Hardly an hour goes by without one of my patrons saying, “I’m looking for a job online but I’m not sure where to go,” or “How do I fill out this online job application?” or “How do I attach my resume to this online job application?” Having been hired recently as the new branch head at East Lake Library, I can certainly identify with those who are navigating the online job search tools and figuring out what is required to apply for a job online.
I tell my patrons that Birmingham Public Library is a good place to start when looking for a job. The BPL website has a guide specifically for Job Searching. From there you can access local and national job listings like Alabama Joblink, Best Local Jobs which is powered by al.com, or CareerBuilder.com, Simply Hired, or SnagAJob. If you want reliable, current career information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you are about to apply for a job but need help with your resume, try Creating Resumes which provides information about the various types of resumes and tips on what to include and leave out.
If you need to access to tools to help you keep the new job or get that promotion, try Learning Express Library which offers test preparation assistance, and tools for helping to improve your reading, writing, and math skills. And don’t forget the Regional Library Computer Center which offers free computer classes.
Whichever library you visit as you begin your job search, you can count on friendly staff to help you access the print and online resources you need.
East Lake Library
The doctor’s report indicates you have diabetes, your mind is inundated with questions: Why Me? What am I going to do? What life changes do I need to make?
Take the 90 Day Diabetes Challenge to jumpstart a healthier diet and exercise routine to combat diabetes. Here are some resources to help you get started.
Diabetes & Heart Healthy Cookbook
Curing Diabetes in 7 Steps
No More Diabetes
School is back in session and students are looking for copies of books for their required reading assignments. We are called to check our shelves for such classics as The Outsiders, Animal Farm, and The Giver. Fortunately, many of these titles are now available as free e-books. Just Google the title and "e-book" to see if the book you're looking for is online.
Birmingham Public Library has e-book and audio book versions as well. You can find them by checking the catalog for the online version or at downloadable e-books and audio books on the BPL website.
The website Goodreads has a list of 100 classics for teens. I checked the top ten and found ebooks for all but I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Ender's Game. I've linked the library epub versions for those titles.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Terri L. French, the Southeast region coordinator for the Haiku Society of America, will lead the session. French's 2010 book of haiku, A Ladybug on My Words, was illustrated by her son. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama.
The event is ideal for teens and adults. For more information call 226-3670.
Crime novels are an exceptionally popular genre in the publishing world. James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, and Alexander McCall-Smith are authors that often work in this genre that nearly everyone has heard of and all of whom have an enormous following among readers around the world.
One of my favorite crime novelists is Elmore Leonard and when I discover an author whose work I really enjoy, I like to seek out the authors and books they found to be influential.
On occasion, this search may lead down the rabbit hole and open up a literary world that I never knew existed. This was certainly the case when searching for Elmore Leonard’s literary forefathers.
I was led to an author by the name of Charles Willeford with the quote below.
No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford. - Elmore Leonard
Charles Ray Willeford was a teenaged hobo during the Great Depression, a tank commander in World War II, a professional boxer, a painter, a horse trainer, a poet, an English professor, a book critic for the Miami Herald and one of the most twisted and acerbic crime writers to ever put pen to paper.
Willeford’s first book of poetry Proletarian Laughter was published in 1948 and he went on to write several lurid (yet literary) pulp novels in the crime genre in the fifties with titles such as Wild Wives, The Woman Chaser, and High Priest of California. By the sixties, Willeford was churning out dark masterpieces such as The Burnt Orange Heresy and Cockfighter -- a book about man with an unhealthy obsession with the underground sport of fighting roosters that was later made into a film produced by Roger Corman and starring Warren Oates.
Charles Willeford and Warren Oates in a scene from Cockfighter
By the eighties, Willeford had settled in Miami and the outrageous violence of the booming cocaine black market and the massive immigration of Haitians and Cubans provided ample fodder for Willeford’s creative writing process and the author created his most successful books -- a series of novels about a Miami police detective named Hoke Moseley.
Miami Police Detective Hoke Moseley is not your usual crime novel protagonist-- by a long shot. Mosely was born for hard luck. He is a single father, middle-aged, and wears dentures (which are promptly stolen in Miami Blues - the first book in the series). Mosley is constantly broke due to his low pay, teenage daughters, and crippling alimony payments to his ex-wife. He is not well liked on the police force and criminal psychopaths seem to be drawn within his orbit on a regular basis. He is a competent police detective though he generally makes a break in a case only after bending the rules -- usually quite far.
