Showing posts from January, 2020

Nearly 60 Black History Month Programs Underway at the Birmingham Public Library

Did a scheme to segregate Birmingham’s population by race existed long before the city passed an ordinance in 1926 that legally sanctioned racial redlining of homes to keep blacks and whites separated?

Two Central Library discussions on that topic February 9 and February 23, led by Paul Boncella of the Southern History Department, are among nearly 60 free 2020 Black History Month programs under way at the Birmingham Public Library’s 19 locations.

Other programs of interest include:

 • "African Americans and the Vote" -2020 is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment (1870), which granted African Americans the right to vote (Programs will be Wednesday February 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Avondale Regional Branch Library, and Monday, February 24 at 6 p.m. at Five Points West Regional Branch Library)

 • Black History Month Concert by the Wenonah High School Choir (Thursday, February 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Powderly Branch Library)

The Spirit of Harriet Tubman Re-enactment. Presented by …

Book Reviews: The Nanny and Bring Me Back

The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

I recently read these two titles and thought they would be good to review together since they share a major plot point. In each book, a character thought to be long dead rather improbably returns.

In The Nanny, we meet Jo and her young daughter who are still processing the sudden death of their husband and father. Jo has been forced by circumstance to return to her childhood home and her mother, with whom she has a difficult relationship. Alas, poor Jo was forced to grow up surrounded by wealth, privilege, and the English aristocracy, all of which she now disdains. Jo’s only fond memories are of her beloved nanny, Hannah, who mysteriously disappeared when Jo was only seven. Or did she? Not only has Jo come home, but a woman claiming to be Hannah has returned as well and deftly ingratiates herself back into the household. Jo’s mother is, of course, hiding something (lots of somethings) and the reappearance of Hannah is most unexpe…

Free Tax Prep Assistance and Forms at Birmingham Public Library

As a service to the community, the Birmingham Public Library provides some paper copies of current federal and Alabama tax forms, instructions, and publications at the Central Library. Please check back for updates about which forms are available. Update 1/31: Federal forms/instruction booklets for 1040 and 1040-SR are now available in the Southern History Department.Alabama tax booklets 40 and 40-NR.

Federal Forms
IRS forms and publications

State Forms
Alabama Department of Revenue

General Resources
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – This governmental site has United States federal income tax forms, information, and tips. Includes warnings about tax frauds and scams, information about filling online, and the ability to track the status of your refund.

Free File Home: Your Link to Free Online Filing – This IRS site is about Free File, an "online tax preparation and electronic filing through a partnership agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC. In other words, you can …

2020 Black Heritage Fair is Saturday, February 1 at Central Library

What: 2020 Black Heritage Fair Theme: African Americans and the Vote
Where: Linn-Henley Research Library, Arrington Auditorium, 2100 Park Place
When: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, February 1, 2020
Details: The 2020 Black Heritage Fair will have several genealogy displays, singers, vendors, children dancers, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) information table, and guest speaker from the Walker County NAACP.

On Saturday, February 1, the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group, Inc. (BAAGG) will host its annual Black Heritage Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Central Library's Arrington Auditorium, Linn Henley Building downtown.

This year’s Fair theme “African Americans and the Vote” is intended to educate the general public with an interest in African American genealogy and culture. This event is free and open to families and patrons of all ages.

The 2020 Black Heritage Fair will have several genealogy displays, singers, vendors,…

Registration Open for February Computer Classes at Central Library

Registration is now open for the February 2020 computer classes at the Central Library. Topics include computer skills, career guidance, GED prep, and genealogy. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center. See the complete list of February classes.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. Register online through the BPL events calendar. You will receive an automated confirmation confirming your registration.

Public Libraries In Jefferson County Will Offer Fine Amnesty in February 2020

It’s time to pull out that long overdue library book because February is Fine Amnesty Month for The Public Libraries In Jefferson County. During this month patrons can have their overdue fines removed from their account and begin using their library card again.

Regardless of how overdue an item is, all Public Libraries In Jefferson County will waive all overdue fees, clearing the account for checkout of new materials. Fine forgiveness does not apply to fees charged for lost materials, however.

The goal of this amnesty program is to get patrons back into the library and using it again. We want library materials back and we want patrons to be able to use the library.

For more information visit the The Public Libraries In Jefferson County Fine Amnesty FAQ.

Save the Money and Do-It-Yourself

So last year my daughter requested a room makeover as a birthday gift and I immediately thought to myself, Wow this is going to be overwhelming and very time consuming. I also thought, Maybe I should just pay someone to do this and save myself the hassle. My daughter says, “It’ll be fun, let’s do it ourselves.” Surprisingly so, this project turned out to be one of the best Do-It-Yourself projects we’ve completed, thus far, as a family.

