Wednesday, July 31, 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, Southern History Department
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.

Monday, August 19, 2:10 p.m. – Central Library Computer Training Center
DNA Test Company Match Differences
Who are chosen to be your matches, what information is provided about them, and how they are ordered can vary greatly from one company to another. Knowing these differences will enable you to assess and to sort your matches more effectively.

Wednesday, August 28, 10:00 a.m. – Adamsville Public Library 
Census and Sensibility: Using and Interpreting U.S. Census Records 
First taken by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1790, the U.S. census is probably the 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.

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.

Sonya Wilson
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 Professional Counselor (LPC) and CEO of Peace, Love, Harmony Counseling, will discuss and demonstrate the importance of practicing mindfulness to reduce stress, how to acknowledge one’s feelings and thoughts, and how to respond in a healthy way.

Space is limited so if you are interested in attending, please contact the Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739 to register. Also, Birmingham Public Library has a plethora of resources on how to manage mental health in multiple capacities. Contact your nearest Birmingham Public Library branch for more information.

Learn more about the Inglenook Library program series An Expression of Appreciation for Women on the BPL blog.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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 villains from the movies to try and further their plans. If you want to play a game that acts like the Star Wars universe, this is the game for you!

Check out these games at the Eastwood Library and may the Force be with you!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Kanopy for Students

Kanopy Database

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 available along with films on science, math, language studies, visual arts, history, earth science, and life science.  Many students are visual learners and these films may be a great way to bolster their education in these subjects.  The database is available as an app which can be used on Android and Apple devices.  It is also available as a steaming channel for devices like ROKU and Amazon Fire TV StickHere are some examples of available titles:

  • Mythology: Gods and Goddesses
  • Algebra (18 videos)
  • The Amazing Human Body Series - for High School & College (10 videos)
  • Leonardo and Michelangelo
  • D-Day: The Price of Freedom
  • Rocks And Minerals Series, for Middle School (4 videos)
  • Human Body Series, for Middle School (4 videos)
  • Spanish (Latin American) for Kids (12 videos)

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 is definitely not. Good for fans of Gone Girl, Big Little Lies, and other twisty, mystery books.

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 Results by America's Test Kitchen
Every Day Easy Air Fryer: 100 Recipes Bursting with Flavor by Urvashi Pitre
Skinnytaste One & Done: 140 No-Fuss Dinners for Your Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Cooker, Air Fryer, Sheet Pan, Skillet, Dutch Oven & More by Gina Homolka with Heather K. Jones, R.D.
The Best Air Fryer Recipes on the Planet: Over 125 Easy, Foolproof Fried Favorites Without All the Fat by Ella Sanders

Friday, July 26, 2019

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 believer in learning something new every day, is a fan and uses The Great Courses as one of his online tools to learn more about topics that include business, economics, fine arts, music, history, literature, philosophy, religion, science, mathematics, social sciences, professional development, and better living.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

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 spotlight open mic poetry events in all 50 states.

Join us for an unforgettable night featuring many of metro Birmingham's best spoken word poets sharing their work in one of the city’s most popular nightspots.

For more information visit Bards & Brews on Facebook and the BPL events calendar. 

Bards & Brews is made possible by support from the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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 29, 3:30 p.m., Central Library RLCC – BPL Database: Careers, College, and Financial Aid
Learn how to use the BPL database to research careers, colleges and how to find financial aid

Wednesday, July 31, 10:30 a.m., Five Points West Regional Branch Library – End of Summer Celebration  
Join us for bingo, an escape room game, popcorn, and prizes.

Wednesday, August 7, 10:00 a.m., Pratt City Branch Library – Storytime Featuring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Heritage Alive Program
This is a regular outreach event partnering Pratt City Branch Library with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Patrons of all ages are invited to learn more about the institute's role in educating the world about Birmingham's role in the worldwide struggle for civil rights.

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 more about your options and eligibility for Medicare, please join us at the Central Library on the first Thursday of each month for the program Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers. The program is held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC), which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library. The program presenter is local licensed insurance agent Albert McWilliams, Sr. McWilliams has been working as an insurance agent in Birmingham since 2001. He has been a licensed Medicare agent since 2013 and a licensed ACA (Affordable Care Act) Agent since 2017.

For more information about the Let's Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers program, please contact Jim Murray of the Central Library’s Business, Science and Technology Department by email at or by calling 205-226-3691.

Visit the BPL events calendar for specific dates.

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 them,'' said Mayor Randall Woodfin. "This new building will feature a covered, outdoor patio; a reading room; a meeting room; work rooms; and landscaping. The sidewalk will be replaced on Seventh Avenue and there will be a new parking lot."

On April 26, BPL hosted a closing ceremony allowing community members to reminisce about the old Wylam Library. Its first location was at the Wylam Fraternal Hall in 1921. Later, the library saw other locations up and down Seventh Avenue and Huron Street in Wylam. The library relocated to its current location in 1962.

