Showing posts from April, 2020

Smtihfield Library Hosting Star Wars Day Virtually Monday, May 4

By Heather McWilliams, Smithfield Library Branch Manager

Smithfield Library Celebrates Star Wars Day
Program time: Monday, May 4, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
Meeting Place: Zoom video conferencing

May the 4th Be With You!

The Smithfield Branch Library is celebrating Star Wars Day. Join us at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 4, for a Zoom session to discuss the Star Wars franchise, the global impact it has made, and diving into some of the franchise’s newest characters.

E-mail to register for your spot.

 Check out Smithfield Library’s Facebook page for more Star Wars activities!

The World at Your Fingertips: Birmingham Public Library’s Digitized Map Collection

By Mary Beth Newbill | Southern History Department, Central Library

The Birmingham Public Library is home to an incredible collection of historic maps and atlases. Over 4,000 of them! Over the years, we have benefited from the generous donations of Rucker Agee, Joseph H. Woodward II, John C. Henley III, and Dr. Charles Ochs. The earliest map dates from 1528 and shows the known world at the time. It was created by an Italian engraver and cartographer, Benedetto Bordone.

Most of the early maps depict the western hemisphere during the Age of Discovery. Gradually, the focus of the collection shifts to maps of North America and eventually the southeastern United States and the State of Alabama.

Thanks to the support of the Sterne Agee Charitable Foundation, Inc., over 2,500 of our most significant maps have been cataloged and digitized and can be viewed online from the library’s digital collections.

Browsing the maps is easy and this accompanying video will walk you through that process. Each …

The Last Dance

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships in the 1990s. Their dominance in the NBA rivaled the 1980s Lakers and Celtics franchises led by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, respectively. Despite the team's success, however, problems behind the scenes almost prevented the Bulls from winning their sixth and final championship. 

General manager Jerry Krause had an antagonistic relationship with head coach Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen was involved in a contract dispute with the organization. For basketball fans, many wanted to see if the Bulls could bring home their sixth NBA Championship in eight seasons. The 10-episode documentary series The Last Dance on ESPN takes you behind the scenes of the Bulls 1997-1998 season. The team allowed a film crew to follow them around over the course of the season. 

The documentary airs on Sunday nights at 8:00 pm on ESPN. Two episodes are released each Sunday. The first four episodes have already been broadcast a…

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

By Catherine Oseas Champion | Archives and Manuscripts Department, Central Library

I know this book won't be everyone's cup of tea. Coming in just under 500 pages, Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea can be a little daunting. And the prose themselves take some time to get used to.

That being said, this book is a love letter to stories and storytelling. To myths and fables. And, perhaps most importantly, to imagination. This prose are haunting and magical. The story itself is the kind of whimsy only Erin Morgenstern can achieve. This is a story in which something new can be discovered every time you read it. I plan of reading its 500 magical pages again!

Truly a breathtaking novel.

5/5; would recommend.

BPL Local Author Reading Challenge: T.K. Thorne

What: Birmingham Public Library Local Authors Reading Challenge
Who: TK Thorne
Book:House of Rose
Details: House of Rose is the first of a trilogy, where murder and mayhem mix with a little magic when a Birmingham police officer discovers she’s a witch.
Video of Thorne reading: 

Retired Birmingham police captain turned author T.K. Thorne has answered BPL’s Reading Challenge, reciting a passage from her book House of Rose.

As a service for folks stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Birmingham Public Library has been spotlighting books being read by past participants of the BPL Local Authors Expo. The BPL Reading Challenge kicked off April 1 with Spin It Like That by Chandra Sparks Splond, an award-winning Birmingham-based author, editor and blogger.

Thorne's newest novel, the first of a trilogy, is House of Rose, where murder and mayhem mix with a little magic when a police officer discovers she’s a witch.

Click here f…

Watch BPL’s Bards & Brews Virtual Poetry Online on Friday, May 1

What: Bards & Brews Virtual Poetry Event
When: 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020
Where: Watch online on the Bards & Brews Facebook page.

For the second straight month, the Birmingham Public Library is hosting a virtual Bards & Brews online at 6:00 p.m. this Friday, May 1. Fans of BPL’s popular spoken word poetry/craft beer event will be able to watch some of metro Birmingham’s most talented poets online on the Bards & Brews Facebook page –

 BPL held its first ever virtual Bards & Brews on April 3.

Celebrating its 10th year, Bards & Brews has built a reputation as a unifying event for Birmingham's spoken word poetry and craft beer community. It is normally held monthly at library locations, entertainment and craft beer venues across metro Birmingham, but has moved online due to social distancing orders in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are encouraging the public to tune in through our Bards & Brews Facebook …

How You Can Participate in #GivingTuedayNow

By Catherine Frey, Director of  Library Development 

#GivingTuesdayNow, a global day to recognize and appreciate others, will be observed on May 5, 2020. There are ways we can come together and give back in response to the needs caused by COVID-19, even while social distancing at home.

#GivingTuesdayNow is a time to come together to spread generosity, build community and solidify support for organizations that are helping others anyway possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some ideas on how you can spread gratitude:

Thank healthcare workers. Use social media or email health care workers to send thanks for all of the care and compassion they give to patients fighting the coronavirus.

 • Thank essential workers. Hang a poster on your door for your delivery drivers to see, hang a sign on your mailbox to thank postal workers, thank your law officers, fire fighters, and EMTs. Appreciate your grocers, pharmacists, convenience store workers, mechanics and trash collection workers. These are…

Census Business Builder Serves As a Reminder of How Important It Is to Respond to the 2020 Census

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

Small businesses need access to data in order to thrive. What kind of data? Well, the kind that is collected and disseminated by the U.S. Census Bureau. Whether it is deciding where to locate, or what their market is, or who their competitors are, small businesses can make better, more profitable decisions by analyzing data that gives them a clearer picture of the social and economic characteristics of their communities. This data can be purchased from private research firms, but, thankfully, it is also available for free on the Census Bureau’s website. The bureau calls its small business database, Census Business Builder (CBB), and it is constantly being updated with new information gathered from a variety of sources. One of the bureau’s most important sources of new information is the 2020 Census. You get to the CBB from the Census Bureau’s website. It contains data gathered mostly by the bureau along with …

Smithfield Library Hosting National Superhero Day Virtual Program Tuesday, April 28

By Heather McWilliams, Smithfield Library Branch Manager

National Superhero Day
Program time: April 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Meeting Place: Zoom video conferencing
Email to reserve your spot

Did you know that the first superhero was created in 1936? The superhero was named Phantom and his origin story was featured in a comic strip in a U.S. newspaper.

In 1995, Marvel Comics employees created National Superhero Day. Each year on April 28th, National Superhero Day honors superheroes, both real and fictional that serve and protect while fighting evil.

For National Superhero Day, Smithfield Branch Library is Presenting “Get to Know Your Superheroes” this Tuesday, April 28, 1:00 p.m. via an online program on Zoom led by Erika White, a Library Assistant II  at Smithfield Library.

Post a photo of your favorite superhero on your personal social media and use #BHM247. 

We celebrate the characters that have brought us joy over the years through comics and film. We honor our f…

Free Online Game Access While Social Distancing

Shea Robinson | Fiction Department, Central Library 

Check out the following websites for free entertainment while waiting it out at home!

Steam: Free To Play Games on Steam
Access more than 100 free titles on the Steam platform by installing the Steam desktop application. The titles include action, indie, and multiplayer games.

Cardzmania: Classic Card Games
Play classic card games such as FreeCell, Hearts, and Gin Rummy solo or with friends. Sign up for a free account or sign in with a Facebook or Google login.

Epic: Free to Play Games on Epic
This digital storefront provides one free game download per week along with several free-to-play multiplayer games. Sign up for an Epic games account to gain free access. Additional sign-in options include Facebook, Google, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo logins.

Pogo: Pogo Games
Play classic games like Scrabble, Boggle, Mahjongg, and Yahtzee. Create or sign in with an EA account.

LearningExpress Library - Career Preparation Center

Do you need to prepare for a professional test to start a new career?  Over the years, we have had a number of patrons visit the library to request study guides for various exams.  Now, thanks to the LearningExpress Library - Career PreparationCenter, many of these study guides are available at your fingertips.  Prepare for the Postal Worker Exam, Firefighter Exam, Cosmetology Certification Exam, and many more.  LearningExpressLibrary provides .pdf study guides for nearly everything you find listed below.  These study guides can be downloaded and saved on your computer.  No need to return the book to the library and use it as long as you need.  In addition, for certain career areas, they include practice exams, flash cards, and tutorials.  Be sure to take advantage of this great resource through LearningExpress Library
Prepare for the Air Traffic Controller Exam
Prepare for Allied Health and Social Worker Exams
Prepare for Allied Health Programs Entrance TestsPrepare for Dental Assisti…


By Jim Baggett | Archives Department, Central Library

It’s time to color Birmingham.

