Showing posts from December, 2019

BPL to Host Brothers and Bowties MLK Event January 18 at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

What: Brothers and Bow Ties: A Vision Cast
When: Saturday January 18, 2020, 12:00–4:00 p.m.
Where: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th Street North
Details: Brothers and Bow Ties is a pilot initiative targeting at-risk young males aged 11 to 18 sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library and the City of Birmingham Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services. The event, open to 50 young males who each will receive bow ties with a personalized message of hope, is a partnership between two male mentoring organizations, Growing Kings and BPL Real MENtors Talk. Author and motivational speaker Timothy Alexander will serve as keynote speaker. Brothers and Bow Ties is free and lunch will be provided, but advanced registration is required through Eventbrite. (Registration is filled.) For more information or to donate bow ties, call BPL Outreach Librarian Candice Hardy at 205-226-3625.

As part of a citywide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, the Birmingham Public Library wi…

Book Review: The Wives

The Wives
Tarryn Fisher

The wives in Tarryn Fisher’s domestic thriller know that each other exist, but in this polygamous relationship, they have decided to never meet...or, Seth decided that they should never meet.

Our main character, the second wife, gets to spend Thursdays with Seth and tries to convince herself that it is enough. When it was just her and wife number one, it was easier; but now that wife number three has come along, she struggles with jealousy and trying to one-up the others by being the best wife. She’ll be the most low-maintenance, the most caring, the best at homemaking, the most generous lover—all without letting on that she knows it’s a competition. It was enough until she accidentally uncovers the name of the third wife and then goes searching for Hannah. What she learns makes her question her relationship with Seth, the kind of man he is, and the relationship she is in.

Writing a good summary and review of this book without divulging secrets is a complicate…

Birmingham Public Library 2020 MLK Memorial Lecture to Spotlight Emory O. Jackson

What: Birmingham Public Library 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture: Emory O. Jackson, Crusading Editor for Civil Rights
When: Sunday, January 19, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL
Details: The Birmingham Public Library Archives Department is hosting its 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture. This year’s speaker is University of Utah professor Kimberley Mangun, author of Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Birmingham Association of Black Journalists is a sponsor of this event. For more information, contact BPL Archives Department Head Jim Baggett at or by calling 205-226-3631.

The Birmingham Public Library Archives Department's 17th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture is focusing on legendary civil rights editor Emory O. Jackson. …

New Stairs Replacing Escalators Arrive at the Central Library

Progress continues on the Central Library Monumental Stairs Project in downtown Birmingham.

On Friday, December 27, an 18-wheeler delivered the stairs that will replace escalators that have been  broken down in the Central Library since 2014. Contractor Taylor & Miree has removed all four stories of the escalators since construction began in mid-September. 

Installation of the stairs will begin in January, with Central Library's  East Building expected to re-open by mid-March 2020. Patrons can still take advantages of services such as checking out materials, using public computers and other services by entering the Linn Park entrance of the Linn-Henley Research Library, known for its famous historic murals.

The BPL Friends Bookstore also remains open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Creig Hoskins of Birmingham was architect on the stairs project.

In August, BPL released images of what the Central Library Monumental Stairs Project replacing the escalato…

BPL Honors MLK With Over a Dozen Programs in January

The Birmingham Public Library is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as all 19 locations will be closed for 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 20.

Prior to MLK Day, over the first three weeks of January, BPL will pay tribute to the slain civil rights leader by hosting more than a dozen programs and activities at locations across the city.

Here is a listing by location of MLK programs BPL will be hosting in January:

Central Library A Conversation with Nic Stone, author of Clean Getaway and Dear Martin Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 6:00 p.m., Central Library’s Arrington Auditorium

As part of a book tour for her new novel, Clean Getaway, author Nic Stone, best known for her New York Times Bestseller Dear Martin, will talk about writing career and sell/sign of her new books at the Central Library. For information, click below:

Brothers and Bow ties: A Vision Cast, a citywide MLK Event Saturday, January 18, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Birmingham Civil Rights In…

BPL Closed for the Holidays December 24–25

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 24 & 25, for the holidays.

As always, our virtual library is open 24/7 for your convenience.

BPL Friends Bookstore Closed Until January 7, 2020

The BPL Friends Bookstore is closed for the holidays. We will reopen and resume regular operating hours at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. We are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Have a wonderful holiday season with your friends and families. Thanks for your support in 2019 and please visit us in 2020. Remember sales at BPL Friends Bookstore support the Birmingham Public Library.

BPL Closing Early Today

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will close at 3:00 p.m. today and will reopen December 26.

SCORE Steps to Starting Your Business Returns to Central Library January 22

What: Steps to Starting Your Business
When: January–June 2020
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
Details: Free but registration is required

The Birmingham Public Library, in collaboration with SCORE and the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, will be hosting the monthly seminar Steps to Starting Your Business from January to June 2020. The seminar is scheduled to be held on the following days 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: January 22, February 18, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16.

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 …

Pratt City Branch Library Group Donates Quilts to Nursing Home

The Birmingham Public Library and our patrons love to give back to our communities.

Members of Needles & Thread, an adult group which meets weekly at the Pratt City Branch Library, is a prime example. Members of Needles & Thread, including Pratt City library assistant Kenyata Rogers, spent the past three months making quilts. On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, the group drove to Birmingham Nursing & Rehabilitation Center  on nearby Dugan Avenue, and donated the quilts to residents there.

 The nursing home staff said the quilts were a welcome surprise and will be greatly appreciated by their residents.

Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers Program at Central Library January 2

BPL Central Set to Host Monthly Informational Sessions on Medicare in 2020

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)
Details: Free and open to the public

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 m…

Southern History Book of the Month: Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats & Treasures

By Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department, Central Library

Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats & Treasures
Tim Hollis

Remember when you were a kid and you’d hear adults saying sometime in November, “Oh, Christmas will be here before you know it!” And you’d think they were crazy, because Christmas was obviously still so far away it might as well be on another planet. This was the time of waiting, seeing decorations start to appear, poring over holiday catalogs from Sears and J.C. Penney, and checking the TV schedule so you wouldn’t miss The Grinch or Rudolph or Charlie Brown.

If you want to recapture that feeling of being a kid again at Christmas, take a look at Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats & Treasures. You’ll be smiling and feeling like an excited six-year-old in no time. Birmingham’s own Tim Hollis has lovingly assembled a chronicle of Christmas memories that will resonate with any of us who remember growing up in the sixties. …

Holiday Happenings @BPL Continue Through January 3

With Christmas Day a week away and New Year's Day in two weeks, several Birmingham Public Library locations continue to host holiday programs to help patrons get in a festive mood.

 Here is a listing of remaining Holiday Happenings activities for patrons young and old, all free:

Today, Wednesday, December 18 

  * 10:30 a.m, Avondale Regional Library Books & Beads – Ugly Sweater Party - Join us for our monthly jewelry-making adventure. Adults of all skill levels are welcome. This month we're crafting easy "ugly sweater" necklaces and ornaments. Free but advanced registration is appreciated.

 * 10:30 a.m., Five Points West Regional Library Active Living for Seniors -- Christmas Crafts and Cookies - Come enjoy holiday crafts and cookies. Registration Required.

* 10:30 a.m., North Avondale Branch Library, Chapter Chatters Book Club Holiday Party -Book club members will celebrate the season with a good book discussion, snacks and music.

* 3:30 p.m., Inglenook Branch…

BPL Hosts Nic Stone, Author of Best-Seller Dear Martin, on January 8

What: The Birmingham Public Library Presents New York Times Bestseller Nic Stone
When: Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library’s Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium
Details: The Nic Stone Southern book tour for her new novel, Clean Getaway, comes to Birmingham, one of the cities featured in the book. Stone will talk with fans and sell/sign copies of Clean Getaway, the funny and unforgettable road trip adventure of a 11-year-old black boy and his white grandmother to historical landmarks in the South. They visit places she hoped to visit with his grandfather, but was unable to due to their interracial marriage, segregation, and racial prejudice.

On January 8, 2020, the Birmingham Public Library presents New York Times best-selling authorNic Stone at the Central Library downtown. Stone is stopping by Birmingham during a Southern book tour that will also take her to Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, and Jackson, Mississippi. Stone will sp…

Begin the Day: The Seventeenth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture – "Emory O. Jackson, Crusading Editor for Civil Rights"

What: Lecture on Emory O. Jackson, presented by Dr. Kimberley Mangun
When: Sunday, January 19, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

Drawing from her recent book, Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975, Dr. Kimberley Mangun will explore the life and career of Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World editor who fought for equal rights for Birmingham's African American community for decades.

Copies of Dr. Mangun's book will be available for purchase. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information contact Birmingham Public Library archivist Jim Baggett at 205-226-3631.

The event is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

by Perdeta Long, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

The new classic movie The Most Wonderful Time of The Year with Henry Winkler and the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart give us Christmas stories filled with hope, joy, and love rolled all in one magical package.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, an angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. In The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, single mom Jennifer Cullen is having trouble finding joy in the holiday season. Then her Uncle Ralph arrives at her home with the young, handsome Morgan Derby. Morgan's love of Christmas, and life, is contagious. Both movies just make you feel good by the end of the credits.

I find it fascinating that A Christmas Carol was originally published on December 19, 1843—176 years ago—and people are still enjoying a timeless classic that has been reinvented in movie form through the years. List…

The Christmas Card

by Jim Baggett, Archives Department, Central Library

The custom of sending cards and letters during the Christmas season became popular in the early nineteenth century. In Victorian England children wrote, in their very best handwriting, greetings to their parents. And adults, more and more, were writing Christmas letters to one another.

An Englishman named Sir Henry Cole (founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum) is credited with sending the first printed Christmas cards in 1843. The card depicted a happy family, each holding a glass of wine, and the caption read, “A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU.” Cole had asked an artist to design this special hand colored lithograph card that he could send to friends. The printer who produced Cole’s card ran off extra copies that he sold for one shilling.

Richard H. Pease, a printer from Albany, New York, is believed to have sent the first specially printed American Christmas card in 1851.

The first company to mass-produce and sell …

Janine Langston Named New Birmingham Public Library Deputy Director

Janine Langston, a 33-year veteran employee of the Birmingham Public Library, has been named as BPL’s new deputy director. She replaces Sandi Lee, who retired as BPL deputy director in December 2018. Langston's promotion was announced during the BPL Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night, December 10. 

Langston, of Pleasant Grove, has a bachelor’s degree in interior furnishings and equipment from Auburn University (1982) and a Master of Library Science from The University of Alabama (1988). She is active in several professional organizations, including the BPL Staff Association, Jefferson County Library Association, Alabama Library Association,American Library Association, Public Library Association, and Association for Library Services to Children.

Langston began her BPL career at Wylam Branch Library in 1986, where she spent six years as a neighborhood librarian. She was then promoted and spent seven years (1992-1999) as children’s librarian and regional department head at A…

BPL Receives $10,000 Grant for Alabama 2020 Census Outreach

The Birmingham Public Library has been awarded a $10,000 grant to promote, educate, and encourage participation in the Alabama 2020 Census.

BPL was among 34 government agencies and organizations Governor Kay Ivey announced December 1 will receive a combined $1 million in funds provided by the Legislature to increase Alabama’s self-response rate during the 2020 Census this spring.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama," Governor Ivey said. "Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state. I thank our legislators for allocating funds for these outreach efforts, and I also commend local leaders and organizations for being proactive in these efforts.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funding allocated by the Legi…

Holiday Rhythms Christmas Music Sing-Along at Central Library December 17

What: Holiday Rhythms Christmas Music Sing-Along and Music Forum
When: Tuesday, December 17, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
Details: Free and open to the public

Join us for a night of family fun singing, learning, and performing holiday rhythms together. Rosalind Crawford, music instructor; Marvin Pullom, pianist.

Adults and Peer Pressure: How to Live a Healthy, Balanced Life

Alisha Johnson, Pratt City Branch Library

Often times when we hear the words “peer pressure” we think of teens and others who are still at that stage of impressionability. Rarely do we think that adult peer pressure exists and that it could even be as damaging to one group as that of the aforementioned. However, adult peer pressure is very real and the effects of it could be that of a negative or positive tone.

Surely we have all heard of the idiom “keeping up with the Joneses,” and how this simple yet complex phrase has destroyed many families and lives. It speaks explicitly to the peer pressure that one feels when there is a perceived failure to keep up with one’s neighbor. In most cases it is materialistic. Many adults feel an overwhelming urge to work extra hours, drive a certain car, have the highest paying job, and acquire more in order to avoid emotions of inferiority. All of these things could have negative effects on a person’s mental health as well as physical health.

Allow …

Tuskegee Archivist to Give Polk Exhibit Lecture December 7 at Springville Road Regional Library

The Polk Exhibit, a series of photographs featuring the work of renowned black photographer P.H. Polk, is now on display at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

The exhibit spotlighting Polk, considered one of the most influential black photographers of all time,  provides a visual glimpse of 20th-century life on the Tuskegee University campus and surrounding community.
 A reception and opening lecture by Dana Chandler, an archivist/historian at Tuskegee University, will take place at Springville Road Library at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. The event is free to the public. Call 205-226-4081 for more information.

Chandler, a history expert on Tuskegee University, said much of Polk’s work was centered around what was then known as Tuskegee Institute, and celebrated family life, national and local elite individuals, and specific events occurring on campus. 

The exhibit, available for public viewing through December 30, 2019, is being sponsored by the Alabama Bicentennial Co…

BPL Closed for Inventory Day December 12

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Thursday, December 12, for Inventory Day.

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide high-quality library services, it is important to devote a day to housekeeping projects. Some of the projects include shifting books to create more space on the shelves, discarding books that are too damaged to circulate, and reading the shelves to ensure that the books are in order and can be located. These projects are done to better serve our patrons for the coming year.

As always, our virtual library is open 24/7 for your convenience.

12 Days of Sweet Treats for the Holidays

by Leigh Wilson, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library

With the holidays approaching, it is fun to think of baking sweet holiday treats for family and friends to enjoy. The Birmingham Public Library has many wonderful holiday cookbooks with great recipes to inspire you. Imagine yourself in Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, as you bake recipes that are sure to please your friends and family.

Best Holiday Sweets & Treats: Good and Simple Family Favorites to Bake and Shareby Daniella Malfitano (2016)
Christmas Candy Book by Lou Seibert Pappas (2002)
Christmas Giftsfrom the Kitchen by Georgeann Brennan (2009)
Cookies for Christmas edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling (1999)
Creating the Happiest of Holidays by Susan Whit Sullivan (2009)
Healthy Holidays: Total Health Entertaining All Year Round by Marilu Henner (2002)
"Holiday Baking Championship Recipes" at
Ideas for Entertaining from the African-American Kitchen by Angela Shelf Medearis (1997)
The Kids H…

JCPLA Presents its 2019 Library Champion Awards

The Jefferson County Public Library Association (JCPLA) on December 3 hosted its 2019 Library Champion Awards Luncheon honoring eight citizens for their support of public libraries throughout the county.

The Library Champions honored during the luncheon at the Hoover Met were as follows:

* Birmingham District 7 Councilor Wardine Alexander (nominated by Powderly Library Branch Manager Loretta Bitten)

Alexander is a former Birmingham School Board President who spent nearly a year on the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees before being appointed to the Birmingham City Council's District 7. Immediately after taking office, Alexander made it known she wanted to contribute to Powderly Branch Library in her district. She used part of her discretionary funds to provide paint, chair rails, and blinds for the library's meeting room. Alexander also provided $5,000 to purchase equipment for Powderly Library. ln November 2019, Alexander won a public election to continue serving as D…