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Showing posts from November, 2019

Seven Great New Books for Dog Lovers

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By Lynn Hutchins, Central Library

What are your favorite dog books? Many classics probably come to mind such as Lassie Come-Home, The Call of the Wild, and Marley & Me. The list doesn’t have to stop there. Here are some recent releases recommended for dog lovers.

Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt (fiction) – A legal mystery with humor and dogs about Paterson lawyer Andy Carpenter who discovers that someone left a perfectly healthy French bulldog at the vet’s with instructions to put the dog down.





Biloxi: A Novel by Mary Miller (fiction) - A funny story about a down-on-his-luck guy, Louis, who can’t catch a break until he meets a very good dog named Layla.







Dog is Love by Clive D. L. Wynne (nonfiction) – A great read for anyone who has ever loved a dog and experienced the wonder of being loved back.







A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron (fiction) – The story of one endearing dog's journey home after she is separated from her beloved human.







Extraordinary Dogs by Liz Stavrinides and Joh…

2019 Holiday Happenings at the Birmingham Public Library

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Happy Holidays from all of us at the Birmingham Public Library.

Seventeen of BPL’s 19 library locations are hosting over 60 free programs to get patrons in a festive holiday mood.

Activities include:

Three Christmas concerts -Friday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Pratt City Branch Library (featuring Abraham Diltz), Friday, December 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Powderly Branch Library (featuring Regi Yarbrough & Co.) Tuesday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. at West End Branch Library (Deirdre Gaddis, Crystal Leonard & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority).

Christmas pictures with library elves at Santa’s Workshop December 19 at 12:00 p.m. at Five Points West Regional Library. 

Gingerbread house building, December 4 at 4:00 p.m. at North Birmingham Regional Library and December 16, 3:30 p.m. at East Ensley Branch Library.

Holiday Fun: Ukulele 101! Saturday, December 21, 9:30 a.m. at Avondale Regional Library 

All day Christmas movie marathons at Pratt City Branch Library (December 6), Smithfield …

Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers Program at Central Library December 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…

2019 National Book Awards

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The National Book Foundation announced the winners of the 2019 National Book Awards on November 20.  The descriptions of each book are the judges citation from the National Book Foundation website.


Fiction Winner: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi blends the intellectual rigor of post-modern technique with a story that is timely, mesmerizing, and, in the end, unsettling. The exploration of different character perspectives lays bare the myth-making of the self and the damage that storytelling can do to others. Choi’s virtuoso accomplishment on the sentence level is often extraordinary—and pivots in astonishing and non-traditional directions while conforming to traditional ideas of excellence.




Nonfiction Winner: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

If Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House was simply an indictment of state sanctioned terror on the Gulf Coast, it would be a stunning literary achievement. Broom however shows us that such an account without breathtak…

A Librarian's Guide to Thanksgiving Revisited

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One of my most favorite blog posts that I have written over the years is A Librarian's Guide to Thanksgiving.  I didn't remember how long it had been, but it turns out it was only a couple of years ago.  I was talking to a friend of mine who remembered the original post and he encouraged me to post it again because he enjoyed reading it so much.  He compared it to rereading a book you like or watching a movie again.  Therefore, with only a few minor changes, I offer again my recommendations for having a happy and less stressful Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy it.

Tip 1.  Stop hosting every year- Some of you are sitting out there right now dreading the idea of Thanksgiving.  It's not because you have to fly or drive a long distance to visit family.  It's because you are already picturing the throng of family and friends who will be descending on your home for Thanksgiving.  I'm taking it back to Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, JUST SAY NO!!!  It's time for some…

Christmas Musical at West End Branch Library December 10

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What: Christmas musical
When: Tuesday, December 10, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Where: West End Branch Library
Details: FREE and open to the public

The public is invited to usher in the holiday season at the West End Branch Library's Christmas musical. Master of ceremony Reverend Tremaine Davis, First United CPC; performances by Deirdre Gaddis, Crystal Leonard, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and Upsilon Eta Omega Chapter.

