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Free Workshops on the Affordable Healthcare Act to be Held a Birmingham Public Libraries in March

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 12:45pm

Free workshops that explain the Affordable Healthcare Act will be held at various Birmingham Public Library locations in March. Trained officials with Birmingham HealthCare, a nonprofit health organization, will lead the sessions and be available to assist with enrollment. Those eligible to enroll may do so, for free, during the sessions. Coverage providers in Alabama are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Humana Insurance.

Open enrollment will end March 31. Those without health insurance may incur a tax penalty when filing taxes in 2015, which is why officials encourage the public to attend the sessions to learn more about the law.

The sessions will be held on:

Monday, March 10 at 10:00 a.m., Five Points West Library

Monday, March 10, 10:00  a.m. at Smithfield Library

Monday, March 10, 1:00 p.m., Avondale Library

Tuesday, March 11, 10:00 a.m., Smithfield Library

Tuesday, March 11, 4:00 p.m., North Avondale Library

Wednesday, March 12, 3:00 p.m., Springville Road Library

Monday, March 17, 10:00 a.m., North Birmingham Library

Wednesday, March 19, 9:00 a.m., Pratt City Library

For more information about the new law, please visit To contact a Birmingham Healthcare outreach specialist, call 205-439-7217.

Birmingham Cherry Blossom Festival

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 11:36pm
The Japanese tradition of hanami (literally "flower viewing") dates back to the 8th century and celebrates the transient nature of flowers, specifically cherry blossoms (sakura), which bloom in early spring. While originally the tradition was limited to elite classes who would drink sake and read poetic tributes to the flowers, today the tradition has a wider reach.

In Japan, people gather in parks and have feasts under blossoming trees until late into the night. Since the beginning of the last century, hanami has spread throughout Asia and across the world.

Birmingham has had its own Sakura Festival for a number of years, sponsored by the Japan America Society of Alabama - a one day event held at the Japanese Garden in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. This year there will be a month-long festival of events and activities, culminating with the large festival at the Botanical Gardens.

  • February 23 to March 15: Haiku Contest For more information and to register: visit
  • Sunday, March 2, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Doll Festival
    Central Library, Storycastle, 2nd Floor. Featuring Japanese hina dolls, a tea ceremony, origami workshops, and Miss Iwate, the Japanese friendship doll who has called BPL home since 1928. Bring your favorite doll!
  • Friday, March 7, 6:30 to 9:00 pm Bards, Brews, & Haiku
    Central Library, First Floor. Special edition of B&B featuring haiku and sake tasting, as well as performance poetry and beer. Crafts will be sold as a fundraiser for restoring Miss Iwate.
  • Saturday, March 8, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Haiku Workshop Central Library, Storycastle. Led by Terri French, coordinator of the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America. Registration required, call 205-226-3670.
  • Saturday, March 15, 10:00 am. Sushi-Making Class Birmingham Botanical Gardens Education classrooms.
  • Saturday, March 22nd, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Japanese Garden.
    This will be the main event of the Sakura Festival and will feature a variety of activities.
  • Saturday, March 22, 3:15 pm Japanese anime movie showing in the Administration Building, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.Saturday, March 22, 3:15 pm Japanese anime movie showing in the Administration Building, Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Linn-Henley Library Receives Significant Building Award

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 5:26pm

The Alabama Architectural Foundation recently honored the Linn-Henley Research Library with their 2014 Significant Building Award. We are proud of this designation and are thrilled that such a distinguished group recognizes our beloved “Old Library.” I spoke with the current president of the Alabama Architectural Foundation, Mr. Jamie Aycock, and learned that the award is given annually to a public building that has been in service for at least 25 years and has had a significant impact on the community. Nominations are submitted by the 5 Alabama chapters of the American Institute of Architects and are then voted on by that group’s board of directors. I was thrilled to learn that this year’s vote was unanimous in favor of the Linn-Henley Library.