BPL Executive Director Floyd Council said the City of Birmingham, Birmingham Public Library, and the Wylam community are "exceptionally excited" about the construction of the new Wylam Library. 
"The community has long awaited this project for more than 20 years," Council said. "The new library location will continue to be the center of the small community and serve as a beacon to inspire additional economic development in the revitalizing area."

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 were relocated. All Wylam Library summer programs for youth are being held at Faith Chapel Christian Center. Adult summer programs planned for Wylam were moved to Ensley Branch Library.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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. The eggheads have been predicting worst case scenarios his whole adult life, he thought. However, what Wallace-Wells soon discovers, and capably shares with his readers, is that although the science’s worst case predictors rarely come to pass, the climate skeptics’ best case scenarios have never proven accurate.

Instead, the author deftly and thoroughly presents readers with a litany of observable, detrimental, and sadly all-too-preventable effects of an ever-warming planet in the here and now. Wallace-Wells may lack the PhDs of other authors on this subject, but he has no shortage of lyrical prose and storytelling acumen. The challenge set before the author is how to describe a hazard that is both ever present and invisible, and through patient, empathetic, and visually arresting depiction of otherwise dry data points, he meets the challenge.

The first half of The Uninhabitable Earth serves as climate crisis baedeker, wherein the author shares the tangible effects of climate change as presented both in the latest science available and recent headlines. Although the occurrences of rising water levels, extended droughts, agricultural displacement, and stronger storms are likely familiar to most readers interested in the subject, Wallace-Wells rightly points out that mistaking these events as routine or even early indicators of a coming crisis is dangerous. The crisis is already upon us; these are the birth pangs of a would-be apocalypse.

In the remainder of his book, Wallace-Wells moves from diagnosis to prescription—and, like most physicians, he offers no easy remedies. The author does, however, present a careful and persuasive discourse on the effect climate change has had not just on science, but also on political discourse. The author illustrates how sober and rational voices are sidelined and smeared as hysterics in favor of well-funded, short-term-minded, entrenched political and financial interests. From fossil fuel extraction to consolidated corporate media, the author shows how the best voices for adapting to and halting a climate disaster are prevented from receiving a fair hearing. Listening to—and acting upon—those voices will be the biggest challenge in stopping the crisis.

However, Wallace-Wells is not guilty of the same nihilism found among climate change skeptics or the billionaire technocrats who believe some future inventor will solve global warming in the same way Eli Whitney changed the textile industry. Rather, he states a belief that the people reading his book today, as well as those people’s children, will recognize their shared threat and its responsibility. Perhaps the most persuasive evidence comes not from the science or growing political support for green solutions, but from the author’s own admission that, even while writing this book on earth’s potential end, he became the father of a newborn.

It will take that leap of faith, that commitment to act in our optimism, to literally save the world.

Monday, July 22, 2019

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 in England but came to America with his parents in 1769. Information like this is invaluable to a genealogist and can take your search in many different directions.

Sadly, such gems are not found in later editions of the Official Register. As the government grew and employed more people (particularly the Post Office), the Register became more expensive and unwieldy to produce. However, its long run makes it a real treasure when it comes to looking for ancestors who may have worked for the government during the 19th and into the mid-20th centuries.

The Official Register also provides a glimpse into the great variety of jobs and skills that were necessary to keep our government humming. Some of the more curious jobs were Furnace Keeper under the Library of Congress (W.R. Simmons held this position in 1861. He made $720.00), lamplighters, wagon makers, and many more. In the early years, almost all of the employees were men. The earliest entries for women are in the 1830s. They are primarily working as postmasters and lighthouse keepers in small, remote locations.

Most issues of the Official Register have been digitized and are readily available on sites like or from the Government Publishing Office’s online catalog For more information on the history of the Register and how to maximize it for genealogical research, follow the links below. I hope you’ll enjoy spending time with this useful and fascinating resource.

The Official Register of the United States, 1816-1959 (from Prologue Magazine)
Using the ‘Official Register of the United States’ to Research Federal Employees, 1816–1959
Ancestry Paths
The Official Register of the United States (from the National Archives and Records Administration’s YouTube Channel)

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

 Cowboys, Boots & Books at North Avondale Library in February 2017. 
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 Avondale Library was a recipient of a BPL Board of Trustees Innovative and Cool Award for program it hosted in February 2017 called Cowboys, Boots & Books.

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.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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, Alexander will present a BPL Local Author Lecture and talk about his new memoir, Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal. During his talk, Alexander will share how he has overcome obstacles and filled his purpose of helping others.

Read more about Alexander's book at this link.