Special thanks to Commissioner Shelia Tyson and Alabama State Representative John W. Rogers Jr.

"A Gathering of Continents: Revisiting a Birmingham Treasure, Rare Deluxe Edition of Joan Blaeu's Atlas Major" Lecture at Central Library December 15

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What: "A Gathering of Continents: Revisiting a Birmingham Treasure, Rare Deluxe Edition of Joan Blaeu's Atlas Major" lecture by Dr. Kenneth Knoespel
When: Sunday, December 15, 2019, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

On December 1, 1964, the Birmingham Public Library received one of the rarest and most beautiful atlases ever created. The 11-volume atlas, known as the Atlas Major, was published in 1662 in Amsterdam by noted cartographer Joan Blaeu. Sold at Sotheby’s for an undisclosed amount, the Atlas Major was purchased for the library by businessman and map collector Rucker Agee. The library is celebrating the 55th anniversary of our acquiring this unique piece of cartographic history by offering a free lecture on the history and significance of this treasure.

Dr. Kenneth Knoespel, a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will present a lecture on the Atlas M…

Monumental Stairs Project: Escalators Removed from All 4 Floors of the Central Library

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Pardon our Progress: The Central Library Monumental Stairs Project, in which a four-story staircase will replace broken down escalators in the East Building, has entered its third month.

Mountain Brook-based contractor Taylor & Miree, which began the project on September 16, hit another milestone last week, removing escalators from all four floors. The stair project, designed by Birmingham architect Creig Hoskins, is expected to be completed by early March 2020. The escalators in the Central Library stopped working in December 2014. 

Throughout the construction process, the BPL Friends Bookstore remains open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club

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by Jenn S. Patrick, Five Points West Regional Branch Library

The Dead Girls Club
Damien Angelica Walters

The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters is a twist on the classic story told by an unreliable narrator, and I think the author spun it with great success. From the beginning, I can see that the reader might be inclined to question the judgment of Heather, a psychologist who claims she murdered her best friend, Becca, when they were teenagers. Heather has grown up and hidden her secret past from everyone she loves, until it comes back to haunt her in the form of the necklace Becca was wearing when she died. Who could have sent Heather this necklace? Has her well-guarded secret been discovered?

When the author takes us back to the time surrounding the event, we learn that Becca and Heather were part of a “Dead Girls Club” in which macabre stories of true crime and lore were shared—stories that include the legend of the Red Lady, a witch who began haunting the girls of the club …

Steps to Starting Your Business Seminar at Central Library December 10

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What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in collaboration with SCORE and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will be hosting Steps to Starting Your Business on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. The seminar will be held in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

Topics covered in the seminar will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and economic information. Please register for the seminar by contacting Valencia Fisher in the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at Valencia.Fisher@birminghamal.gov or 205-254-2799.

Seminar presenters will be veteran mentors fr…

Celebrating 2019 Thanksgiving Holiday @BPL

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Happy Thanksgiving in advance from all of us at the Birmingham Public Library.

Several of our 19 library locations are hosting free events to help patrons give thanks to loved ones and have fun activities to get in the holiday mood. Programs include Family Fun Night at Avondale Regional Library paying tribute to the movie Frozen, Fall Bingo, and a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt taking place at Ensley Branch Library during operating hours from Monday, November 18 through Monday, November 25.

Here is a list of our upcoming Thanksgiving events, listed by day. Remember all 19 BPL locations will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Thursday, November 28 through Sunday, December 1.

For a listing of BPL holiday programs throughout the year, click on the BPL seasonal calendar.


Wednesday, November 13 

Active Living for Seniors: Tablescapes, 10:30 a.m., Five Points West Regional Library – Learn different ways to decorate your holiday table.

Thursday, November 14 

Fall Bingo, 3:30 p.m., Ensley …

North Birmingham Regional Library Hosting Diabetes Education Workshop November 12

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The North Birmingham Regional Branch Library's Tuesday Mornings @ The Library presents " Look at Diabetes" on Tuesday, November 12, 10:15 to 11:00 a.m.

