Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Pass before my eyes with curiosity..."

Last week, you were warned our Dubose Heyward display was on its way out.  This week, FYI, George Washington is in!  So, as the tourist season slowly begins to warm up, and Betty and Jim from East Nowhere, Kansas wander in, looking resplendent in their KU sweatpants (and a little winded from their trip up the steps), your loyal blogger (happily) has this conversation dozens of times:

"Yes, this is a real library."
"Yes, 'normal' people are allowed in here."
"Yes, that is a card catalog."
"Yes, we have movies, and John Grisham novels, and computers and all that."

At this point, Betty and Jim become visibly more comfortable, realizing that this is just like the Nowhere County Library back home, just a little bigger and older, and with marble floors instead of commercial-grade carpet... and then:

"Oh, and over there are our George Washington letters."

Suffice it to say, Betty and Jim are impressed.  This is slightly cooler than, say Carrie Nation's hatchet or George Custer's boots (they're at the Kansas Museum of History, check them out next time you're in Topeka!), if for no other reason than Nation and Custer were jerks, and ol' George was awesome.

Yep.  George Washington was AWESOME.

Anyhow, the good President G.W.'s stuff is now on display here at the Society.  Don't forget, John Avlon, a guy who has a thing or two to say about presidents and politicians himself, is here March 11th.  Tickets are 10 bucks for members, 15 for non-members: RSVP today, 843.723.9912.

P.S.  Sorry, Jayhawkers.  And yes, I know you're the state of Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Clyde Tombaugh, Hattie McDaniel, William S. Burroughs, Dust in the Wind, Dennis the Menace, John Outland, Dean Smith, the Koch brothers, Superman, Buster Keaton, Bill Kurtis, Miss America 1997, and the (almost-as-good-as-a-Krystal) White Castle burger... so, thanks, Kansans, no harm, no foul!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From the collections: clandestine plug edition.

After spending half of last fall, and the whole of January on display, we're returning DuBose Heyward's original handwritten manuscript for "Porgy" to the vault this week.  If you haven't seen it, look at the image directly above... not as satisfying as coming in to see the real thing, is it?  Well, it's still out today, so hurry by.

Other things to come and see: John Avlon (more of a person than a thing, really) will be here to discuss his new book on political wingnuts (more things than persons, really), memorably entitled Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.  7 PM, March 11th: tickets are selling briskly, so RSVP now.  A week later on March 18th, we'll be hosting the New England Genealogical and Historical Society for a day of conferences.  Registration is $30 (if postmarked before March 1, 2010); $40 (if postmarked after March 1, 2010).  Contact NEHGS's Joshua Taylor, Director of Education and Programs by phone, 617-227-1226, or e-mail,, for more info.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spring Book Sale: Announced.

The date for the Library Society's Spring Book Sale has now been set: the weekend of March 27th.  You may now make your springtime plans around it.

Between now and then- donate your old books and CD's.  What we can't use for the collection goes to the sale, so you're helping out the Library no matter what.  Also between now and then: Phi Beta Kappa reception (March 5), John Avlon lecture (March 11th), St. Patrick's Day (March 17th), and the New England Historical and Genealogical Society Meeting (March 18th).

Not that we're doing anything for St. Pat's, but your loyal blogger will most likely be on the front steps watching the parade instead of sitting inside working, so... that's kinda an event, right?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Deo Vindice...

Your loyal blogger has acquired a new work computer after about three years of begging, so please pardon any delays in blog posting or updating the website.  It's taking some time to transfer years of photos, fonts, bookmarks, address lists, applications, etc. from The Underpowered Compaq From Hell to my shiny new Mac, hallowed be its name.

And since there's Young Professionals tonight, and a new brochure that needs to be mocked up, and event photos to tag, and in a few minutes, it'll be Children's Storytime downstairs, I'll just share a quick anecdote about work at a 262 year old institution:

This morning, your loyal blogger was called upon to help satisfy the need of a certain federal agency to prove that the Charleston Library Society is, truly, an ancient and venerable eleemosynary library, and not a sinister terrorist front.  And to be fair to the diligent fellows of the DHS, the Society has held a copy of the Qur'an for longer than we've been "Americans"... our Qur'an dates from 1762, twelve years before the founding of this country.

So we get a call this morning that we need something- anything really- that shows our organization's legal incorporation, and proves we're real, live, nephews of our Uncle Sam, born on the Fourth of July.  Which would be easy enough, if we weren't chartered by the monarch of another country, Mr. George the II, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Hannover, Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

This little issue required going back and finding out if His Highness's Royal Charter is still good enough to prove we're not terrorists.  Apparently it is (I suppose it does indicate we're not IRA members, at least).  So now that it's approved, your loyal blogger must make a copy of the document to send in.  One doesn't just stick a Royal Charter in the Xerox machine, especially since the chances of getting a new one from ol' Liz Windsor are slim-to-none.  So I also got permission to use "the first reprint of the charter that is in good enough shape to photocopy".

So the (fully approved) document now on file, the one that shows we're no threat to the "homeland", is the Library Society's Act of Incorporation... printed by A.J. Burke, 40 Broad Street, Charleston, C.S.A, 1861... NHS, osculare pultem meam.

That's it.  Young Professionals tonight, library's closed on the 15th, and check us out in the latest issue of Charleston Magazine!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Notes for a busy St. Brigid's Day...

Today is St. Brigid's Day,  number three on the list of "Patron Saints of Ireland", behind Saints Patrick and Columba.  Also the birthday of Children's Library favourite Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries; and the happy 145th anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment (Immediato v. Rye Neck and the draft notwithstanding).  Around the Library Society, it's a day of painting (lots of blue!), replacing (lots of videos!), and preparing (lots of invitations for Spring events!).

First Event: Thursday, February 4th, our monthly Young Professionals' series resumes after a brief winter hiatus.  We'll have artist Whitney Kreb as our featured guest, and some of her work will be on display.  Those of you who have visited our Children's Library recently have already seen some of Whitney's work.  Those of you who haven't are in for a treat.

Also coming up, the New England Historical and Genealogical Society will be at the CLS for an afternoon of genealogical education on Thursday, March 18th  This event will include a session on techniques for finding a wife's maiden name, using DNA in your genealogical research, and a reception.  For more information, contact D. Joshua Taylor, Director of Education and Programs by phone at 617.227.1226, or e-mail.  Registration for the event is $30 (if postmarked before March 1, 2010), or $40 (if postmarked after March 1, 2010).

Toddler Tuesday, the activity/storytime for kids 18mo. to 5 years, held here at the Library every Tuesday at 10:15, now has an afternoon counterpart!  Every Thursday at 3:30 PM, CLS and Gibbes members can bring the little ones in their life for a fun story and free play in our Children's Library "the Rabbit Hole".

Also on deck this season: the Charleston Bible Society, the CSO's Brass Ensemble, John Avlon, and a whole lot more.  So, come in, check out the latest round of remodelling, check out some Meg Cabot,  and have get ready for a some great Spring events.