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
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.
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
"Before there was social networking, there were blogs. And in an effort to muddle things, at one point in time the concept of blogging without trying too hard became known as microblogging. Tumblr is part microblogging, part social networking."
"If you want to write a several-thousand-word opus about something, Tumblr isn’t the place to do it. If you want to share a moving picture of a little kid acting like a detective as quickly and easily as possible, Tumblr is a good place to do it. That’s the microblogging aspect to Tumblr. Then, other Tumblr users who like moving pictures of little kids acting like detectives can follow you on Tumblr so they’re sure to see every moving little-kid-acting-like-a-detective picture you post. That’s the social networking aspect to Tumblr."
So, where can you find Tumblr?
Learn more about what's going on at BPL, find book reviews, funny memes, and most importantly, FOLLOW US at http://www.tumblr.com/blog/bhampublib! We can't wait to connect with you!
The first 25 donors of $1,000 and up to BPL's annual campaign will receive a beautiful limited edition photo print by local artist John DeMotte (www.johndemotte.com). The photo is in an edition of 25, donated to BPL by the artist. It captures the Central Library's glass windows, which rise from the first floor atrium to above the fourth floor, looking across the intersection of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard and Park Place toward the Tutwiler Hotel. The Central Library's "East Building" was constructed in 1984, is a modern counterpart to the 1927 Linn Henley Library. Its pyramid-like glass atrium has made it a recognizable downtown Birmingham landmark.
The BPL Foundation hopes to raise $50,000 before January 1, 2014 to supplement and expand the library's collection. One hundred percent campaign donations will be used to acquire library materials for BPL's 1.7 million annual visitors. Specifically, funding will allow BPL to:
• Purchase current and sought-after books and ebooks in all genres
• Purchase magazines, journals, and newspapers for both research and enjoyment
• Purchase databases like Ancestry.com, Reference USA, and Morningstar
For benefits of giving at all levels, and to donate online, please go to www.bplonline.org/foundation.
And remember to celebrate #GivingTuesday with us. If you donate any time from now through December 3rd, we will enter you into a drawing for books and dinner.
John DeMotte, "Atrium - Birmingham Public Library"
Archival Pigment Print, 2013
Image is 11 x 16 1/2 printed on 17 x 22 Epson Fine Art
Edition of 25
Native Americans celebrate their heritage in November. BPL has a range of media concerning Native American life and history, from books, such as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Black Elk Speaks, to DVDs, such as Ken Burns’ The West.
November is also national Diabetes Awareness Month, and this disease is a special concern for Native Americans. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, diabetes is the fourth-leading cause of death among Native Americans, higher than that of other races.
To educate Native American children about type 2 diabetes, Georgia Perez has written a series of beautifully illustrated books called the “Eagle Books.” This four-book series was developed by the CDC’s Native Diabetes Wellness Program. It follows a young Native American boy, Rain That Dances, and his friends as they learn from the great bald eagle about type 2 diabetes. The take-home message is that healthy eating and an active lifestyle are key factors in staving off this disease. Each book includes a glossary of terms and a list of websites where you can find out more about this disease. It is also appropriate for story-time in classrooms or one-on-one reading. The series includes: Through the Eyes of the Eagle, Knees Lifted High, Plate Full of Color, and Tricky Treats. These books are new arrivals; please ask about their availability. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Another offering in this series is Coyote and The Turtle’s Dream, written by Terry Lofton and created by The Native Diabetes Wellness Program. It is based on the “Eagle Books” characters and is recommended for middle school readers. It also includes a glossary and a cast of characters list.
For more information:Native American Heritage Month: http://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes and Native American health:http://www.cdc.gov/ and http://www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/index.html
Submitted by Michelle Andrews and Liz WinnGovernment Documents/Microforms DepartmentCentral Library
Birmingham’s First Black Police Officer to Explore the Past During November 25 Book Signing at Central Library
A Korean War paratrooper, Stover integrated the police department in 1966. He retired as a deputy chief in 1998. As Birmingham commemorates the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, the 80-year-old Stover said that 2013 is an ideal time to release the book.
“They didn’t spit on me or push me (on the first day.) But they did call me racist names and suggested I wouldn’t last the first day,’’ Stover said. When Stover entered the police roll call room, all of the white officers went to one side of the room, leaving Stover on the other side. Several of the officers pulled guns out of their holsters, blowing away imaginary smoke and using a racial slur while asking who was going to work with him. That incident only happened the first day, he said.
“All of the guys weren’t obnoxious and hateful. Some were very helpful,’’ Stover said. “But when they got around their peers, I was ignored. And I could understand that because there was peer pressure. But there were some who didn't care one way or the other.’'
