Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sharpe's Lunch

As the 177 of you who where there last night know, the Annual Meeting was a huge success.  The speaker was entertaining, the food was good, and the business end of things was wonderfully brief.  Bernard Cornwell was gracious and charming in his address to the meeting, while signing books, and when mingling with the very excited attendees: in short, he's the opposite of Obadiah Hakeswill in every way.

Now, pardon my brevity, but your loyal blogger is headed to the staff room to attend to the business of "putting away the leftovers"...

Monday, January 25, 2010

"O! thou hast damnable iteration, and art indeed able to corrupt a saint."

Your loyal blogger was up last night reading Marjorie Garber's Shakespeare and Modern Culture, an occasionally excellent set of essays on our evolving contemporary perceptions of the Bard's plays.  I must admit a bias towards Garber's work, stemming from her defence of the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet as just-as-good-if-not-better than the 1968 film adaptation.  As anyone else who was in school when Baz Luhrmann's utterly charming, painfully witty, and visually epic R+J was released remembers, it was wrongfully yet universally despised by English teachers nationwide as mere pop pablum.

A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but apparently a Southern California setting, and an MTV-approved soundtrack disqualify the Bard's work from the status of "great art".

Perhaps more interesting in Shakespeare and Modern Culture is Garber's ambitious look at Henry V as an example of Jacques Derrida's concept of iterability.  Remember: he is not just his in own eponymous play, but he's Henry IV's disappointing lowlife son, Prince Hal.  In Henry V, he is the same character written by the same playwright in the same series of histories, but a new iteration of himself: once the young gadabout is now the mature hero of Agincourt.

And now for another illustration of iterability: our 262nd Annual Meeting is tomorrow night, at 5PM.  While it won't be as lavish as the 20th iteration (1768, for which our records show a price tag of just under a million dollars in today's money), it will have wine (unlike, say, the 259th iteration), and it will have Bernard Cornwell -a man who knows a little something about Agincourt- as guest speaker, making it the first iteration to be addressed by an Officer of the Order of British Empire (at least, the first time since we stopped being a member of the British Empire).  It's also the first time parking will be available at the SCE&G lot adjacent to the Library.

Derrida wrote:

iterability makes possible idealization- and thus, a certain identity in repetition that is independent of the multiplicity of  factual events- while at the same time limiting the idealization it makes possible: broaching and breaching it at once.

Which, I think means, that while we won't have a spiral sliced ham or those little pastel mints, there will be tasty little egg rolls, and Bernard Cornwell, which is pretty close to ideal.  So, as Derrida himself, and all the dead knights of Agincourt might say, vous devez être là!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good news, everyone!!!

The SCE&G Parking lot- the huge lot directly above our own will be availabe for CLS members next Tuesday afternoon for the Annual Meeting.  This should solve lots and lots of the parking hassles that always come with (otherwise wonderful) CLS events.

 Good news everyone!  Your memberships are all cancelled.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Strap on your tiny gold shoes...

January 20th!  St. Sebastian's Day, the 227th anniversary of the end of the American Revolutionary War, and the ACLU's 90th birthday.  Sure they don't care about the 2nd, 9th, or 10th amendments; and haven't done so great in protecting the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th... but I can still burn a flag, and I've never had a soldier attempt to quarter in my house during peacetime, so... thanks, ACLU!

Jokes aside: don't forget the Children's Library Open House is tomorrow.  There will be cookies and candies and drinks from 3:30 PM 'till 5:00.  We hope you and your associated little ones will drop by and see "The Rabbit Hole", have some snacks, and learn more about the exciting new children's programs and events we've set up around here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

From the Collections: Finding Midshipman Easy Edition

Announcement of the 1890 Annual Meeting, Guest Speaker, the Hon. Senator Strom Thurmond.

I know it's a day late, but at least its a little more interesting than the standard FtC fare.  Today's "From the Collections" is Manuscript #29, the c.1840-c.1890 Library Society Scrapbook.  Though its content is mostly from post-war time period (most of the 1840's documents are the "pay your fines (or we break your thumbs)" sort of letters), it covers what might be called a "Silver Age" of CLS history.  The 1874 merger with the Apprentices' Library; the subsequent search for a new library building; and a very aggressive series of growth and development programs.  These include a half-dozen pieces in the News and Courier aimed at increasing donations or membership, info and tickets from a series of lectures and concerts, and even a early membership brochure.

Expect some of this stuff to make it into the CLS history display in the Main Reading Room soon.  Until then: this stuff, like everything else in the historic collection, is available for all patrons to view and study- just ask!

Hearing C.C. Pinckney talk about Scotland in 1890 cost 25 cents more
than hearing Bernard Cornwell two weeks from now.  Think about it..

Please support the new Children's Library, (circa 1885.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rabbit, Run

As your loyal blogger is just returning from some time off, we're preempting "From the Collections" for following news bulletin:

Toddler Tuesdays are here(!): every Tuesday from 10:15 to 11:00 AM in the new Children's Library here at 164 King.  Our very first was this week, and, was by all accounts both storytimetacular and fingerpainttastic.  It's also free for all 3-5 year old kids with the accompaniment of CLS or Gibbes Muesum members.

