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BPL Closing at 3:00 P.M. on February 6

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 3:43pm
Due to the threat of inclement weather all locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closing at 3:00 p.m. today.

Release of the Inner Artist Exhibit at Central Library Through March 29

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 1:28pm

Don’t miss . . .

The Release of the Inner Artist

Paintings by Joyce E. Brooks are on display on the first floor of the Birmingham Public Library’s Central location from now until March 29.

Ms. Brooks’ website says it best:

Once Joyce E. Brooks managed to minimize the overload, achieve balance and gain some much deserved peace, she discovered a hidden gift deep inside of her. Joyce had never given any thought to becoming an artist. In 2010, after attending an event that included painting on canvass for entertainment, she stumbled upon a new passion. She began painting with acrylics and hasn’t stopped.

Joyce E. Brooks is also the author of the book titled Self-Inflicted Overload.

This month Joyce is celebrating being cancer-free for five years. Since being declared cancer-free in 2009, Joyce has become an artist, author, stress awareness expert, and a “mompreneur.” Joyce says, “Being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a life challenging experience. What could have been devastating has turned out to be a blessing!” Watch an interview with Brooks conducted by Alabama's 13's Ashley Roberts.

Come to the show and view the beautiful canvasses that reflect the artist within.

Come back on Tuesday, February 18, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for a reception and meet the artist, herself. Self-Inflicted Overload will be available for purchase and signing. The paintings are also available for purchase.

Time is ticking . . . don’t miss out . . .

Come to the show.

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library

Black Heritage Genealogy Fair, February 8

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:02pm
Students at St. Mark's Academic and Industrial School, 1931
BPL Digital Collections
Discover your past and forge toward the future during the Black Heritage Genealogy Fair on February 8 at Central Library, Arrington Auditorium. Presented by the Birmingham African-American Genealogy Study Group, the event will feature an exhibit from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., and program with guest speakers from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Sochi 2014

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:51am


There has  been a lot of press coverage about the Sochi Winter Olympics and the Games haven’t even started yet.  Unfortunately, politics has overshadowed one of the best representations of international cooperation and sportsmanship the world gets to witness.  Hopefully, this will all change once the XXII Olympic Winter Games get under way.  The Games will take place February 7-23.
My favorite memory from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics was the Men’s Halfpipe competition.  Shaun White was the last snowboarder to take his run during the final round.   The broadcasters kept talking about a new trick Shaun had mastered and were wondering if he would pull it out since he already had the lead going into this run.  Shaun dropped into the halfpipe and rather than doing a trick on the first wall like his competitors, he went for big air.  When he crested the other side, I swear he went so high, I thought he’d be at the end of the course when he came back down.  On the last wall of his run, he nailed the difficult trick the broadcasters were talking about.  The crowd erupted, Shaun finished with his hands in the air and pumped his fist.
I’m sure you have some favorite memories from past Winter Games.  The movie Miracle  is about the miraculous U.S Hockey team win over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid (1980).  How about Nancy Kerrigan winning the silver medal for figure skating in Lillehammer (1994) after having her knee bashed before the competition.  Birmingham’s own Vonetta Flowers became the first African-American to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics by earning gold for two-woman bobsleigh in Salt Lake City (2002).  I personally developed a huge interest in short track speed skating  watching Apolo Ohno compete in Salt Lake City and Turin (2006).  I always cheer for Team USA, but NBC does such a great job profiling the athletes, you want each of them to win so much more.   
Sochi 2014 will provide its own historical moments and great memories. Between events, take a look at the Olympic Games subject guide to discover books, websites, and other information about the Olympics. Enjoy the next two weeks.


Pratt City Library's Reopening Scheduled for February 10

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 3:33pm


The Pratt City Branch Library, which was severely damaged in an April 27, 2011, tornado, has been rebuilt and will reopen on February 10 at 10:00 a.m. with a grand reopening ceremony and reception. A new library feature is a storm shelter with reinforced concrete walls.

"The new building not only has a safe room, but has been strengthened in other ways to withstand high winds,'' says Renee Blalock, director of the Birmingham Public Library. "The design is not only practical, but also beautiful. The staff looks forward to providing improved services to friends and patrons in Pratt City.''

