Monday, August 22, 2011

Staying cool (and hopefully dry)...

In this age of lolcats, First World Problems, and rickrolling, many people have at least a passing familiarity of the concept of memes. Memes are concepts or behaviours that spread throughout a culture through contact between individuals. Whether or not memes are the key transmitters of societal values and social concepts in the way frequently described by their defenders remains controversial: what is not controversial is the fact that the internet has been a petri dish for the blasted things.

But memes have existed long before the interwebs, and they spread not just in space but in time. Here I'm thinking of a very local meme - the "cool week in August". This phrase describes the idea, held by many in and around Charleston, that we get a customary reprieve from the heat for a couple of days before the summer is over. With the 90 degree range out of sight all last week, and highs in the mid-80s this week, the idea of the "cool week" has been a topic of conversation here at the Library.

One patron recalled it being a favourite theme of Ashley Cooper's newspaper columns come summertime, and as much as your loyal blogger enjoys poking through old Doing the Charlestons, it didn't take much work to find a much older point of reference. The Department of Health Report in the 1914 Charleston City Year Book laments that "the proverbial 'Cool week in August' failed to materialize."

So here's proof that a century ago, the idea of August's "cool week" was already a fixed concept here in the Lowcountry, and already an old concept at that. It remains to be determined if last week was our cool week - it was certainly more pleasant outside than it's been for most of the summer. It does certainly look like this will be our wet week. [And of course, we're keeping an eye on Irene.]

Other things to keep your eye on: our Fall events season is almost here. We'll be closed Friday-Monday Labor Day weekend, but then we jump into events with both feet. Thursday the 8th we'll host a book signing with the Coastal Conservation League; the 9th marks the return of the Poetry Society; Will Cleveland will be here signing Yo, Millard Fillmore on the 11th; Lifelong Learning with Nan Morrison starts back the 13th; Dorothea Benton Frank is here on the 14th; Unedited concerts return on the 16th; and to round things off, Marshall Chapman will be here on the 29th.

As always, get full details on all our programs on the Upcoming Events page... and get ready for an events season that won't cool down!

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