 Significant Building Award
Click to enlargeWe are in good company. Previous recipients include the Rosenbaum House in Florence (Alabama’s only building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the Alabama Theatre. According to Mr. Aycock, who grew up in Jefferson County and who has many fond memories of the Library, the Linn-Henley building is, “one of those environments that can’t be replicated. There is nothing about any building that says 'library' any stronger than this one.” The award itself offers this eloquent description, “A living reminder of the past, the Linn-Henley Library continues its mission of service to our citizens, while occupying a sacred place in the community.” We extend our thanks to the Alabama Architectural Foundation for recognizing our lovely building.

M.B. Newbill
Southern History Department
Central Library

After Downton Abbey

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 11:30am

Enjoying Downton Abbey? When the season is over, you may enjoy some other PBS Masterpiece productions. Did you know that BPL has several PBS and BBC programs in our DVD collection? I thought that I would spotlight programs that you may not have heard of and the books that made some of these television programs possible.

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple
Call the MidwifeSeasons 1 and 2
Downton Abbey, Seasons 1, 2 and 3
Endeavour, Season 1 (Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse Series)
Garrow’s Law, Seasons 1 and 2 (Inspired by real life British barrister William Garrow, 1760-1840.)
I, Claudius (A wonderful miniseries that tells the history of Rome through the eyes of the elderly Caesar Tiberius Claudius, played by Derek Jacoby.)
Last Tango in Halifax
LutherSeasons 1, 2, and 3
Page Eight
SherlockSeasons 1 and 2
SilkSeason 1
VeraSeasons 1 and 2
Wallander, Seasons 1, 2 and 3
Zen (Italian detective Aurelio Zen solves cases as he navigates corrupt law enforcement officials and politicians.)

Aurelio Zen Mysteries by Michael Dibdin
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Call the Midwife : A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
The Calling by Neill Cross (Luther TV series prequel)
Hercule Poirot Mysteries by Agatha Christie
Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell
I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 by Robert Graves
Inspector Morse Mysteries by Colin Dexter
Miss Marple Mysteries by Agatha Christie
Silent Voices : A Vera Stanhope Mystery by Ann Cleeves
To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl (Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes, was reading this book when he was asked to write the TV miniseries that became Downton Abbey.)

Maya Jones
West End Library

Dr. Seuss' 110th Birthday To Be Celebrated at Selected BPL Branches

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 1:52pm

Three Birmingham Public Libraries will be celebrating Dr. Seuss' 110 birthday with treats, crafts, and readings.

March 3
Central Library/Youth Department/Story Castle
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Central Library's Youth Department will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with crafts, activities, Dr. Seuss Bingo, and Dr. Seuss cupcakes.

Smithfield Library
4:00-5:00 p.m.
Members of the Links Inc. Birmingham Chapter will read to children as part of Read Across America and Dr.Seuss' birthday. Refreshments will be served.

March 6
North Birmingham Library
4:00-5:00 p.m.
The North Birmingham Library will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with cake, crafts, and a movie.

History Teacher Amy McDonald Shares Commitment of Teaching the Holocaust, March 5

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 11:56am
The Birmingham Public Library is marking its ten-year partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in presenting Remembering the Holocaust, presentations by Birmingham residents  sharing their experiences and perspectives. The programs are held every Wednesday in March at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library and are free and open to the public.

Remembering the Holocaust - A High School Holocaust Studies Teacher Perspective
March 5
Amy McDonald, history teacher and chair of the Social Studies Department at Shades Valley High School, recently received the Robert I. Goldman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous at their Annual Dinner in N.Y. She will share her deep commitment and reasons for teaching the Holocaust that brought her to the attention of this prestigious organization.

Remembering the Holocaust - A Conversation with a Holocaust Survivor
March 12
Dr. Robert May, who with his daughter, Ann Mollengarden, Education Vice President of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, discuss his passage from the age of ten, experiencing Kristallnacht in Frankfurt, Germany, joining the Kindertransport to England, and finally to the United States where he became a practicing Birmingham physician and a member of the United States Army.

