David Cherry's blog

One of the Original 'Red Tails' Shares His Story at Freeman

Dr. Luzine B. Bickham, one of the Tuskegee Airmen paid a visit to Freeman Branch Library. Here are a few pictures from the event.

Can't Sleep? We can help: Documentaries about Poets

cover art poetry in motionIt would take a genuine, back-slapping-swimming-pool-blue-sportcoat-and-shiny-white-loafers-with-matching-belt-wearing used car salesman with 90 proof snake oil coursing through his double-thick Teflon-coated veins to convince most folks to read a blog on this particular subject—I'm talking some mutant mix of Tony Robbins, the late Billy Mays and LBJ in his arm-twisting-brow-beating-Uncle-Lyndie-with-a-lollipop-cooing prime.

This is a subject so fearsomely, so ostentatiously, dull that if your eyes are not by now rolling up into your head like slot machine tumblers you should think about a career as a statue. The very thought of documentaries about poets is so baroquely and perversely boring as to produce uncontrollable yawning in double espresso drinking Chihuahuas. I've nodded off twice already, and I (heaven help me) actually care about this stuff.

Original Member of the Famed ‘Red Tails’ to Visit Freeman Branch in Celebration of Black History Month.

Harris County PubliThe Tuskegee Airmenc Library and Clear Lake City – County Freeman Branch Library will have the honor of hosting Dr. Luzine B. Bickham, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the pioneering African-American combat pilots of World War II. The all-ages program will feature a free screening of the PBS documentary, “Tuskegee Airmen,” followed by a conversation with Dr. Bickham about his Dr. Luzine B. Bickham, Original Member of the Tuskegee Airmenexperiences flying as one of the famed Red Tails.

In addition to his service to his country for which he received the Congressional Gold Medal as an original member of the Airmen, he served for many years as the Dean of Texas Southern University’s School of Business. Don’t miss this chance to meet a man who fought overseas in the greatest conflict in human history while battling for equality at home.

Every Day is Take Your Child to the Library Day

Mom and child reading at the librarymom and child sharing a bookThere are the big ones: your first kiss, your first car, your first paycheck; then there are the somewhat lesser firsts that somehow you remember just as well and almost as fondly. For a lot of Harris County Public Library’s customers, their first visit to a library is one of those. There’s something about a library that kids understand without much explaining. Children just naturally get the idea that books are made to be shared, and that life is full of possibilities, and that somehow those two notions are related.

We at Harris County Public Library think every day should be Take Your Child to the Library Day, but it’s alright with us if the folks up in Connecticut set aside, as they did, one day a year to remind everyone what a magical, life-enhancing place a library can be for a child, and that one of the best ways to give children a lifelong love of reading is for parents to read to them and to read for pleasure themselves, not to mention that a trip to the library is a no-cost, hassle-free chance for some quiet (or not so quiet) together-time.

Need Help with the Kindle, Nook, or iPad Santa Brought? eReader FAQs and Support Are a Click Away.

Santa and eReader a la Vanna White

So Santa left you an eReader or tablet under the tree this year and you’re really excited because nothing sounds better to you right now than escaping the holiday hullaballoo into a good book, but you’ve never owned one that came with a user’s manual before.

Whether you just have general questions about downloading free eBooks and eAudiobooks from Harris County Public Library’s Digital Media Catalog, or need step-by-step instructions in plain English, we have you covered with online FAQs and support, and if you would prefer a little face-to-face help, HCPL staff at all 26 branches can provide it.

eBook FAQs & Support:
What do I need to do to start downloading Overdrive eBooks
Android products
Apple products
Kindle and Kindle Fire
Nook and Nook Tablet
Sony Reader

Christmas for Curmudgeons, Or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Holidays

A flock of scroogesAnybody who’s been reading this blog at all regularly has picked up on, I’m sure, a certain misanthropic bent running just below its surface like a sewer line, and, for the most part, it’s not an act. Chances are pretty good that if I’m awake, I’m ranting. So you would think that this time of year would be my time to shine (so to speak) with all its factory-made good cheer and it’s nauseatingly first-world problems, but it’s not. The holidays are when the amateurs, the pikers, the poseurs and the part-time grumps come out to let us all know what wrong-headed sheep we are. In the last thirty or forty years, bah-humbugging has become an industry unto itself, and it’s gotten to the point now that the complaints against the holidays have become as raggedly clichéd as the clichés they pretend to combat.

Words in the Air: Poetry on Audio

Caedmon in stained glassAs most of us know, listening to poetry is nothing new. Poetry started out in the audio format. Rhyme and meter and many other poetic conventions were essentially mnemonic devices to help itinerant poets keep the story going so that they might earn a place by the fire for the night. Back then, a poet couldn’t read his stuff off the page making minimal eye-contact with the audience like we do now. For one thing, until relatively recently, there were no pages to read off of. For another, after getting conked on the head by a flying tankard or turkey leg hurled by some philistine in chain mail, poets figured out it paid to keep their hands free and their eyes peeled.

A Heap o' Holiday Cheer: Programs for All Ages @ Your Library

Original illustrations from Dicken's A Christmas CarolChances are good that at some point between now and the ceremonial breaking of the first New Year's resolution, each and every one of us will temporarily give in to the bah-humbuggery that is as much a part of the season as the mistletoe, the eggnog and the annual Black Friday Feast of Immaculate Consumption. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of. A Christmas Carol remains so popular not because we are a nation of Tiny Tims, but because we all have at least a little Scrooge in us and we want to be reminded of the fact before the ghosts start waking us up at all hours to go flitting around the space-time continuum.

Luckily for all of us, Harris County Public Library offers a little oasis—actually twenty-seven little oases—from the hurly-burly that is the holidays, a place where you can find a nice quiet corner and comfortable chair in which to unwind and let some of the frenetic festivities go on without you, a place where you can browse the aisles and not hear the exOriginal illustration from Dickens' A Christmas Carolhausted whimpering of your credits cards in your wallet, a place to reconnect with the handmade spirit of the holidays, a place to join with others in song, and a place to sit with your child or grandchild in your lap and be dazzled again by a tale of the season.

Remember, all branches will be closed Saturday, December 22 – Tuesday, December 25 in observance of the holidays, so don’t forget to stock up on books, DVDs and music for those cozy evenings.

Below are some of the holiday programs still in store at HCPL.

Get the Scoop on your Favorite Reads with NextReads Newsletters

NextReads Logo What if we told you that you can get the latest news about the hottest titles and trends in the world of books delivered to your email inbox? What if that news was focused on just the type of books you like to read--whether that be romance, mystery, historical fiction, or other genre? What if it was compiled by the people who wrote the book on recommending books? What if all of it came in a spiffy, quick-reading newsletter format? What if signing up for the service took only seconds and it was all absolutely free?

We’re guessing you would say something like, “Golly gee, that sounds super!”

It is. It really is.


Can't wait to get started? Visit our NextReads Newsletter Subscription page.


What’s best of all about our new NextReads newsletters is that when you see something you just have to read—and you will—you just click a link and it takes you straight to the title’s HCPL catalog record where you can make a request. In a day or two, the book will be there waiting for you on the hold shelf of your local branch. And it’s all free! You don’t have to worry about maxing out your credit cards and you will never have to decide whether you want to read or eat that month.

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