, put a hold on this book that comes out on June 4 and check out these other retellings of classics while you wait! (Click on the image to be transported to the JCLC catalog.)

Friday, May 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 BPL Summer Learning Spotlight: Youth Rocket Science Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bards & Brews Open Mic at Birmingham Art Crawl June 6

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

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

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

For more information, visit Bards & Brews on Facebook.

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

Southern History Book of the Month: Lost Attractions of Alabama

by Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Lost Attractions of Alabama
Tim Hollis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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

Elinor and Winfield Burks, with a BPL patron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2018 Bram Stoker Award Winners

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

And the Bram Stoker goes to...!

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Meet an Astronaut! at Springville Road Library

by Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Dr. Larry DeLucas

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

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