Showing posts from July, 2019

BPL Southern History Department Releases August Genealogy Class Schedule

Want to learn more about your family history? The Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department is hosting four genealogy workshops at the Adamsville Public Library and Central Library during the month of August.

Workshops are free of charge, but advanced registration is requested. To register, contact BPL's Southern History Department 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 August 2019 workshop schedule is as follows:

Monday, August 12, 10:00 a.m. – Adamsville Public Library
Intro to Genealogy 
Want to learn how to do genealogical research? Come to this introductory class that will help get you started on your genealogical journey. The staff in the Southern History Department covers such topics as vital records, courthouse and church records, and the Federal Census.

Wednesday, August 14, 3:00 p.m. – Central Library…

Inglenook Library Celebrating National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

By Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), in May of 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives announced July as Bebe Moore Campbell (an author, advocate, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles, and national spokesperson who passed away in November 2006) National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Additionally, the resolution was sponsored by Rep. Albert Wynn [D-MD] and cosponsored by a large bipartisan group to achieve two goals:

Improve access to mental health treatment and services and promote public awareness of mental illness.Name a month as the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities.
On Friday, August 2, 2019, 6:30–8:30 p.m., Inglenook Library will dedicate its bi-monthly women’s program, An Expression of Appreciation for Women, to honor National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Sonya Wilson, Licensed…

Pratt City Library Hosts Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Heritage Alive Program

What:The  Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Heritage Alive Program
Where:Pratt City Branch Library
When: Wednesday, August 7, 10:00 a.m.
Details: Heritage Alive is a Birmingham Civil Rights Institute program using storytime to educate young people about the civil rights movement.

As part of a new regular outreach partnership, the Pratt City Branch Library is hosting Storytime Featuring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Heritage Alive Program on Wednesday, August 7, at 10:00 a.m.

This storytime closes out over 400 programs held as part of the 2019 Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning. 

The  Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Heritage Alive Program is a series of 45-minute programs designed by the Institute to engage young learners with weekly interactive activities. At Heritage Alive, facilitators read books that help foster youngsters better understanding of other cultures and people. For more information, call Pratt City Branch Library at 205-791-4997.

May the Force Be With You: Star Wars Games @ Your Library!

By Vincent Solfronk, Eastwood Branch Library 

To wrap up this summer’s space theme, Eastwood Library has two Star Wars-themed games, Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Rebellion, both by Fantasy Flight Games.

Star Wars X-Wing is a combat miniature game. In the base game, one player flies the iconic Rebel X-Wing spacecraft, while the other player flies two Imperial TIE fighters. Players choose combat missions and flight maneuvers. They battle it out in space. X-Wing is one of the most popular miniature tournament games in the world. Expansions increase the spaceships and tactics available. If you ever wanted to fly for the Rebellion or the Emperor, this is the game for you!

Star Wars: Rebellion is a grand strategic board game. It is two-player only. One player plays the Rebellion, with their hidden base, trying to gain sympathy and fight for the collapse of the Emperor. The Emperor tries to find the rebel base and destroy any rebel units they can find. The players have the heroes and villa…

Kanopy for Students

Kanopy is an amazing movie streaming database similar to Netflix that allows you to browse through thousands of films which can be accessed for free using your library card.You can choose up to six films per month and once you choose a title, you are allowed up to three days to watch it without using any of your remaining movie credits.According to the database, Kanopy has one of the largest collections in the world (5x Netflix) and their films are more “educative” in nature, such as documentaries and foreign films.Their motto is “thoughtful entertainment” and they seek to provide films that have social and cultural importance.

One of the many interesting features of Kanopy is that it has a category for Instructional Films and Lessons. One of the genres in this category is K-12 Lessons.As we get closer to the start of this school year, students may find Kanopy to be a good resource to find the information they need.There are a number of Shakespeare plays and other literature films ava…

Book Review: Careful What You Wish For

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

Careful What You Wish For
Hallie Ephron

As of late, the US has been on a “tidying” kick—there is Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; or the Netflix series it inspired, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo; or even the book that Kondo was influenced by, The Art of Discarding by Nagisa Tatsumi. But with the novel Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron we have the chance to wonder if a professional organizer and a hoarder can live together happily under the same roof. Emily Harlow started a social media sensation with her time-lapse videos of decluttering her own stuff, but stays out of the basement where her husband keeps his “collection.” Until one day, by chance, she discovers something that sends this story spiraling in a new direction toward hatred, greed, and murder.

