Narrated by Ariani Delawari
Words in the Dust is about an Afghan girl named Zulaikha born with a cleft palate. Because of this defect, she feels worthless in a society that values women by marriage prospects. But then she meets a woman who teaches her to read and write, and an organization that would like to fix her cleft palate, and it stirs in her feelings of worth and hope.
There were many pieces of this audiobook, narrated by Delawari, that rang true. Zulaikha’s initial hesitation in her voice was logical with her cleft palate and protruding teeth, which made speech difficult. By contrast was her father’s second wife, Melichi, who always spoke in a very screechy, jarring voice. Zulaikha’s friend, the older professor, spoke in a whispery, scratchy voice indicative of an older person, which she was.
Zulaikha's love for her sister was so evident and spoken in such lovely tones. It made me realize how circumscribed the lives of these women are that they never mingled with many outside their own extended families.The culture of Afghanistan, with women in a place separate from the men and allowed to do very little outside their compound, was very revealingto me. I knew that women were considered less important, but I had never considered that the women, like Zulaikha, would think that was correct.With so much of Afghanistan in the news, especially with schooling for the women, this audio is very relevant.
Submitted by Lynn Carpenter
Five Points West Library
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in the Birmingham City Jail on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. During the time of his incarceration—which lasted through April 20—King wrote his legendary epistle "Letter From Birmingham Jail." While area clergymen "encouraged black leaders like King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and the other demonstration organizers to put off the massive protests, from his jail cell King penned a letter which encouraged the remaining movement leaders to continue to press forward with the their plans. King’s letter included many memorable phrases including these words, “. . . when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of nobodiness—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”
On April 16, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began writing his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will sponsor a program titled Letter from Birmingham Jail: A Worldwide Celebration. At the Central Library, library supporters, staff and other participants will read excerpts from the letter beginning at 12:00 noon in the Atrium of the East Building. Additionally, the library’s staff has shared invitations for other groups around the globe including libraries, museums, schools, universities, churches, synagogues, temples, places where people work, public parks, bookstores, street corners, coffee shops and anywhere that people want to participate, to organize planned readings of the letter—to date, 224 locations have responded.
People who participate in the readings can read the full text of the Letter or selections from the Letter, individually, as a group, or however they want to do this. Groups participating may range from two people to hundreds of people. Readings can be done at any time of the day on April 16. For more information, visit http://www.bplonline.org/letterfrombirminghamjail
Today’s reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "Letter From Birmingham Jail began with Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. reading to an audience at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) and U.S. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell reading from the House floor in Washington, D.C. The public readings were part of BPL’s worldwide celebration lauding the 50th anniversary of King’s epistle.
Mayor Bell and Congresswoman Sewell's readings were in response to the Birmingham Public Library's invitation for other groups around the globe including libraries, museums, schools, universities, churches, synagogues, temples, places where people work, public parks, bookstores, street corners, coffee shops—and anywhere that people wanted to participate—to organize planned readings of the letter. Responses poured in from 7 continents and more that 35 states with a total of more than 250 locations worldwide. The entire list of participants is available online.
Sewell and Bell agreed that the letter is a powerful reminder of how far this nation has come and that work remains to be done. Before beginning his reading at the BPL's main library this morning at 7:30 a.m. (CST), Bell noted that he first read a copy of the letter when he was a student at John Carroll High School. He said, "King's letter has a universal message that carried an important message then and today. It represents the hopes and dreams that every parent has for their children." Bell's comments were made during a networking event held at the library and hosted by the Brock School of Business at Samford University.
At 9 a.m. (EST), Sewell read an excerpt on the floor of the House of Representatives. "It is my humble honor to join with the Birmingham Public Library and so many voices around the world in reading an excerpt from Dr. King's letter on the floor of the House of Representatives," said Sewell. "We must continue to fight injustice and discrimination anywhere and everywhere it exists and works to ensure equality for all Americans."