Remembering the Holocaust - Holocaust Survivor Speaks
March 19
Max Herzel, a member of the BHEC and an Alabama Holocaust Commissioner, will speak of his experience, and show a film on the Power Point created by Ann Mollengarden, giving new facts and interesting aspects of his life from his escape from Germany at the age of ten, until his liberation five years later.

Remembering the Holocaust - The Path to Nazi Genocide, a USHMM Film
March 26
This 38-minute film examines the Nazis' rise and consolidation of power in Germany. Using rare footage, the film explores their ideology, propaganda, and persecution of Jews and other victims. It also outlines the path by which the Nazis and their collaborators led a state to war and to the murder of millions of people. By providing a concise overview of the Holocaust and those involved, this resource is intended to provide reflection and discussion about the role of ordinary people, institutions, and nations between 1918 and 1945.

Bards, Brews & Haiku at Central Library, March 7

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 11:30am
The Central Library's Fiction Department hosts the next Bards & Brews Open Mic event on Friday, March 7, 2014. The event will include haiku, sake tasting, and a Japanese craft sale along with the standard offering. The craft sale will raise funds to restore Miss Iwate, the Japanese Friendship Doll residing at BPL since 1928. Music by Andy Harris is from 6:30-7:00 p.m.; performances start at 7:00. The event is free to attend and is open to the public. Must be 18 and up to attend and 21 to participate. ID required. Refreshments will be served.

For more info, call 205-226-3670 or email

March 3 Marks Start of Spring/Summer Hours for Six Birmingham Libraries

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 9:09am
Six libraries within the Birmingham Public Library system will return to spring/summer hours beginning Monday, March 3.

The neighborhood libraries are: East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale, Powderly, Woodlawn, and Wylam. The new hours will be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Wednesday hours will be 1:00-6:00 p.m. They are closed on the weekends.

Renovations continue at the Inglenook Library, a neighborhood library that has temporarily moved its location to the Inglenook Recreation Center. That library rec location is open 1:00-6:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. They are closed on weekends.

Hours for all other libraries within the Birmingham system will not change. For a complete list of hours for all locations, please visit

Children's Book Review: Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me (Ages 3-6)

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 2:47pm
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me 
Daniel Beaty
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me was awarded the Coretta Scott King illustrator award. The story is taken from a child’s point of view. Every morning he plays a game with his father. The young boy looks forward to their daily ritual. Then one morning the knock doesn’t come. He waits for his father to help him get ready for school and cook his favorite dish of scrambled eggs. As the young boy grows into adolescence he thinks, “Maybe he comes when I’m not home.” So, he writes his father a letter, letting him know how much he misses him. He wants his father to come home because there were so many things he needed to learn. He always thought his father would be there to teach him how to shave, drive a car, and dribble a basketball.

This book deals with the loss children feel due to the absence of a parent. Read Knock Knock to see how the young boy develops without his father.

Here is Daniel Beaty's spoken word performance of Knock Knock:

Felita Y. Hawkins
East Lake Library

The Passion of Delacroix

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 11:13am
Ever wondered who inspired the masters? Birmingham Museum of Art sheds a little light by welcoming Delacroix and the Matter of Finish, 25 paintings and 18 works on paper by French painter Eugene Delacroix, considered by many “the Father of Impressionism.”

Perhaps not a household name today, Eugene Delacroix was a major figure to the likes of van Gogh, Monet, and Degas. He is weighed as one of the most influential of the French Romantics and called the “Master Colorist,” due to his use of color and broad, expressive brush strokes.

Delacroix’s passionate nature is evident in his work; he chose heavy, politically-charged topics or emotional moments in other mediums of art to express the plight of the individual and was entranced with the fate of civilizations as a whole. He was a well-traveled man who took inspiration from the cultures he encountered, and relied heavily on literary, philosophical, and aural arts to inspire his works.