The characters in this domestic suspense novel are interesting, and the twists kept me guessing until the end who is trustworthy and who…

Air Fryers—A Healthier Way to Fry Food

By Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library

Ever wondered how some of your favorite fried and greasy foods can turn out so wonderful using little to no oil? So did I! But I soon found out that it was possible and was amazed at how well an air fryer cooked all of my favorite foods in record time. This small machine, some starting as low as $30, acts like an oven and cooks a variety of foods, evenly, while using very little counter space. This product is easy to use and convenient, especially if you have children in the home. There are many recipes out there for unique diets and for those who like to experiment with new and exciting foods.

Check out these resources at your local library:

Air Fryer Perfection: From Crispy Fries and Juicy Steaks to Perfect Vegetables : What to Cook & How to Get the Best Resultsby America's Test Kitchen
Every Day Easy Air Fryer: 100 Recipes Bursting with Flavorby Urvashi Pitre
Skinnytaste One & Done: 140 No-Fuss Dinners for Your Instant Pot, Slow Coo…

Kanopy Adds New Series from The Great Courses Collection

Good news for people young or old, in school or long since graduated, who love learning about a wide range of subjects. Kanopy, the streaming service that Birmingham Public Library patrons can access for free, has added 60+ new series from The Great Courses.

Never heard of The Great Courses? It's a company that sells recorded college lectures on a multitude of topics. Described as "the Netflix of learning," it was founded by Thomas Rollins in Virginia in 1990. Rollins got the idea for his company when he watched a 10-hour videotaped lecture series while attending Harvard Law School.

The Great Courses are taught by professors from the most respected schools in the world, along with experts from National Geographic, the Smithsonian, The Culinary Institute of America, The Mayo Clinic, and more. By watching The Great Courses series, you can "learn everything about anything" as you "binge-watch entire college courses over a weekend."

Even Bill Gates, a be…

Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry Coming to The Grill at Iron City Friday August 2

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic Poetry
When: Friday, August 2, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
Where:The Grill at Iron City 2208 6th Ave. South, Birmingham, Ala., 35233.
Details: Free to the public but you must be 21 or older to buy alcohol. Food and beer will be available for purchase from The Grill at Iron City.

Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's popular monthly spoken-word poetry/craft beer program, is going on road again, this time at The Grill at Iron City, a venue at 2208 6th Ave. South on Birmingham’s Southside.

Open mic poetry performances will take place from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, August 2, with Voice Porter serving as host and emcee. Food and beer will be available for purchase inside The Grill at Iron City.

Bards & Brews received national attention in March 2019 when it was featured by traveling poet Anna Weaver of Charlotte, N.C., who shared her poetry talents in Birmingham a month earlier. Alabama was  the 20th state Weaver has visited while on a campaign to spotl…

2019 BPL Summer Learning in Last Two Weeks

As students prepare to return to school in a couple of weeks, more than 400 Birmingham Public Library Summer Learning programs for kids, teens, and adults will soon be ending as well.

There are still nine learning opportunities coming up at our libraries that you might want to put on your calendar. Here is a listing:

Monday, July 29, 11:00 a.m., North Birmingham Regional Library – Get Your Foodie On
Don''t have time to keep up with culinary trends? Join us at North Birmingham Library for a tour of what's happening in the world of cooking, nutrition, and food culture.

Monday, July 29, 2:15 p.m., Central Library RLCC – Google Your Peeps 
Learn how to use Google to search online.

Monday, July 29, 6:00 p.m. Avondale Regional Library – Book Bingo
Play bingo and win books. What could be better?

Tuesday, July 30, 3:00 p.m., Titusville Branch Library – Google Jobs
Join us for a free workshop on how to search for jobs using Google. Registration preferred but not required.

Tuesday, July…

Let's Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers Program to Be Held at Central Library on First Thursday of Each Month Beginning on August 1, 2019

What: Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers
When: First Thursday of each month
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/4th floor/Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC)

If you have questions about Medicare, you are not alone. As a health insurance program administered by the federal government, Medicare is laden with many policies, procedures, and guidelines that can be very confusing for the average American consumer. Who is eligible for Medicare? What kind of coverage does it provide? Is there more than one plan available? How much does it cost? When should I enroll? These are just some of the important questions that everyone needs answered in order to help them make good, informed decisions about their healthcare coverage. Not getting accurate and up-to-date answers to these questions can mean missing out on valuable benefits that you and your loved ones are entitled to claim.