Photographs and videos taken by participants today will be added to Birmingham Public Library's Pinterest Board, "Letter From Birmingham Jail: A Worldwide Celebration."
On April 16th, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. began writing his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," participants worldwide will read King's Letter in celebration. Participants will host public readings from the Letter at various locations around the globe: libraries, museums, schools, universities, churches, synagogues, temples, work places, public parks, bookstores, street corners, coffee shops and anywhere people want to participate. Visit http://www.bplonline.org/programs/1963/Letter.aspx for more information on these readings. This event is sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library.
Participating BPL branches: Avondale Library, 12:30 p.m.
Central Library, noon East Ensley Library, 3:30 p.m. East Lake Library, noon
Ensley Library, 3:30 p.m.
Five Points West, 4:00 p.m. North Avondale Library, 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. North Birmingham Library, 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Powderly Library, 4:00 p.m.
Smithfield Library, 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Library, noon and 4:00 p.m. Titusville Library, noon West End Library, 3:45 p.m.
Woodlawn Library, 2:00 p.m.
Please check back throughout the day for updates on participating locations.
The Regional Library Computer Center May 2013 computer class schedule is now available, and registration is open to the public for the free courses. Please note that class times have been changed to 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.
This month, we are teaching programs from the Apache OpenOffice.org suite. Apache OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source freeware office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. It can rival the older versions of Microsoft Office and can be downloaded and used for any purpose completely free of charge. The RLCC is offering OpenOffice.org classes every other month, alternating with Microsoft Office 2010 classes. (Microsoft Office 2010 classes will be offered in June.)
Here are brief descriptions of all classes offered for May:
Basic Internet: This beginner class introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
Email Workshop: This intermediate class is a practical workshop which helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. While there are many different email services available, we have chosen to work with Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, because they are free and are two of the more popular email services available. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.
OpenOffice.org Writer: This intermediate class teaches people how to use the OpenOffice.org word processing program. People will learn how to design and produce text documents that can include graphics, tables, or charts. Word Processing with OpenOffice.org Writer is taught in three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
OpenOffice.org Calc: This advanced class introduces people to the OpenOffice.org spreadsheets program. People will learn to organize and manipulate data (numbers, text, times, currency, percentages, formulas, etc.), as well as work with a grid, columns, rows, and cells. OpenOffice.Org Calc is taught in two parts. Participants need to have takenKeyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course. It is recommended that participants take OpenOffice.org Writer prior to taking this course.
OpenOffice.org Impress: This advanced class introduces people to the OpenOffice.org program used for creating multimedia presentations. People will learn to create slide presentations, using text, images, and effects. The class is taught in two parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course. It is recommended that participants take OpenOffice.org Writer prior to taking this course.
Introduction to Social Media-PINTEREST: The May Social Media class will focus on PINTEREST. This advanced class introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions. This class focuses on the three most popular social media software: Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course. An email account is needed for this class.
Alabama Pure Honey As a member of the Shelby County Beekeepers Association, I attend monthly meetings. Last Thursday our president announced something very exciting! Researchers at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that an enzyme in bee venom kills HIV. This is just one more reason to save the bees. You can read a report at http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/03/08/study-bee-venom-kills-hiv.
And if you’re fascinated by bees (and you SHOULD be) make sure you come to Springville Road on April 16 at 6:30 p.m. Jimmy Carmack of Alabama Pure Honey will be here to speak on what bees mean to all of us and the benefits of raising bees in an urban setting. He is bringing an exhibition hive, too and will discuss his vast experience as a beekeeper. I’ve heard him speak and believe me, he knows bees.
Vermiculture – Worm Source
Since we had 20 patrons at our vermiculture program, I figure we’ve demonstrated an interest in raising worms (to go with the bees, natch). If you know anyone who wants to start a worm farm for fun, profit, or compost, the recommended source is Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Our speakers all said they’ve ordered numerous times and have been well satisfied.