If you have yet to see the "Rabbit Hole", as we're affectionately calling it, we've got a Children's Library Open House on Thursday, January 21st from 3:30 'till 5:00 PM.  We hope you'll drop by to see the exciting new digs (especially the ever-evolving Country Bunny mural Whitney Kreb is painting).

Don't forget, the 262nd Annual Meeting is Tuesday, January 26th, at 5:00 PM.  Bernard Cornwell, OBE, is the guest speaker.

It's like they double in numbers every time you turn around!

FtC will be back tomorrow, with something good, I promise; you should be here too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

From the Collections: "Taking the Root Off" Edition

A former City of Charleston lawman (and longtime CLS member) stopped by the Library for a very pleasant visit this week, which got me to thinking about a good candidate for "From the Collections".  It's one of my favourites: the 1970 autobiography of longtime Beaufort County Sheriff J.E. McTeer, High Sheriff of the Lowcountry.  With a local printing and only two small publication runs, the book is fairly rare (we still have it in circulation, though!), but when it comes to nonfiction about the South Carolina coast, it's nothing short of classic.

McTeer was appointed sheriff of Beaufort County at the age of twenty-two, and remained on the job until he was almost sixty.  High Sheriff includes forty years worth of his best stories: using gullah to trick armed bootleggers in a dark swamp; losing (and recapturing) a prisoner in the middle of New York City; and his many encounters -and occasional battles- with witch doctors (like Dr. Eagle excerpted above).  Combating hoodoo and the root was a real job for McTeer, and, if nothing else, gives his rural policing stories a dark and spooky edge Andy Griffith never had.

If you liked Ben Moïse's recent Ramblings of a Lowcountry Game Warden, you'll find much of the same stuff to love here.  At 101 pages, it's a quick read for a cold weekend, so consider picking it up (catalogue number IC M25) next time you're in.  Which should be soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"...some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them..."

It's Epiphany, better known Twelfth Night.  Which, as one of Shakespeare's best loved comedies, Twelfth Night recounts the tale of young Viola, who in mourning her brother, becomes a cross-dresser; Duke Orsino, who, though an Albanian tyrant, spends his days moping about the castle, pining for some girl who doesn't love him; the never-subtle Sir Belch (He's fat and has gastric issues, get it?); the old lets-trick-a-guy-into-acting-crazy-and-then-throw-him-in-a-dungeon thing; and, of course, twinned couples getting married to the wrong twin and not caring about it.

Your loyal blogger is certainly not badmouthing Shakespeare, but obviously, the what passes for comedy has changed in 400 years.

Actually, as someone who watches a lot of BBC, I suppose it hasn't.  This pretty much sounds like any given episode of Little Britain.  In fact, it is the exact storyline of the 2006 Amanda Bynes film She's the Man. Still, this is why I prefer the Bard's histories and tragedies to his comedies.

Though The Taming of the Shrew was pretty good when it was Ten Things I Hate About You.  But to be fair to Shakespeare, Ten Things... had Larisa Oleynik and Letters to Cleo in it.  It couldn't be anything other than great.

Speaking of things that are great, let us thrust this upon you: Thursday, January 21st, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM, we are having an Open House to rechristen the Children's Library.  In case you haven't been down here in a little while, the Children's collection is back in the Main Library Building, with a new room of its own (decorated with murals by the terrific Whitney Kreb).  We're going to have cookies, cocoa, and and creative story time, so we hope you'll drop by with your wee uns!

Monday, January 4, 2010


It's 2010, and we're back! We hope you've all had a wonderful holiday season, and are as excited about the new year as we are. First, a look back at one of our favourite 2009 memories, thanks to Heirloom Creative Photography: photos from December's Pat Conroy event.

We're already ready for a new year even better than the last (and, as you could see from those pictures, the last one was pretty good around here). This week, we've got a book signing with Quentin Whitwell this Thursday at 7, and we're hosting an event of the Poetry Society of South Carolina (PSSC members only, please) Friday at 7.

Next week is the start of two new programs: the CLS Writing Salon with Bret Lott, and Toddler Tuesdays with the Gibbes Museum. The salon is a ten week course led by NYT bestselling, Oprah Book Club picked, former editor of the Southern Review, Bret Lott. Mr. Lott will be guiding a small group to improve their own writing through discussion and critique of participant's individual work. For more info on the salon, contact Anne Cleveland here at the CLS, 843.723.9912. Toddler Tuesdays is a new storytime and activity program for 3-5 year olds every Tuesday here at the Library. It will run from 10:15-11:00 AM, and starts on the 12th. The program is free for CLS and Gibbes members, and children must be accompanied by an adult. For more info, contact Rebecca Williams at 843.722.2706 extension 41.

Tuesday the 26th of this month is the 262nd (I think) Annual Meeting of the Library Society. All members are invited to attend. This year's guest speaker is Bernard Cornwell. Yes, that Bernard Cornwell. Sharpe's, the Saxon Stories, Agincourt, about ten billion novels sold, et cetera, et cetera. Very exciting.

If you're not planning to attend the Annual Meeting, we will send Richard Sharpe to get you.