If you would like to learn…

Wylam Library Construction Project Update: Slab Done, Walls Going Up

The new Wylam Branch Library construction project is well underway, with the concrete slab completely done and walls currently being constructed as of July 23.

The old, 2,000-square-foot Wylam Library closed in early May and was demolished. It is being replaced with a new 6,000 square foot facility three times bigger with extra amenities, including a conference room to host functions. The new library is tentatively scheduled to open in January 2020 at the same location, 4300 7th Avenue Wylam.

Elected officials from Birmingham and the Jefferson County Commission, Wylam area residents, and community partners joined BPL employees and library board members at a Wylam Library Groundbreaking Ceremony on June 10.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin called the new Wylam Library project a project long overdue.

"I'm happy to see this $1.6 million project finally become a reality. The residents of Wylam have waited a long time to see a new library, and I'm glad that we can provide it for…

Nonfiction Book Review: The Uninhabitable Earth

By Carrie Campbell, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
David Wallace-Wells

Scroll through the headlines or watch the news this past week and you’ll find the following pastiche of stories:

Mississippi flood waters overtake portions of New Orleans.A man’s sports car reclaimed by the tide on Dauphin Island.More migrant families expected at the U.S. southern border.Wealth gap continues to expand across the developed world.
In the new book by reporter David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, stories like these are presented not as the disparate problems of an increasingly complicated world, but as symptomatic of a singular, uniform, and existential threat to the modern way of life: an impending climate catastrophe.

What separates this book from other doomsayers of the genre is that Wallace-Wells is no scientist—in truth, he admits he undertook his reporting on climate science initially with a bit of a blase attitude.…

Government Employee in the Family?

By Mary Beth Newbill, Southern History Department, Central Library

Did you have an ancestor who worked for the federal government, was a small town postmaster, or an officer in the military? If so, let me introduce you to a terrific resource that you’re probably not using. Published at two-year intervals from 1816–1959, the Official Register of the United States is a great jumping-off point if you know or simply suspect that your ancestor worked for the government.

For most of its history the Official Register listed federal employees by department and included information about their position, salary, place of birth, and where they were posted. Some years provide more information than others. For instance, in 1825 two clerks in the Treasury Department, Aaron Vail and William S. Smith, have a special notation about their birthplace and the nationality of their parents:

There is also this note from 1825 stating that Joseph Nourse, the first Register for the Treasury, was actually born…

North Avondale Library Hosting Boots, Books and Cowboys Event July 24

Come learn about the life of cowboys and donate free books for youth at North Avondale Branch Library's Boots, Books & Cowboys on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

The program, to be held from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., is designed to collect books for a free book giveaway that will allow youth to build their personal home libraries, said organizer Todd Morris.

“Our hope is to inspire children to see past their current surroundings through books and believe they can be whatever they want to be...including a cowboy or cowgirl,” Morris said.

Morris will be accompanied by other black cowboys who will share history, knowledge, and even show of some of their favorite horses with event goers. Supporters are asked to bring new or gently used, up-to-date books to donate for young readers.

This free event will have music, fun, and activities for the entire family to enjoy while learning.

“Join us in investing in our community and combating the pipeline to prison through literacy,” Morris said.

North …

Podcast Discussion Club

Avondale Public Library Conference Room
August 12, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Have you ever listened to a podcast and wished you could discuss it with someone else? Well, this is the group for you! This month, we're focusing on how to be a better you.

Prior to the meeting, listen to the following episodes. Click on the links below to listen to the episodes. Join us on the meeting date for an interesting discussion.

How To Become Great At Just About Anything (Freakonomics Radio #244)

How To Build Your Confidence (Ted Talk--Brittany Packnett)

All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes (Ted Talk- Andy Puddicombe)

British TV Talk & Trivia

Avondale Public Library Conference Room

August 20 2:00 p.m.

Please join us to talk about Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. This is a popular mystery series set in the 1920's. Miss Phryne Fisher is a strong and glamorous detective with a sharp wit, beautiful clothes and a gold and pearl handled pistol. This should be a fun and interesting discussion.

National Coloring Book Day

When? August 2, 2019   2:00 p.m.