Springville Road Library
This is a beautifully written middle grade novel about a ten year old girl whose family is forced to immigrate to Alabama from Saigon during the Vietnam War. The reader follows HÀ from her vibrant, but war-torn streets of Saigon to the rolling hills and fields of the Deep South. I was struck at the intensity of loneliness and frustration that I felt with HÀ. She is a bright and perceptive kid, but her control of the English language is basically nil when she begins school in America. Kids and teachers assume she’s dim and strange, which is a contrast that disturbs her; she was an excellent student in her country. Her social faux pas were simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking as she wears a flannel nightgown to school and struggles with myriad grammar rules, “whoever invented English, should be bitten by a snake.” Some passages actually made me laugh out loud.
She’s mocked and belittled just when she needs to be encouraged and accepted. Despite the fear and violence of her native land, she longs for her home as she finds Alabama to be intolerably foreign. It was a unique experience to look at my home state from the perspective of a frightened immigrant girl. All of the customs, people, food, and landscape that I take for granted are shown in a whole new light through her eyes.
This book cuts right to the heart of a child’s immigration experience with precision and grace. Rather than prose, it is written in a stark and accessible free verse, which readily evokes connection and understanding. The author, Lai Thanhha, is writing from her own childhood experience and it shows. I would highly recommend this book for middle grade readers as well as adults. At no point does the novel read like a watered-down, saccharine children’s novel. While it is never harsh or violent, it pulls no punches. Readers are taken on a deeply poignant journey through fear, tragedy, and acceptance. Everyone who reads this is certain to gain a greater understanding of the immigration experience.
Submitted by Mollie Harrison
Springville Road Library
The Birmingham Public Library is very proud to be participating in World Book Night U.S., and on Tuesday, April 23, our group of WBN book givers will be spreading the love of reading, person to person, by handing out books to light or non-readers.
We have chosen just a few of the 32 WBN book titles to hand out, as we intend to reach out to people at various locations around Birmingham. We hope to meet light and non-readers and share with them our love of reading by giving them a book to keep for themselves.
For more information about World Book Night, please go to www.WorldBookNight.org or visit them on Facebook and Twitter.
World Book Night U.S.Titles
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (Anchor Books/Random House)
City of Thieves, David Benioff (Plume/Penguin Group (USA))
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks)
My Antonia, Willa Cather (Dover)
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier (Plume/Penguin Group (USA))
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Random House)
La casa en Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros; translated by Elena Poniatowska (Vintage Español/Random House)
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (HarperOne/HarperCollins)
El Alquimista, Paulo Coelho (Rayo/HarperCollins)
The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine Books/Random House)
The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Bossypants, Tina Fey (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books)
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (William Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollins)
Still Alice, Lisa Genova (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster)
Looking for Alaska, John Green (Speak/Penguin Group (USA))
Playing for Pizza, John Grisham (Bantam/Random House)
Mudbound, Hillary Jordan (Algonquin Books/Workman Publishing)
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster; illus. by Jules Feiffer (Yearling/Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Moneyball, Michael Lewis (W. W. Norton)
The Tender Bar, J. R. Moehringer (Hyperion)
Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley (Simon & Schuster)
Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Population: 485, Michael Perry (HarperPerennial/HarperCollins)
The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)
Montana Sky, Nora Roberts (Berkley/Penguin Group (USA))
Look Again, Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s)
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris (Back Bay Books/Little Brown)
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor Books/Random House)
Glaciers, Alexis M. Smith (Tin House Books)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain (Dover)
Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury)
Favorite American Poems (Large Print edition) various authors (Dover)
Librarians Rock The Competition! Birmingham Public Team Wins Birmingham’s Brightest Company Trivia Challenge
Jaclyn Hogan, Mary Beth Newbill, Samuel Rumore Jr.
When Tobin Cataldo was asked to coach and select another winning trivia team for the Birmingham Public Library (BPL), he did not hesitate with his positive answer. Last year, he was part of the six-member team that won the distinction as Impact Alabama’s Brightest Company—both on the local and state level. On Tuesday, April 9, BPL’s team walked away with the $10,000 prize for the second year in a row. They competed with more than 50 Birmingham-area businesses and organizations (with over 350 participants) in the third annual competition sponsored by Impact Alabama. The prize money benefits the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.