On second thought, the above description does sound like the hard boiled protagonists of most crime novels.
The main difference between Hoke Moseley and any other crime novel detective is that Charles Willeford is running the darkly comic show here. Willeford’s villains are not arch criminals nor are they evil geniuses. They are desperate characters that are broke and busted and seeking the path of least resistance. Hoke Moseley is not much different from the villains in this regard; however, Moseley does adhere to his own moral code, twisted though it may be.
Several of Charles Willeford's books are available through the library. I would recommend starting with his semi-mainstream Moseley series (Miami Blues, New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe, and The Way We Die Now) before tackling some of his darker tomes such as The Black Mass of Brother Springer or The Machine in Ward Eleven.
If you do check out any of these books, let me know what you think.
- Click the File tab. This will take you to the “Backstage” view.
- Once there, select New. You will see templates. A preview of the selected template appears on the right.
- Select the template of your choice and click Download or Create, and customize according to your needs.
- Complete name, address and phone information. PLEASE PRINT.
- Place a check mark in the check box next to the class(es) you would like to attend.
- Return the entire form to a staff person in the Public Computer Services department.
- You may also send an email to email@example.com or use the online form to register.
Starting a genealogy project with your children can be as simple as writing down the names of their parents and grandparents, along with their places of birth and other important dates. Fill out a genealogy chart together to see how much you already know and to get an idea of where you need to look next. If your child has older relatives nearby, have him or her conduct an “interview” in which he asks about their life. Hearing how their grandparents studied, worked, and had fun will make history personal for them.
By taking information about their family and piecing it together, children of all ages are gaining valuable research skills. Not all families are easy to track down and doing so requires using many different sources (both print and online). Learning to use and evaluate the information they find will serve them well as they progress in their education.
Many people find that genealogy makes them feel more connected to the places their ancestors lived and to history. Putting our ancestors into their historical context helps us to understand them and turns them into real people rather than just names and dates. Wanting to know more about their family naturally leads children (and adults) to the study of the towns, states, and countries their ancestors came from.
For more information about starting a family genealogy project, visit our new Genealogy for Kids subject guide. It includes links to books, websites, craft projects, and charts. You can also visit the Library’s Southern History Department for free classes and help anytime you need it.
Southern History Department
Twenty-three years and eight major books later, the Outlander series has come to television. This series has something for everyone: a great love story, time travel, history, Scottish rebellion against the English, war, colonization of the new world, Native Americans, and the hardships of living in the 17th century. The research, especially in the medical history, is extremely well done. Gabaldon is still working on the series and has also written numerous novellas about minor character in the Outlander series. The first year of the television series will cover the first book in the series. I hope it has a long run.
Books in the series:
Dragonfly in Amber (1992)
Drums of Autumn (1997)
The Fiery Cross (2001)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)
An Echo in the Bone (2009)
Five Points West Library
On Thursday evening, August 8, 1974, the President addressed the nation and announced that he intended to resign at Noon the next day. In that address, Nixon only admitted to having made errors of judgment. At no point during the speech, or at any point afterwards, did he ever admit to having committed a crime. He was saved the embarrassment of having to face criminal action when his successor, President Gerald Ford, granted him a full pardon on September 8, 1974. It was also Ford who captured the somber mood of a nation suffering from Watergate fatigue when he declared in his inaugural address, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
The Birmingham Public Library offers a wealth of resources for anyone wanting to learn more about the personalities and issues surrounding the Watergate affair. Numerous books, DVDs, and audios are available on both Watergate and the life and presidency of Richard Nixon. The library’s Government Documents Department houses Nixon’s public presidential papers, as well as the congressional hearings that were held in relation to Watergate in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Interested patrons may also want to consult the website of the Mary Ferrell Foundation which has a very well organized collection of material on Watergate that includes full text copies of the congressional hearings, the Report of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and transcriptions of all of the White House tapes deemed relevant to the Watergate affair.