Where? Avondale Public Library Conference Room

We’re celebrating National Coloring Book Day on August 2 @ Avondale Public Library. Coloring is a relaxing and beneficial activity for adults. Research shows that coloring can improve cognitive function and memory, as well as help with depression and anxiety. Coloring helps us to de-stress and also stimulates areas of the brain related to motor skills, senses and creativity.

Join us to color a variety of pictures, learn new coloring techniques, improve your coloring skills and socialize in a relaxed atmosphere. This program is the perfect opportunity to work on art, learn from others, relax and be creative.

Don't miss the fun!

Image from: National Coloring Book Day Website

2019 BPL Local Author Lectures: Timothy Alexander, Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal

BPL Local Author Lectures Presents: Timothy Alexander, author of Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal
When: Saturday, July 20, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Central Library East Grand Reading Room
About the book:Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal is a memoir about Birmingham native Timothy Alexander, who was involved in a life-changing car accident in 2006 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. The book talks of how this faith-driven young man has overcome obstacles and dedicated his life to motivating and inspiring others.

Timothy Alexander was on the path to football greatness, with the Erwin High School student ranked the #8 high school player in the state of Alabama and being recruited by top college football programs across the nation. But the Birmingham native's dreams of playing college and professional football came crashing down when Alexander was involved in a life-changing car accident in 2006 that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the Central Library, Ale…

John Carroll Catholic High School Donates Hundreds of Books to BPL Friends Bookstore

The BPL Friends Bookstore, located in the Central Library downtown, has received a major donation of hundreds of books from John Carroll Catholic High School. 

BPL Friends Bookstore Manager Thracie Pace said the donation of over 100 boxes of books from the private Birmingham high school is one of the largest the store has received in years.

“We are so appreciative of John Carroll Catholic High School for donating so many books from their library, many of them like new,” Pace said. “The timing is so perfect as BPL Friends Bookstore is right in the midst of our ‘Fill a Bag for $8’ book sale.”

Thanks to the new supply of books, Pace said the book sale may be extended. Under the sale, patrons can fill a Friends book bag with items from the store for just $8. The sale includes all items except yellow tag items which are already 50 percent off.

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

Registration Open for August Computer Classes at Central Library

Registration is now open for the August 2019 computer classes at the Central Library. Topics include computer skills, career guidance, and genealogy. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) and the list of classes can be found on the RLCC blog.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. Register online through the BPL events calendar. You will receive an automated confirmation confirming your registration.

Central Library to Host Steps to Starting Your Business Workshop Tuesday, July 16

Looking to start a business? Small business owners, want to take your company to the next level?

Then join us at the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library, noon-1:00 p.m., on Tuesday, July 16, for Steps to Starting Your Business.

This free monthly workshop is presented by the Birmingham Public Library in partnership with the City of Birmingham's Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity and the Birmingham chapter of SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives). SCORE representatives will provide an overview of the various aspects involved in planning, starting, and operating a business.

Advanced registration is required. To register, contact Valencia Fisher of the city's Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at 205-254-2799 or

The remaining 2019 dates for Steps to Starting Your Business workshops (all 12:00–1:00 p.m. at the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium) are…

Archives Speakers Bureau Adds New Programs

By Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

Staff from the Birmingham Public Library Archives present programs throughout the year to clubs and other organizations, churches, and for speakers programs at public libraries and museums in the Birmingham area and around the state.

Focusing on Birmingham and Alabama history, the programs draw from and highlight the collections of the BPL Archives. The programs, which last about 30 minutes, are presented free of charge.

The Archives has added three new programs to the Speakers Bureau offerings. They are:

All's Fair...
The end of that idiom is the framework for this presentation. Using love letters sent between a young World War II soldier and his sweetheart at home in Birmingham, we journey through a relationship torn apart by distance and war. (Catherine Champion)

Southern Belles in the Big Apple
Using travel diaries preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives, this presentation recounts the experiences of three Birming…

Social Workers at the Birmingham Library July–September 2019

What: Citizen Services – Social Workers at the Birmingham Public Library
Where: At the following library locations: Central, East Ensley, East Lake, Eastwood, Ensley, Inglenook, North Avondale, Powderly, Pratt City, Smithfield, Southside, Titusville, and Woodlawn
When: At Central Library (East Building/Social Sciences Department/3rd floor) every Wednesday July–September 2019, and Wednesdays at select branch locations July–September 2019
Details: Free and open to the public