“I am very proud of this team, and the credit is entirely theirs,” said Cataldo. “The team came together from large libraries and small, from different interests and professional priorities for a common purpose: to acquit themselves with class and to demonstrate the exceptional intelligence, competency and level of service you can find in every branch of BPL.” Jaclyn Hogan, Richard Grooms, Jared Millet, Mary Beth Newbill, retiree Jim Pate and trustee Samuel Rumore Jr., were members of the winning team. Alternates for the event included Lynn Carpenter, Barry Crane, Danny Dorroh and Cedric Evans.
When asked what the experience was like for her, Mary Beth Newbill stated, “it was true this year as well as last that I am incredibly proud of our teamwork and humbled by what we accomplished. This was a really gratifying experience for me.” Newbill served as the team’s scribe throughout the competition.
Birmingham’s Brightest Company Trivia Competition invites companies from the Birmingham region to participate in an evening of trivia to raise money both for Impact Alabama and the winning teams’ selected charities. A contribution of $1,000 to Impact Alabama serves as an entrance fee and entitles a company to field a team of 2-6 employees to play for a chance to win $10,000 on behalf of any Alabama charity of their choosing. Impact Alabama is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. It works collaboratively with colleges, universities, and communities throughout the state to develop and implement substantive service-learning projects designed to engage students in addressing human and community needs and enhance students’ senses of social and civic responsibility.
The Friends of BPL are tremendously excited about the award. “Our number one priority is support for the Birmingham Public Library,” stated Friends’ President Regina Ammon. “The funds earned through this competition will enable the Friends to continue providing needed resources for our libraries in the City of Birmingham,” Ammon continued.
by Margaret Wrinkle
We’re thrilled to announce that Birmingham-born author Margaret Wrinkle will make a special appearance at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library on Wednesday, April 24th @ 10:30a.m. She will discuss her highly acclaimed novel Wash and the photographs which helped inspire it.
From the novel’s Facebook page: “Wash re-examines American slavery in ways that confound our contemporary assumptions about race, history and power as it carries the reader from the burgeoning South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul.”
The acclaimed novel has been voted as one of Oprah’s 16 picks for March 2013. People Magazine recently chose Wash as a “People Pick of the Week” (Feb 25, 2013 v79 #8).
Wash explores slavery through the eyes of both captive and captor. Washington is the first member of his family to be born into slavery while James Richardson is a troubled Revolutionary War veteran and slaveholder who has spent his life fighting for wealth and status. When the pressures of westward expansion and debt threaten to destroy everything he’s built, Richardson sets Wash to work as a breeding sire. As Wash struggles to hold onto the West African spiritual legacy inherited from his shamanic mother, he meets a potent enslaved healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop while Pallas inspires Wash to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it.
Margaret Wrinkle Born in 1963 in Birmingham, AL, author Margaret Wrinkle is a writer, filmmaker, educator, and visual artist. She has spent much of her life exploring issues of race. Before she penned Wash, Wrinkle and Chris Lawson made the documentary broken\ground, examining contemporary race relations in Alabama. The film was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and was a winner of the Council on Foundations’ Film and Video Festival in 1997.
The novel Wash is accompanied by a series of photographs taken by Wrinkle during her research at slavery-related sites throughout the South. Part of the series will be on view at the Five Points West library until mid-May and the rest of the series will be on view at the Coffee Shoppee in Five Points West from April 13 until mid-May.
Please join us on Wednesday April 24th @ 10:30 am at the Five Points West Branch (located at 4812 Avenue W) as we host a discussion of the book and photographs between Margaret Wrinkle – and you!
Where: Five Points West Regional Branch Library
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Book clubs and groups are welcome! Please call 226-4013 for further details – and remember to like us on Facebook!
