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Movie Review: Stranger Than Paradise

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 1:53pm


Stranger Than Paradise
Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Stranger Than Paradise ignited the 1984 New York Film Festival. No one had seen anything quite like it. Made with leftover film stock, it was bottom-low budget, black and white, deadpan beyond all reckoning, and side-splitting. Well, side-splitting for some. The first time I saw it was like visiting a foreign country, even though it was shot in the United States. NYC, Cleveland and Florida never looked so otherworldly. The two main characters, Willie and Eddie, had so immersed themselves in retro I thought for a few minutes this was a period movie set in the fifties. Willie, a Hungarian who’s lived in New York for years, hangs out with friend Eddie. Cousin Eva, over Willie’s protestations, comes to stay with him. Willie grudgingly introduces her to America. Eddie visits but Willie protects Eve from him and quarantines her from New York. Eva tries to civilize Willie, to no avail. She has a few molecules more ambition than either Willie or Eddie. She goes to her Aunt Lottie in Cleveland (a hilarious turn by Cecillia Stark). The two men visit her, then split with her for Florida. They drift, Willie and Eddie gamble, nothing gets resolved. They piddle. They do stuff, they wander aimlessly, and fecklessness has never been more entertaining.

The deadpan dialogue is a treat. It’s deadpan as a way of living, deadpan as protection from reality, deadpan because who cares, deadpan as transcendence. Here is a typical scene:

Willie: You’re sure you don’t want a TV dinner?
Eva: Yes. I’m not hungry. Why is it called TV dinner?
Willie: Um… You’re supposed to eat it while you watch TV. Television.
Eva: I know what a TV is. Where does that meat come from?
Willie: What do you mean?
Eva: What does that meat come from?
Willie: I guess it comes from a cow.
Eva: From a cow? It doesn’t even look like meat.
Willie: Eva, stop bugging me, will you? You know, this is the way we eat in America. I got my potatoes. I got my vegetables. I got my dessert, and I don’t even have to wash the dishes.

Of course, these are words on the page. In the movie it’s on the stage, and brilliant done. But if you find this even a bit funny, you’ll probably find the film hilarious, maybe a revelation. I’ve seen it at least eight times, and I still laugh at it. Many scenes get better with age. Like it? Here’s a bit more:

Eddie: You know, last year before I met your cousin, I never knew you were from Hungary or Budapest or any of those places.
Willie: So what?
Eddie: I thought you were an American.
Willie: Hey, I’m as American as you are.
{Silence. They begin driving into Cleveland.]
Eddie: Does Cleveland look a little like, uh, Budapest?
Willie: Eddie, shut up.

I’ve either convinced you by now or not. There probably aren’t any fence-sitters. Take a leap of faith, if you need to, and give it a shot. The skewed life awaits.

Richard Grooms
Fiction Department
Central Library

Calling All Children and Teens! Looking for a Good Book to Read This Summer?

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:20am
Summer is a time children and teens can choose to read whatever they like. A bonus is the reading they do in the summer helps them retain what they have learned over the past school year. The Children and Teen Choice Awards sponsored by the Children's Book Council  are chosen by children and teens themselves. They were announced March 14 in New York.

There was a controversy this year when Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans made the list for Author of the Year and won. The award is for popularity. Limbaugh was able to promote the purchase of and voting for his book on his show. Your child will have to read it for himself or herself to decide if it is truly a winner.

Book of the Year, kindergarten through second gradeWinner: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Finalists:Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Ryan O'RourkeChamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan LongMustache Baby by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy AngBear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier

Book of the Year, third through fourth gradeWinner: Bugs in My Hair! by David Shannon
Finalists:Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball by Charise Mericle HarperCougar: A Cat With Many Names by Stephen PersonThe Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram IbatoullinePancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh

Book of the Year, fifth through sixth gradeWinner: Myths Busted! : Just When You Thought You Knew What You Knew -- by Emily Krieger, illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos
Finalists:Hokey Pokey by Jerry SpinelliPrince Puggly of Spud by Robert Paul WestonLawless: Book 1 by Jeffrey SalaneBattling Boy by Paul Pope