On the cusp of the old world of classical painting and the new, revolutionary world of impressionism, he held allure for many of the artists to follow, and they spoke of his personality and work as a mystery. Delacroix was a bridge between the strict rules and themes of classical painting and the ephemeral nature of the impressionists. He displayed suffering and violence delicately, never truly giving his stance on the situation itself but leaving the grim showing for the audience to decide.

To see this influential master, check out the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit, Delacroix and the Matter of Finish which runs from February 22nd - May 18th 2014 and costs $15 a person. If you want to read more about Eugene Delacroix, feel free to peruse the following titles, available from the Birmingham Public Library:

Rachel JoinerArts, Literature, Sports Central Library

Birmingham Public Library’s March 2 Doll Festival Will Highlight Japanese Culture

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 4:14pm
Birmingham Public Library employee Haruyo Miyagawa with her hina dolls when she was a year old. Hina dolls are part of the Japanese culture and are displayed during the annual Doll Festival. Miyagawa will have some of these dolls on display at the library on Sunday.
The Birmingham Public Library will host a Doll Festival on Sunday, March 2, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Central Library. Children may bring their favorite doll or action figure, watch a Japanese tea ceremony, enjoy refreshments, and more. The event is free and for all ages.

During Sunday's library event, Japanese dolls will be on display, including the library's Miss Iwate. Miss Iwate is one of the Japanese "Friendship Dolls" Japan sent to American institutions in the mid-1920s as a thank you after American children sent blue-eyed dolls to the children of Japan. The Birmingham Public Library is the only place in Alabama that still has the doll that was given to Alabama. Miss Iwate is now in need of repair. Sunday's event is designed to bring attention to Miss Iwate and to highlight Japanese culture.

Yari Crawford, 4, is ready for Sunday's Doll Festival.Children will be able to make Samurai hats for themselves and their dolls, sample Japanese-themed foods and participate in an origami workshop. All events will take place in the library's second-floor Story Castle.

In Japan, the annual Doll Festival or Girls' Day Festival is known as Hinamatsuri, which is held on March 3. Their festival focuses on wishing for the health and future happiness of young girls. Sunday’s event will carry a similar message for all children.

For more information and images on Miss Iwate, visit

For more information about the library’s Doll Festival, call 205-226-3670.

BPL Joins with Black Data Processing Associates

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 3:36pm

The Birmingham Public Library is proud to work with the BDPA of Greater Birmingham. BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates) is a non-profit organization of professionals who are interested in or work in the Computer Science fields, and information technology. They are dedicated to bringing racial diversity into this ever-growing field.

The BDPA will be holding several workshops in the Youth Department Story Castle this spring and summer for interested teens. If you are interested, please contact the BDPA at or the Central Youth Department at 205-226-3650.

From Page to Stage: The Secret Garden – A Reader’s Theater Workshop for Children

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 11:41am

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL), in partnership with the Birmingham Children’s Theatre (BCT) and Junior League of Birmingham (JLB), would like to invite you to attend From Page to Stage: The Secret Garden — A Readers’ Theater Workshop for Children.

In anticipation of the upcoming BCT performance of The Secret Garden, BPL will be hosting free workshops at several 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 Secret Garden production on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.

In an exciting musical production of this familiar tale, Mary Lennox, a willful, young orphan, is sent to live with her brooding uncle at gloomy Misselthwaite Manor. Discovering a hidden, neglected garden, Mary plants the seeds of new life for all those drawn into her secret refuge.

Workshop space is limited, so contact your participating library location to register a child for the workshop. Libraries and dates are as follows:

Avondale: April 6 at 2:30 p.m.Central: March 9 at 2:30 p.m. East Lake: March 8 at 2:30 p.m.Five Points West: March 9 at 2:30 p.m.Southside: April 5 at 11:00 a.m.Springville Road: April 5 at 11:00 a.m. Pratt City: March 8 at 11:00 a.m.West End: April 5 at 11:00 a.m.