When the tornado hit, the library’s steel frame was one of the only salvageable parts left of a building that was built in 1993. During the planning process to rebuild, the City of Birmingham insisted that a storm shelter be incorporated into the new design. The goal was to provide protection from future tornadoes and wind events. During the February 10 reopening ceremony, Mayor William A. Bell, Sr., U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, city council members, and others are scheduled to speak. The public is invited to attend.

"We are very excited that the Birmingham Public Library will once again be providing library services to the citizens of Pratt City,'' says Blalock.

Other features include a terrazzo floor marked with major Pratt City landmarks, new study rooms, a business center, and youth and teen areas accented with bright and inviting colors. The branch's collection has more than 7, 000 items. The library is at Dugan Avenue and Hibernian Street. Crews and library staff are working to put the finishing touches on the library for the Jan. 30 opening.

The Pratt City Branch Library is one of 19 locations within the Birmingham Public Library system.

Bards & Brews Open Mic Event Hosted by Five Points West Library, February 7

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:40pm
Sampling local beer at the January 3 B&B Slam! at Avondale Library
Visit the Bards & Brews page on Facebook
The Five Points West Library hosts the next Bards & Brews Open Mic on Friday, February 7, 2014. Music is by Elliot Cleverdon, 6:30-7:00 p.m. Performances start at 7:00 p.m. The event is free to attend and is open to the public. Must be 18 and up to attend and 21 to participate. Beer tasting will be provided by Blue Pants Brewery. ID required. Refreshments will be served.

For more info, call 205-226-3670 or email hm@bham.lib.al.us.

LifeSouth Blood Drive at Central Library

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:26pm

On Monday, February 10, LifeSouth will be doing a blood drive at the Central Library's Story Castle from noon till 5:00 p.m. Because of the recent snow, blood is at a winter low and is desperately needed. Please consider donating. All donors will receive a baseball hat and be put in a drawing for a new Play Station 4.

Twitter Haiku Contest! (#bplhaiku)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:09am
Hosting haiku compOpen to AL residentsPoems in the spring. 
From February 23rd through March 15th, BPL will be sponsoring a Twitter Haiku Contest!

In conjuntion with the Japan America Society of Alabama (JASA) and the Southeast Chapter of the Haiku Society of America (HSA) the contest will be part of the annual Sakura Festival, the primary event of which will take place at the Japanese Gardens at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

A haiku is a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey the essence of an experience of nature or the season intuitively linked to the human condition. For more information, see http://www.hsa-haiku.org/archives/HSA_Definitions_2004.htmlEligibility
  • Must be an Alabama resident.
  • Contestants must submit a registration form.
  • To enter the adult competition, must be over 18.
  • To enter the youth competition, must be 13-17 (13 by the registration date).
  • Library staff and immediate family members are ineligible.
Rules
  • Haiku must follow the official Haiku Society of America definition as linked above.
  • Contest begins on February 23rd and runs through March 15th.
  • A winner will be selected each week for the adult division and the youth division. Poems must be submitted by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. to be considered for that week. 
  • Haikus must be tagged with #bplhaiku to be eligible.
  • The winner in each division will be announced via the library Twitter @bpl early the following week.
  • Contestants may only win once.
Complete rules found here. 

    Five Points West Regional Library Celebrates Ten Years

    Mon, 02/03/2014 - 12:54pm
    An exhibit at Five Points West Library of photographs from every location in its 85-year history.
    The Five Points West Regional Library (formerly the Central Park Library) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary at its current location. The library will host an open house to celebrate the occasion on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. The open house will be held from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

    The library was first established in the 1930s on the upper floor of Birmingham Fire Station No. 24. Since then it was moved to the Central Park Recreation Center, to a building on Bessemer Road, to the former Britling West cafeteria on Avenue V, and finally to its current location at the Five Points West Municipal Center.

    The current library, designed by Giattina Fisher Aycock, opened in 2004. The building includes half of the old Food Fair/Zayre store building from Five Points West Shopping City which was partially demolished.