Book of the Year, teensWinner: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Finalists:Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareEleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellSmoke by Ellen HopkinsThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Illustrator of the YearWinner: Grace Lee, Sofia the First: The FloatingPalace
Finalists:Victoria Kann, EmeraldaliciousAnna Dewdney, Llama Llama and the Bully GoatJames Dean, Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the BusOliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Quit

Author of the YearWinner: Rush Limbaugh, Rush Revere and the BravePilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans
Finalists:Veronica Roth, AllegiantRachel Renee Russell, Dork Diaries 6: Tales From ANot-So-Happy HeartbreakerRick Riordan, The House of HadesJeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck

NFL's Jerricho Cotchery to Visit 5 Points West Library before Teen Tailgate Party

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 8:17am




Jerricho Cotchery will visit Five Points West Library at 9:30 am on Friday, June 26th, the morning before BPL's Teen Tailgate Party

All those who “Score Big” are invited to a FREE Teen Tailgate Party at Birmingham Public Library on June 27, 2014. The celebration will take place on the first floor of the Central Library, located at 2100 Park Place, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There will be music, dancing, photo-ops with Jerricho, food, and lots of fun. Tickets are required and are available at all BPL locations.

Here's how to become an active participants in the “Score Big” component of the “Spark a Reaction” summer reading program. Seven points are necessary to qualify. Youth may score points by registering for the program (1 point), reading an entire magazine (3 points), and reading an entire book (6 points). “Score Big” registration forms are available at all Birmingham Public Library locations.

The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for the 2014 Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction.”

Born in 1982, Cotchery grew up to be an incredible athlete. He excelled at Phillips High School in Birmingham and attended North Carolina State University. The New York Jets drafted him in 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to their roster in 2010, and this year he will join the Carolina Panthers. For his career, he has compiled 437 receptions for 5,558 yards. In layman’s terms, he’s “the man” and the library is lucky to partner with him.

Named for the famous Biblical city, Jerricho is deeply committed to his faith and to community outreach. He was moved to start the Cotchery Foundation in January 2007 as a result of his own personal memories and experiences growing up. He and his foundation have set out to “show that anyone can do extraordinary things if they have the desire and passion.” Cotchery has made it his mission to show that any individual can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Friends Bookstore to Reopen June 23 with a $10 Bag Sale!

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 10:06am
On Monday, June 23, 2014, the Friends Bookstore will re-open for regular hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

As a reward for your patience, we are offering the $10/ bag sale for ONE WEEK ONLY (thru Sat, Jun 23).

The bookstore will be closed on Sundays until after Labor Day, and will be closed July 4-6 for the Independence Day holiday.

Come in and have an ice coffee or tea while you browse the shelves. At this time the store is overstocked and you may take advantage of tremendous savings during our $10 bag sale.

Children's Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June and July

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 2:34pm

For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

Do You Hear What I Hear? - Join Alabama 4-H and their cast of kid-friendly critters as they present the sounds animals make and why. We say Fizz, Boom, Read…they say Chirp, Squeak, Ribbit!

North Birmingham – June 25 – 10:30 a.m.
Woodlawn – June 26 – 10 a.m.
Eastwood – June 27 – 10:45 a.m.
Wylam – July 1 – 10 a.m.
Pratt City – July 8 – 10 a.m.
Ensley – July 9 – 1 p.m.
Central – July 15 – 10:30 a.m.

The Fizz, Boom, Zap, Wow Super Science Show - Kids will be mesmerized with this exciting and educational exploration of science. They will learn about atoms, molecules, and matter. The show is full of experiments to impress and everyone is guaranteed a hair-raising good time. This program is truly booming with explosions, crazy chemistry, and volts and jolts. It will be a blast!

Ensley – June 25 – 1 p.m.
West End – June 26 – 11 a.m.
Inglenook – June 27 – 9:30 a.m.
Powderly – June 30 – 10 a.m.
Titusville – July 1 – 10:30 a.m.
Central – July 8 – 10:30 a.m.
North Birmingham – July 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Pratt City – July 10 – 10 a.m.
Springville Road – July 16 – 10 a.m.

Radical Reactions – Fizz, Bang…Wow! 
Young scientists will experience fizzing foam, colorful concoctions, and many more science-filled surprises from the McWane Science Center.

