TumbleBook Library is an online collection of animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they'll love. TumbleBooks are created using animation, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you. TumbleBooks also includes chapter books you can read online, interesting videos, puzzles, and books in Spanish and French.
The TumbleBook Library is a collection of titles from children's book publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Harcourt, HarperCollins, and many more. Check out Tumblebooks and all these other children's resources from Birmingham Public Library.
The Birmingham Public Library will kick off the new year with three money management classes in January. All classes are free and open to the public.
Learn about saving and investing with Andreas Rauterkus, associate professor of accounting and finance at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Attendees will learn how to understand various financial markets, evaluate different saving and investment options, develop ways to make better investment decisions, and more.
Five Points West Library
Take control of your finances in a workshop led by UAB professor Dale Callahan. He will discuss ways to increase income, save more, and how to eliminate personal debt will be addressed. (Check out Callahan’s website: www.dalecallahan.com.)
Bring the little ones to see Phillip “Mr. Mac’’ McEntee as he leads “A Penny Saved’’ in this children’s program. Using Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “A penny saved is a penny earned,’’ McEntee will teach children about the importance of saving money.
For more information, call Jim Murray at 205-226-3690 or visit www.making-cents.org.
The Birmingham Public Library and 14 other libraries in Jefferson and Shelby counties offer the series. The programs will end in May 2014. Other BPL locations include Avondale, Five Points West, North Birmingham, and Springville Road.
The classes are part of a national grant program known as MakingCents: Resources to Help Your Money Grow and Smart investing@your library®, a partnership between the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
Main Reading Room, Southern History Dept., Linn-Henley Research Library
All Birmingham Public Library locations will be closed Thursday, December 19, 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. These projects are done to better serve our patrons for the coming year.
If you knew me, seeing a blog post I’ve written about baking would thrust you into immediate laughter. I don’t bake. I have baked, but the last 9” springform pan cheesecake I made could not be sliced with a chainsaw, so I hung up my apron. What’s the deal with baking cheesecake anyway? Google how to bake a cheesecake and look at the 17 million results you get. Place it in a water bath so it bakes at an even temperature, turn the oven off and let it continue to bake, take it out when the center is almost set. What does that even mean? I asked a coworker and she said in a haughty tone, “I can just look at it and tell.” Well, good for you!
Let’s talk about how competitive people are when it comes to baking. I won’t use names to protect the innocent, but they know who they are. One cheesecake baker told an award-winning chef that she IMPROVED his recipe by adding an ingredient. Huh? A pound-cake baker who is very reluctant to eat anyone else’s cake usually ends up complaining about how dry it is and saying what she would have done differently. We've all heard this before: "They asked me to bake a cake because they won't eat anyone else's." Here’s the deal. If you’re on television on a Gordon Ramsay show or participating in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, feel free to trash talk. If you’re bringing a cake to your greedy coworkers, they can’t even tell what it tastes like. It’s free food and they are happy to get it.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than a good slice of pound cake or cheesecake. One of my friends made a cheesecake so remarkable that I refused to believe she baked it. A friend’s sister made a pound cake so moist and flavorful that my aunt, who refuses to compliment anyone’s cooking, broke her code and admitted it was good. Hats off to all of you who are wowing your families with holiday goodness. Just don’t get stressed about it, be nice to the other bakers in your family, and remember no matter how good your cake or pie is, there’s someone who bakes it better than you. Smile. Happy Holidays.
- Bake it like you mean it
- CakeLove : how to bake cakes from scratch
- Essential cake boss : bake like the Boss
- Fabulous party cakes and cupcakes
- Martha Stewart's cakes
Read by Ben MacLaine, Hamish R. Johnson, and Chelsea Bruland
"Lucy is on a mission to find Shadow, the urban graffiti artist to whose work she is drawn. But as the night unfolds, she may find that Shadow is closer than she thinks. Three Australian voices mesh to give this story an authentic sense of character, place, and point of view."
I'd read the blurb for this novel and didn't expect to like it, despite the Australian setting. And I've been pleasantly surprised. Of course, I suppose the blurb would have given too much away if it had revealed Shadow's identity! The three voices complement each other well. I actually liked Poet's deep, thoughtful voice, in spite of the short interludes he gets to narrate. There really isn't much differentiation between male/female voices when Ed and Lucy are speaking, which got confusing for me when they are relating conversations—but I was willing to forgive those moments, other parts drew me in so totally. I was laughing out loud when Ed and Lucy lose control of the bicycle and she runs him over, then Jaz tells Lucy aggravated assault may not be the best way to get a guy. The Melbourne-area accents are accurate (if you listen to the Markus Zusak novels, you'll note the difference between Melbourne and Sydney).
Five Points West Library
Driven by Donald Driver is the autobiography of a former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver. Driver pens a very interesting and engrossing book. Growing up, Donald experienced homelessness and a troubled life in Houston, Texas. He managed, with the help of his stepfather and grandparents, to overcome poverty, get a college education at Alcorn State University, and become a Wide Receiver in the NFL. Along the way, he had varied experiences which he recounts including stories about playing for the Packers and finally winning a Super Bowl Championship at the end of his career. A truly inspiring read, I couldn’t put this book down. Recommended for those who love football.
The Rejected Stone by Reverend Al Sharpton gives insight into what it takes to be a leader. This book reads like a who’s who of African-American Civil Rights leaders, entertainers, and politicians. Starting out as a boy preacher, Reverend Sharpton got to know such luminary figures as Mahalia Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, and James Brown. In this book, Reverend Sharpton gives details about the highs and lows of his life and career and offers advice on what to do in a myriad of situations. This book is recommended for those who aspire to be a leader or for those who just enjoy a good autobiography.
The Dirt on Clean by Katherine Ashenburg, published in 2007, chronicles the history of personal hygiene from the ancient Greeks and Romans until today. The Romans achieved the ideal in personal cleanliness that would not be achieved again until the 20th century. Ashenburg reveals the myths and fallacies that were attached to cleanliness, for example, King Louis XIV reportedly never had a bath in his life but believed changing his shirt everyday was a mark of personal cleanliness. I found a reference to this book while reading an article online and thought I should give it a try. The author of this book is an excellent writer and has done good research. Recommended for those who enjoy learning about the story behind things we take for granted.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare tells the story of a seemingly normal teenager, Clary Fray. Clary’s world is turned upside down when her mother is kidnapped and she finds out she is a descendant of Shadowhunters and possesses supernatural abilities. I couldn’t put this book down and it was a quick read. I kept intending to go see the movie that came out this year entitled Mortal Instruments: City of Bones but will have to watch it on dvd. Recommended for teens and adults who enjoy magical worlds and the paranormal.
I found the following items and thought they would make great gifts:
Candy Crush Candy - For all of you out there who are playing the Candy Crush Saga computer game, they now have the candy.
Lego Light Switch Plate - For all of you Lego lovers. You only get the light switch base plate and have to provide your own Legos.
Custom Molecule Jewelry - Our Summer Reading themes for 2014 are Fizz Boom (Youth), Spark a Reaction (Teen) and Literary Elements (Adult). Wear your jewelry and get someone interested in chemistry. Also, check out these molecule puzzles called Lab Test Games.
Snack Treat Notebooks are so neat. Take a look at these; one looks like a cheese cracker and the other looks like a chocolate cream filled cookie.
If you enjoy making gifts, take a look at the following websites:
Pillsbury has a plethora of recipes. The ones I like are the Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree, Christmas Tree Sandwich Cookies and Christmas Tree Ornament Cookies.
Hershey’s Kisses website has wonderful Christmas crafts you can make that are eye catching and delicious. I think I’d like to try the Snowman Soup.
M & M’s has a recipe for Rice Krispies Tree Trimmer Treats for you to make along with other yummy recipes.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I hope this makes your holidays easier by giving you gifting ideas.
West End Library
Earn a free ticket to the circus!
Beginning December 16 through January 24, children ages 2-12 may visit their local Birmingham Public branch library to join the Reading with Ringling Bros. program and earn a FREE ticket to the circus! The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be performing at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Arena this year from Thursday, January 22, through Sunday, January 26. Participating children who read five (5) books before the January 24 cutoff date can get a free ticket to see the Greatest Show on Earth!
Here's how it works: Speak with a librarian at your local Birmingham Public branch library to register each child (ages 2-12). Each child must read at least five (5) books to receive his or her redeemable ticket from the library. There is a required parent/guardian ticket purchase upon redemption of the child's card. For every one (1) paid adult ticket, three (3) free kids' tickets can be redeemed. See the front and back of the redemption card for more information. Children under 2 receive free admission to the circus.
At Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, animal care is a relationship built on respect, trust, affection and uncompromising care. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is also strongly committed to saving endangered species. For information about their ongoing conservation efforts visit www.elephantcenter.com or www.ringling.com/conservation.
So, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages...what are you waiting for? Hurry up and use your trapeze, unicycle, or clown car to get to the library!
Registration has begun for the 2014 Local Authors Expo & Book Fair at the Birmingham Public Library. This annual event provides an opportunity for authors from the Birmingham area to meet the reading public, autograph books, and network with other writers. The Expo will be held at BPL's Central Library at 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday, February 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free for the public, but registration is required for authors who wish to promote and autograph their books.
In addition to hosting up to 100 authors at this year's event, there will be two presentations open to the general public: At 10:00 a.m., young adult author Anne Riley will discuss "How to Write While Having a Life," and at 1:00 p.m., a panel of authors from See Jane Write (Javacia Harris Bowser, Stephanie Naman, and Kathryn Lang) will talk about "How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Book."
So if you're a Birmingham author: Click Here to Register
The registration fee is $5. For an idea of what to expect, browse our photos of the 2013 Expo. For the general public to attend, no registration is required.
John DeMotte, Atrium - Birmingham Public LibraryArchival Pigment Print, 2013Image is 11 x 16 1/2 printed on 17 x 22
Epson Fine Art PaperLimited edition of 25
Library’s recognizable windows. For the Library Lover on Your Gift List!
Purchase a one-of-a-kind gift for someone on your holiday shopping list and donate to the Birmingham Public Library at the same time!
Birmingham artist John DeMotte has created this gorgeous limited edition print (there are only 25 prints available and they are going quickly) just for Birmingham Public Library supporters.
This photo print of the Central Library’s East Building looks out onto the corner of Park Place and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard toward the Tutwiler Hotel. The photograph beautifully conveys the contemporary architecture of the East Building as it blends with the historic landscape outside. The scene captures the bright light of the Alabama sun against the dark modern structure of the Central Library.
The photo print is available for donors of $1,000 and up while supplies last.
Make your donation and get your print by clicking here.
The Birmingham Public Library has been proud to do its part in offering a wide variety of programs and materials to its loyal patrons and other visitors to commemorate this unforgettable year. The Library thanks all who attended and participated in our special programming.
The materials we offer on this topic include music, film, audio, and books all available in numerous formats that have kept pace with the constantly changing technology of our current times. The books that have been promoted or displayed this year for the commemoration are for the most part historical accounts that are classified as nonfiction. Historical fiction depicting the Civil Rights era of the 1960s deserves attention as well.
Many fans of historical fiction hold to the idea that fictional accounts based on historical events and persons can be more dynamic and compelling than their nonfiction counterparts. Explore Civil Rights historical fiction and decide for yourself.
Here are some novel suggestions for those interested in viewing the Civil Rights era of the 1960s through the prism of fiction.
A Walk Through Fire by William Cobb
Streets of Fire by Thomas H. Cook
The Last Hotel for Women by Vicki Covington
Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
Bombingham by Anthony Grooms
Dreamer by Charles Johnson
Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination by Jim Lehrer
Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund
Seduce the Unwary Mind by Harry D. Northrop
Submitted by David Blake
In this era of reality television, the cinematic documentation of everyday people seems to have fallen by the wayside. Instead, we are bombarded by c-list celebrities, rural eccentrics, and child beauty pageant stars. Reality television depicts these lives in a sensationalized manner and the spotlight of celebrity has warped almost all sense of reality on our television screens.
Of course there are still some documentaries and -- occasionally -- television programs that offer thoughtful insight into the world in which we live. The "Up Series” is a spellbinding example of this (unfortunately) rare phenomenon. These films are a documentary series that chronicle the lives of fourteen ordinary people in the United Kingdom.
In the fall of 1964, a camera crew from Granada television interviewed fourteen, seven year-old schoolchildren from around London. The children were from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from working class students to upper class boarding school students. They were all asked several questions about their lives as well as their thoughts on the future.
The documentary was titled 7 Up and was very well received by the British public. One of the associate producers on the production -- filmmaker Michael Apted -- came up with the idea of revisiting these fourteen individuals every seven years. The same children were visited as fourteen years old in 7 and 7 and most of the original fourteen participants have been visited every seven years since resulting in a series of documentaries directed by Apted with titles including 21 Up, 28 Up, and so on.
The films have become known as the “Up Series” and have developed quite a following around the world -- there have even been local versions of this series in most major film producing countries. Roger Ebert called the series “…an inspired, even noble, use of the film medium“ and the films are usually listed among the greatest documentaries ever made. Every seven years the audience for these films grows with more enthusiastic viewers who have discovered the series during the intervening years.
Last year, 56 Up was released in theaters and the film has recently arrived on home video (and is available through the library system). I would recommend that anyone intrigued by the premise of this series to start with the first film and work their way forward. It is tempting to state that viewers really get to know the individuals incrementally documented in this series; however, the truth is that we do not really get to know them at all. Michael Apted frames a window in which we can glance at their lives every seven years and it is an incredibly compelling glance.
Perhaps most compelling in that the films make clear that any life can be profound if viewed through the right frame. I would also add that these films do a wonderful job of propelling the viewer to enter a frame of mind in which to examine the profound nature of their own journey through life.
Career Cruising is a comprehensive career guide that's fun and easy to use. It's the perfect tool for students planning for the future, graduates investigating job options, and adults looking for work or thinking about a career change.
Career Cruising helps job seekers satisfy five key career guidance needs: self-assessment, career exploration, post-secondary education planning, work search, and portfolio development. Each section can be used on its own or in combination with others. You can learn more about your personal interests and find related careers and information about the necessary training, you can explore schools and find financial aid, you can explore occupations that interest you and find related jobs.
CareerCruising features career guidance information, a database of schools, financial aid information, a portofolio tool, employment resources and self-assessments. This resource is perfect for students exploring future career options as well as college grads and job seekers. Create a CareerCruising profile to build a customized plan.
Career Cruising is available at all BPL branches and at home to any residents of the City of Birmingham with a valid library card.
Click Here to Begin!
Celebrate the holidays at Birmingham Public Library! Click the link to see the list of programs scheduled at BPL locations throughout December. All programs are free and open to the public.
If you are interested in getting your financial life in order this fall, then the Central Library is the place to be! Dr. Andreas Rauterkus, Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance at UAB, will be leading a series of programs that will focus on a variety of issues related to personal finance and investing. This is the last program in the MakingCents series. We hope you have enjoyed and learned from these financial planning programs.
Paying for College
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
A college education is a good investment, but is also a very expensive one. In this program, Dr. Rauterkus will discuss ways to make this process more manageable. Among the topics to be covered are evaluating college affordability, utilizing personal savings, and assessing the different forms of financial aid.
These programs are part of the MakingCents: Resources to make your money grow and Smart investing@your library® series, a partnership between the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
The Christmas season doesn’t really begin until you have experienced Birmingham storyteller Dolores Hydock’s incredible one-woman performance of A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote's poignant reminiscence of his boyhood in rural Alabama. Dolores will perform this holiday classic on Tuesday, December 3, at 6:00 p.m., in the Arrington Auditorium at the Central Library.
There is always a full house for this performance, so come early and enjoy refreshments provided by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.
“Where were you . . .?”
“Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was shot?”
For people of a certain age, this question and its attendant discussions have been popping up for 50 years. November 22, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Younger generations have their own “Where were you . . .?” questions and answers for the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion that occurred on January 28, 1986, and for the terrorist attacks from al-Qaeda upon New York City and the Washington D. C. metropolitan area on September 11, 2001. These three powerful events force us to reflect on our own mortality and stir our concerns for a sense of safety in our current and sometimes crazy world.
With this anniversary of JFK’s assassination, one can expect many books, articles, commemorations and television specials to come out and take place this year. Much is already out there including straightforward histories, commentary, conspiracy theories and conspiracy thrillers. There is no shortage of material in multiple formats for all ages and types of readers on the subject of our 35th president. Ask your nearby librarian to show you the materials that are available. The Social Sciences Department at the Birmingham Public Library (Central) holds a particularly large JFK collection.
Just last month Jim Lehrer (PBS NewsHour) released his 21st novel titled Top Down: a Novel of the Kennedy Assassination. Here Lehrer moves beyond the standard “Where were you . . .?" question to ask the question “What if . . .?”
The novel, itself, begins five years after 1963 with a journalist (loosely based on Lehrer who was actually a Dallas correspondent on the scene on that fateful day) preparing his statements for a small panel making commemorative comments on their roles on that day. Jack Gilmore (Lehrer) speaks about his involvement in finding out for a fellow correspondent whether the bubble top would be on or off the limousine for JFK’s ride through Dallas. He documents that he asked a Secret Service agent at Love Field this very question. The agent spoke to a colleague by phone and then responded to Gilmore that the top would be down given that the rainy weather had finally subsided.
Gilmore was excited to be included in this prestigious program, but was unaware that “another shoe was about to drop.” Days later a young college student approached him seeking his help. Apparently, her father was the Secret Service agent whom had been consulted about the bubble top at Love Field five years earlier.
“What if . . .?”
Would the President have survived if the top been on? Was that the Secret Services agent’s fault? Was it the fault of his colleague he spoke to that day? Was it the clearing weather’s fault? Was it Kennedy’s fault for preferring the top down in order to be closer to the people he served as the leader of a nation so highly regarded? Who knows, but we all know how erosive and corrosive guilt can be regardless of whether it is genuine or imagined. The book explores these conjoined themes well. All true (non-fictional) characters in the novel are portrayed with due respect and integrity. The fictional characters do not detract nor do they distract. This reader is reminded that the best historical fiction can bring history so vividly to life in a way in which nonfiction accounts occasionally fail.
As a long-time viewer of the PBS NewsHour, I felt as if the author, Jim Lehrer, were reading this novel aloud to me. His familiar voice and the steady, matter-of-fact tone of his writing were somehow comforting without ever being trite, saccharine or maudlin. This swift read felt cozy, but not in the Miss Marple mystery genre sense. It just felt right and, moreover, it is a refreshing departure from the sensational conspiracy theories that have inundated the literature for 50 years.
Read this novel to reflect on the legacy of JFK and to remember, or for younger readers, to imagine that unforgettable day 50 years ago.
Check it out.
Click here to visit a piece posted several days ago on this blog that focuses on recent JFK titles.
The display window at Central Library showcasing books on the Kennedy assassination.
Submitted by David Blake
Sorry, but it doesn’t have anything to do with football, or Alabama, or even the last hundred years. It’s a novel set in 1870s London and it’s a picture of Victorian society the like of which you will almost certainly be unprepared for. Reviewers called it the novel a period novelist might have written had there not been censorship and this is not an overstatement. But even a Dickens without restrictions, for instance, wouldn’t have had a century plus of historical research and perspective that make this story so detailed and devastating. The seductive opening lines indicate as much:
Watch your step. Keep your wits about you: you will need them. This city I am bringing you is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before….The truth is that you are an alien from another time and place altogether.
The novel follows Sugar, a prostitute from these mean streets, as she makes her way through life, meeting William Rackham, a wealthy businessman. She becomes his kept woman and, later, his governess. Through her eyes, and his (and still others) you see every level of London society, from lowest to highest. Connected to the main theme of prostitution are related themes concerning desire, lust, marriage, courtship and so on. In all of this you are intimately immersed into defining elements of Victorian morality, its vicissitudes, contradictions and hypocrisies. Far more importantly, and cutting to the core, it’s a book about love and how society usually thwarts it far more often than it supports it.
By the way, if you like it, don’t miss the DVD version, also at the library.
Submitted by Richard Grooms
The holiday season has come fast and has caught many of us off guard, but we need not fret because it’s still early enough to shop and plan without getting entangled with the chaos that seems synonymous with the holidays. Below, Real Simple provides seven tips to reduce holiday stress and save money. Following the tips are books provided by the Birmingham Public Library that will also help us navigate the holidays with class and ease so that we can celebrate and embrace them for what they mean to us without the distractions of stress.
1. Make a List
Write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend.
2. Start Early
Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like.
3. Do Online Research
If you’re unsure of which specific item to buy, search for reputable online reviews.
4. Hit Up Black Friday (If You Dare)
If you’re looking for great deals and aren’t afraid of battling large crowds, the day after Thanksgiving is a shopping must. Get a head start on fellow shoppers by checking a website like Blackfriday.org before the big day.
5. Take Advantage of Cyber Monday
A spin-off of Black Friday that debuted in 2005, Cyber Monday is reputedly the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season—and accordingly, many online retailers will offer special discounts on their products. It takes place the Monday after Black Friday, though you can find online bargains all year long at Cybermonday.com, the official Cyber Monday website. On the actual day, the site will feature extra discounts and hourly specials to further entice online shoppers. To stay even more in the know during the holidays, sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores to get advance notice about sales and insider-only deals.
6. No-Cost Holiday Shipping
More than 1,000 online merchants, like Best Buy and L.L.Bean, will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve. (Go to freeshippingday.com for details.)
7. Do It Yourself
If you’re creatively inclined, avoid mall madness altogether and bake a batch of cookies, sew personalized tote bags, or make beautiful earrings for friends and family.
Debt-proof Your Christmas: Celebrating the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank by Mary Hunt
Holiday Blues: Rediscovering the Art of Celebration by Herbert Rappaport
Saving Dinner for the Holidays: Menus, Recipes, Shopping Lists, and Timelines for Spectacular, Stress-free Holidays and Family Celebrations by Leanne Ely
Classic Crafts and Recipes for the Holidays by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living
Submitted by Karnecia Williams