Showing posts from 2020

Join the 2020 Spring Reading Challenge

The Birmingham Public Library is encouraging patrons of all ages to join with us this spring for our reading challenge. Let's enjoy the the joy of reading and the chance to win a mystery prize every week.

To enter the 2020 Spring Reading Challenge:

Visit the Beanstack website to log in or register for a new account and follow the instructions for how to participate. You may also use your mobile device to download the Beanstack Tracker app from the App Store or Google Play Store.Log the minutes you read to earn virtual badges. You may use the timer on the Beanstack app to assist with this process.All participants who read and earn badges in Beanstack will be entered into a weekly mystery drawing. The contest ends Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Nonprofits Can Now Search for Grants from Home Using Candid’s Foundation Directory Online Essential

All locations of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) are closed at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that does not mean that you can’t have access to the nonprofit grant seeker’s best friend, Candid’s Foundation Directory Online Essential. Under normal circumstances, access to the Foundation Directory Online is limited strictly to onsite patrons at the Birmingham Public Library’s Central location. But both BPL and Candid understand that we are all living through some rather extraordinary circumstances, and we can certainly exercise some flexibility in our policies in order to meet the needs of our patrons.

The Foundation Directory Online Essential is a searchable database containing a wealth of information about grantmakers who can provide funds to support your nonprofit’s projects. The profiles of the nearly 200,000 grantmakers included in the database contain details about each grantmaker’s contact information, funding interests, the types of funding they have available, …

Birmingham Public Library Hosts Photo Challenge for National Decorating Month

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a Photo Challenge during the month of April for our patrons. It kicked off last week.

This week’s challenge spotlights National Decorating Month. This is the perfect time to start a new home project or finish something on that to-do list.

You can share what your work looks like by posting on your personal social media page using the hashtag #BHM247.

Here are some resources to jump-start a new project:

Check out Michael’s Facebook page every Wednesday at noon for a fun family activity: 

Michael’s also has boredom busters videos for some home craft projects: 

Lowe’s is also offering a variety of how-to videos for DIY projects: 

Heather McWilliams, branch manager for Smithfield Library, shared this easy-to-do home decorating project:

“I enjoy decorating and repainting furniture and would like to share my recipe for hom…

Weekly Virtual Grubdown for Springville Road Library's Pets

Do you want to see what our library pets have been up to while the library is closed? Every Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in April, the Springville Road Regional Branch Library Children's Department will share an informative video on one of our library pets. We'll feature a short update on how our animals are doing, and even show you some of our pets from home! Feel free to leave a comment and ask us some questions; we'll be happy to fill you in! Check our library Facebook page for the latest updates.

Submitted by Mollie McFarland, Children's Department, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

BPL’s Presents Local Authors Reading Challenge: Joyce E. Brooks

Since retiring from Alabama Power more than a decade ago, Birmingham’s Joyce E. Brooks has written several books to help individuals overcome challenges and live their best life.

Her book titles include Self-Inflicted Overload, Stress Less and Live More, It Ain’t Over!, The Power of Two Words, Shift Happens and her first illustrated children’s book, Mr. Brown, Will You Please Open The Door? 

A 2018-19 participant of the Birmingham Public Library’s Local Authors Expo, Brooks has accepted the BPL Local Authors Online Reading Challenge to help patrons stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. The online reading challenge kicked off last week with author Chandra Sparks Splond. 

Click below to see a video of Brooks reading a sample from Mr. Brown, Will You Please Open the Door?: 

The book follows the determination of a 9-year old little girl, Destiny, who must walk through a special door in order for her dreams to come true. After a series of disappointm…

Impact America’s SaveFirst Offering Free Online Tax Help

Still haven’t filed your taxes? A Birmingham-based nonprofit that assists patrons at several Birmingham Public Library locations is now offering a free online tax help for citizens staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Impact America has launched SaveFirst Online, a new initiative providing free income tax preparation services online to households making up to $60,000/year in partnership with ASK Telemarketing and Code For America. Interested individuals should visit or call 1-888-99-TAX-AL to have their taxes prepared virtually by an IRS-certified volunteer.

 Even in times of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, Impact America is committed to providing quality IRS-Certified tax preparation to people in need, said Mary Kate Thomas, director of SaveFirst. Now more than ever, when many households across the state have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, SaveFirst ensures hardworking families have access to free tax preparati…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the North Birmingham Library

Big lights and fancy nights are not a thing of the past—just on pause while the nation heals. To many it seems like life has come to a halt, but we are here to help you stay connected to online learning and keep busy with fun, safe activities.