Springville Road – June 25 – 10 a.m.
Smithfield – July 9 – 10 a.m.
East Lake – July 10 – 10 a.m.
Powderly – July 14 – 10 a.m.
Five Points West – July 15 – 10 a.m.
East Ensley – July 22 – 1 p.m.
Ensley – July 23 – 1 p.m.
Inglenook – July 25 – 9:30 a.m.

The Magic of Larry Moore – First you see it, now you don’t. Join Larry Moore for a program of senseless magic where the impossible becomes possible and the unbelievable—it will blow your mind!

Pratt City – June 26 – 10 a.m.
Smithfield – July 2 – 10 a.m.
Inglenook – July 14 – 1 p.m.
North Avondale – July 15 – 1 p.m.
East Lake - July 15 – 10 a.m.
Ensley – July 16 – 1 p.m.
Southside – July 18 – 9:30 a.m.

May the Force Be With You – Did you know that centrifugal force is a part of hula hooping? Be a member of the Centrifugal Force Club (CFC) as you listen to some tunes and learn how to move and groove with your hoop. The library is a circle of fun when the hoops start turning.

Avondale – June 25 – 2 p.m.
Inglenook – June 26 – 10 a.m.

Fizz, Boom, Read with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – Heritage Alive! is a series of 45 minute programs designed by the (BCRI) to engage young learners with interactive activities that include reading, creative dramatics, music, along with arts and crafts. This program’s main aim is to help young students build strong character traits.

Pratt City – July 1 – 10 a.m.
Wylam – July 8 – 10 a.m.
East Ensley – July 15 – 10 a.m.

Book Review: The Infinities

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 8:00am
The Infinities
John Banville

“I find the pagan world of the Greeks highly appealing, and wish we could regain their state of innocence and sophistication. Bring back the old gods, I say.” John Banville in the Amazon.com Review.

In his latest novel, The Infinities, John Banville, who won the Booker Prize for his previous novel The Sea, does indeed conjure up the Greek Gods in a British country home, Edwardian era, sort of. Adam Godley (note the name), the family patriarch is dying. It’s his death day, and his family has come round, as have the Gods. Hermes, we soon learn, is our actually omniscient narrator. He, Zeus and Pan, as Gods do, have their way, lustily, with the gathered humans, but with fine British manners. They wreak havoc, but, are oh so respectful. They’re never noticeably intrusive.

Authors conjure up gods and elves and vampires and Martians as a way to find a foothold outside the human race, to view humanity through the eyes of other beings. For example, we have Hermes' thoughts (in Banville’s elegant prose) as he, in disguise, makes moves on the housekeeper:

“I had put on the look—earnest, awkward, annoyed—that Duffy seems always to adopt in Miss Blount’s presence. The annoyance springs from that resentment all mortal men feel towards those to whom they are attracted. I imagine even the brow of Peleus’s son Achilles must have on occasion have darkened when lover-boy Patroclus came clanking into his tent for the umpteenth time.”

The Infinities is an odd book, intermingling the narratives and compelling interests of the Gods and the Godley family in an offhand way, but in just as offhand a way, readers come to realize they are reading science fiction, as well. The Infinities, it seems, takes place in an alternate universe, with slightly altered physical laws and history, as old Adam Godley knows, dreaming away on his deathbed.

We are long accustomed to omniscient narrators. In fact it is refreshing to have a narrator who is frankly so—and has some discreet lusty fun along the way. And the novel unfolds over a day. But The Infinities, is, at heart, a vaguely Edwardian (post-car, pre-radio), British country house novel, familiar, but refreshed, by Banville’s playfulness and arch wit.

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Birmingham Public Library to Highlight Birmingham Restaurants in New Book: Birmingham's Best Bites

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 3:24pm

The Birmingham Public Library will present its annual Eat Drink Read Write Festival, a combination of literacy, food, and drink, on October 3-10, 2014. During that week, recipes for the dishes we've come to love will be revealed in a new book that will be called Birmingham's Best Bites.

The library is currently accepting restaurant nominations for the book. The deadline to enter is July 1, 2014. The book will be available for sale during the Eat Drink Read Write Festival and will be the main highlight on the finale night, also known as Birmingham’s Best Bites. Restaurants should send their name, recipe, and contact info to bhambestbites@gmail.com by July 1. Food Network Star finalist Martie Duncan of www.martieknowsparties.com and Connie Blalock, a Birmingham Originals board member, are helping to produce the book. Birmingham photographer Arden Ward Upton will photograph the food.