For kids and adults, sitting down with a fresh coloring page and some crayons, pencils, or pens and filling in the blanks with whatever shades you choose is a soothing activity that can make hours of social distancing melt away. Coloring reduces stress and anxiety, improves motor skills, helps you focus, improves sleep, and lets you unleash your inner artistic genius.

So it was only natural that we take historic photos from the Birmingham Public Library Archives and make them into coloring pages. Just print, color, and enjoy.

And because in the Archives we believe that every place has a history that should be honored and preserved, we’ve chosen photos of places that you may know or may not recognize (except Terminal Station—you have to have Terminal Station). But they are all color worthy.

Use the hashtag #ColoringBham to share your coloring creations with us on social media. We can't wait to see …

BPL Photo Challenge: National World Book Day is Thursday, April 23

The Birmingham Public Library is partnering with the Magic City Acceptance Center for a photo challenge to celebrate National World Book Day.

Post a photo with your favorite book, talk about what the book means to you, or draw a new cover of the book. Be as creative as you like!

Be sure to use the hashtag #BHM247 when posting on your social media account.

World Book Day is set aside to celebrate the joy of reading. It is a charity funded by book setters in the United Kingdom and England, and supported by book stores across the globe.

For details, click here

BPL launched its month-long Photo Challenge on April 1 with the BPL National Walking Day Photo Challenge 

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.

The Clark Sisters: Icons of Gospel Music

By Russell Lee Central ⎸Arts, Literature and Sports Department, Central Library 

The Clark Sisters is one of the most versatile and legendary female gospel groups alive today. Jacky Clark Chisolm, Denise Clark Bradford, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Karen Clark form this dynamic sisterhood of God-given talent. Denise Clark Bradford is no longer a part of The Clark Sisters due to her own personal choices that she made years ago. They have changed with the times as gospel music has evolved from choirs or singers being accompanied only by piano, organ, lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums. The sisters are known for tight, complex jazzy-style singing but are at home singing traditional gospel and other genres of music.

Their mother was world renowned Dr. Mattie Moss Clark (Mattie Juliet Moss) who was born in Selma, Alabama, and attended Selma University where she received more training in choral singing and classical music. She later moved to Detroit in 1947 to be with…

Today Marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Today, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness of how human actions can affect the health of the planet.

Earth Day celebrations are going virtual across the globe today amidst the coronavirus pandemic, with "virtual protests, video teach-ins and more," according to USA Today. 

The website says Earth Day 2020 highlights two crises: One is immediate from a pandemic and the other is slowly building as a disaster for our climate.

The message: "We can, will, and must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for a coronavirus. Leaders ignored hard science and delayed critical actions. We still have time to prepare — in every part of the world — for the climate crisis."

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action, says

"The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue a…

Friends and Fiction

By Lynn Hutchins | Information/Circulation, Central Library 

How often do you get to “meet” several authors at one time? Here is a chance to do just that. You can join five bestselling authors for a Facebook live chat called Friends and Fiction to celebrate books and independent booksellers. Each episode is filled with book talk, writing tips, and more.

The authors are:
Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Alice Monroe
Kristy Woodson Harvey
Kristin Harmel
Patti Callahan Henry

Meetings are every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. (for a limited time). Go to the Facebook page of Mary Kay Andrews for more information and to join the sessions.

Here is a list of their latest publications:
Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews (May 5, 2020)
On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe (May 19, 2020)
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey (April 28, 2020)
The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel (March 17, 2020)
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (October 2, 2018)

Look for these new and recent arrivals at your local library soon.…

Documentary Review - Super Size Me

In 2002, Jazlyn Bradley, age 19, and Ashley Pelman, age 14, sued the McDonald’s Corporation stating that eating McDonald's food had made them obese.  In 2004, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock set out to determine if only eating McDonald’s food for thirty days would indeed lead to health problems.  This set the stage for his Best Director - Sundance Film Festival winning documentary Super Size Me.  I had heard about this documentary for years but only recently sat down to stream it on Kanopy.  Even though it is over a decade old, I highly recommend watching the film. Morgan began his McDonald’s journey by consulting with three physicians: an internist, a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist.  He also consulted with a registered dietitian and an exercise physiologist.  All five members of his health team evaluated his status before he drastically changed his diet.  Each determined that he was in very good health for his age.  His weight was in the normal BMI range, his blood work and blood…