 Coffee and light refreshments will be served at this free program.

The speaker, Dr. Larrell Wilkinson, will lead an in-depth discussion of diabetes, a devastating disease that afflicts millions of Americans. Dr. Wilkinson is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham's Department of Human Studies and the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center.  

Dr. Wilkinson is also co-owner of WELLKM LLC, an agency that supports businesses and organizational efforts to flourish within their communities. In his talk, Dr. Wilkinson will share tips on proper eating habits and exercise that can help lower the risk of diabetes. In his professional capacity, he does research that emphasizes promoting active living, stress management, healthy eating, and getting necessary sleep for good health.

About 84.1 million Americ…

Girls Code 205 Debuts at the Central Library

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On Thursday, November 7, the Central Library hosted the debut of Girls Code 205, a partnership between the Birmingham Public Library and National Center for Women & IT that won a $15,000 grant from the CSforALL (Computer Science for ALL).

The class consisted of nearly 20 mostly middle-school-aged girls, all of whom soaked in knowledge of how to code computers. The grant will support efforts over the next 12 months by BPL and its community partners to expand computer science opportunities for girls and young ladies in metro Birmingham.


The November 7 class, led by instructor Zena Banker, an engineering student at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, was the first of four free workshops.

Smithfield Branch Book Club Hosts Murder Mystery Program

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For the third straight year, the Birmingham Public Library has joined the popular “murder mystery” craze.

The Smithfield Branch Library on Wednesday, November 6, hosted a murder mystery program called “There Might Be No Christmas,” The Smithfield Adult Book Club, which meets monthly at the library,   took a break from reading a book to have fun trying to figure out the mystery killer, said Reba Williams, a library assistant at Smithfield Library.

Nationally, many public libraries are turning to murder mystery programs as a fun, creative way to create memorable experiences for patrons.

The Library Journal did a feature in March 2017 called Cozy Murder Mystery Programs That Pop.

While some use murder mystery games as a guide, others like BPL design and customize their own murder mystery programs. Two years ago in November 2017, the Smithfeld Adult Book Club also hosted a similar murder mystery party event with a Mardi Gras-theme.

In October 2018, the Five Points West Regional Library a…

Springville Road Library Hosts Talk about Movie Star Chief Thunderbird Tonight

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What: Chief Thunderbird: From Boarding School to the Big Screen
When:Adult program today, Tuesday, November 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Springville Road Regional Library; teen program Wednesday, November 20, 3:30-4:30 p.m. at West End Branch Library.
Details: Grace Slaughter, a member of the Cheyenne tribe and former children's librarian with the Birmingham Public Library, will present a multimedia program on the life of her grandfather, Chief Thunderbird, a Cheyenne chief who starred in 20 movies between 1934 and 1944.

The granddaughter of Chief Thunderbird will talk about his life as a movie star and legacy as a member of the Cheyenne Indian tribe at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library tonight.

Grace Slaughter, a former children’s librarian with the Birmingham Public Library, will present “Chief Thunderbird: From Boarding School to the Big Screen,” a multimedia program about her famous grandfather. Her program for adult and families will take place tonight, Tuesday, November 5,…

Central Library Monumental Stairs Project: 2 of 4 Escalators Now Removed

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Pardon our Progress: Two of the four escalators have been removed as the Central Library Monumental Stairs Project enters its seventh week.

Construction workers with Mountain Brook-based Taylor & Miree began the piece-by-piece process of removing four stories of broken down escalators in the Central Library East Building on September 16, 2019. The City of Birmingham is replacing the escalators with a four-story staircase, designed by Birmingham architect Creig Hoskins.


The entire construction project is expected to be completed by early March 2020.

The BPL Friends Bookstore remains open during the construction project Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Taylor & Miree workers removed the second floor escalator in late October and are slowly removing the third floor escalators this week. Once the escalators are removed, the construction crew will begin prep work for the transition to installing the four-floor staircase.