Recipes may cover anything from an entree, sandwich or appetizer, to a dessert, drink, or side dish.

"Birmingham has always been known for its food. We are now getting the national recognition that we deserve,'' Duncan said. "This book will spotlight recipes from some of our landmark restaurants as well as emerging ones. Birmingham has some of the best food to offer. This book will capture that.''

Already, Chef Frank Stitt and his wife Pardis; the Dreamcakes food truck; Satterfield's; Rogue Tavern; Ocean; Twenty Six, Maki Fresh, Kathy Mezrano with the Gardens Cafe at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and several others are submitting recipes for the book. The Stitts were involved in the inaugural Eat Drink Read Write Festival in 2011. The book will be a library fundraiser.

All EDRW events will be free in October. Advance registration will be required for some events. For a list of EDRW 2014 events, please visit www.bplonline.org/eatdrinkfest.

The Birmingham Public Library's Air Conditioning Has Been Repaired

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 7:35am
After several weeks without air conditioning at the downtown Birmingham Public Library, the unit has been repaired.

In May, the library adjusted its hours to cope with warm temperatures. On Saturday, June 21, the library returned to its normal business hours. The library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Wednesday - Friday, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During a cold snap in February, four of the system’s coils ruptured and had to be replaced. Repairs called for new coils to be made. Because so many businesses and organizations across the country also experienced ruptured coils, there was a high demand for new coils. The coils, which each weighed 600 pounds and had to be hoisted four stories to the library's air conditioning system, were delivered on June 13. Repairs were completed this week.

Library employees appreciate everyone's patience on this matter.

An eBook Reading Room Just for Kids!

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 10:10am
This video was produced for librarians but does have good information about
eReading Room for Kids and for Teens and the kids are cute to watch.

For many years we have provided downloadable eBooks and audiobooks through OverDrive. Children's and Teen's materials have always been a part of it. Now it's even easier to find the eBooks your child wants in the eReading Room for Kids and for Teens.

Please note that once you've accessed the eReading Room for Kids or for Teens, it will default to this page (even when you access Overdrive through the main collection link). To return to the main collection, click on the "house" icon on the upper left-hand side of the page.

Friends Bookstore at Central Library Closed During June

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:06pm

Due to the AC problems at the Central Library, the Friends Bookstore will be closed during June, with a tentative reopening planned for July 7.

Library Director Honored by Mayor and City Council

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:56pm
The director of the Birmingham Public Library, Renee Blalock, was recently honored by the mayor and city council for her years of service with the library. Here is the video from that event. Congratulations, Renee.


Health Wise, Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Very Bad

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:46pm

I’ve had a couple of experiences recently that prompted me to spotlight nutritional supplements, specifically vitamins and the dreaded summertime malady of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While speaking with my father this week, I learned that his physician wanted him to stop taking his multivitamin and stop drinking milk because his vitamin D levels were too high. It’s going to take some months for it to return to normal. My father walks everyday so he gets plenty of sunshine, has milk every morning for breakfast, and was taking a multivitamin every day. In his case, too much of what he thought was a good thing was bad!

I think summer is a wonderful time of the year. Summer provides plenty of sunshine and the opportunity to be outdoors and participate in a myriad of activities with family and friends. But just like my previous example, too much of a good thing, sun and heat, can be very bad. Last week, while attending an outdoor event, I developed heat exhaustion and had to go to the hospital because I was dehydrated. These situations made me think that resources for nutrition and first aid may help you get through the summer, safely.

Books
Nutrition
Coffee Is Good for You: From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, the Truth About Diet and Nutrition Claims 
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals
Doctor Chopra Says: Medical Facts and Myths Everyone Should Know
Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Supplements Exposed: The Truth They Don't Want You to Know about Vitamins, Minerals, and Their Effects on Your Health
Vitamin D for Dummies

First Aid
First Aid, CPR, and AED Guide: Expert Advice to Handle Your Next Houshold Emergency: Essential Lifesaving Skills
First Aid Manual

DVDs
Basic First Aid
First Aid: Outdoor Injuries
Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age
Nutrition. 4, Micronutrients: Vitamins, Minerals, and Oils

Websites
CDC (Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat)
Mayo Clinic (Heat Exhaustion First Aid)
Medline Plus (Heat Illness)
Medline Plus (Vitamins)
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet)

Databases
Alt HealthWatch
Health and Wellness Resource Center and Alternative Health Module
Health Source Consumer Edition 

Maya Jones
West End Branch

Adult Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June-August

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 9:45am

For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

Magic and Science with Larry Moore
What happens when you mix magic and science? You get a program that can only be explained by Larry Moore, the magic man. He shows you how your senses can be fooled by magic and how magic and illusion can be really confusing at times. According to Larry, “It doesn't make Sense!"