    The library was home to the monumental Antelumpen sculpture, created in 1997 by sculptor Zachary Coffin. It was lent by the Birmingham Museum of Art for display at the library in 2010. Coffin's sculpture was damaged at the library site during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. It was removed from the grounds on July 1, 2011.

    Historical Timeline for the Central Park/Five Points West Regional Library
    1928 - The Forthian Club sponsored a one-room library in Fire Station Number 24.
    1934  - The library was named the Virginia Harmon Library in honor of a founder of the
    Forthian Club.
    1938 - The library moved to the Central Park Community Center and became a branch of
    The Birmingham Public Library.
    1942 - Birmingham newspaper reported that the Central Park library circulated more
    books than any other branch public library in the city.
    1983 - The Five Points West regional branch opened on the site of the old Britling
    Cafeteria West, completing the Library Board’s 1981 plan to build three large
    Regional branches.
    2004 - In January the new Five Points West Regional Branch opened on the site of an abandoned grocery store. The facility has 30,000 square feet for library materials, children’s services, computers, offices, workspace, and a 150-seat auditorium.

    Among the most recent improvements at the library is the new Computer Commons. With the addition of 15 new computers purchased through an LSTA grant, Five Points West now has a total of 40 computers available for public use. The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a United States federal library grant program designed to help libraries with their technology infrastructure needs. The new computers also allow us to offer more computer classes. We are now able to offer a wider range of class times, including some afternoon courses.

    With over 85 years of library service to the western area of Birmingham, the Five Points West Regional Library will continue in its commitment to serve the community. The sun continues to shine brightly on the library.

    Lorraine Walker
    Five Points West Library

    Children's Book Review: Mr. Wuffles!

    Mon, 02/03/2014 - 9:09am


    Mr. Wuffles!
    David Wiesner

    After reading this book, no cat's toy will ever look the same.

    Among Mr. Wuffles' toys, there is a new one, different from all the rest. It's similar to a spinning top, and there appears to be a small creature (about the size of an ant) peering through a slit. These aliens are here to peacefully explore earth, but unfortunately, their first contact is Mr. Wuffl‏es.

    Wiesner's artwork reveals even more layers of the story each time one views a page making this a book even adult will want to return to. Mr.Wiesner is only the second person to win the Caldecott Medal three times.

    Barbara Hutto
    Youth Department
    Central Library

    Local Authors Expo, February 1

    Fri, 01/31/2014 - 9:00am
    Click image to enlargeNearly 100 authors are scheduled to showcase their written works during the Local Authors Expo and Book Fair on February 1, 9:00  a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Central Library. The event is free and open to the public.

    The event provides an outlet for authors, many of them self-published, to sell their books and to network. But it also gives library patrons an opportunity to discover new talent and talk to authors about their writing style and writing journey. Book topics include Birmingham and Alabama history, civil rights, poetry, memoirs, devotionals, relationships, inspiration and motivation, self-help, children’s fiction, Christian fiction, teen fiction, fantasy, romance, thrillers, science fiction, and historical fiction.

    The Expo will have two writing sessions in the Arrington Auditorium. The sessions are free and don’t require advance registration.

    The Local Authors Expo is presented by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, a nonprofit association that supports Birmingham Public Library special needs by providing volunteer and financial resources.

    For more information and to see a list of the 2014 authors, visit http://www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors/.

    Photos from the 2013 Authors Expo can be found on the library’s Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpl/8439043562/in/set-72157632669709859.

    BPL Closed Wednesday, January 29

    Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:09pm
    All locations of the Birmingham Public Library will be closed Wednesday, January 29 due to inclement weather. Stay safe!

    Participate in the City's Comprehensive Plan

    Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:25pm
    Birmingham is in the process of creating a comprehensive plan for the city and is asking for citizen input. Framework plans focusing on issues, growth, and development specific to neighborhoods within each community are needed. Make your voice heard for the future of your community by participating.

    Communities:

    North Birmingham
    Location: Trinity CME Church
    Date: Thursday, February 6
    Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.




















    Titusville
    Location: Sixth Avenue Baptist Church
    Date: Monday, February 10
    Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.




















    Western Area
    Location: Five Points West Library
    Date: Saturday, February 1
    Time: 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.



    New Birmingham Public Library Exhibit Features Discarded Trash Turned Into Treasured Works of Art

    Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:01am

    The Birmingham Public Library has a new exhibit that highlights the work of Fayette, Alabama, artist Lois Wilson, who took discarded pieces of trash and turned them into treasures. Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson will be on display through February 21, 2014, in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library. The exhibit is free.

    The exhibit focuses on Wilson’s “found art,” which includes pieces made of wood that Wilson scavenged from demolition sites, parts of furniture she disassembled, old brushes, ironing boards, and toilet seats. She used left over food for coloring. The art illustrates the issues that were important to Wilson: environmentalism and conservation, racism, spiritualism, the needs of the aged and homeless, and the emptiness of modern American materialism. Wilson died in 1980. The pieces are on loan from the Fayette Art Museum in Fayette.

    “Bazard,”pronounced buh-zard, is a made-up word that conveys how Wilson saw herself, which is as “a bizarre person, an oddball, an outsider,’’ says Jim Baggett, Birmingham Public Library archivist. “She very much was a person who felt like she did not fit in modern society. Clearly, her artwork illustrates that,’’ says Baggett.

    Now through February 21, people may give their own definition of a “bazard’’ and drop it into a box in the gallery. The best and most creative answer will win a prize.

    Laquita Thomson, courtesy of Diego RojasLaquita Thomson, associate professor of fine arts at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, will give a free talk and gallery tour on February 2 at 3:00 p.m. The talk, “Alabama Mystic or Alabama Outsider: The Art of Lois Wilson,” will be held in the Arrington Auditorium at the downtown library. She will then give a guided tour of the gallery. An artist, Thomson has exhibited widely for the past 35 years. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Mobile Museum of Art, and the Georgia Museum of Art.

    For more information, call Jim Baggett at (205) 226-3631.

    Immunity against Alabama’s Changing Weather

    Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:00pm

    Alabama’s weather can be very unpredictable and easy to get sick in. One day the weather can be so beautiful that it would almost be a sin to sit inside and do nothing. On another day, many times the very next day, the weather can be so frightful that you wouldn’t even want to look outside. Weather changes can play a role in lowering our immune systems’ ability to fight against germs and diseases. So how can we protect ourselves from this crazy Alabama weather? Below, in article titled 6 Immune System Busters & Boosters, WebMD explains how our lifestyles can negatively affect our immune system and how changes can be made to improve it. Following the article are pertinent books that you can find in the Birmingham Public Library. Hopefully, after reading this information we’ll be better prepared for whatever Alabama’s weather throws our way.

    6 Immune System Busters & Boosters
    1. You're short on sleep.
    Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone. It may also lead to more inflammation in your body. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how sleep boosts the immune system, it’s clear that getting enough – usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult – is key for good health.

    2. You don't exercise.
    Try to get regular, moderate exercise, like a daily 30-minute walk. It can help your immune system fight infection. If you don't exercise, you're more likely to get colds, for example, than someone who exercises. Exercise can also boost your body's feel-good chemicals and help you sleep better. Both of those are good for your immune system.

    3. Your diet is off.
    Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc.

    4. You're always stressed.
    Everyone has some stress; it's part of life. If stress drags on for a long time, it makes you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to serious diseases. Chronic stress exposes your body to a steady stream of stress hormones that suppress the immune system. You may not be able to get rid of your stress, but you can get better at managing it. Some ways include meditating, slowing down, and connecting with other people.

    5. You're too isolated.
    People who feel connected to friends – whether it’s a few close friends or a large group – have stronger immunity than those who feel alone, studies show. In one study, lonely freshmen had a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine than those who felt connected to others.

    6. You've lost your sense of humor.
    Laughing is good for you. It curbs the levels of stress hormones in your body and boosts a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

    For a full article go to http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/10-immune-system-busters-boosters.

    Books
    The Immune System by Gregory J. Stewart
    The Immune System: Your Body's Disease-Fighting Army by Mark P. Friedlander
    In Defense of Self: How the Immune System Really Works by William R. Clark
    The Immune System: How It Works by Lydia Woods Schindler.

    Karnecia Williams
    Inglenook Library

    Pratt City Library's Reopening Scheduled for January 30

    Fri, 01/24/2014 - 12:02pm

    The Pratt City Branch Library, which was severely damaged in an April 27, 2011, tornado, has been rebuilt and will reopen on January 30 at 10:00 a.m. with a grand reopening ceremony and reception. A new library feature is a storm shelter with reinforced concrete walls.

    "The new building not only has a safe room, but has been strengthened in other ways to withstand high winds,'' says Renee Blalock, director of the Birmingham Public Library. "The design is not only practical, but also beautiful. The staff looks forward to providing improved services to friends and patrons in Pratt City.''

    When the tornado hit, the library’s steel frame was one of the only salvageable parts left of a building that was built in 1993. During the planning process to rebuild, the City of Birmingham insisted that a storm shelter be incorporated into the new design. The goal was to provide protection from future tornadoes and wind events. During the January 30 reopening ceremony, Mayor William A. Bell, Sr., U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, city council members, and others are scheduled to speak. The public is invited to attend.

    "We are very excited that the Birmingham Public Library will once again be providing library services to the citizens of Pratt City,'' says Blalock.

    Other features include a terrazzo floor marked with major Pratt City landmarks, new study rooms, a business center, and youth and teen areas accented with bright and inviting colors. The branch's collection has more than 7, 000 items. The library is at Dugan Avenue and Hibernian Street. Crews and library staff are working to put the finishing touches on the library for the Jan. 30 opening.

    The Pratt City Branch Library is one of 19 locations within the Birmingham Public Library system.

    Birmingham Public Library’s Local Authors Expo and Book Fair To Feature Writing Workshops and 100 Authors on Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:51am
    Click image to enlargeNearly 100 authors are scheduled to showcase their written works during the Local Authors Expo and Book Fair on February 1, 9:00  a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Central Library. The event is free and open to the public.

    The event provides an outlet for authors, many of them self-published, to sell their books and to network. But it also gives library patrons an opportunity to discover new talent and talk to authors about their writing style and writing journey. Book topics include Birmingham and Alabama history, civil rights, poetry, memoirs, devotionals, relationships, inspiration and motivation, self-help, children’s fiction, Christian fiction, teen fiction, fantasy, romance, thrillers, science fiction, and historical fiction.

    “One of the main missions of the library is to connect authors and readers,’’ says Expo coordinator Jared Millett. “The Local Authors Expo lets us shine a spotlight on Birmingham’s own writing community, and it gives the authors an opportunity to promote their works directly to the public.’’

    Interest in the expo continues to grow. Foot traffic in the Birmingham Public Library the weekend of the 2013 Expo was 1,800—double what it was for a normal February weekend and triple what it was for the 2011 Expo.

    “I’m excited to do the Expo because I’m going to be among numerous writers who have produced rich and significant works on Birmingham’s history,’’ says Karen R. Utz, who co-wrote Iron & Steel: A Guide to Birmingham Area Industrial Heritage Sites with James R. Bennett. “Also I’m a huge supporter of the Birmingham Library and all of the wonderful branches. Anytime I can help the library system, I’m there.’’

    The Expo will have two writing sessions in the Arrington Auditorium. The sessions are free and don’t require advance registration.

    At 10:00 a.m., young adult author and full-time Spanish teacher Anne Riley from Birmingham will lead a session called "How to Write While Having a Life.'' She will explain how to make writing a book a manageable task when you also have a job and family. Her first novel, Shadows of the Hidden, was released in 2012 and published through Compass Press. Recently, she secured a book deal with Spencer Hill Press to publish her book Pull.

    People often ask Riley, a 30-year-old mother of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, when she finds time to write. She says she makes the time, which can come during her school lunch break, right after school or during a weekend break from home when her husband can watch their children for a few hours.
    “You just pick a time that works for you and you do your best to protect it,’’ she says.

    At 1:00 p.m., seejanewritebham.com will offer practical tips on how to use blogging and social media to reach readers and promote one’s work. Featured speakers will be Alabama authors Stephanie Naman and Kathryn C. Lang, and seejanewritebham.com founder and blogger Javacia Harris Bowser.

    “In our workshop, we will discuss ways authors can use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and a number of other social networking sites to promote their work,’’ says Bowser. “We'll also discuss the importance of blogging and how to build a platform.”

    Also, Books-A-Million will be on hand to talk about a new book publishing service they offer. The company now has the Espresso Book Machine, the only one of its kind in Alabama, which allows authors to submit their works to be published. Customers may also browse the company’s database of over 7 million titles and request that a book be printed and bound in minutes just by using the Espresso Book Machine.

    The machine is designed to make self-publishing easy by turning someone’s words and/or images into a book. A person can publish anything from their own poetry or grandmother's recipes to childhood photos or a novel. Books-A-Million offers a variety of packages and services to meet an author's needs. Three Espresso Book Machine packages give authors the opportunity to sell their book at the Colonial Brookwood Village store. (Note: The machine will not be at the library on February 1. But store representatives will be at the Expo to take questions and explain the process and services.)

    "We are committed to assisting local authors as they work to get their written masterpieces off the ground,'' said Mary Gallagher, senior vice president of merchandising at Books-A-Million. "It is our hope that many of the new books found on the shelves at Books-A-Million will be printed and bound by this cutting edge printing equipment.''

    Here’s additional information about the speakers:

    • Birmingham author Anne Riley has written four books and has had two published. She’s already making plans for her next book, which will be a young teen novel set in Alabama.Her website is www.annerileybooks.com. Follow her on Twitter at @anneriley.
    • Guntersville-based writer Kathryn Lang is the author of 10 books including her latest nonfiction work Place in Purpose. Lang describes herself as a "hopesmith," crafting hope for those she encounters through her books, columns, teachings, and presentations because she knows that hope makes everything possible. Her website is www.kathrynlang.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynclang .
    • Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of Birmingham-based author Stephanie Naman, whose day job is in the advertising industry. Her clever and comical murder mystery Murder on the First Day of Christmas follows the adventures of amateur sleuth Chloe Carstairs. She blogs as Chloe at chloegetsaclue.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ChloeGetsAClue.
    • Javacia Harris Bowser is a blogger, freelance journalist, and the founder of See Jane Write, which is a networking organization for women writers. She is also founder of seejanewritemagazine.com.Her websites include: www.seejanewritebham.com and www.seejanewritemagazine.com.Follow her on Twitter: @seejanewritemag, @seejanewritebhm, and @writeousbabe.

    The Local Authors Expo is presented by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library, a nonprofit association that supports Birmingham Public Library special needs by providing volunteer and financial resources.

    For more information and to see a list of the 2014 authors, visit http://www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors/.

    Photos from the 2013 Authors Expo can be found on the library’s Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpl/8439043562/in/set-72157632669709859.

    Eunice Elliott to Give Three More Motivational Lectures in Living the Dream 2014 Series

    Fri, 01/24/2014 - 10:00am
    Eunice Elliott
    Get motivated in the new year with inspiring words from Birmingham motivational speaker Eunice Elliott and her lecture series, Living the Dream 2014, at various Birmingham Public Library locations in January and February. The interactive empowerment series will focus on how people can identify and activate individual goals and ambitions. All sessions are free and open to the public.

    The Bessemer native graduated from the University of Alabama in 1997 and moved to Connecticut a week later to pursue her dream job at ESPN, working in public relations and later as a production assistant at ESPN Sports Center. After more than 10 years working in sports public relations, including stints at the Tennessee Titans, the FedEx Orange Bowl Committee, and with several high-profile professional athletes, Elliott changed course and started performing stand-up comedy and acting.

    In 2011, she moved to Atlanta to pursue her new passion of comedy and acting. In 2013, she returned to Birmingham to join Alabama's 13 morning team as the traffic reporter. She appears daily from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.

    "I'm so excited about this series because honestly, when I see that light come on in people's minds about pursuing their own passions, it further inspires and motivates me to continue pursuing my own,’’ says Elliott. “I love the feeling I get from motivating other others. Honestly, it motivates me to keep trying to accomplish my own dreams.’’

     "As a Man Thinketh"— Understanding the Law of Attraction
    Monday, January 27, 11:00 a.m.
    Springville Road Library

    Maintaining the Vision — Keeping the Faith
    Wednesday, January 29, 12:00 p.m.
    Central Library

    Enjoying this Moment —Gratitude
    Monday, February 3, 12:00 p.m.
    North Birmingham Library

    For more information, visit http://facebook.com/euniceelliott.

    Birmingham Public Library Wants Community Input for Major Makeover

    Thu, 01/23/2014 - 3:26pm
    Central Library: Linn-Henley Research Library and the East Building
    Want to redesign the downtown Birmingham Public Library? Here’s your chance.

    Now through February 21, people can suggest how to improve the East Building and the Linn-Henley Research Library, which are both part of the Central Library at 2100 Park Place. A café, a roof-top garden, a children’s theater, and a larger auditorium are just some of the ideas. Library leaders welcome more.

    “A great city has a great library. Help us make ours even better,‘’ says Renee Blalock, Birmingham Public Library Director.

    The downtown library includes the East Building, which is more than 30 years old, and the Linn-Henley Research Library, which was built in 1927 and was last updated in 1985. Major renovations are planned to equip buildings with cutting-edge technology, expanded meeting spaces, and improved areas for the Archives and Southern History Departments. Renovations will also address improved services and library materials for teenagers, children, adults, seniors, and patrons with disabilities.

    “We are using IdeaScale, a free, online resource that captures the community’s ideas on how to improve the library. The team of architects we are working with can use this site to gather ideas and suggestions from library users, staff and supporters,’’ says Blalock. “Ideas posted before February 21 will be given to the architects. However, the IdeasScale website will remain up so that we may continue to collect input from the public.’’

    Submitting ideas is easy. Patrons may visit www.bplonline.org, click on the red “Redesign the Central Library’’ box, sign up, post suggestions, comment on ideas, and vote for their favorite ones. The suggestions with the most votes will rise to the top. The direct link is http://bplrenovation.ideascale.com. People may also sign up through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

    “We are determining what we need to do and what we’d like to do to make BPL a destination for years to come,’’ says Blalock. “Libraries today need state-of-the-art technology, exciting spaces for kids and teens, as well as a place where people are comfortable coming to learn and have fun. We’d like the public’s input in planning the new look of the downtown library.’’

    Alabama Waterfalls

    Thu, 01/23/2014 - 10:36am

    Although this is the time of year when it is cold outside and the skies are often a dark and dreary shade of gray,  we have also reached the peak time of year for viewing waterfalls in the state of Alabama. Alabama is blessed with thousands of impressive waterfalls from the mighty High Falls (pictured above) located at an easily accessible county park in DeKalb County to the Kings Shower hidden within the miles of underground passage inside the Tumbling Rock Cave near Scottsboro. The library has several books that can help you get started in discovering waterfalls in Alabama. Several guides to hiking in Alabama mention the locations of waterfalls, including titles such as Alabama: An Atlas of Alabama’s Greatest Hiking Adventures, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Birmingham, 50 Hikes in Alabama, and - especially - Waterfall Walks and Drives in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
    Many of the most photographed waterfalls in Alabama reside within the borders of the Sipsey Wilderness Area, a rugged tract of wilderness in the northwestern part of the state that contains (literally) thousands of waterfalls. The library system has a couple of books that can help you navigate this area: Alabama Canyons is available for checkout by anyone with a valid library card, but you will have to visit the Southern History department in order to find additional information on the Sipsey Wilderness in books such as Walking Sipsey: The People, Places, and Wildlife or Indian Trails of the Warrior Mountains.
    Also, if you are interested in spending a full day exploring some waterfalls around the state (with very little hiking required), the map below features an itinerary and directions for a road trip to six really great and easily accessible waterfalls around northeast Alabama. Its a 300 mile roundtrip drive from the Birmingham area, but a great way to spend a cold Saturday in January or February.



    View Waterfall Tour Sand Mountain and Lookout Mountain Watersheds in a larger map