April is National Poetry Month and the North Birmingham Regional Branch Library has created several online activities that center upon our “Be Inspired” theme. We want to encourage you to Read, Write & Share.

Follow the North Birmingham Library Facebook Page to read poems and get links to videos, book recommendations, and information about poetry and poets.

Always wanted to be a poet? Take the North Birmingham Library writing challenge. Write a short poem, verse, or lyric about how you feel or the things you see in nature. Need help to get your creative juices flowing? Check out our Facebook page. Each week in April poetry prompts will be posted. Whether you are an experienced poet or trying poetry for the first time, these prompts will giv…

Bill Withers Fan? Download His Music and Other Artists Through BPL’s Freegal Music

America lost another musical icon as Grammy Award winning singer Bill Withers died this week at age 81.

 Did you know you can download digital versions of Withers songs and those of many other artists from Freegal Music on the Birmingham Public Library’s website?

See link to Bill Withers songs at this link 

To access a huge variety of songs on BPL’s Freegal Music link, click on and in the database link type “Freegal Music.”

Withers’ family issued a statement to the Associated Press today, Friday, April 3, announcing the three-time Grammy winner died of heart complications.

Withers is best known for his soul hits from the 1970s, including “Lovely Day”, “Use Me” and “AIn’t No Sunshine.”

His biggest hit was the 1972 classic “Lean on Me”, which hit No. 1 on both the Hot 100 and R&B charts.

The song has been a source of strength by those suffering during the current coronavirus pandemic…

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

While we may not be traveling overseas ourselves right now, we can incorporate travel into our genealogical research by using a marvelous database for U.S. passport applications. Available on, this database contains over three million images of historic passport applications. This article and the accompanying video will demonstrate how to access and use these fascinating documents.

The original applications are held by the National Archives and Records Administration and have been microfilmed. They have also been digitized and are available on and for a fee. Luckily, they are also on for free. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to create a FamilySearch account in order to view the digitized images,

The format of the applications changes over the years from simple letters addressed directly to the Secretary of State to official forms that include photographs. However, most of them contain such basic information as th…

Mask It Up Challenge

Before COVID-19 became a pandemic, we were busy with work, kids and school, meetings, gym, etc. Screeeeeeech...ALABAMA HAS BEEN ISSUED A SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER. No school. Work from home if possible. No movies. No hanging out at our favorite restaurants.

Now its Zoom video conferencing, Netflix binging, YouTube videos, TikTok© Challenges, cleaning closets...

Health officials have instructed us to:

Wash our handsAvoid close contact with peopleClean and disinfectWear masks as needed
The number of cases are steadily rising. Besides following safety guidelines, what can we do to help out? Make masks!

To my BPL crafters (closet crafters, crafting newbies): whip out those sewing machines, find some scraps of fabric, or take those old clothes with stains that wouldn't come out or rips beyond repair and let's MASK IT!

I challenge you all to make some masks. Bham Face Masks provides instructions to make masks, as well as the locations around the city to drop off the masks.

Take pics of …

Employment Opportunities are Still Available for the 2020 U.S. Census

Although the coronavirus has definitely created a setback, it has in no way put a halt to the 2020 U.S. Census. The U.S. Census Bureau is forging ahead, albeit on an altered timeline, to get a complete and accurate count of the population. In order to accomplish this task, the bureau needs to hire hundreds of thousands of temporary employees to support operations related to gathering, analyzing, and disseminating demographic data. This hiring process has been ongoing for months, but opportunities are definitely still available. To learn more details about employment opportunities available for the 2020 Census, and to apply for jobs, check out the Census Bureau website.

Census employees play a critical role in helping to insure a maximum response in their communities to the Census questionnaire. The need for a maximum response from the public to the 2020 Census questionnaire is great because our collective civic, political, and economic health depends on it. For example, each state’s …

Stuck at Home? Watch Bards & Brews Poetry Online Friday, April 3

What: Bards & Brews Spoken Word Poetry Online
When: 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020
Where: Watch online on the Bards & Brews Facebook page –  or BPL Facebook page
Details:Since the Birmingham Public Library’s popular spoken word poetry-craft beer event is unable to be held on site due to the coronavirus pandemic, BPL is hosting an online version on its Bards & Brews Facebook page this Friday, April 3.  For details, see below. 

If you want to enjoy some of metro Birmingham's best spoken word artists from the safety of your home, tune in this Friday, April 3, 2020, as the Birmingham Public Library hosts its first-ever shelter-in-place Bards and Brews.

BPL’s popular spoken word poetry/craft beer event, in its 10th year, is normally held at library locations, entertainment and craft beer venues across metro Birmingham, but is moving online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Bards …

BPL Featured in Atlantic Article: Our Towns: Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19

The Birmingham Public Library was featured in an article by The Atlantic highlighting how libraries are reliable sources of information and provide valuable online programming for their patrons at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

BPL was highlighted for its website link to resources related to COVID-19. The BPL coronavirus resource page, set up by BPL web administrator Melinda Shelton, is 

Tthe Atlantic stated, “The Birmingham Public Library in Alabama has a list of valuable links, including one that shows exactly where to get tested and includes details of hours, location, and necessity for call-ahead appointments."

The March 20, 2020 article, “Our Towns: Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19,” was written by Deborah Fallows, a writer for The Atlantic. Fallow has written several features on the Birmingham Public Library and the historic features of the Linn-Henley Research Library in the past.

Read the full article by here: https://…

Chandra Sparks Splond Kicks Off BPL Local Authors Online Reading Challenge

As a service for those stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic,the Birmingham Public Library is launching the BPL Local Authors Online Reading Challenge featuring past participants of the BPL Local Authors Expo.

The campaign kicks off today with Chandra Sparks Splond, an award-winning Birmingham-based author, editor and blogger. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends & Leaders for her award-winning blog, Book of Splond, which helps African-American women balance faith, family and fiction.

See video link to Splond reading a portion of her book Spin It Like That by clicking here 

Other authors who have participated in past BPL Local Authors Expo are invited to send video links of them reading a portion of one or more of their books.

BPL will feature the authors on the BPL website,, BPL Facebook ( and BPL Twitter (

Interested authors should send the following to …

BPL Photo Challenge: Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, Thursday, April 2

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a series of fun, safe photo challenges for our patrons. If you are looking for safe activities to do during this coronavirus pandemic, join us.

The series kicked off with a BPL Photo Challenge Wednesday, April 1, to celebrate National Walking Day.

The second BPL Photo Challenge is Thursday, April 2, which is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

Did you know that the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich recipe appeared in the Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics in 1901?

The beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich became wildly popular during World War II. It was featured on the U.S. Military ration menus. Peanut butter and jelly sales soared after the war because it tasted great and was easy to make.

To participate in our BPL Photo Challenge, post a photo of your peanut butter and jelly jelly sandwich on your Facebook or Twitter pages and add the hashtag #BHM247 to your post.

If you enjoy dressing up …

Birmingham and the Cholera Epidemic of 1873: First Responders

Birmingham was less than two years old when, in 1873, an epidemic of cholera almost killed the city in its infancy. Cholera is highly contagious, especially to people nursing the sick, and can kill some victims within hours. This would be the first of several epidemics and pandemics to strike Birmingham. And as we face the most recent pandemic, Covid-19, we can remember the courage and sacrifice of our ancestors in similar situations, especially the professionals we now call health care workers and first responders.

One courageous health care worker was remembered four decades after the cholera epidemic when a group of women who had lived in Birmingham during the city’s earliest years formed “The Pioneers Club.” These women compiled their recollections of young Birmingham and published them in the book Early Days in Birmingham. Editions of the book are preserved in the Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department.

One recollection, titled “The Cholera,” was written by Susa…

Watch BPL’s Bards & Brews Online on Friday, April 3

What: Bards & Brews Spoken Word Poetry Online
When: 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020
Where: Watch online on the Bards & Brews Facebook page –
Details: Since the Birmingham Public Library’s popular spoken word poetry-craft beer event is unable to be held on site due to the coronavirus pandemic, BPL is hosting an online version on its Bards & Brews Facebook page this Friday, April 3. For details, see below.

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting the first-ever shelter-in-place Bards and Brews this Friday, April 3, at 5:00 p.m.

BPL’s popular spoken word poetry/craft beer event, in its 10th year, is normally held at library locations, entertainment and craft beer venues across metro Birmingham, but is moving online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are encouraging the public to tune in through our Bards & Brews Facebook page,” said Candice Hardy, BPL Outreach Librarian and project manager over Bards & Brews. “We are asking par…

BPL Photo Challenge for National Walking Day Wednesday, April 1

The Birmingham Public Library is hosting a series of fun, safe photo challenges for our patrons.  If you are looking for safe activities to do during this coronavirus pandemic, join us.

The first BPL Photo Challenge is to celebrate National Walking Day, which is being observed on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Take a photo of your favorite place to take a walk, post it on your Facebook or Twitter pages, and include the hash tag #BHMLIB247 in your post.

Getting outdoors and enjoying the weather is beneficial to your health, as long as you follow social distancing instructions, said Heather McWilliams, branch manager at Smithfield Library.  The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent guideline to include walking in your exercise regimen. Those guidelines can be found at this link

 For more information about National Walking Day, click here 

BPL Donating Books to Students at Five Birmingham Recreation Centers Starting Tuesday, March 31

In an effort to promote the importance of reading for students homebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Birmingham Public Library is donating hundreds of free books to students at five recreation centers across the city of Birmingham.

The books will be given away this week at five Birmingham Parks & Recreation Centers that will also be giving free lunches for students in the Birmingham City School System.

During the hours between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, BPL will donate between 50 and 75 books at each of the five participating recreation centers across Birmingham, said Bessie Miller, a librarian and department head of the BPL Learning Center. The book donations will continue this week while supplies last.

The book give-away comes as BPL has launched its 2020 Spring Reading Challenge. This program  encourages students to read while out of school. The books were donated to BPL by Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, an organization based in Town and Country…

Avondale Library's "Mrs. Eve" Performs Online Storytelling for Kids Stuck at Home

Avondale Regional Library’s Eve Parker – better known as storyteller "Mrs. Eve” -has used her gift to make learning fun for young patrons across the Birmingham Public Library system for more than two decades, including five-plus years full time.

Mrs. Eve loves seeing kids gather at her “Tot Time” storytelling programs at Avondale Library and other libraries in the city. Since the current coronavirus pandemic has shut down public libraries across the country, she has adapted by taking her storytelling virtual to entertain young people.

Over the past two weeks, Mrs. Eve has built a loyal following on the Avondale Library Facebook page  by reading and educating viewers via self-made videos recorded on her iPhone from home. Besides telling stories while digging in the dirt and other activities Mrs. Eve, who leads Avondale Library’s popular “Ukulele 101” classes, has also been serenading her young fans by playing silly tunes on her banjo.

In a Q & A interview, Mrs. Eve talked abou…

Get Live Homework Help at Homework Alabama

By Lynn Hutchins, Circulation Department, Central Library

Need a hand with school work while stuck at home during this coronavirus pandemic? The Birmingham Public Library has online partners from a respected source- Homework Alabama - available to help.

On-demand tutoring is available online at: It is free and easy access from any device.

Tutors are available 24/7 in most subjects, so students can request help when and how they need it:
Connect with an algebra tutor at 2:00 a.m. for an unscheduled review sessionSchedule an appointment with a biology tutor to prepare for an examSubmit an essay or writing assignment for asynchronous review Students can even review or replay their sessions in real time to brush up on key skills before an assessment, or take diagnostic quizzes to identify areas where they need more help.

BPL Offering Online Resources to Help Students Study From Home

The Birmingham Public Library is offering online resources  to help students adapt to being home-schooled during the coronavirus pandemic. BPL is joining libraries across the country partnering with Gale, a national company that provides content and technology to help research and education at libraries, schools, colleges and businesses.

The resources are designed to assist parents in Alabama whose children are studying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced today, Thursday, March 26, that all state K-12 schools will be closed through the rest of the spring 2020 school year. Alabama public and private K-12 schools have been closed since March 19 by state health order to prevent the spread of the virus.

By following the links listed below, users complete information about their school and public library. Then they will be directed to a page to utilize and share resources for research, teaching and learning.
Miss Humblebee’s Academy (kindergarte…

Stuck at Home? Take Advantage of the Time and Complete the 2020 Census Questionnaire

Worries about the spread of the coronavirus have created a major disruption in both society at-large and in our own daily lives. Policies and procedures regarding quarantining, shelter-in-place, and social distancing have left most of us sitting in our homes, leaving only to take care of the most essential needs. So, what can you do with all the extra time on your hands? If you have not done so already, I would suggest completing the 2020 Census questionnaire. In case you were wondering, although our current public health concerns have created a slight interruption in the census-taking process, they have not stopped the U.S. Census Bureau’s efforts in moving full steam ahead towards fulfilling its mission in a timely manner.

The best news of all is that, for the first time ever, the questionnaire can be completed online, at home, using your computer, phone, or tablet. You can quickly access the questionnaire by going to the Birmingham Counts! web page on the Birmingham Public Li…

Catch Up on Coding Online at the Birmingham Public Library

Schools are closed, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop coding at the Birmingham Public Library!