Opening Reception for Artist Starr Weems on March 2 at Central Library

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 10:00am
Starr Weems is a dreamer.

And that’s OK because Weems creates watercolor works that blend reality with the fanciful world of dreams.

“(My) vibrant colors mingle and overlap, creating a magical feeling that reflects my thoughts on spirituality and the enjoyment of life,’’ says Weems, who uses transparent watercolor, poured in layers over masking fluid to build high contrast images that are bathed in light. One look and you’d think you were floating right along with the images.

Solstice by Starr WeemsAn opening reception for Illuminations in Poured Color: Paintings by Starr Weems will be held on Sunday, March 2, 3:00-5:00 p.m., in the Fourth Floor Boardroom. There are 34 pieces in the exhibit. Most are for sale. The Athens resident will showcase her pieces February 27-April 11, 2014, in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library.

On Sunday, March 30, Weems will present a free class to show how she uses her unique “pouring’’ technique to achieve her dreamlike images. The class will be held 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the library’s Fourth Floor Boardroom. The workshop is for ages 14 and older. Seating is limited. Call 205-226-3670 to register.

Weems, who teaches art and Spanish to students at Ardmore High School in Limestone County, says some of her best painting ideas come from her two children, Kharma and Rio. “A lot of my paintings have to do with childhood and childhood themes,’’ she says. “Sometimes when I see them play, it reminds me of things that I did as a kid, and I incorporate them into my paintings. I have paintings of fireflies in jars, I have one of my little girl blowing bubbles and one of dandelions blowing away.’’

Don’t tell Weems it doesn’t pay to be a dreamer. “I just finished 80 illustrations for a dream expert. She will use them for a set of dream interpretation cards,’’ Weems says. “She said when she saw my work, they reminded her of dreams.’’

Weems says she’s always been interested in dreams and it comes out in her work. “If you don’t have that opportunity to let your mind wonder, you can’t come up with something new,’’ she says.

For more information about Weems, visit her website at

Event Details:
Starr Weems exhibit, February 27-April 11, during library hours, Fourth Floor Gallery, Central Library

Opening reception, Sunday, March 2, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Fourth Floor Boardroom, Central Library

Free Starr Weems watercolor workshop, Sunday, March 30, 2:30-5:30 p.m., second floor Story Castle, Birmingham Public Library. Call 205-226-3670 to reserve a spot.

Get Up Close and Personal with Birmingham Artist Amy Pleasant, February 25

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 9:35am
Ever wonder how an artist decides to paint this or that?

Birmingham artist Amy Pleasant will discuss the creative process on Tuesday, February 25, 6:00-7:00 p.m., during a free lecture at the Central Library. During her “On the Table’’ conversation , attendees will be able to ask questions and hold works by Pleasant while sitting around a table in the library’s first floor conference room. The goal is that attendees become as immersed in the art work as they would a book.

“There is a lot of mystery involved with the idea of the artist in the studio,’’ says Pleasant. “…this will open up that mystery and make it available to all who are present.’’

“The project will also be a way for me to share my process and how the source material for a lot of my work comes from the books in this very library.’’

Pleasant received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She has held solo exhibitions at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Jeff Bailey Gallery in New York, in Stockholm, Sweden, and several other locations.

The lecture is being held in collaboration with The Drawing Center of New York. Pleasant is a member of The Drawing Center’s Viewing Program artist registry, which offers emerging artists the opportunity to include their work in a curated artist registry that is consulted by a wide variety of arts professionals. The Viewing Program allows artists to show their works outside of a conventional exhibition space.

For more information, call the library at 205-226-3670.

Remembering the Holocaust Series Scheduled for Wednesdays in March at Central Library

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 2:39pm
Click to enlarge
The Birmingham Public Library is marking its ten-year partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in presenting Remembering the Holocaust, presentations by Birmingham residents  sharing their experiences and perspectives. The programs are held every Wednesday in March at noon in the Arrington Auditorium of the Central Library and are free and open to the public.

