Sunday, October 31, 2010


This post is a bit of a diversion, having nothing to do with libraries and everything to do with multicultural Birmingham.

Just in time for the Halloween season comes the Bare Hands Gallery Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festival, Tuesday November 2, 5-10 p.m. This street fair/art and culture festival is a one-day celebration honoring the Hispanic, and primarily Mexican celebration known as Dia de los Muertos. The event site states: "The annual commemoration at Bare Hands combines community art installation and procession with remembrance, creativity, performance, music and food to highlight rich cultural tradition yielding an exquisite downtown arts and cultural event."

While you're downtown, stop at the Makarios Kabob house at 940 20th Street South ( for some delicious Middle Eastern fare. (Burgers and fries are also served, but why limit yourself?)

Monday, October 25, 2010


2009-2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Entre Nous. With the help of the Friends of the Library, the University Library would like to celebrate this centennial by making this tradition available online. Alumni and friends are encouraged to sponsor years that are special to them. Sponsors who make a $30 or larger donation will be recognized for their contribution with their names attached to the yearbook online.

If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring the digitization of a special year and wants to make a contribution toward this initiative, go to, check the Harwell G. Davis Library box, and in the “comments” box indicate “This gift is in support of digitizing the (indicate the year you wish to sponsor) Entre Nous.” If you are contributing to honor or memorialize someone, please enter their name in the appropriate field.


“Talkin’ and Playin’ with Bobby Horton”

Saturday, November 6, 2010
9:30 a.m.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Samford alumnus Bobby Horton has performed with the musical-comedy trio Three on a String throughout the United States and Canada for 35-plus years. He has also produced and performed music scores for 13 PBS films by Ken Burns including The Civil War and Baseball, two films for the A&E network, and 16 films for the National Park Service.

Signing and refreshments to follow.

Live @ the Library is open to the public and convo credit will be available for attending.

Photograph of Bobby Horton taken by Jeff Roberts.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Health InfoNet of Alabama is a free consumer health information service designed by Alabama public and medical libraries. It began in 1999 as a local service to Jefferson County residents, expanding to Shelby County in 2002 and the whole state in 2004.

Through Health InfoNet of Alabama, state public and medical libraries work together to provide quality sources of information.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The Digital Bookmobile National Tour will demonstrate free audiobook and eBook download services at three locations in Jefferson County October 20-23. Demonstrations will be held at:

Birmingham Public Library on Wednesday, October 20th
10:00 a.m.-4 p.m.
Central Library downtown, Park Place

Hoover Public Library on Thursday, October 21
11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Homewood Public Library Saturday, October 23
11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

A gadget gallery featuring iPod®, Zune®, Barnes & Noble NookTM, and Sony® ReaderTM will help visitors discover portable devices that are compatible with the library's download service. Library cardholders can download digital titles any time, anywhere by visiting

The Digital Bookmobile is housed inside an 18-wheel tractor-trailer. This 74-foot community outreach vehicle is a high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades. The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems, and a variety of portable media players, all of which help visitors navigate JCLC'S download services. Interactive learning stations give visitors an opportunity to search the library's digital media collection, use supported mobile devices, and sample eBooks and audiobooks.

The Digital Bookmobile is a service of the Birmingham Public Library, the Homewood Public Library, and the Hoover Public Library in conjunction with the Jefferson County Library Cooperative and is operated by OverDrive, Inc.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Bob Edwards, longtime NPR host and currently the host of his own series on Sirius radio, has inititaed a series of broadcasts on the state of American libraries.

The first installment of this series was broadcast on October 10, 2010, and can be found here:

Thursday, October 14, 2010


A trial for this award-winning online reference library, which provides access to 511full-text reference titles (and growing), is now available for both off- and on-campus users. Click here to access this resource from off-campus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Please note: This trial is available from on-campus only.

A trial for this award-winning online reference library, which provides access to 511 full-text reference titles (and growing), is now available for on-campus users.

To access this trial resource, please visit click here, and feel free to provide your thoughts and comments.


Our ebook collection is constantly growing. Most of the newest titles available to the Samford community exist in ebook format. One of the benefits of the ebook is users' ability to use them from any location in which they have Internet access. That means Starbucks, a dorm room, or during a weekend visit home.

Recently, a student asked how she could perform a search for ebooks specifically. We have an app for that. Well, not exactly. We have a procedure, and it's really easy.

Go to

Scroll over the "find books" link, which is the first link on that page.

Notice the items that pop up from the flyout menu. The fourth item from the bottom is titled "NetLibrary."

Choose "NetLibrary."

You will always be prompted for your user name and password, whether you are on or off campus. That name and password are the same as those you use for email.

Once you have accessed NetLibrary, you can perform searches by keyword, title, author and subject, just as you do in the library catalog.

NetLibrary allows users to print limited numbers of pages over the span of an hour. It does not allow you to print out an entire book at one time. You will need to do at least some of your reading on your computer screen. This process can take some time for adjustment of your reading process, something I'm coming to grips with myself. It's very much worth our time to do this, since NetLibrary contains many current titles on a very wide variety of subjects. To get an idea of just how many, click here to view the most recent list of new titles.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The library has acquired access to many new electronic books for a variety of majors and disciplines. Click here to view the full list.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Attention first-year students! Did you know that UCCA has its very own subject page on the library's website? Oh yes--it does. You can eliminate a lot of anxiety about those first writing assignments by visiting your UCCA subject page.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I want to encourage any and all students who have not yet discovered this area's really excellent public library system to visit a local public library and see for themselves all it has to offer.

The Jefferson County Library Cooperative consists of 21 libraries, at least two of which--Vestavia and Homewood--are quite close to Samford. The Hoover Public Library, on Highway 31, is also very drive-able. You can see a full list of libraries, along with hours and links to each library's home page, here.

You'll be interested to know that the Vestavia Library is in the process of moving to a brand-new location in a newly-built library building. You can see architect's renderings of the building here, and a video about the planning of this "library in the forest" here. One of the most noteworthy elements in the building of this library has been the commitment to environmental best practices. The grounds are also laced with hiking trails, and includes a tree-house reading room (!), arboretum, stream exploration station, and outdoor program space for botanical clubs, scout troops, and other educational activities. It is really beautiful and I can't wait to visit it in person.

In the meantime, I encourage you to visit the Hoover Public Library or the Homewood Public Library. Take a copy of photo ID and a utility bill or some form of mail that contains your Birmingham/Homewood address, and sign up for a library card!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Up to this point, we've looked at challenges to and banning of books that are of undisputed value to many readers.

The absence of value, or negative value of other books seems clearer. Or is it? We're not talking tolerance here, but questioning whether our ability to allow for freedom of expression extends to writers whose ideas and actions are unambiguously loathsome.

In this Christian Science Monitor article, the writer asks whether our ability to tolerate offensive ideas and individuals extends to Hitler's Mein Kampf or Osama bin Laden's Messages to the World. They're available on Amazon. Should they be?

Less glaring but nonetheless troubling (for many) is The Global Bell Curve by psychologist Richard Lynn, in which the author argues that intelligence is racially inherited, and places East Asians at the top and sub-Saharan Africans at the bottom of a global IQ spectrum.

Many librarians argue that banning anything, or even placing filters on the Internet in public library, where many children are present, constitutes a "slippery slope" from which freedom of expression can never recover. Others (many fewer) regard that kind of all-or-nothing approach as a willfully naive failure to exercise critical thinking, especially in light of just the nature of much of the material streaming across the Internet, and the burgeoning popularity of books like Mein Kampf among white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in this country.

There are no easy answers.