Since I suffer from year-round allergies (perennial allegies), this is a timely blog entry. A number of people suffer with seasonal allergies caused by exposure to airborne substances (pollens).
Seasonal allergies occur only during certain times of the year: spring, summer and fall. Listed below are recommended tips from the American Academy of Allergy & Asthma Immunology (AAAAI):
- Do a thorough spring cleaning that includes curtains, rugs, windows, bookshelves, and air conditioning vents—this helps remove accumulated dust and mold.
- Keep windows closed at night to prevent pollens and mold from drifting into your house.
- When possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools, and dries air in your home and car.
- Avoid outdoor activities between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.— this is the prime time for pollen emission.
- When traveling, keep the car windows up and the air conditioning on.
- Minimize outdoor activity when the weather is hot, dry, and windy.
- Avoid hanging laundry out to dry—pollen and mold collects on them.
- Remove pollen and mold from your hair and skin with a daily shower before bed.
- Use a filter mask when you mow your lawn or rake leaves.
Here is a list of books in the JCLC collection on allergies and asthma to help you make it through the allergy seasons.
If symptoms are severely affecting your daily life, you may want to consult an allergist or immunologist. These specialists can pinpoint theallergens causing your symptoms and develop a management plan that may include environmental adjustments in your work or living space and prescription medications, which are more effective and better tolerated than over-the-counter remedies. To find a specialist in your area and learn more about seasonal allergies, visit AAAAI’s website.
Submitted by Felita Y. Hawkins
East Lake Library
Wrinkle will discuss her novel and the photographs which helped inspire it on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at the Five Points West Regional Branch Library. She has paired each photograph with a selection from the novel “to give a sense of the story, the characters, and the landscape in which they lived,” she stated. Photographs from the collection will be on display at the library through the middle of May.
Where: Five Points West Regional Branch Library
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 10:30 a.m.
"In this deeply researched, deeply felt debut novel, documentarian Wrinkle aims a sure pen at a crucial moment following America’s War of Independence. . . . The novel well evokes the tragedy not only of [its] lovers’ untenable positions, but also that of their master and his fragile country." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reverend Clyde Carter, sometime referred to as the Michelangelo of Birmingham, has pieces on display at the prestigious Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. His bas relief pieces in copper of the Smithfield Library and Parker High School were generous and beautiful donation.
Joe Minter is a nationally known, self-taught, visionary artist who works with all kinds of found objects to create multimedia sculpture. He uses his artwork to spread the knowledge of God, and to make political statements as well. His whimsical art donated from his famous African Village are real treasures for our library.
Shirley Ramsey is a retired Birmingham Public Library Paraprofessional whose works are in primarily oil pastels. Her main subject matter is African Americans who have made significant contributions to society. We appreciate the beauty of her artistry and her generosity of spirit.
Submitted by Yolanda Hardy
In addition to the above workshop, Birmingham Public Library has many resources to help you create a flourishing garden. Here are just a few of them.
For adults The Art & Practice of Gardening. England, Ireland & America [videorecording] The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening The Dirt Cheap Green Thumb Gardening Basics for Dummies Guide to Alabama Vegetable Gardening Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers Renovation nation. Gardening [videorecording] : watch your green grow / Planet Green. The Vegetable Garden's Bible
For children: A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids The Gardening Book Ready Set Grow!
The library staff has prepared a subject guide entitled Gardening in the South which lists local events, organizations, catalog topics and magazines and journals of interest to southern gardeners.
National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets (AAP) in 1996 and is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. For more information about this celebration visit the AAP website.
Curious about what other people had to say about their favorite poems? Then take a look at The Favorite Poem Project to find out how Americans of all ages from all walks of life responded. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997 as a way of celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.
During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project to share their favorite poems — Americans from ages 5 to 97, from every state, of diverse occupations, education and backgrounds.