Natural Hair

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 12:49pm
For the last few years, a growing trend among women of color has been the movement to go natural. Going natural refers to the process of going without using damaging chemicals in your hair to achieve a straight, or “relaxed” look to your hair. Many women are rejecting the long established norm of processing your hair and have embraced the “natural” texture of their hair, removing chemicals from their hair regime, and growing their hair into its natural state. The thing that holds back many women of color from making the transition to natural is information. There is a lack of reliable information for women when it comes to their naturally curly, kinky, coily hair. Birmingham Public Library has several books that can be checked out so that patrons that want a better understanding of what having natural hair requires or are interested in making the transition themselves can read. Included are several well-respected websites known for providing reliable hair care information. Any of these sites will help you to become a part of a growing hair care community of naturalistas.

7 Steps to Healthy Natural Hair: Written for Black Women by Black Women

Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair!

The Black Hair Care Revolution: A Simple Pocket Guide to Growing & Maintaining Healthy Natural & Permed Hair

Hair Rules!: The Ultimate Hair-Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair

Kinki Kreations: A Parents' Guide to Natural Black Hair Care for Kids

Nice Dreads: Hair Care Basics and Inspiration for Colored Girls Who've Considered Locking Their Hair

Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide To Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair

Thank God I'm Natural: The Ultimate Guide To Caring For And Maintaining Natural Hair

Websites is usually the first website that a curly girl visits for inspiration. There is a wealth of information including articles, a how-to section, blogs, photos; product reviews recommended books, and a hair forum. In the hair forum, gals (and guys, too) discuss everything about hair, including recipes, going shampoo-less, and news related to curly hair.

Black Girl with Long Hair
Black Girl with Long Hair is an inspirational website for naturals and transitioners who need to see other ladies in the real world who wear their hair naturally. There is a hair care, skin care, and product section, along with a hair gallery for you to see how others style their hair. There's also a salon section that lists natural hair salons by state.

Black Hair Media Hair Forum
Black Hair Media is all about black hair care, regardless of whether it’s relaxed, natural, weaved, braided, pressed, texturized, etc. It gives any woman of color an outlet to speak out on anything relating to hair care. It's divided into sub-forums based on whatever your interest in hair care may be.

Curly Nikki
Curly Nikki is the go to site for natural hair therapy. Its natural haired host, Curly Nikki is a licensed psychotherapist and has personal experience when it comes to loving one's natural hair texture. Curly Nikki always keeps the world of the natural curly girl up-to-date with news related to hair and new products are set to make a debut in stores. Curly Nikki also has a hair forum and always encourages naturals, transitioners, and relaxed ladies to comment on anything that may relate to them.

The Natural Haven
Probably one the most unique natural care sites on the web is The Natural Haven. The force behind this site is a scientist from the United Kingdom that does actual tests and research of the various natural hair care products that are available on the market. She answers readers' questions and gives a scientific source on everything from sulfates to deep conditioning.

Pam Jessie
Woodlawn Library

MakingCents Financial Programs Scheduled at Selected Branches in February and March

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 4:53pm

The Birmingham Public Library is offering four money management classes in February and March. All classes are free and open to the public.

Program: Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and the Era of Predatory Lenders
Date: Monday, February 24, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Place: Avondale Library

The Avondale Public Library will host a screening of Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders. This feature length documentary from 2006 takes a journey deep inside the American style of consumer debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. Shocking and incisive, it paints a picture of a national nightmare, which is all too real for most.

Program: Estate Planning with Joe Strickland
Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Springville Road Library

If you do not adequately prepare your estate, your family may suffer undue pressure and expense because of court proceedings. You can avoid all this by planning ahead. Please join us at the Springville Road Library to hear local attorney, Joe Strickland, explain the best ways to protect your assets and your loved ones. His one hour presentation covers Last Wills and Testaments, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives for Health Care.

