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Showing posts from August, 2019

September is Food for Fines and National Library Card Sign-Up Month

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Through the month of September, all public libraries in Jefferson County will be participating in a food drive that helps support local charities by replenishing food pantries in anticipation of the coming holidays.

How does it work?
One dollar in fines will be waived for each canned or boxed food item donated in September for up to $10 per library card holder. The donations will be applied to fines only, not lost/damaged materials. Expiration dates must be visible and legible on all items; expired food will not be accepted.

When and where can donations be made?
Donations will be accepted at the circulation desks of all 40 Jefferson County libraries during September 2019. Visit the Public Libraries in Jefferson County's website for more information and for a list of suggested food items to donate.

Watch a video for details on Food for Fines


Food for Fines is held in conjunction with the annual National Library Card Sign-Up Month. There is no charge for Birmingham residents to apply …

BPL Notarizes Its First Marriage Applications under New State Law

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Due to the new Alabama marriage application law that went into effect Thursday, August 29, 2019, the Birmingham Public Library is expecting a spike in demand for its notary services.

The new law no longer requires a couple to apply for a marriage license at their local probate court. Instead, they have to complete the Alabama Marriage Certificate form, have it notarized, and turn it in to the probate court within 30 days of completion. Once the certificate is recorded, you are considered married.

The new marriage certificate requires two notary stamps so the cost to notarize the form at BPL is $10.


Cheryl Burgess of the Central Library notarized BPL’s first marriage application August 29, shortly after 12:00 p.m. The newly married couple is Bryan Orzco Zarco and Rosa Espinoza. Two other couples later came in to get their marriage applications notarized Thursday, and another came on Friday, August 30.

How to apply for a marriage application.

Downton Abbey Celebration Tea

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Event: Downton Abbey Celebration Tea
Place: Avondale Public Library Auditorium
Date: September 14, 2019
Time: 1:00 p.m.

You are invited to attend a celebration tea at Avondale Public Library, in the auditorium on Saturday, September 14 @ 1:00 to celebrate all seasons of Downton Abbey. The Downton Abbey Movie will premiere in North America on September 20. We can't wait! The movie will pick up in the fall of 1927 and includes a royal visit, a bit of sibling rivalry, romance, intrigue and, of course, spectacular costumes, and even a few tiaras.

We will have tea, enjoy delicious treats, discuss our favorite episodes, talk about our favorite characters and answer trivia questions based on seasons 1-6. Costume is encouraged but not required. Prizes will be awarded to the trivia winners.

We hope to see you there dressed in your Downton best!

Please send an email to ldeason@bham.lib.al.us with the subject line “Downton Abbey Tea ” to register for this event.

 View the official…

LRNG Teaches Money Management to Holy Family Cristo Rey Students at the Central Library

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LRNG is committed to building work and learn pathways for students in Birmingham.

On Thursday, August 29, LRNG's program manager, Tish Fletcher, introduced Holy Family Cristo Rey High School students interning at the Central Library to the learning platform and their career readiness playlists.

Student Leandro Felips said, "LRNG is helpful and today I learned how check cashing places operate. Now in the future I will know how to pick a bank and manage my money...no more spending it all at Starbucks."

In 2018, Southern New Hampshire University and LRNG, two of the most innovative educational organizations in the nation, merged to build a learning and workforce solution for cities and employers across the U.S.

Starbucks Coffee Stories Spotlight: Voice Porter, Host of BPL's Bards & Brews

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Voice Porter, longtime host of Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's spoken word poetry/craft beer event, has been featured in Starbucks Coffee Stories & News.

The feature details Porter's growing notoriety in the spoken word field in metro Birmingham and across Alabama. See link to Voice Porter''s story here.

Under the format, Starbucks walks up to perfect strangers sitting in a Starbucks and asks if they will share their story. The company has hit the road to find out and is posting the stories on their website.

Come see Voice Porter in person at 6:30 p.m. next Friday, September 6, as Bards & Brews returns to Iron City Grill on Birmingham's Southside. Nearly 90 people attended the Bards poetry event held at Iron City Grill on August 2. 

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

For more information, visit Bards & B…

West End Library Hosting Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia September 4

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Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. If you or someone you know is affected by Alzheimer's disease or dementia, it's time to learn the facts.

On Wednesday, September 4, from noon to 1:00 p.m., West End Branch Library is hosting Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia. Attendees will learn valuable information on detection, causes and risk factors, plus stages of the disease, treatment options, and much more. The class is being taught by prevention expert Rev. Dr. Tremain Davis.

The program is the second offered at the Birmingham Public Library to help prevent the dreaded memory lost disease that afflicts the aging. Statistics show Alabama has one of the highest numbers f Alzheimer’s victims in the nation.