North Birmingham - June 23 - 11:00 a.m.
Inglenook - July 21 - 4:00 p.m.
Five Points West - July 23 - 10:30 a.m.
Smithfield - July 24 - 10:00 a.m.

Elementary! The Story of Shirley Holmes Featuring Hitman with a Heart
Shirley Holmes is an elderly—but spry—woman who is convinced that she is the only living descendant of the legendary crime solver Sherlock Holmes. She refuses to be convinced the Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character. Shirley goes around giving lectures on how ordinary people can hone their crime-solving skills. And she snoops around a lot as well. Some people humor her by attending the lectures. Some, like her, believe they are destined to be crime fighters. Some don't appreciate her snooping at all.

Hitman with a Heart Murder Mystery Programs lets you try your hand at being a detective. You and your friends will spend an hour gathering the clues, questioning the suspects and pursuing the bad guys. By the end, you will put the facts together and finger the guilty party. You'll Die Laughing!

Powderly Branch Library - June 20 - 10:00 a.m.
Five Points West Library- June 25 - 10:30 a.m.
North Birmingham Library - June 30 - 11:00 a.m.
Avondale Library– July 7 - 6:30 p.m.
Smithfield Library - July 10 - 10:00 a.m.
Inglenook Library - July 18 - 9:30 a.m.
Springville Road Library - July 22 - 6:30 p.m.
Southside Library - July 24 - 10:30 a.m.
Wylam Library - August 13 - 10:00 a.m.

Light Reactions: A Hands-on Introduction to the Cyanotype Blueprint Led by Artist Justin Banger
Participants will learn the historical photographic process that gave the architectural “blueprint” its name by creating unique works of art using sunlight, a chemical reaction, and water. Invented in 1842, it is one of the very first photographic processes. The chemicals used for cyanotypes react to sunlight and turn a distinctive hue of blue – this is where we get the term for architectural “blue prints,” which were originally made via this process. For this program, each participant will make their own cyanotype photogram by selecting objects such as leaves, flowers, cassettes, etc., placing them on the photosensitive paper to block the light, and exposing them to sunlight (or
in case of a cloudy/rainy day, a UV lamp). The image is then fixed to the paper with running water.

Justin Banger is a Birmingham, Alabama-based printmaker and artist. With a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Montevallo and a Masters of Library Science from the University of Alabama, Justin's artwork explores early print technologies that allow images and information to be shared and consumed.

East Lake – June 18 - 11:30 a.m. - Teen
North Birmingham - June 24 - 1:00 p.m. - Teen
Inglenook - June 26 - 3:30 p.m. - Adult
Five Points West – July 2 - 1:00 p.m. - Teen
Springville Road - July 8 - 6:30 p.m. - Adult
Central – July 10 - 2:00 p.m. - Teen
Woodlawn - July 15 - 4:00 p.m. -  Adult

Spark a Reaction with your Taste Buds with Chef E
Chef E will instruct participants in a fun and excited way that will involve foods that are healthy and fun to make. Chef E has tailored a program designed specifically for the Summer Reading Program that will highlight a good that will excite your palate. Participants will learn how to spark a reaction with their taste buds by using their senses of touch, smell, and taste.

Chef E interactive cooking sessions will including the following:
  • direct interaction with participants such as games or trivia
  • cooking demonstration
  • tasting of prepared food
  • recipe give-away

Southside - June 24 - 11:00 a.m.
Springville Road - June 17 - 6:30 p.m.
Woodlawn - July 8 - 4:00 p.m.

Hoops for Fitness
Looking for a new, fun activity that does not feel like exercise? Discover the NEW hula hoop—a professional fitness hoop! Hoops for Fitness will get you started on your new summer workout with their handmade fitness hoops and a Beginning Hoop Dance Class. The exercise that puts a smile on your face!