Program: Couponing Basics with Heather Lebischak
Date: Monday, March 10, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Springville Road Library

If you're interested in couponing but aren't sure how to get started, this program is for you! Super couponer, Heather Lebischak, will go over the basic couponing rules and then show the participants how to put those rules into practice, without having to invest significant amounts of time in it. Heather will discuss various stores coupon policies, how to organize your coupons, and how to guarantee you are using your coupons to ensure the greatest savings.

Program: Financial Concerns of Senior Women with Dr. Stephanie Yates
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Place: Five Points West Library

Because, statistically, women are living longer than men, economic challenges which face older Americans are most often the challenges faced by women. This seminar is designed specifically for senior women who are recently widowed or divorced and handling family finances for the first time. Emphasis will be placed on identifying and describing the variety of savings and retirement vehicles that are available for older women.

These programs are part of the MakingCents: Resources to Help Your Money Grow and Smart investing@your library® series, a partnership between the American Library Association and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

March 2014 RLCC Computer Classes Available

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 4:23pm
Registration is now open for staff and the public for the March 2014 Regional Library Computer Center classes. All classes are held in the Regional Library Computer Center (RLCC) of the Central (downtown) LibraryPRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL CLASSES.Among classes offered are:To register for classes, you may:

  • Visit the Computer Commons department at the Central Library and obtain a copy of the class schedule. Fill it out and return to a Computer Commons staff.
  • Register online through the RLCC website. Please allow 2 to 4 business days for registration confirmation.
Space is limited for each class, and registration does not guarantee you a space. If you register for a class, please make all efforts to attend. Repeated “no shows” could affect your registration eligibility for future classes. If you register for a class and cannot attend, call Public Computer Services at (205) 226-3680 or 226-3681 as soon as possible.Please pay close attention to the class times. No one will be admitted after 5 minutes past the time class is scheduled to start.Classes are provided by the Birmingham Public Library.

Book Review: Pamela

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 2:12pm
Samuel Richardson

The Readers' Advisory Roundtable for February had to be cancelled this month due to inclement weather, but members still submitted book reviews. I chose to review Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, published in 1740. This books is in two volumes, and is set in a rural county in England in the middle of the 18th century.

The heroine is Pamela, a young girl from a poor but honest family, who has been brought in as maid-servant to a gentlewoman. She is renowned for her beauty and lovely disposition, and as Volume 1 opens, her mistress is expiring and with her dying words begs her son, Mr. B____ to “….take care of my Pamela”. Did I mention the girl was beautiful? Before too long, it becomes evident that Mr. B___ has some ideas about taking care of Pamela that would not be approved by his mum. Luckily, this young innocent has been brought up to value her virtue and she leads Mr. B____ through such a determined defense of it that he eventually gives up and marries her. Her travails are horrible (by 18th century standards), but throughout them all she is drawn to her “master” and when he finally gives up his cad card, she has fallen deeply in love, they marry, raise a flock of children, and she is accepted and rewarded for her perfect character.

One of the interesting things is that this novel is written almost entirely in an exchange of letters, diary entries, and requested writings of the honorable Pamela, and this gives readers an unusual insight into the thoughts of 18th century gentry. History buffs will find the details surprising and fascinating (or at least I did). Pamela is a virtuous, laudable, entirely admirable heroine, beloved by all, and good in every way. In the real world, and certainly in our own time, she would be an unbearable goody-goody, but it’s nice to think that true goodness was truly esteemed at some point in history. On the other hand, Henry Fielding’s Shamela was published (1741) as a parody and was Fielding’s first widely known work. If the two volumes of Pamela don’t sate your appetite for the morals (and lack thereof) of the 1700’s, read Richardson’s Clarissa, about a young lady who is tricked and kidnapped by a hardened libertine to both their detriments. Neither of these works is in the Fifty Shades of Grey genre, which is why they have remained continuously in print and enjoyable over the centuries.

‘Nuf said.

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Library