“The only bright part of all of that was Chief Jamie Moore,… he wanted to see me make it.’’
Stover didn’t let the hate defeat him. He said he stayed on the force because he wanted to make it better for other minorities coming behind him. “I wasn’t going to give up,’’ he said.
When Stover retired, there were more than 860 police officers on staff, said Stover’s niece, Dr. Bessie Stover Powell of South Carolina State University, who wrote the book. Powell’s husband, Dr. Don L. Powell, and Stover, contributed to the book. “We are honored to write his story because it is not only American history, black history but it’s also the first account of Deputy Chief Stover’s bravery and achievement,’’ Powell said.
To arrange interviews, call Stover at 205-925-7798 or Debra Powell 205-541-4486. For more information about the book signing, call Hezekiah Jackson IV, President Metro Birmingham Branch NAACP, at 205-516-9806.
The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Theater (BCT) and Junior League of Birmingham (JLB), would like to invite you to attend From Page to Stage: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever — A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.
In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, BPL will be hosting free workshops at some of its area libraries. Children, aged 7 to 12, will learn how storybook characters come alive through the magic of theater. JLB members will coach the children and introduce them to similar literature located in their local library. Each child will receive two free tickets (one child and one adult ticket) to the BCT The Best Christmas Pageant Ever production on December 7 at 2:00 p.m.
A new, better-than-ever production! This is a hilarious holiday story that will delight all ages. No one wants to be in the annual Christmas play at the local church except six irascible siblings who have never hear the story of Christmas. Ultimately, their energy and sincerity triumphs as they make this year’s pageant the best one ever. The play is based on a book by Barbara Robinson.
Workshop space is limited, so contact your participating library location to register a child for the remaining workshops. Libraries and dates are as follows:
Avondale: November 24 – 2:30 p.m.East Ensley: November 23 – 2:30 p.m.East Lake: November 23 – 2:30 p.m.Springville Road: November 24 – 2:30 p.m.West End: November 23 – 11:00 a.m.
After reading Flora and Ulysses if you need more squirrel stories, check these out.
I See a Squirrel by Alex Appleby
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter
Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin
Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Stein
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts
Submitted by Carla Perkins
Rikesha said it best: "The library means so much to so many people." We appreciate everyone who supports and utilizes the services and resources offered at the Birmingham Public Library.
Our BPL Foundation would like to expand the library's collection. The Foundation seeks to raise $50,000 before January 1, 2014. Your donations will be used solely for the purpose of acquiring library materials. Specifically, your gift will allow BPL to do the following:
- Purchase current and sought-after books and ebooks in all genres
- Purchase magazines, journals, and newspapers for both research and enjoyment
- Purchase databases like Ancestry.com, Reference USA and Morningstar
Your generosity will touch 1.7 million visitors per year who visit 19 library locations spanning the city. BPL serves more people than any other cultural institution in Birmingham.
Your gift puts books and other reading materials into the hands of the citizens of Birmingham—whether they walk in our doors, download a book, or visit a database online.
Your support allows people to start businesses, trace their family’s history, and learn a new language (or two!)
Click here to help us spark imagination, empower individuals, & build a better Birmingham.
Any amount you donate from not until the end of #GivingTuesday (December 3, 2013) will automatically enter you for a chance to win a books and dinner prize! Here are the various levels and benefits of giving.
If you would prefer, you may contribute by visiting a Birmingham Public Library location or by making checks payable to:
Birmingham Public Library Foundation Annual Campaign2100 Park PlaceBirmingham, AL 35203
For more information, please visit www.bplonline.org/foundation.
Thank you for your support!!!
New York Times best-selling author Jan Brett will sign copies of her new book Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella at the Central Library on Tuesday, November 19, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Books-A-Million will have books for sale.
Brett’s children’s books include highly-detailed art work of loveable hedgehogs, chickens, and other animals. Special chickens and hedgehogs will be on display during this event. Brett will also discuss her art work. The event is free.
Brett is touring the nation on a decorated bus, which will be parked outside of the library for fan pictures. Autographed posters will go to the first 100 in line.
With more than 38 million books in print, Brett is one of America’s most popular children’s book artists/authors. Her latest book takes the classic fairy tale of Cinderella and casts chickens as the characters. It tells the story of Cinders, the most-picked-on hen in the flock, becoming the belle of a prince chicken’s ball. Inspiration for the book came from Brett’s own flock of award-winning chickens. It’s the perfect stocking-stuffer for the holidays.
The New Yorker, Parents, Redbook and other publications have named Brett’s books as “Best Children’s Books of the Year.’’ Brett lives in Norwell, Mass.
For more information, call Vincent Solfronk at 205-226-3651.