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is partnering with The Dannon Project to continue to provide free social worker consultations to the public. These consultations will provide assistance and resources to help patrons with issues of drug abuse, mental health, healthcare, domestic violence, homelessness, and more. One Roof, an organization that helps people with housing needs, will be available with the social worker at the Central Library every Wednesday. Please contact a specific branch to find out when One Roof will…

Inglenook Library Hosting 40th Birthday Celebration on Wednesday, July 17

What: Inglenook Branch Library 40th Birthday Celebration
When: Wednesday, July 17, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Inglenook Branch Library, 4100 40th Terrace North, Birmingham, AL 35217
Details: Join us for cake as we celebrate 40 years of serving Inglenook. For more information, call 205-849-8739 or visit the library.

On Wednesday, July 17 at 3:30 p.m., the Inglenook Branch Library is celebrating 40 years of providing quality library services for the community.

Inglenook Branch Library opened its doors on June 17, 1979. The building began its life as a fire station serving as Birmingham Fire Station #23 from 1927 until 1979, serving the Inglenook neighborhood. When the neighborhood received a new fire station, members of the community saw the opportunity to bring a branch library to serve the community.

Karnecia Williams, branch manager of Inglenook Library, is inviting the public to come join the celebration. “Stop by and enjoy a piece of cake as we celebrate 40 years of serving the Inglenook…

Royal Princess Tea Party at Inglenook Library July 12

By Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library 

Calling all princesses ages 9–12 to join the Inglenook Branch Library for its first Royal Princess Tea Party! The tea party will edify young ladies by teaching them different etiquettes and how to build their character and self-esteem.

What: Royal Princess Tea Party
Who: Young ladies 9–12
Where: Inglenook Library
When: Friday, July 12, 2019
Time: 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Young ladies will leave empowered and knowing and understanding their worth. For further reading on how to encourage and instill self-esteem in young ladies, check out the books below at your local Birmingham Public Library.

Step into Your Powerby Jamia Wilson
Bold and Blessed: How to Stay True to Yourself and Stand out from the Crowdby Trinitee Stokes
Stand up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies & Bossiness and Finding a Better Way by Patti Kelley Criswell
Girl Power Guidebook for Parents and Instructors: The Program, Strategies, and Insights That Transform and Empow…

Coding Gems Camp for Girls under Way at the Central Library

Coding Gems, a free Summer Fun Coding Camp for girls ages 10-15, presented by the Birmingham Public Library and NCWIT AspireIT, kicked off Tuesday, July 9, at the Central Library.

Slots remain open for the following sessions: Thursday, July 11, Tuesday, July 16, Thursday July 18, Tuesday, July 23, and the final one, Thursday, July 25, all being held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

For more info or to register, contact Cheryl Burgess of the Central Library Youth Department at 205-226-3665 or

British TV Talk & Trivia Group

Do you love PBS’s murder-mystery series Grantchester? Are you ready for an exciting new season?

In this popular drama, Sidney Chambers, a charismatic, jazz-loving vicar, and methodical Geordie Keating pair up to solve murder investigations in the small idyllic village of 1950s Grantchester, England.

Grantchester returns for season 4 on PBS and will feature more murders, intrigue, and a mysterious new vicar. Join us as we discuss the characters and storylines and predict what will happen next.

The British TV Talk & Trivia group will meet on Tuesday, July 16, 2:00 p.m., at the Avondale Regional Branch Library.

For more information, contact Leslie Deason at 205-226-4000 or at

Springville Road Regional Branch Library Receives $1,500 Grant from State Rep. Rolanda Hollis

Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis (District 58) has given a $1,500 donation to the Springville Road Regional Branch Library to help it provide services for patrons residing in the eastern Birmingham area she represents.

Hollis presented the $1,500 check on Monday, July 8, at the Springville Road Library to Yolanda Hardy, regional manager for the Birmingham Public Library’s eastern region. Hardy gave thanks for Hollis' donation, adding BPL is very appreciative of  the lawmaker's passionate support for Springville Road Library.

It's her second time providing financial support for the library. In March 2018, Rep. Hollis gave Springville Road Library a $500 donation. At the time, her public assistant, Kimberly Hayes, said in a statement, “This library branch serves many of her students (in District 58) and she is honored to be donating these funds.”

In 2017 former Birmingham City Councilor Lashunda Scales of District 1 (now Jefferson County District 1 Commissioner)…