Holiday Gift Giving and Crafts

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by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library


What: Holiday crafts with the Burks
When: Tuesday, November 12, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Ensley Branch Library
Details: Free and open to the public

Are you looking for a low cost way to give some great gifts this holiday season? Well, join us at the Ensley Branch Library on November 12to create some amazing folded magazine crafts.

Mr. and Mrs. Winfield Burks, longtime library advocates, will facilitate a program that will provide you with an hour of relaxation, entertainment and creative outlet all while exposing you to some Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, and German culture. These crafts will take some time but are not difficult to make.

For more information, contact us via phone at 205-785-2625 or on social media. We would love to see your face in the place!

Check out these resources at your local library!

Paper Folding Fun by Didier Boursin
Paper-Folding Fun!: 50 Awesome Crafts to Weave, Twist & Curlby Ginger Johnson; illustrations by Betsy Day
Origami &…

BPL Girls Code 205 Wins $15,000 Computer Science for ALL Grant

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What: Girls Code 205, a partnership between the Birmingham Public Library and National Center for Women & IT, has won a $15,000 grant from the CSforALL (Computer Science for ALL)
Details: The funding will support local organizing efforts to expand computer science opportunities for girls and women. The Central Library is hosting a four-week Girls 205 workshop that kicks off Thursday, November 7, the first of many taking place over the next 12 months.

CSforALL (Computer Science for ALL), with support from Schmidt Futures, has announced the Birmingham Public Library’s Girls Code 205 program is one of 10 national EcoSystemforCS grant recipients. BPL is the only winner from Alabama.

Over a one year period, the 10 selected communities—including BPL— will receive a catalyst grant of $15,000 with a required 1:1 match. The funding will support local organizing efforts to expand computer science opportunities for girls in grades K-12, and unlock resources, partnerships, and opportunities.

BP…

Steps to Starting Your Business at Central Library November 19

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What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: 3rd Tuesday of each month, July–November 2019
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor

The Birmingham Public Library, in collaboration with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will continue hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business from July to September 2019. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following Tuesdays from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium, which is located on the 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library: November 19.

Each seminar will cover the same topics, but those who are interested are welcome to attend more than one day. Topics covered will include crafting a vision statement, identifying sources of funding, determining the legal structure of your business, devising a business plan, and investigating sources of business and econom…

Meet Author Tammy Nichole at BPL's Local Authors Expo November 2

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Tamara Freeman's journey towards self-discovery and loving herself began after she went through a divorce.

Now, using the pen name of Tammy Nicole, the Birmingham-based psychotherapist is using her personal experiences to help other women find the right mate - and discover self-love - through her new book, I Married My Father: Understanding How DNA Plays a Part in Choosing the Right Mate

Come meet Freeman as she is among 14 authors who will sell books and share their stories to attendees of the 2019 Birmingham Public Library Local Authors Expo. The event is Saturday, November 2, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Five Points West Regional Library.

Freeman talks of how  a lot of women's beliefs on dating and marriage are "based on their own relationship with their dad growing up."

 It was a lesson Freeman learned upon going through her own divorce. Freeman was living in California and moved back to her hometown of Birmingham, where she built a successful business and…

Meet C.L. Threatt at BPL Local Authors Expo Saturday

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Birmingham's C.L. Threatt is one of the most accomplished self-published authors in Birmingham, with 18 books under his belt.

Threatt will share tips on how to move from an idea to publishing  - and sell/autograph copies of many of his books - as one of 14 authors participating in the 2019 Birmingham Public Library Local Authors Expo, on Saturday, November 2, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library.

You can find a listing of Threatt's books on his website.

Threatt's latest three books are:
 * Sylvester the Investor, which was inspired by his fascination with the world of investing and "my wanting to teach it to kids because it's something I didn't learn when I was in school"

 * Up and Adam the Fitness Tandem - Inspired by Threatt seeing the rise in childhood obesity as a health issue nationally and desiring to educate the public about how to solve it.

 * The Bully Proof Vest - This book follows up on another children's …