Brain Jam, a Springville Road Regional Branch Library program designed to stimulate the minds of senior citizens, was one of five finalists for a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation Birmingham. Kelly Laney, the founder of the Brain Jam program, made …

Central Library Monumental Stairs Construction Project Begins September 16

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A start date has been set for the Central Library Monumental Construction Project.

Monday, September 16, is the official start date for a winding staircase to replace escalators in the downtown Central East Building that have been broken down since December 2014.



On Monday, August 26, the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees approved notice to proceed with construction.

Taylor & Miree of Mountain Brook won a bid to be construction contractor; Creig Hoskins of Birmingham is serving as architect.



In July BPL released images of what the Central Library Monumental Stairs Project replacing the escalators will look like once completed. Stay tuned for more photos and information over the next few months as the project construction begins.

The stair project is expected to take four months or so, with estimated completion projected for early 2020.

Brain Jam at Springville Road Regional Library Finalist for Awesome Foundation Grant

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Brain Jam, a Springville Road Regional Branch Library program designed to stimulate the minds of senior citizens, was a finalist for a $1,000 grant in Birmingham.

Kelly Laney, adult services librarian at Springville Road Regional Library who came up with the idea for Brain Jam, was among five finalists selected by Awesome Foundation Birmingham. Laney and the other four finalists made five-minute pitches before the judges August 26 at Carrigan's Public House brewery downtown on Morris Avenue.


The winner selected by the Awesome Foundation judges was Perfect Punctuality, a program at Minor Community School in western Jefferson County that rewards students with perfect attendance at the K-8 school.

Besides Brain Jam and Perfect Punctuality, the other three finalists were Coosa Riverkeepers, Our Firm Foundation, a mentoring program at Inglenook K-8 School, and Project Open Mic, a violence prevention program.

Brain Jam began at Springville Road Library in March, and strives to provide …

Southern History Book of the Month: The Great Galveston Disaster

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By Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

The Great Galveston Disaster
Paul Lester
With an introduction by Richard Spillane

As we enter the most active period of hurricane season, weather services have stepped up advisories to prepare for stronger storms, be aware of evacuation routes, and take threatening weather seriously. With our current notification tools and computer models, we can see a hurricane forming far in advance. But imagine yourself as a resident of Galveston, Texas, in September of 1900, when there was no Weather Channel, no radar, no James Spann or Jim Cantore. With hardly any warning or time to prepare, the residents of Galveston were engulfed by a storm that holds the record as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. There have been many books about the hurricane, but few have the immediacy of The Great Galveston Disaster, which was published in 1900 shortly after the storm and contains numerous eyewitness accounts and photographs.

The lat…

Citizen Services – How to Get Unstuck out of a Rut Seminar at Central Library September 7

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What: Citizen Services – How to Get Unstuck out of a Rut seminar
When: Saturday, September 7, 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor
Details: Hosted by Sophia Hampton, educator and Magic City Toastmaster. Free but registration required.

Is your life filled with stress, worry, and anxiety? Are you tired of being sick and tired, feeling stuck with no way out? You’ve been down so long until getting up hasn’t crossed your mind. This seminar is sure to give you the boost that you need to get unstuck out of a rut.

By attending this seminar you will:

Become familiar with the signs of being in a rut and walk away feeling empowered and prepared to get unstuck.Discover ways of how to get from where you are to where you want to be.Develop insight into the crutches that are keeping you in the stuck position.Learn fun ways to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence and reignite your passions.Be inspired with out-of-the-box …

Estimated Wait Time Feature on Libby

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As Tom Petty so sagely wailed, "The wai-aiting is the hardest part!" That's true about love, and especially true about a book we really want to read that's checked out. But with Libby's "estimated wait time" feature, you can at least know how long the wait is going to be. In Libby, just click on the calendar icon to learn how long the wait time is, how many copies are in use, and how many people are waiting. Learn more about Libby at https://jclc.overdrive.com.

LearningExpress Library: School Center

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Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers Program at Central Library September 5

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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…

BPL Spotlight: Springville Road Regional Library Adult Programs for August 26-30

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The Birmingham Public Library has started a new feature highlighting the many innovative, fun and educational programs offered every week at our 19 locations across the City of Birmingham.

This week's spotlight is Springville Road Regional Branch Library's adult programs, which attract adults of all ages and backgrounds every week.

Here is a listing of programs for adults being offered at Springville Road Library from Monday, August 26 through Friday, August 30:

Monday, August 26

 * Coffee, Conversation and Crafts, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 

This is a community building and crafting program held every Monday except holidays. All craft materials and instructions are provided, but you may also bring your own projects to work on while enjoying the company and light refreshments. You do not have to work on anything if you prefer; just come visit and chat.

* Body Changers, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Body Changers is a volunteer-led weight management support group using the informational reso…

Yarn Club to Debut September 7 at the Central Library

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Have you tried knitting or crocheting with a group of people instead of doing it all alone? It is a completely different experience when you get to chat with people, starting a new project or continuing something you have started, then expanding to topics you are not so familiar with, or techniques you are not that skillful at, you may end up teaching others a thing or two.

Join us at the Central Library downtown on Saturday, September 7, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., for the debut of Yarn Club @ BPL. Yarn Club is open to crafters at all skill levels.

The club will meet once a month on every second Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the Central Library's First Floor Conference Room. The Yarn Club will have the newest knitting/crocheting magazines and books on hand, plus a computer available in case you need to watch a live demo on YouTube.

We have yarns to get you started and instructors for some sessions to help patrons tackle challenging techniques.

So what would you like t…

Magic City Toastmasters Open House Reception at Central Library August 26

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What: Magic City Toastmasters Open House Reception
When: Monday, August 26, 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Where:Central Library/First Floor Conference Room
Details: Free and open to the public. For more information contact 205-215-0220 or 404-543-0054.

On Monday, August 26, the Magic City Toastmasters cordially invites you to attend their open house reception at the Central Library. The event will be an opportunity to learn about the Magic City Toastmasters, meet local professionals, and learn ways to become a more effective public speaker with the "Steps to Better Presentations" discussion.

Summer Reading Sur-Prize!

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By Fontaine Alison, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

I’ve always said I was someone who never wins prizes, but this summer proved me wrong when I won the drawing for the 2019 Staff Summer Learning prize: a Samsung Galaxy tablet! Isn’t it great when something you enjoy doing has so many benefits?

When my sister Olivia was in first grade, she would come home and play “school” with me, so I learned to read at age 4. It didn’t take me long to realize that being a reader got me noticed—quite the cachet for a middle child.

Later, reading was also a great way to avoid chores. Mama never liked seeing an idle child: she would find something for us to do. But I discovered that reading could pass for “homework” as long as she didn’t notice I was reading yet another book in Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series.

I went on to study literature in college, but these days, I confess to reading mostly thrillers and mysteries…the literary equivalent of a diet of ice cream and French fries. I…

Children's Nonfiction Book Review: Who Would Win?: Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear

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By Andrei Jones, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

Who Would Win?: Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear
Written by Jerry Pallotta
Illustrated by Rob Bolster

I love animals, and this new animal series caught my eye. Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear describes what would happen if two somewhat similar animals would somehow meet and engage in a fight. The book lists interesting details about each animal. For example, did you know that all polar bears are left-handed?This book gives a brief description of each animal, the scientific name, and any special characteristics that would help that animal win in a fight against its chosen opponent. I read Polar Bear vs.Grizzly Bear, but there are several other fight books in the Who Would Win series.

Reading this book was an amazingly fun and interesting way to learn about specific animal facts and to find out who would win in a possible fight between two chosen animals. Check out this book and others in the series that may pique your curiosity about “Wh…

The State Wins Documentary Film Premiere at Central Library August 24

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By Jim Murray, Business, Science and Technology Department, Central Library


What:The State Wins Documentary Film Premiere
When: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Time: 1:00–2:30pm
Where: Birmingham Public Library – Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor

Football season is right around the corner, and, in Alabama, that’s like having your birthday, Christmas, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. What’s that? You’re not familiar with the anticipation and excitement that grips all residents of the Heart of Dixie at this time of year? Well, that is just unacceptable. Not having an adequate understanding of the place football holds in the heritage of our state is certainly a dangerous symptom of cultural illiteracy and must be attended to immediately. Fortunately, a remedy is available in the form of the documentary film The State Wins, which is directed by local Birmingham filmmaker Sonya “Sam” Mitchell. The film will make its public premiere at the Birmin…

Central Library Youth Department Hosting Coffee with Cops: Teen Edition August 21

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City of Birmingham police officers and Jefferson County sheriff's deputies put their lives on the line every day to protect citizens in our neighborhoods, schools, libraries, parks, and other places.

To show their appreciation for Birmingham's Men and Women in Blue, the Central Library Youth Department is hosting a new program called Coffee with Cops: Teen Edition. Police officers and deputies are invited to join our teens at the Central Library Youth Department's Create205 Learning Lab for free coffee on Wednesday, August 21, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Another Coffee with Cops: Teen Edition will also be held at the Central Library on Wednesday, October 23, 3:30–4:30 p.m. For more information, call 205-226-3655 or visit www.bplonline.org.

Smithfield Branch Library Debuts Monthly Teen Slime Lab; Job Hunting Class for Adults

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With school back in session, the Smithfield Branch Library has several new programs to entertain Birmingham students who drop in after school  this fall.

The library also has several new workshops to help adult patrons looking for a job or needing help sprucing up their resume.

Here is a listing of programs being offered at Smithfield Library in August and beyond:

Job Hunting Class for Adults, August 19, 11:00 a.m.
On August 19 the Smithfield Branch Library is kicking off a new monthly class for patrons looking for jobs. The class will take place at 11:00 a.m. on the third Monday every month. Participants will use Google's platform to search and apply for jobs.

NBA 2K19 Basketball Tournament, August 23, 3:30 p.m.
Smithfield Library is hosting a fun event allowing young gaming enthusiasts to show off their NBK 2K19 skills. Free but advanced registration is required by August 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Waffle Day Monday, August 26, 3:30 p.m. 
This afterschool program is celebrating National Waff…

Beat the Heat at BPL

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Beat the Heat at the Library By Lynn Hutchins, Central Library

Where do you go when you need somewhere cool to visit? Why don’t you head over to your local library?

Here are seven cool ways to beat the heat at the library:

Find a quiet spot to read – All branches have newspapers, magazines, and plenty of books.Use a computer – Browse the internet, learn a new skill, or conduct a job search. These are just a few ways to use the library’s computers.Research your family history – You can use our genealogy databases for researching your family tree. Drop by our Southern History Department at the Central Library to ask a genealogy question and get help from our library staff.Take a class or attend a lecture – The library has so many interesting and informative programs. Visit bplonline.org to find the right one for you.Find a new hobby – Learn a new craft at the library. Make some art, relax, have some fun, or even play some games.Check out books – Ask a library staff member to help you dis…

Virtual Investing Made Easy

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By Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library


If you are like me, you are always seeking new avenues to make your money work for you. Traditionally, starting a savings account has been the tried-and-true way to save a few coins, but over the years there have been a number of online investment strategies developed to help you do just that. If you are feeling a bit unsure of where to start, there are a few online options to give you the nudge you need.

Acorns – Uses “roundups” to invest when you make purchases by using your debit card allowing access to one portfolio offeringRobinhood – Works like Acorns but allows for diverse portfolio optionsStash – Deals with individual stocks no diverse portfolios
Analyze your financial situation, do a bit of research and discover which investment strategies work best for you.

Check out these resources at your local library!

Investing 101: From Stocks and Bonds to ETFs and IPOs, an Essential Primer on Building a Profitable Portfolio by Michele Cagan, CPA
In…

BPL Local Author Lectures: Jim Baggett on Using BPL Archives to Research Books

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When: Saturday, August 24, 10:00 a.m-12:00 p.m.
Where:Avondale Regional Branch Library 
About the lecture: Jim Baggett, BPL archivist, helps researchers and authors from across the globe do civil rights and other research for books using Birmingham Public Library's extensive archives collection. He will share tips on how BPL can help them in a talk titled “Getting in Their Heads: Using Archives to Understand Ordinary People in the Past”



The Birmingham Public Library’s Local Author Lectures series concludes on Saturday, August 24, 10:00 a.m., at Avondale Library when BPL Archivist Jim Baggett speaks on the topic "Getting in Their Heads: Using Archives to Understand Ordinary People in the Past."

Baggett helps researchers and authors from across the globe do civil rights and other research for books and papers using BPL’s extensive archives collection. He will share tips on how BPL can help writers.

Baggett’s work as an archivist won him a statewide honor, the 2019 Eminent…

Citizen Services – How to Get Unstuck out of a Rut Seminar at Central Library September 7

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What: Citizen Services – How to Get Unstuck out of a Rut seminar
When: Saturday, September 7, 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Regional Library Computer Center/4th floor
Details: Hosted by Sophia Hampton, educator and Magic City Toastmaster. Free but registration required.

Is your life filled with stress, worry, and anxiety? Are you tired of being sick and tired, feeling stuck with no way out? You’ve been down so long until getting up hasn’t crossed your mind. This seminar is sure to give you the boost that you need to get unstuck out of a rut.

By attending this seminar you will:

Become familiar with the signs of being in a rut and walk away feeling empowered and prepared to get unstuck.Discover ways of how to get from where you are to where you want to be.Develop insight into the crutches that are keeping you in the stuck position.Learn fun ways to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence and reignite your passions.Be inspired with out-of-the-box …

Nonprofit Management Class Series – Assessment and Evaluation of Nonprofit Programs Class at Central Library September 3

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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 tau…