We took this project, broke it down into phases, and tackled each phase a day at a time. I checked out all of the books I could on how to paint, hide wires, and assemble furniture as I accumulated all the necessary accessories we would need to be successful. After three full days of hammering, screwing, and measuring we had accomplished a beautiful room that was unique to her 11-year-old personality and style.

We saved money, and in the process, took advantage of family time and togetherness. She loves the new, improved room, so I think we will take a …

Passport Fair at Central Library January 25

What: Passport Fair
When: Saturday, January 25, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Government Documents Department/3rd floor
Details: Free and open to the public

If you are thinking about traveling abroad in the near future and need a passport, then plan on being at the Birmingham Public Library’s Passport Fair on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The passport fair provides passport service so you can get the process underway without an appointment.

Walk-ins are welcome, and passport photo service will be available.

Please bring the following with you:
Completed Form DS-11 if you are applying for the first time, or are under age 16Evidence of U.S Citizenship, such as: U.S. Birth Certificate (original or certified copies only) Certificate of Naturalization Certificate of Citizenship Personal identification with a recent photo, such as:
U.S. Driver’s License Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship Government Employee ID U.S. Military or U.S Military Depen…

BPL, Birmingham Police Department Partner for Conversation/Reading With a Cop

The Birmingham Public Library's Real Mentors Talk program and Birmingham Police Department are partnering to host several programs in which police officers will talk and read to school-age children at six libraries.

Real Mentors Talk program was created last fall to allow BPL to partner with organizations and groups desiring to invest in the lives of young children.

"Real Mentors Talk: Conversation with a Cop" is designed to allow Birmingham police officers to speak with older school-age children in select BPL locations about their roles in protecting citizens. The officers will also answer questions from the students.

"Real Mentors Talk: Reading with a Cop" is a program in which Birmingham police officers will read books to younger school-age children in select BPL locations.

The program dates will be as follows:

Conversation with a Cop

* Tuesday, February 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Smithfield Branch Library, 1 8th Ave. West

* Thursday, February 13, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Ce…

Let’s Talk about Medicare: Questions and Answers Program at Central Library February 6

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 missing out on valuable benefits that you and your loved ones are entitled …

Central Library Now Offering Free Weekly GED Classes

The Birmingham Public Library is now offering free GED classes weekly at the Central Library downtown in a partnership with Jefferson State Community College.

The classes began January 13, 2020, and are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thurdays from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the  Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC), 4th Floor, inside the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. The GED classes are taught by instructors from Jefferson State Community College.

GED is an acronym for General Educational Development. The GED exam is a series of four tests a person can take in the areas of math, reading/writing, science and social studies to assess their high school academic knowledge.  

GED classes help folks prepare to take the GED test, led by instructors who can identify weaknesses and help strengthen their comprehension.

For more information at BPL, contact BPL Training Coordinator Maurice Harley at 205-226-3625 or via email at For informatio…

Bards & Brews Open Mic at Birmingham Improv Theatre February 7

What: Bards & Brews Open Mic poetry event
Where:Birmingham Improv Theatre
When: Friday, February 7, 6:00–9:00 p.m.
Details: Free and open to the public

The Birmingham Improv Theatre is hosting the February Bards & Brews open mic night, 6:00–9:00 p.m. Voice Porter will serve as emcee and host. Music by G.I. Magus. Beer samples provided by Interstellar Ginger Beer and Exploration Co. of Alabaster.

For more information visit Bards & Brews on Facebook.

Bards & Brews is made possible by a generous donation from the Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library.

Birmingham Public Library Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day January 20

All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Monday, January 20, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Program to Help People with Chronic Diseases Starts at Inglenook Library January 27

Inglenook Branch Library is hosting a free six-week course designed to help Birmingham residents and caregivers cope with chronic diseases. The workshops are led by Living Well Alabama, an organization that teaches people who live with, know, or care for people suffering from chronic diseases how to cope with the condition and improve the quality of their lives.

Please note: Dates for this program have been moved from Mondays January–March to Tuesdays February–March. This series of six consecutive workshops will run from Tuesday, February 4, through Tuesday, March 10, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Inglenook Library. Upon completion, a certificate along with a $25 gift card will be provided to everyone who attends all six classes.

Take control of your health or become educated on helping someone take control of theirs by contacting the Inglenook Library at 205-849-8739 to register or register online through the BPL events calendar. Seats are limited and only 25 people are permitted to …

1-2-3 Play with Me Kicks Off at Southside Library February 6

The Birmingham Public Library is kicking off new sessions of 1-2-3 Play with Me at four library locations.

Playing with your baby is not only important for bonding, but is also an educational experience for your child. We are providing a special time and place for you to come to the public library and spend one-on-one time playing with your child. This five-week program involves children birth through age 3 and their parents or caregivers. The library will have age-appropriate toys, books, and art activities just for you and your child. Also, we have invited special guests from the community to join us each week to answer your questions about parenting.

1-2-3 Play with Me emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitates early intervention, and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy. 1-2-3 Play with Me is the signature event for Family Place Libraries and is a community project grant recipient of the Junior League of Birm…

Friends Bookstore Has New Hours of Operation Beginning January 14

Due to ongoing construction at the Central Library, the new hours of operation for the Friends Bookstore are Monday–Friday, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

Although the Central Library's East Building is closed to the public and all departments have been relocated to the Linn-Henley Research Library, the bookstore remains accessible through Central's parking lot entrance.

What Else They Brought: An Introduction to Native African Art and Contemporary African American Art Lecture Presented by Octavia Kuransky at Central Library February 25

What: What Else They Brought: An Introduction to Native African Art and Contemporary African American Art lecture presented by Octavia Kuransky
When: Tuesday, February 25, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Where:Central Library/Linn-Henley Research Library/Arrington Auditorium/4th floor
Details: Free but registration is requested through the BPL events calendar

Africans transported as slaves to America brought more than their labor. They also brought enormous cultural influence on music, food, and art.

This lecture concerns itself with the African influence on art. It begins with an introduction to original African pieces, moves to folk art expression after the arrival of Africans in America, includes examples of African American fine art, and concludes with a look at how African American history and identity is reflected in contemporary art.

The program will feature numerous examples from the collections of the Birmingham Museum of Art. The program presenter is Octavia Kuransky. Kuransky holds a BA in …

Annual King Lecture Remembers Crusading Black Journalist

We hope you will join the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists as we host historian Kimberley Mangun for our Seventeenth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture at the Central Library on Sunday, January 19, at 3:00 p.m. Dr. Mangun will discuss her new book, Editor Emory O. Jackson, the Birmingham World, and the Fight for Civil Rights in Alabama, 1940-1975. The event is free and open to the public.

Emory Jackson served as editor of the Birmingham World, our city’s longest running African American newspaper, from 1941 until his death in 1975. As a crusading journalist, Jackson was sometimes at the center of historic events, other times commenting from the sidelines. He battled for the right of every person to vote and he battled against the unfairness and indignities of Jim Crow.

Jackson was a fighter, but he was also an eloquent voice for justice and decency. We see his eloquence, and weary anger, in the newspaper column he wrote three…

BPL to Honor Former Interim Director Sandi Lee, Welcome New Deputy Director

The Birmingham Public Library invites the public and Birmingham officials to a reception honoring former deputy and interim director Sandra V. Lee and introducing new Deputy Director Janine Langston. 

The reception will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 in the Arrington Auditorium, 4th floor of the Linn-Henley Research Library.

A plaque honoring Lee for her over 25 years of service at BPL will be unveiled during the event. Light refreshments will be served.

Mentors Sought for Brothers & Bow Ties, BPL Black History Month Programs

What: Mentors Sought for 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 (Registration is filled.) For more information or to donate bow ties, call BPL Outreach Librarian Candice Hardy at 205-226-3625.

The Birmingham Public Library is seeking adult males to greet 50 at-risk young men who have registered for an upcoming MLK Weekend Brothers &am…

Business License Renewal Now Available at all Birmingham Public Library Locations

In conjunction with the City of Birmingham’s efforts to improve customer service for its citizens, business owners can now renew their business licenses at all 19 Birmingham Public Library locations.

The online service sponsored by the City of Birmingham is available via public computers at any BPL location across the city.

In addition, business owners have the option to submit and pay for business license renewals via chrome books at these five BPL locations:

 • Central Library, 2100 Park Place (Note: services will be at the Linn-Henley Research Library until the Central Library East Building Monumental Stairs Renovation Project is completed by late March 2020)

 • Avondale Regional Branch Library, 509 40th St. South

 • Five Points West Regional Branch Library, 4812 Avenue West

 • Springville Road Regional Branch Library, 1224 Old Springville Rd.

 • North Birmingham Regional Branch Library, 2501 31st Ave. North

Signs within the five libraries will direct patrons to the business kios…

2020 Winter Reading Challenge

What: Birmingham Public Library 2020 Winter Reading Challenge
When: January 2–February 3, 2020
Details: BPL is among libraries across the country participating in Beanstack’s 3rd Annual Winter Reading Challenge. All participants who read and log 310 minutes (10 min a day) through February 3, 2020, will be entered into a drawing for a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

Cold weather months are a good time to curl up to a good book. The Birmingham Public Library wants to encourage patrons of all ages to take time out this winter and experience the joy of reading. Hundreds of libraries and schools across the nation are encouraging their communities to read a target number of minutes and books.

To enter the 2020 Winter 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 virt…