Check out these anthologies that may remind you how powerful poetry can be:
100 essential modern poems / selected and introduced by Joseph Parisi
Americans' favorite poems : the Favorite Poem Project anthology / edited by Robert Pinsky and Maggie Dietz
Essential pleasures : a new anthology of poems to read aloud /edited by Robert Pinsky
Good poems / selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor
Staying alive : real poems for unreal times / edited by Neil Astley
Ten poems to change your life again and again / edited by Roger Housden
Ten poems to set you free / edited by Roger Housden
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the integration of the Birmingham Public Library.
Following Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth’s court case in 1961 in which Judge Hobart Grooms had ruled in favor of integrating public parks, theaters, auditoriums, etc., the City Commissioners vowed to close all public areas that fell under this ruling, they even threatened to close the public libraries, but they were not in the jurisdiction of this particular case.
For the next two years the mood in Birmingham shifted. By 1963 the SCLC had come to Birmingham to assist the ACMHR in organizing demonstrations. April became a pivotal month for race relations in the Alabama and eventually the nation.
On April 9 three students from Miles College (U.W. Clemon, Sandra Edwards, Catherine Jones), accompanied by Addine “Deenie” Drew, staged a sit-in at the Birmingham Public Library. On this occasion they did not request service, but sat and read quietly while white patrons stared at them. No police were called and the students left without incident. The next day, April 10, a larger contingent of Miles College students (12) staged another sit-in. This time Shelly Millender, an ex-serviceman, was appointed the spokesperson of the group. Upon arrival at the Library, Millender went to the service desk and asked to join the library. He was told that he was to go to the library for blacks in the suburbs of Smithfield and apply there. This time the police were called and came to the library, but seemed reluctant to jail the protesters.
On April 11, Fant Thornley, Director of the Library, made the decision to call a special meeting of the Library Board. Before April of 1963, the Library Board had included Eugene “Bull” Connor as ex official. But since the election, the Library Board had less to fear from the city’s powerful segregationists. Although the board did not approve of the students’ use of the library “for sit-in demonstrations or for the agitation of racial incidents,” they did eventually approve a resolution integrating Birmingham’s Public Library System and directed that “no persons be excluded from the use of the public library facilities on account of race.”
Part 1 of an interview with Judge U.W. Clemon, the first African-American federal judge in Alabama. In the interview Judge Clemon reflects on his time on the bench and his role in desegregating the Birmingham Public Library. Interviewed by James L. Baggett, January 26, 2009.
Submitted by Catherine Oseas
Job searching in a struggling economy is a difficult task. It can also be intimidating. It isn't enough to just have a parchment paper-printed resume, but many companies now require or prefer that candidates submit their information online, along with a digital copy of their credentials. Today, libraries have embraced the demand for the digital career chase by providing services and computer access to their patrons.
People who are seeking employment use the public computers on a daily basis to peruse through openings and descriptions, hoping that at some point, clicking “Apply” will translate to a “You’re Hired.” Many libraries even offer resume workshops and business writing courses, some for free, as well as software classes.
Here are some job searching sites from the Birmingham Public Library Subject Guides Resources and other job search engines that could open doors:
- Alabama JobLink offers all the services provided by the Alabama Career Center System, including information for jobs in the state of Alabama and job fairs.
- Al.com combines job listings from regional newspapers and news media, allowing job seekers to customize their search by industry, region, or skills.
- Job Quest is your gateway to civil service in Jefferson County, Alabama
- CareerBuilder also has millions of job postings as well as thousands of employers and headhunters for potential candidates.
- Craigslist is probably best known for classified ads, but many employers also post open positions on the job board. It is especially helpful when you are looking for jobs in your area.
- Indeed combs other job sites, news media, and company sites for job postings. Unlike CareerBuilder, it isn’t a full-service job search site, but it will provide you with links and the option to get email alerts.
- LinkedIn is a social networking site emphasizing on professional networking and career advancement. Rather than sorting through hundreds of databases, you can obtain a position from your networks or by companies looking at your professional profile.