Springville Road - June 24 - 6:30 p.m.
Inglenook - July 15 - 3:30 p.m.

Teen Summer Reading Programs Scheduled for June and July

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 9:43am



For a list of all Summer Reading programs, visit the Library Events Calendar.

The Magic of Larry Moore – First you see it, now you don’t. Join Larry Moore for a program of senseless magic where the impossible becomes possible and the unbelievable—it will blow your mind!

Five Points West – June 25 – 1 p.m.
Powderly – June 26 – 1:30 p.m.
Smithfield – July 1 – 10 a.m.
Springville Road – July 2 – 1 p.m.
Avondale – July 3 – 2 p.m.
Central – July 21 – 10:30 a.m.

Cooking with Chef “E” – Chef “E” is in the house cooking up some tasty treats that are guaranteed to spark a positive reaction with your taste buds. Join us for a program filled with healthy creative culinary fun. Limited space; registration required.

Springville Road – June 18 – 10 a.m.
Five Points West – June 18 – 1 p.m.
Titusville – June 19 – 11 a.m.
Central – June 19 – 2 p.m.
Southside – June 24 – 11 a.m.
East Lake – June 25 – 11:30 a.m.
Wylam – June 26 – 2 p.m.
Pratt City – July 9 – 2 p.m.
Avondale – July 10 – 2 p.m.

May the Force Be With You – Did you know that centrifugal force is a part of hula hooping? Be a member of the Centrifugal Force Club (CFC) as you listen to some tunes and learn how to move and groove with your hoop. The library is a circle of fun when the hoops start turning.

Central – June 26 – 2 p.m.
North Birmingham – July 8 – 1 p.m.
Springville Road – July 9 – 10 a.m.

Tug-O-War – The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will take teens through the very important events of the Civil Rights Movement, more specifically the Birmingham Movement, utilizing the game of tug-o-war to demonstrate people’s ideas and reactions to events.

West End – June 18 – 1 p.m.
Springville Road – June 25 – 12 p.m.
Powderly – July 9 – 1 p.m.
Five Points West – July 16 – 1 p.m.

The Birmingham Public Library’s Air Conditioner Could Be Working Soon after Four New Coils Were Delivered June 6

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 3:20pm

Crews on June 6 used a crane to lift four specially-made copper coils up to the fourth floor of the Birmingham Public Library, which has been without air conditioning for several weeks. The coils will soon be installed and adjustments made to get the AC in working condition.

“This has been a long time coming,’’ said Angela Fisher Hall, the library’s associate director. “We are looking forward to getting back to full operation. We do appreciate the patience of the public as well as our staff, as we work through these issues.''

In May, the downtown library’s East Building adjusted its hours to cope with the warm temperatures. It opens one hour early at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 p.m. The Linn-Henley Research Library, which is across the street, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The temporary hours will remain until further notice.

There are eight coils in the East Building’s air handler. When a cold snap hit Birmingham in February, four coils ruptured on the building’s North side. Four other coils, which are on the other side of the building, were not affected. Loss of the four coils left the building without air this spring and new coils had to be specially made.

Southeastern Temperature Controls Inc. of Pelham has been at the library breaking apart the old coils, building new drain pans and doing prep work. The new parts arrived at the end of May. A crane was used to lift each coil, weighing 600 pounds, to an opening on the library's fourth floor. A crew pulled each coil through the opening. Once the coils were pulled through the opening, a team of five men carried each coil about 25 feet to the air handler. The coils will then be stacked on top of each other.

Several businesses from the mid-West to the East coast experienced the same thing that the library experienced when the cold snap hit. Businesses lost coils and ordered new ones. Coil manufacturers were inundated with requests and businesses and organizations were left waiting for their orders to be filled because of the demand.

The Birmingham Public Library’s Air Conditioner Could Be Working in Five to Ten Days after Four New Coils Were Delivered Today

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 12:43pm

Crews on June 6 used a crane to lift four specially-made copper coils up to the fourth floor of the Birmingham Public Library, which has been without air conditioning for several weeks. The coils will soon be installed and adjustments made to get the AC in working condition.