BPL's 2019 Local Author Lectures began on June 8 with a presentation by Ruby Y. Davis, author of HearsayIt concludes on Saturday, Aug. 24, 10:00 a.m., at Avondale Regional Branch Library when BPL Archivist Jim Baggett speaks on the topic "Getting in Their Heads; Using Archives to Understand Ordinary People in the Past."

A faith-driven young man, Alexander endured medical and other challenges and graduated from Erwin High in 2007, then attended Wallace State Community College afterwards. After graduating from Wallace State, he enrolled at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he double majored in criminal justice and communication management.

A minister, keynote speaker, and recent graduate of the John Maxwell Certification Program, Alexander lives by the phrase "We don’t need it to be easy, we just need it to be possible." A trailblazer, Alexander became the first paraplegic to receive a football scholarship at UAB and touched lives with his determination. He was runner-up for Mr. UAB, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and the former president of UAB Gang Green who set two school attendance records during UAB’s basketball season.

Alexander received the Student of Excellence Award for academic/athletic performance, and gained a reputation also known for holding prayer gatherings and taking students to church twice a semester.

In recent years, Alexander has been one of UAB football's strongest advocates. He was leader of the 2014 #FreeUAB movement after the UAB Football, Bowling, and Rifle programs were terminated in December 2014. After receiving approximately 56 city and county proclamations supporting the reinstatement of the three teams, Alexander joined with UAB Boosters and Birmingham city leaders/supporters to help raise over $40 million, leading the UAB president to announce the return of UAB football a year later.

While an undergraduate, Alexander received the Colonel Leo Thorsness Courage Award from the Youth Leadership Development Program and was also awarded the Challenge Coin from Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins. Alexander graduated from UAB with a master’s degree in communication management. His proudest moment came on July 18, 2016, when Alexander was able to stand up on his own for the first time since being paralyzed.

The video of him standing went viral, being featured on ABC National News, TMZ Sports, and other news stations worldwide. Alexander was nominated in November 2016 for the Sports Program Feature in the 31st Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards, and was named the winner in January 2017.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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

BPL Friends Bookstore customer looks through books donated by John Carroll Catholic High School

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 bookstore is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The bookstore is supported by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library. 

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

BPL Friends Bookstore is located on the first floor of the Central Library. Free parking is available in the library parking lot. If you would like to volunteer at BPL Friends Bookstore, drop by the store or contact Pace at 205-587-2221 or via email at

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.

Monday, July 15, 2019

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 as follows:

Tuesday, July 16
Tuesday, August 20
Tuesday, September 17
Tuesday, October 15
Tuesday, November 19

Archives Speakers Bureau Adds New Programs

By Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

Jim Baggett speaking at B. B. Comer Memorial Library (Sylacuaga)

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 Birmingham women who visited New York City in the 1890s, the 1930s, and the 2000s.

"It Came Like a Cyclone": Alabama and the 1918 Influenza
As World War One came to a close, tens of millions of people around the world contracted influenza in the worst pandemic in human history. Alabama was not spared the misery, and almost 150,000 Alabamians became ill in every part of the state. Thousands, including whole families, died. Stores, theaters, fairs, schools, and even churches were closed to try and stop the spread of the disease. With not enough doctors or hospital beds to tend the sick, neighbors pulled together to care for one another. This talk explores the story of the great influenza in Alabama and around the world.

Visit BPL's website to learn more about the Speakers Bureau programs.

Friday, July 12, 2019

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 be available at that location.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

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

Inglenook Library Branch Manager Karnecia Williams in front of bay window of former firehouse converted into library. 

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 Community,” Williams said.

Inglenook Library maintains some of the original features of the old Inglenook fire station, including the original bay window.

Today, Inglenook Library is known for unique programs that serve patrons of all ages. Among them: The Readers Are Leaders Youth Book Club, the first annual Inglenook Library Royal Princess Tea  Party (a youth tea for girls taking place Friday, July 12, 6:30 p.m.), and Appreciation for Women in Inglenook, a quarterly celebration honoring women who give back to 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, said Williams, a wife and mother who came up with the program over two years ago to celebrate them. 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.


After a new Inglenook fire station was opened in 1978, members of the community pushed to bring the first library in the area to replace it. Jack Bulow and members of the library administration agreed with the proposal.

Using Community Development Money ($22,000), and a portion of the City of Birmingham revenue sharing funds (over $70,000), the building was converted from a fire station to a library. The Inglenook Library debuted on June 17, 1979. Former features of the fire station remain today inside the library.

As a result of combined efforts of the community and library, Inglenook Library won second place in the Birmingham Magazine Beautification Awards in 1980 for Restoration and Renovation. Inglenook Library sits in a quite nook between Inglenook Elementary School and Alabama Highway 79.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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 Power by Jamia Wilson
Bold and Blessed: How to Stay True to Yourself and Stand out from the Crowd by 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 Empower Girls by Erin C. Mahoney
Girl Power 5-Minute Stories: 10 Books in 1

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

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