Business, Science and Technology Department
The opening song from Grease 2 keeps playing in my head. Back to school again! Wow. I was talking to my coworker over the weekend and I asked her how she felt about going back to school when she was growing up. She said she never had a problem with it. I was amazed and impressed. She asked me how I felt, and with an angst-filled expression on my face as if I was returning, I said, “I hated going back to school.” I mentioned the Staples commercial showing a dad dancing around as his kids drag behind him expressionless. As soon as television commercials, print ads, and store banners started announcing back-to-school sales, I would scream, “NOOOOOOO!!! It’s not even August yet!!”
It was never school that I dreaded, it was getting up that early in the morning every day. Not to mention the fact that weekends flew by, and seemed to go by faster as I got older. When I was growing up, my mom’s mantra was always “be glad you don’t have to go to work and pay bills.” Now that I’m in my 40s, I have an appreciation for her comment, but I still think that going to school is work. I’m sure that many adults who have returned to school will agree. For a student, getting up each day, making the trek to school, and putting in the time and effort it takes to succeed carry the same weight as going to a workplace every day. Students need support and encouragement as they face these challenges on a daily basis.
Many students and parents will pass through our doors during the course of this school year. The library has many resources available to help you or your student succeed. In addition to books, DVDs, and databases to assist with courses, we also have materials on academic achievement, study skills, test-taking skills, time management, and coping with stress. Furthermore, the library offers a wonderful service called Live Homework Help through Tutor.com which provides free tutoring for students in Grades 4 and above in math, science, social studies, and English. I hope your school year gets off to a great start.
- Effective note-taking
- Get smart!: nine sure ways to help your child succeed in school
- The study skills handbook
- Test-taking strategies for students
The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it bears remembering that there are no laws, rules, or regulations to ensure that what someone puts up has to be true, accurate, current, or trustworthy. This is why so many librarians take exception to sites like Wikipedia: it’s content driven, which means anyone can post anything on it. Yes, wildly inaccurate things will probably be caught and corrected, but why take the chance?
With your access to the databases available to you free with your library membership, you are guaranteed the very best information available. Just go to the BPL homepage and click on the Databases link, then use the subject guide on the left of the page to be shown the correct databases to view.
Most of these can be viewed from any Internet connection, but some are licensed only for use in a library. The best thing is that you know if you linked to it through BPL’s website, the information is good. Since most of these links are to subscription databases, they are free to library members. So take advantage of your membership to look up current events, prepare for exams (like the ASVAB, ACT, SAT, and many occupational or school entrance exams), get information on medical issues, and even access the Chilton automotive guides to repair or maintain your automobile.
There are dozens of resources listed under Quick Database Links, and they’re FREE, accurate, and current. What more could you want?
Springville Road Library
There are more 2,000 orchid species, including several that thrive in Alabama climate and in the home. Healy, who has about 80 orchids in his own greenhouse, will give tips on which orchids do well in this area. He’ll also have orchids on display.
“If you take care of them properly, you can get months of blooms out of an orchid,’’ said Healy, a member of the Alabama Orchid Society. “I’ll even give people tricks to get a second set of blooms after that first bloom.’’
Some of his other tips will include:
How to look for bargains when shopping for orchids
How to drop the fear of caring for orchids
How to avoid killing an orchid
“The biggest thing that causes orchids to die is over watering them,’’ Healy said. “When people feel like something is wrong, they water it.’’
For more information, contact the library at 226-4081. Also, check out the Alabama Orchid Society’s Facebook page and the Alabama Orchid Society’s 30th Annual Orchid Show and Sale on September 19-21 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Free to the show and sale.
Renasant Bank is reaching out to help small businesses succeed with a free six-part entrepreneurial success series. Series topics include Financial Management, Networking and Relationship Building, Social Media, Tax Information, Business Plan Components, Human Resources and Access to Capital.
Renasant staff and local experts are leading these valuable learning sessions throughout the Birmingham and Shelby County communities. The event is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library System and Trudy Phillips Consulting. Complementary refreshments will be served.
Tracey Morant Adams, Senior Vice President Small Business and Community Development Director said of the series, ‘This free series is part of Renasant Bank’s continuing commitment to further the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs in our area. We are pleased to provide valuable tools and insight to help our local community businesses thrive and flourish.”
To register for any of the sessions, please visit: http://movetogreaterservice.com/smallbiz
Networking, Building Relationships, Sales and Customers
Columbiana Public Library
August 21, 2014
How Do I Make Money with My Website
September 18, 2014
Financing, Lending Sources and Credit
Pratt City Library
October 23, 2014
Self-employed & Small Business Tax Workshop
Woodlawn Public Library
November 20, 2014
One-Page Business Plan with Financial Projections
Alabaster City Hall
January 15, 2015
Contract Employees vs. Full Time Employees
Avondale Public Library
February 12, 2015
Remember—you are your child’s first teacher. 1-2-3 Play with Me is an opportunity for you and your child to play and learn together. Visit Birmingham365 for the 1-2-3 Play with Me schedule for these Birmingham Public Library locations: Avondale, Central, Five Points West, Pratt City, and Springville Road.
Avondale Branch Library – September 10-October 8 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
Central Library – October 14-November 18 – every Tuesday (except November 11) at 10:00 a.m.
Five Points West Library – September 9-October 7 – every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
Pratt City Library – October 15-November 12 – every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
Springville Road Library – October 9-November 13– every Thursday (except October 16) at 10:00 a.m.
The Birmingham Public Library: Family Place Library is funded in part by a Community Project Grant from the Junior League of Birmingham in the impact area of education.
As I was wandering around a farmer’s market in early April, I came across a table of crocheted items and decided to stop and take a look. I’d always been fascinated with needle crafts and had (briefly) attempted to knit a few years ago, which resulted in a few hastily made scarves and sore wrists. As I struck up a conversation with the lady selling her items, she revealed that she began crocheting as a form of stress relief many years ago. She had a fast paced job and learned to crochet as a way to distress after a long day of work. Her hobby had now turned into a side business which she thoroughly enjoyed. I asked her how she got started, thinking that she took several months or years of in-depth classes from some strict professional crocheter. She had a simple answer: books from the library.
Genius idea! So I did what any self respecting librarian would do in this situation: I turned to my library’s catalog to research what was available to me. I’ve taken the last few months to browse through some of the material that we have on the subject of crochet and taste test it, so to speak. I was looking for the items that were best suited for a beginner. As a result, I’ve picked out some specific items that have helped me learn. These books are very in-depth, but yet still give the basics that a beginning crocheter would need:
The Crocheter’s Companion
Simple Crocheting: A Complete How-to-Crochet Workshop with 20 Projects
While books are always helpful tools, there are some people like me that are more visual learners. We need to also see the process in action to fully grasp what’s going on and what to do. The library system has multiple DVD offerings on the subject of crochet, but here are a few that I‘ve used and are more suited to a beginner:
Crochet from Start to Finishing
Crochet Stitches in Motion
How to Crochet
I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting
With these resources at your disposal, you can learn the basics of crochet. Once you have the basics, you open up a whole new world of different stitches and project types. Always wanted to make homemade holiday ornaments? No problem! Want to make a baby blanket for your co-worker that’s expecting? Piece of cake! Need something entertaining to take with you on those long summer car trips? Bingo! The possibilities are endless when you take the time to learn a new craft.
I’ve put together some resources to help you avoid sticker shock the next time you decide to purchase a car.
Don't Get Taken Every Time: The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car in the Showroom or on the Internet
First Car Smarts
I Didn't Know That!: How to Take Care of Your Home, Your Car, and Your Career
Lemon-Aid 1990-2015: New and Used Cars and Trucks
Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving (Read the chapter on “Car buying and sharing, and saving on gas.”)
Reader's Digest Penny Pincher's Almanac: 2753 Surprising Ideas for Getting the Most Value Out of Your Money, Home, and Possessions (This is a good resource for all kinds of things, read the chapter “Cheap Car Talk.”)
This is a good website if you are looking for tips and information on purchasing a new or used car. I especially like the section titled “dealer scams.” It could help car buyers stay away from unscrupulous car salesmen and dealers.
This is a great show to listen to on National Public Radio (NPR) and a very informative website. Go to the “Car Info” section and get tips on buying, owning, driving and selling a car.
ConsumerReports.org / New Car Buying Guide
This is a wonderful website and takes you from “Choosing a Car” to “How to Maintain Your Car.” This website is a real gem and it’s free. Check out their Used Car Buying Guide, too.
Good hunting and happy driving!
West End Library
Three librarians at the Birmingham Public Library have been promoted to coordinator positions.
K’aryn Davis-West, former manager of computer services for the public, is now coordinator of Central Library Public Services. She coordinates all public service departments at the downtown library location.
Jared Millet, former manager of the Acquisitions Department, is now the Collections Management coordinator. He is responsible for the Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Web Services departments.
Felita Hawkins, former manager of the East Lake Library, is now coordinator of all of the branches in the library system’s Southern region. She oversees Avondale, North Avondale, Eastwood, Southside, and Titusville libraries.
An exhibit of Riffe’s linoleum block prints will be on display in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the downtown Birmingham Public Library during regular library hours until August 26.
Titled "Every Line Tells a Story", the exhibit will also be featured at the August 7 Birmingham Art Crawl from 5 to 9 p.m., and Riffe will be on hand to greet visitors from 6 to 9 pm. The Art Crawl is a recently inaugurated monthly event which brings people to the Central City area and showcases Birmingham’s wide-ranging pool of creative talent. Art Crawl is held on the first Thursday of every month from 5-9 p.m.
“My linoleum block relief prints reflect my love for the south and all things southern. The majority of my compositions depict singular, figurative images of African Americans placed in rural settings of the American South.” Riffe states on her website.
Though born and raised in the American South, Riffe’s wide ranging world travels also inspire her art. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Riffe has called Birmingham, Alabama home since 1996. She completed her undergraduate degree (B.F.A.), at Howard University, College of Fine Arts, Washington, DC and worked as an art director with a Fortune 500 company. After a few years, she left the work force to travel around the Caribbean and live abroad with her family in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America. For two years, she lived on the La Guajira peninsula, located in the northernmost point of South America that borders Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea.
Creating these prints is a time-consuming process. Riffe begins with a detailed pencil drawing which is retraced onto the surface of the linoleum. She uses a variety of tools called gouges to carve away the linoleum which she does not want to show up on the print, and the surface of the linoleum that is uncut is in relief (raised). Oil-based ink is then applied to the linoleum block and a sheet of quality paper is placed upon the block and pressure is applied either manually or by using a tabletop printing press.
To learn more about Riffe and her art, visit her website:
And check out these titles on printmaking at the Birmingham Public Library:
Printmaking at the Edge
The Printmaking Bible
"Every Line Tells A Story"
Linoleum Block Relief Prints
July 24-August 26, 2014
4th Floor Gallery
Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Now available for readers of all ages: World Book's entire eBook Collection online!
The World Book eBook Collection includes highly illustrated, engaging titles that support a span of curriculum areas and reading levels. World Book eBooks feature World Book titles such Animal Lives, Explore the Universe, Learning Ladders, and many more.
The World Book Ebook Collection is available at all locations of Birmingham Public Library.
Birmingham residents may access the Ebook Collection from home with a valid, up-to-date library card!
This and many other online resources are available as part of BPL's Online Database Collection.
Family and Friends Donate $50,000 to the Birmingham Public Library to Honor Retiring Director Renee Blalock
Birmingham Public Library Director Renee Blalock received more than well wishes during her retirement reception on August 1. She also went home with a smile she found hard to erase after her family presented a $50,000 check to the library in her honor.
“We wanted to give a leadership gift to recognize and honor her efforts to revitalize the library,’’ said Brooke Coleman, Blalock’s daughter. “Today, we give $50,000 and hope this is just the beginning of raising money toward projects of revitalization.’’
The money will be used to help fund various library needs, including programs, materials, equipment ,and a redesign project of the downtown library, said Olivia Alison, director of development for the library.
The gift was a result of donations from Blalock’s children, Coleman and Daniel Hertzog; the library’s Foundation Board; and special friends of the library. “We are just proud of our mom. She was an inspiration to us and we wanted to inspire other people,’’ Coleman said. Blalock's children and Foundation Board President Jim White made the announcement today.
The donation came as a total surprise to Blalock, who retired after 33 years of library service. “It’s an investment in the future of the library and I’m very thrilled for it,’’ Blalock said.
During her career, Blalock managed branches, worked as a library business manager and served as a regional branch coordinator. She became an associate director in 1994. She was appointed director in 2009.