- Monster.com has more than a million job postings and has one of the largest job search databases. The site also offers advice about careers and information about companies.
- Be selective about the process, if you can. There are thousands of jobs out there, but choose one that fits your interest and in your career path. If you cannot afford to be picky, then choose a job in which you will be comfortable until you find the job you want. However, seeking a permanent employment is preferable to your career path as well as to you employer.
- Don’t apply for jobs above your education and qualification level. However, it’s okay to go beyond your comfort level. There’s nothing wrong for reaching outside the box, but make sure you’re qualified. Companies will only ignore your application if you don’t meet requirements they need or want in a candidate. If you don’t have some skills, take a class or learn on your own. Take the initiative to fill those areas where you might be lacking.
- Watch out for scams. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Those promising quick and easy income or asking for fees or other personal information are more likely scams. Also, if you are being asked to pay a fee, do some research to make sure the company is legitimate.
- Make it personal. A cover letter that’s well-written and customized demonstrates that you have put thought and research into a company. This is your chance to showcase your qualifications as it relates to the company’s requirements and interests.
- Check your spelling and grammar. Don’t neglect the basics. When you submit your cover letter, resume, and application, you want to make sure that they are free of typos and errors. Also, don’t go overboard with fonts and formatting. While you want to stand out, you want to do it in a good way. You don’t want your resume to look like the font machine regurgitated everything it had in its system.
Second and third place winners Patrice Talley and Miaya Webster
For the second year, Eboni Wallace was named winner of the annual WORD UP! competition sponsored by the public libraries of Jefferson County and Real Life Poets. As the winner, she received a cash prize of $300 and the 2013 trophy. Eboni is a student at Tarrant High School and an active participant in the monthly teen poetry workshops led by the non-profit group Real Life Poets. The workshops are held on the first Saturdays of the month at the Central Library. Patrice Talley from the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) won second place, and Miaya Webster, also from ASFA, placed third. This year’s competition had even more meaning for Eboni and the other contestants because the top 6 finalists this year will, if selected to participate, represent Alabama in Chicago this August for the international Brave New Voices poetry competition—the first time representatives from Alabama may have an opportunity to take the stage.
WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for high school students who are enrolled in schools or home schooled in Jefferson County. The Sixth Annual WORD UP! competition was held Sunday, April 7 at 3:00 p.m. in the Birmingham Public Library’s Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium. Participating students represented high-schools including the Alabama School of Fine Arts; Birmingham City Schools—Parker and Woodlawn; Jefferson County Schools—Center Point, Minor, Pinson and Shades Valley; Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School/Shades Valley; and independent systems comprising, Hewitt-Trussville, Leeds, Vestavia, and Tarrant. Jim Reed, owner of Reed Books and a prominent figure in the local arts scene, served as the emcee. The judges were Yolonda Carter, David Hornbuckle, and Dee Byrd Smith.
Each year, students in grades 9 through 12 write and perform an original work of poetry inspired by a theme selected by the WORD UP! planning committee. In keeping with the spirit of the city of Birmingham’s 50th anniversary civil rights commemoration, contestants performed original poetry inspired by photographs of scenes from the civil rights era. Each participating high school held a preliminary contest, and the first and second place winners from each school competed in the WORD UP! competition. The contestants were judged on content and performance by a panel of three judges.
Word UP! 2013 was made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
What is your full name, age, and occupation? Leah Marie Bigbee, 24, Account Manager at Metro Monitor.
What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Over Easy in Homewood.
Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? I got involved with BPLYP because library advocacy is something I aim to invest in my whole life and the BPLYP arose as a great opportunity to serve my community.
Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? Avondale.
Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Number the Stars, The Giver, All The Kings Men.
What genres do you read the most as an adult? Literary fiction, short story anthologies, books of poetry.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Anne Carson, George Saunders, Hilda Doolittle.
What is your wish for the city of Birmingham? My wish for the city is for us to say hi to each other more—especially in our libraries.
What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying? “A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood