Join us for a community showing of the movie Bully.
May 9 at The Edge TheaterMovie times are 12 noon, 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.Free tickets are available by calling 226-3610.Tickets must be presented to gain entrance into the theater for each movie screening.
This compelling documentary follows students from public schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma during the 2009–10 school year; it also follows the students' families. The film's particular focus is on the deaths of Tyler Long and Ty Smalley, victims of bullying who took their own lives. The film describes in great detail how the average American school kid cannot defend himself or herself against ridicule. It exposes the daily trials of many students as they face their tormentors without help or hope of the pain ending. The Birmingham Public Library is sponsoring a community screening of the documentary, Bully, as a part of our community forums discussing the issue of bullying in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. These forums will be taking place from May 13-24 at various Birmingham Public Libraries. The Birmingham Public Library and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life invite the citizens of our communities to engage in an open forum with the opportunity to carefully weigh different approaches to and perspectives on the issue of bullying.
“There is no higher office than the office of citizen, and deliberative forums give citizens a chance to talk through what they hold valuable related to an issue,” says Chris McCauley, Executive Director of the David Mathews Center. “Bullying is an issue that can affect schools, communities, and office environments. It’s up to citizens to think through creative, community-based solutions to address the issue.”
The forums will be held at the following locations:
Eastwood Library - May 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
East Ensley Library - May 14, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Inglenook Recreation Center - May 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Powderly Library - May 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
East Lake Library – May 18, 10:00 a.m.–12 noon
Central Library (downtown) - May 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Smithfield Library, May 23, 10:00 a.m.-12 noon
For more information, contact Sandi Lee, Birmingham Public Library, 226-3742.
Two Birminghams on Colton's Alabama, 1873 A recent examination of Colton’s 1860 map of Alabama revealed a community in the northeast corner of the state called Birmingham. Say what?!?! That’s right. Our very own city, founded in 1871, was not the state’s first Birmingham. A history of the state’s first Birmingham can be found in Birmingham, as it was, in Jackson county, Alabama by James F. Sulzby, Jr.
According to Sulzby, Birmingham was the name of a post office in Jackson County opened in 1845 by Anthony Crockett Austin who served as its postmaster. The surrounding community never incorporated, but had a store, a blacksmith shop, a gin, a tannery, two churches, two doctors, and approximately 75 families. The post office closed in 1853 because governmental services became concentrated in the neighboring town of Stevenson when a railroad was constructed through the area.
Ironically, the community first showed up on maps in 1853 as Birmingham, the year the post office for which it was named closed. It was known as Birmingham up until the Coffee’s Store post office opened in 1875, named after R.A. Coffey, its postmaster. You can find Birmingham in Jackson County on some maps as late as 1886, while other maps of the time show Coffey’s Store. Both Birminghams first appear on Colton’s 1873 Alabama map and appear on Colton’s maps for many years afterwards.
Coffey's Store on Gray's New Map of Alabama, 1878 The Coffey’s Store post office closed around 1904 due to the death of its second postmaster. Another post office opened within a year, named Rash after another community member. The area has been known as Rash ever since.
You can view the full maps on BPL's Digital Collections.
Colton’s Alabama, 1873
Gray's New Map of Alabama, 1878
According to the ALLA Awards Committee: "The Eminent Librarian Award shall be presented to a librarian or an individual in a related field who has been in Alabama for a minimum of ten (10) years and who, during this time, has made an exceptional and enduring contribution toward the development of library service within Alabama." Often described as an “idea person” and a believer in the transformative power of public libraries, Blalock was a model candidate for the award. "I am humbled and honored to be named Eminent Librarian by ALLA. My singular focus throughout my career has been to make our libraries stronger and better able to serve our citizens. I have truly benefited from working with a group of professionals whose mission is to provide Alabamians with meaningful information, resources, and programming that improves and enhances their lives," she stated.
Renee Blalock has served the Birmingham Public Library for over 30 years. She has worked in many capacities including branch manager of Parke Memorial (now Southside), Eastwood and the Avondale Branches. She also served as Business Manager, coordinator of the Southern Branch Region, and Coordinator for Library Operations. In 1994, she was named Associate Director of the Central Library, then Associate Director of Community Services in 1998. In 2009, she was promoted to Director.
In her long career at BPL, Blalock has made important improvements to the system. She supervised the reorganization of the management team and the creation of an administrative services division. She was part of the team that established and wrote the system-wide collection management policy. She has overseen numerous enhancements to the branch libraries, collections and furnishings including major renovations at the Avondale and Springville Road Branches. She was project manager overseeing construction of two new buildings for the Five Points West and West End Branches. Most recently, major upgrades to the East Lake and Powderly Libraries have been completed on her watch. Additionally, a major upgrade to the Inglenook Branch and the rebuilding of the Pratt City Branch (destroyed by the April 2011 storm) are underway.
Besides her work for BPL, Blalock has served her profession. She served on the board of the Public Library Association and is an active member of the Alabama Library Association, Jefferson County Public Library Association, the Jefferson County Library Cooperative Board, and the University of Alabama Library School Association Board.
This event has been cancelled due to bad weather forecast for this Sunday.
Come out and join the Woodlawn community as they host their first Woodlawn Souldown! On Sunday, April 28, from 2:00-5:00 p.m., come and enjoy music, games, and entertainment in the heart of Woodlawn (55th Place South). There will also be food trucks in attendance from the following vendors: Repicci's Italian Ice & Gelato, Bobby's Q, Ezell's Catfish Cabin, Soiree Cafe, Deb's Divine Soul Food, and Jim 'N Nick's. This event is sure to be fun for the whole family!
Contact REV Birmingham at 205-595-0562 for more information.
Sponsored by the Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC), in partnership with the non-profit creative writing organization Real Life Poets (RLP), Inc., the publication will be unveiled during a program and reception on Tuesday, April 30 at the Birmingham Public Library’s downtown location. Several writers will read selections from their work during the event which begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium. The program is free and open to the public.
The “Voices from the Storm” project was open to all ages. Submissions of writings were made from October 2011 to March 31, 2012 at any public library location in Jefferson County or submitted electronically. All submissions were posted on the JCLC website at www.jclc.org. John Paul Taylor, Executive Director of RLP and Patrick Johnson, RLP board chair, selected the works that were included in the printed anthology. Toby Richards of the Birmingham Museum of Art worked with area schools and at Camp South Hampton Art Camp to encourage students to create artwork inspired by their storm experiences. Artwork by several students is included in the anthology.
An added component to Tuesday’s program will be artwork created during the Camp Alabama Storm Art Line Project. Volunteer experts conducted therapeutic art workshops in April 2012 with elementary school-age students in communities hard hit by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. Students from Concord, Hackleburg, Tuscaloosa and the greater Birmingham area contributed artwork that expressed gratitude for receiving help in the storm’s aftermath.
Birmingham Public Library Archivist Jim Baggett has been awarded the 2013 Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton Award by the Alabama Historical Association. The award is presented to individuals who have made contributions to Alabama history which encourage joint historical endeavors and mutual understanding among nonprofessional and professional historians.
Jim’s focus throughout his career has been on public history—where lectures, tours, exhibitions, walking tours and other forms of outreach are used to engage the public. Jim conveys the history of Alabama by presenting lectures to schools, clubs, churches, genealogical societies and civic groups; through curating exhibitions of material from the Archives collection; and through his writing.
In addition to numerous articles and book reviews for popular and academic publications, he has edited, authored or co-authored five books, has presented papers on Alabama history at more than twenty scholarly conferences and has been featured on Alabama Public Television, Alabama Public Radio, National Public Radio and C-SPAN.
Jim has been active for many years with professional associations in Alabama and nationally. He has served as president of the Society of Alabama Archivists and chair of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. He has served on the boards of trustees for the Alabama Association of Historians and the Birmingham Historical Society and currently serves on the boards of the Alabama Historical Association and the University of Alabama Library School Association.
Through his work with public school teachers Jim encourages the inclusion of primary documents and oral history in public school curriculum as a way to enrich instruction and teach students the value of preserving the raw material of our history.
Jim’s love for Alabama history infuses not only his professional pursuits, but is tangible in his personal commitment to the field. This is apparent in the long hours he spends after work researching his latest writing project, extra time spent in BPL’s archives with academic researchers and curious citizens to help them with their questions, and the care he takes to bring young archivists and historians along in the field.
As National Public Radio correspondent Michele Norris writes in her recent book The Grace of Silence, “Jim is a researcher’s dream, smart and thorough and slightly obsessed with the small details that give a story weight and drama. … He is a steady and fair steward of the city’s troubled history.”
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater Penguins, Penguins Everywhere by Bob Barner One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo Turtle’s Penguin Day by Valerie Gorbachev Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis Penguins by Seymour Simon Penguin Chick by Betty Tatham Penguin and Pinecone: A Friend Story by Salina Yoon
Submitted by Carla Perkins Avondale Library
What is your full name, age, and occupation? Steven Grant Hallmark, 27, Chief Business Officer at Camp Fire Alabama.
What is your favorite place to eat in Birmingham? Highlands Bar and Grill.
Why did you get involved with the BPLYP? I believe the Birmingham Public Library can solve many problems left in the wake of Birmingham City Schools. I wish to advance the mission of the BPL.
Which is your favorite (or most frequented) library branch? The Downtown Branch.
Name some of your favorite books as a child or teenager. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
What genres do you read the most as an adult? Non-fiction and Science Literature.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Christopher Hitchens, David Brooks, Richard Dawkins, Evelyn Waugh.
What is your wish for the city of Birmingham? Reformation of the city school system, dramatic reduction in violent crime, and sustainable development and growth from the city center outward.
What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying? "The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks." - Christopher Hitchens
Join us May 8 at Wylam Library for an introduction to the series, EAT THIS, NOT THAT! by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding. The authors promote making better choices when eating out or buying groceries. At Outback, instead of choosing The Outback Burger with 1,235 calories, get Victoria's Filet (620 calories). Or pick Newman's Own Mild Salsa (10 calories for 2 Tbsp and 65 mg sodium), not Herdez Salsa Casera Mild (10 calories for 2 Tbsp but 220 mg sodium) for your chips. Follow the guidance in these books and you will find yourself in better health. We'll be sharing more tips and will have titles from the series to check out at the program.
The Intouchables (USA Title, translation: The Untouchables)
Written and directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache
[Based on a true story.]
Not since Amelie (2001) has a French film made such a stir internationally with both critical acclaim and major box office activity. There is such an increasing buzz surrounding this film that one might want to be careful not to be the last to see it. Fortunately the Birmingham Public Library and other libraries throughout the Jefferson County Library Cooperative make it available to you for free.
When a millionaire quadriplegic, Philippe (played by Francois Cluzet) and his staff are busy conducting interviews to select a new caretaker for him, the last thing they expect is to be interrupted by a brash Senegalese immigrant demanding a signature to keep his unemployment compensation. Notice that Driss (played by Omar Sy in his first major screen role) does not really want the job, he just wants to keep his unemployment money flowing and is happy to be free from a several month detention stemming from petty crime. He manages to systematically offend everyone in the room.
What seems to be a highly unlikely pairing turns a fast corner as Philippe becomes intrigued and offers Driss a week’s trial run at the job that neither is sure will work out. Driss feels mortified as he learns the job involves icky chores such as bathing his new boss. Philippe, while somewhat fearful, is enjoying the abrupt style of his new caretaker and finds it to be a refreshing change from all the careful, concerned pampering he has experienced during the years since his crippling accident. Somehow, several conundrums and many laughs later, it does work out and the two become friends and become quite heady from learning from each other’s dissimilar backgrounds. Paris becomes a colorful character itself, when Driss dismisses Philippe’s handicapped accessorized van in favor of the Maserati and the two sillonent sur les boulevards (zip along the boulevards).
The film is infectiously ebullient as it presents un grand monde sans frontieres (a large world without boundaries). Conflicts stemming from differences in race, social and economic class, physical ability, education, and whatever else you can think of pale and almost disappear. Even the music is a mélange of international and diverse styles including the compositions and voices of Ludivico Einaudi, Nina Simone, Earth, Wind and Fire, and George Benson. For a film that features rough disparities, it somehow manages to remain light and lifts its viewers to harmonious heights.
The acting is superb. Many viewers will remember Francois Cluzet from Ne le dis a personne (2006) based on Harlan Coben’s novel Tell No One (2001). It is amazing how he builds a character, acting only with his face and voice. Omar Sy, in his first major role, fills the screen with his presence. He won a Cesar (French equivalent of an Oscar) for this role.
Viewers who want to see a heavier take on a paraplegic in a French film will want to see Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).
Fans of American films such as Trading Places (1983) and The Blind Side (2009) are likely candidates to enjoy Intouchables. If you tend to avoid French and /or foreign films, think again. The themes here are universal and the story tends to tell itself without too much wordiness or too many subtitles.
Do not miss this film.
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!
It’s impossible to measure the total aggregate pleasure each nonfiction English language writer brings worldwide, but if you could, I’ll bet Bill Bryson’s would be right there at the top. I’m one that would boost the total. A Short History of Nearly Everything, which took on the history of science, was one of my life’s Himalayan reading experiences. At Home’s subtitle, A Short History of Private Life, recalls the former book, with a bit more modesty. Like the former, it’s also a joy to read, and like it, it provides a quirky, sometimes impressionistic history of its subject rather than a conventional one. At Home uses the parts of a typical house, from the basement to the attic, as jumping off points and metaphors for a history (mostly American, British and Western European) of houses and life inside them. Bryson’s springboard to this springboard is his own house, a parsonage in England built in 1851. How did it-and all houses-get to today’s house? How did private life arrive at today? He operates under the notion that the house is where history ends up.
The 1850s were when a lot of what we call modern comforts started. The Crystal Palace exhibit heralded the start of the era of the consumer. Its acres of labor-saving contraptions might have almost seemed science fictional to the attendees who saw them, but it was still the Victorian Age. Bathrooms were called “retiring rooms.” It was modern enough, though, to send the Romantic craftsman utopian, William Morris, fleeing outside, where he vomited in the bushes.
Did you know where your humble hall came from? It used to be grand indeed, it used to be the house. But, over the centuries it shrank and shrank again, until it became the modest corridor it is now. Scattered through the hall chapter (and all the chapters) are conventional wisdom-busting facts (or “assertions” for the skeptical) making for a stimulating narrative. You sometimes may wonder, “Is conventional wisdom usually wrong?” Bryson states that doors on old houses weren’t low because people were shorter (people were about our height) but because doors were very expensive. Similarly, England wasn’t settled by invaders but by farmers. Royalty, up through the 1600s anyway, didn’t have good manners by today’s standards. They weren’t above occasionally defecating in houses where they were staying as guests. Some of this iconoclasm hit home for me. I was humbled to learn that some of my ancestors, the grooms, were originally latrine-cleaners. (Later, they came to be advisors to monarchs. Still, though.)
The little fact-charges never stop shooting off: ice was once the U.S.’s #2 crop; it took centuries for cookbooks to give exact measurements and cooking times; Thomas Jefferson was “practically a vegetarian”; lobsters used to be so plentiful in America they were fed to prisoners and caviar was common enough to serve as a bar snack; by 1851, one-third of all young women in London were prostitutes. These bits, fascinating as they are, aren’t delivered in gee-whiz fashion, but arise naturally out of the text. Bryson simply refuses to be dull for even one page, one paragraph.
Followers of Downton Abbey may be dismayed to realize that the reality of the country house was snobbish, repressive, filthy and brutal. And life as a servant in these houses was a good working-class job. The house owners, typically, were expected to know only one thing about their servants: their last names. Humiliating a servant in front of your child was considered a moral action. The show is great fun but, after Bryson, you see it’s rose-tinted fun.
Much of the book has to do with the Victorians. Margaret Thatcher might’ve swooned over “Victorian Values” but, after reading Bryson (or even before reading Bryson) you can see that the age was defined by negligence, cruelty, filth, miserliness, emotional and sexual repression, greed, and plain nastiness. Which values did she mean? Those reformers who did get things to move somewhat past the direness are the precursors to our more humane era.
There’s an abundance of humor here, as there is in all Bill Bryson books, and it leavens everything, even the Victorians. Queen Victoria expected everyone to keep out of her way and never address her. That led to this contemporary observation: “It was said that you could fix her location by the sight of panicked people fleeing before her.” By the 1950s, most English country homes had been torn down or converted to other uses. Some original owners could only afford to stay if they made home a tourist attraction. In one house, a posh grandmother refused to abandon her tv horse races when the tourists came calling. A user survey later revealed that granny watching tv was the customers’ favorite part of the tour. That one put me on the floor.
One of the best reasons to read At Home is to the see what an overwhelming case Bryson makes for the conclusion that we (Western) moderns have more comfort, are better fed, have better medical care, and are cleaner and better educated than any generation prior to the 20th century. This reality was very hard won and took a gigantic amount of time to happen. The road from Nasty, Brutish and Short to Us is, thanks to the author, a lot funnier, more gross and diverting that it has any right to be. Bad as the present situation may be, you’ll breathe an enormous sigh of relief when you see what it used to be like.
Submitted by Richard Grooms
Over the years, Mrs. Dallas has helped set up, serve, staff, break down and clean up, library programs; helped at the circulation desk; shelved books; kept our plants alive and made us feel like we mattered by her quiet dedication. She rarely misses a Thursday and if she does, she calls in like an employee would. We can call and ask for her help with programs that we have at night or summer reading programs and she’ll come and help.
Would you believe that we’re not the only place where she volunteers? Mrs. Dallas also volunteers, on Wednesdays, at the Birmingham Urban League, where she answers the phone and serves as the receptionist. She volunteers at her church, Trinity Baptist Church, on Graymont Avenue, and is active in the Breakfast and Exercise Ministry and the Usher Board there. She is also a member the Impatient Garden Club.
Last week Mrs. Dallas was honored at the Positive Maturity, Senior Corps Volunteer Appreciation Banquet with the Volunteer Award for the RSVP program in Jefferson County. I was able to attend and sit with the other RSVP volunteers from her church. This week, Mrs. Dallas and our other wonderful West End Branch Volunteers (Joan Black, Dyanna Hawkins, Anita Jones and Willa McNeal) will be honored at the Volunteer Luncheon that is sponsored by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.
Thanks, Mrs. Dallas, for all you do for us and so many others!
Submitted by Maya Jones
West End Library
Flow Tactics is sponsored by The Real Life Poets, the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services, YMCA Youth Center, and the WORD UP! Student Poetry Slam Committee of the Jefferson County Library Cooperative. WORD UP! is an annual poetry slam for Jefferson County high school students hosted by the Birmingham Public Library.
Help Give Birmingham Youth a Voice!
Your help is urgently needed to ensure that poetry survives and thrives! Between now and May 5, the Birmingham Public Library hopes to raise $7,000 to nurture an ever-growing number of teens who are passionate about poetry. Check out this video about the Flow Tactics teen poetry project, then go to the Library WishList and make a donation.
We hope to fulfill a dream to send a team of Birmingham-area youth to the Brave New Voices (BNV) international poetry competition this August. BNV has never seen a team from the state of Alabama--we can't let this situation continue!
Visit the Library WishList page and donate today!
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.