BPL’s Central Library and Smithfield Public Library are hosting two online CS First coding classes for Spring Learning starting Monday, March 30, 2020.

BPL’s Spring Learning Challenge, launched this week, will feature three introductory level Scratch programs, including Journeys to Space with interactive presentations, while the other classes will feature two advanced level projects perfect for sports and fashion lovers. 

Here are the instructions to join Central Library and Smithfield Branch Library’s our online program:

1. Go to the following link:

 2. Click sign in in the upper right hand corner.

 3. Click I’m a student.

 4. If using CS First for the first time, choose new student and enter the class code.

 5. You will be given a username and password. Make sure you save them or you will not be able to get back to your project. Use these same…

Avondale Library Hosting Several Online Programs in April

The Birmingham Public Library will offer online services and virtual programs for patrons to utilize while homebound during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first branch to kick off our virtual service is the Avondale Regional Branch, which has announced several online programs throughout April.

Even though BPL’s 19 physical locations across the city are closed, our virtual library remains open 24/7 for patrons to download books, DVDs and other resources such as Overdrive, Hoopla and Kanopy. Go to the BPL home page  and click on the database you are interested in to make your selections.

Here is a list of online programs the Avondale Library is hosting in April:

Thursday, April 2, 7:30 p.m. Keeping it Reel: Weekly Kanopy Film Club 
Other Thursdays in April - April 9, April 16, April 23, and April 30 

Join us as Avondale Library Adult Department’s new film club explores a different film each Thursday from Kanopy’s vast selection of documentaries, foreign masterpieces, and classics. The ne…

Avondale Library To Host Sci-Phi Fridays: Science Fiction as Philosophy Online Discussion April 3

What: Sci-Phi Fridays: Science Fiction as Philosophy Online Discussion
When: Friday, April 3, 3:00 p.m.
Details:Avondale Regional Library is hosting “Sci-Phi Friday’s: Science Fiction as Philosophy,” an online video discussion group. Advanced registration is required. To sign up, email with Sci-Phi in the subject line.

“Sci-Phi Friday’s: Science Fiction as Philosophy,” an online video discussion created by Avondale Regional Branch Library, will debut at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020.

Through viewing this sci-fi video course, offered by The Great Courses, participants in the video conference discussion will explore how popular science fiction shows have tackled profound issues such as autonomy, sentience, pacifism, colonialism, racism, grief, morality, and much more.

In the week prior to the April 3 video conference, view the first episode of The Great Courses’ Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, “Inception and the Interpretation of Art,”…

All Birmingham Public Library Locations Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

In an effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), all Birmingham Public Library (BPL) locations are closed to the public until further notice. Please check back here for updates, or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Online Resources/Downloadables & Streaming
The BPL website is open 24/7. Your library card can unlock a world of resources, educational databasesdigital collections, and downloadable/streaming entertainment through Kanopy, Hoopla, OverDrive, Flipster, and Freegal.

Library Mobile Application
You can take the library with you using BPL's app.

Meeting Rooms
Library managers have begun contacting patrons regarding meeting rooms, and all meeting room bookings can be rescheduled or a refund issued to the patron or organization.

Coronavirus Resources and Information
Coronavirus COVID-19 has been the subject of many recent news and social media reports. With the increase of fake and unreliable news, the Birmingham Public Library has compiled a l…

The Dannon Project, BPL to host Employment & Wellness Fair March 25 at Boutwell Auditorium

UPDATE: This event has been cancelled.

Do you want to get a free health checkup, gain access to numerous healthcare resources and share your resume with potential employers at the same event?

The Birmingham Public Library, in partnership with The Dannon Project, presents the 2020 Employment & Wellness Fair on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the Boutwell Auditorium downtown at 1930 Abraham Woods Blvd.

The event, taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will include a career fair featuring numerous companies looking to hire employees and a wellness fair featuring vendors offering healthcare services and resources.

Among the vendors are: Regions Bank, Dannon Training Institute, SEI Security, InTime Staffing, Glenwood, Alabama Career Center, The Dannon Project,Snelling, OneRoof,The Maids, AccuStaff, the Crisis Center, Coca-Cola, Peachtree Hotel Group, Jefferson County, The Birmingham Public Library, UAB, Kelly Services, Dedicated Personnel, JCCEO,PSI Personnel Staffing, Big Brothers …