“This has been a long time coming,’’ said Angela Fisher Hall, the library’s associate director. “We are looking forward to getting back to full operation. We do appreciate the patience of the public as well as our staff, as we work through these issues.''

In May, the downtown library’s East Building adjusted its hours to cope with the warm temperatures. It opens one hour early at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 p.m. The Linn-Henley Research Library, which is across the street, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The temporary hours will remain until further notice.

There are eight coils in the East Building’s air handler. When a cold snap hit Birmingham in February, four coils ruptured on the building’s North side. Four other coils, which are on the other side of the building, were not affected. Loss of the four coils left the building without air this spring and new coils had to be specially made.

Southeastern Temperature Controls Inc. of Pelham has been at the library for about two weeks, breaking apart the old coils, building new drain pans and doing prep work. The new parts arrived late last week. Today, a crane was used to lift each coil, weighing 600 pounds, to an opening on the library's fourth floor. A crew pulled each coil through the opening. Once the coils were pulled through the opening, a team of five men carried each coil about 25 feet to the air handler. The coils will then be stacked on top of each other.

Steve Harmon, operations manager with Southeastern Temperature Controls, said that using a crane was the only way to get the coils into the building because the coils are too heavy to carry up a flight of stairs and they are too big to fit onto an elevator or carry up the stairs. Work started shortly after 7 a.m. and crews were finished by 9:30 a.m. today.

“RPM Cranes of Birmingham was a big part of this,’’ Harmon said. “We hope to have some cooling going on’’ soon.

Several businesses from the mid-West to the East coast, Harmon said, experienced the same thing that the library experienced when the cold snap hit. Businesses lost coils and ordered new ones. Coil manufacturers were inundated with requests and businesses and organizations were left waiting for their orders to be filled because of the demand.

The Importance of Summer Reading

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 9:18am

Students in Alabama have worked even harder this past school year due to the entrance of the Common Core Standards. They were tested and taught like they’ve never been before. Additionally, the knowledge that they obtain from the previous grade has always been necessary for the next grade, but it is especially important now since their success in the upcoming grade depends heavily on it and since the Common Core Standards are benchmarked. So where does summer reading fit into the equation?

Well, according to several studies, if children are not engaged in some type of reading activity, their reading skills will surely fall behind. In fact, it is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected (Cooper et al. 1996). Libraries offering summer reading programs to motivate children to read and prevent what educators call the “summer slide” can assist students greatly by keeping them on track and preparing them for the upcoming grade. For more research that indicates different aspects of the importance of summer reading, visit the Academic Search Premier Database on the Birmingham Public Library’s website at http://www.bplonline.org/virtual/databases/.

Reference
Cooper, H., Nye B., Linsey J., et al. (1996). "The Effects of Summer Vacation on Achievement Test Scores: A Narrative and Meta‐Analytic Review." Review of Educational Research, no. 66, 227‐268.

Karnecia Williams
Inglenook Library

Jerricho Cotchery Is Coming to Town: Birmingham Public Library to Host “Score Big” with NFL Wide Receiver and Birmingham Native Jerricho Cotchery

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 1:42pm

Update:  The deadline for the Cotchery Skills and Drills Football Clinic has been extended to Friday, June 13, 11:00 a.m. Tune in to JOX Friday, June 13, 7:00 a.m., to hear Jerricho Cotchery talking with Jay Barker on the Opening Drive.

The Birmingham Public Library is excited to host “Score Big”with the Cotchery Foundation. Jerricho Cotchery, one of Birmingham’s native sons, has teamed up with the Library to host yet another amazing series of events for the 2014 Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction.”

Born in 1982, Cotchery grew up to be an incredible athlete. He excelled at Phillips High School in Birmingham and attended North Carolina State University. The New York Jets drafted him in 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers added him to their roster in 2010, and this year he will join the Carolina Panthers. For his career, he has compiled 437 receptions for 5,558 yards. In layman’s terms, he’s “the man” and the library is lucky to partner with him.

Named for the famous Biblical city, Jerricho is deeply committed to his faith and to community outreach. He was moved to start the Cotchery Foundation in January 2007 as a result of his own personal memories and experiences growing up. He and his foundation have set out to “show that anyone can do extraordinary things if they have the desire and passion.” Cotchery has made it his mission to show that any individual can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

For the past seven years, The Cotchery Foundation has hosted a FREE Skills and Drills Football Clinic with Jerricho Cotchery. In 2009, The Foundation asked the Birmingham Public Library to join them to enrich the experience. In order to register for the 2014 Skills and Drills Football Clinic, youth from 11-17 must be an active participant in the “Score Big” component of the “Spark a Reaction” summer reading program. Seven points are necessary to qualify. Youth may score points by registering for the program (1 point), reading an entire magazine (3 points), and reading an entire book (6 points). “Score Big” registration forms are available at all Birmingham Public Library locations. The completed registration forms are due by June 11, 2014. At least two hundred participants will be selected to attend the 2014 Skills and Drills Football Clinic on June 28, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at Legion Field. Those selected will be notified by June 20, 2014.

In addition to being eligible for the Skills and Drills Football Clinic, all those who “Score Big” are invited to a FREE Teen Tailgate Party at Birmingham Public Library on June 27, 2014. The celebration will take place on the first floor of the Central Library, located at 2100 Park Place, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There will be music, dancing, photo-ops with Jerricho, food, and lots of fun. Tickets are required and are available at all BPL locations.

Registration for “Score Big” with the Cotchery Foundation is now open. Visit any Birmingham Public Library location for registration materials and additional information.

Generation Gap is Topic of Springville Road Library's Upcoming Salon Session, June 13

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 10:43am
Springville Road Salon will meet Friday, June 13, at 10:00 a.m. Our topic for discussion is: Since ancient times, each generation reaching adulthood has asked the same question: "What's WRONG with these kids today?!?"

Friday's Salon discussion will be about the different challenges faced by the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generations X & Y, and the Millennials. We hope this discussion will include how today's kids are uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of the 21st century. All adults are welcome; refreshments will be served, and the program is free.

Kelly Laney
Springville Road Library

Fiction Authors Live On

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:43am

I’m sure you know that Maya Angelou died recently.  What came to mind is not only the impact that Maya Angelou had on literature, but also the fact that we will not be graced with any new poetry by the author.  That is, unless a posthumous collection is discovered.  The great thing about fiction, however, is that often an author’s characters continue to live on after the author’s death.  Here are some current releases featuring characters and locations made famous by deceased authors.  Descriptions are from the publisher.


Tom Clancy's Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (1947-2013)
A renegade Saudi Prince with ambitions of controlling the world's oil supply has an ingenious plot to manipulate America into attacking Syria and launching a war against Iran. Next, they would ignite a sleeper cell to attack the American homeland, resulting in a bloodbath unlike any other. Only the men and women of Op-Center, using sophisticated technology, realize what is about to be unleashed. Only they have the courage to issue a warning no one wants to hear. But will anyone believe them?

Thomas Kinkade's Angel Island : Harbor of the Heart (1958-2012)
Liza Martin and Daniel Merritt are closer than ever. She alone knows that he gave up his medical practice because he blamed himself for endangering a patient. But she is completely shocked to hear that Daniel is now considering returning to a medical career...which may mean leaving Angel Island--and Liza.
Daniel struggles to make this decision, but they are both put to the test when a sailor wrecks his boat in a vicious storm. Liza witnesses Daniel's medical skills firsthand and finally understands why she must let him pursue his career. If only that didn't mean sacrificing the love of her life...


Robert Ludlum's (TM) the Bourne Ascendancy  (1927-2001)
Kidnapped and transported to an underground bunker, Bourne finds himself face-to-face with an infamous terrorist named El Ghadan ("Tomorrow"). El Ghadan holds as his captive Soraya Moore, former co-director of Treadstone, and a close friend to Bourne, along with her two year old daughter.  Meanwhile, the President of the United States is in the midst of brokering a historic peace treaty between the Israelis and the Palestinians-an event that El Ghadan is desperate to prevent. He demands that Bourne carry out a special mission: kill the President. If Bourne refuses, Soraya and her daughter will die.


 Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot  (1932-2010)
When off-field violence repeatedly lands the NE Patriots' Kinjo Heywood bad press, his slick agent hires Spenser to find the men who he says have been harassing his client. When Heywood's son is kidnapped, Spenser puts together his own all-star team of toughs. It will take both Hawk and Spenser's protege, Zebulon Sixkill, to watch Spenser's back and find the child.