Category Archives: Librarians Can Be Fun Too

Reminder: Coffee and Sidebar in the Library with Professors Sigman and Huber Today!

Coffee Talk October Print

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by | October 6, 2015 · 8:00 am

Upcoming Banned Books Read Out at the Charlotte Law Library!

The House of Leaves - Burning 4

Exercise Your First Amendment Rights at Banned Books Read Out!

YOU ARE INVITED to read from, share and discuss your thoughts on a favorite banned and /or challenged book. Please RSVP HERE. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Monday, October 5th

11 am to 1 pm

East Reading Room

5th Floor

Charlotte Law Library

Banned Books Week is held annually to celebrate the value of open access to information and the importance of the First Amendment. The national event was created 30 years ago by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Photo Credit: “The House of Leaves – Burning 4” by LearningLark –

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Coffee and Sidebar in the Library with Professors Sigman and Huber

Coffee Talk October Print

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by | September 17, 2015 · 8:00 am

The 50th Anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1964

With less than a month left on the Library of Congress’ exhibit “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom”, it seemed appropriate to remind everyone who may be traveling to D.C. in the next few weeks that it’s their last chance to view this exhibit, which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 .  This post originally ran in November of 2014.  

In case you are visiting Washington, DC in the coming year, plan a visit to the Library of Congress’ new exhibit “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.” The exhibit which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is open to the public Monday-Saturday 8:30 am- 4:30 pm until September 12, 2015.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (PL 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  It provided injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations and segregation in public education. It enforced the constitutional right to vote, ending unequal voter-registration requirements. The law is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation.

The Library of Congress’ free exhibit “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” highlights the legal and legislative challenges and victories leading to its passage. The exhibit highlights the individuals, both prominent leaders and private citizens, who participated in the process. The exhibit contains more than 200 items from correspondence to photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings and posters. It also includes audio-video stations throughout the exhibit showing film clips of dramatic events related to the civil rights era such as protests, sit-ins, boycotts and other public actions. An introductory film narrated by Julian Bond focuses on the significance of the legislation.  Another video explores the impact of the Civil Rights Act. There are six themes in the exhibit: Prologue, Segregation Era, World War II and the Post War Years, Civil Rights Era, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Impact.

Much of the exhibit’s documentation comes from NAACP Records in the Library’s Manuscript Division and the Prints and Photographs Division. The audio-visual materials come from the Library’s American Folklife Center’s Civil Rights History Project and the Library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.  Newman’s Own Foundation with additional support from HISTORY® provided funding for the exhibition. Further details about the exhibit can be found at


~Betty Thomas~

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A Little More Conversation About Elvis: Another look at his life through two very different books

It’s been thirty eight years this August, since Elvis Presley passed away.  That may seem like yesterday to the baby boom generation, who were acquainted with the man as well as the artist known as the “King of Rock and Roll.” Subsequent generations, however, are more familiar with the fables and legends surrounding Elvis than they are with Elvis himself.

Elvis is iconic.  His music synthesized the pop, country, gospel and blues elements which also served as his inspiration and which significantly transformed music for his and future generations. His story has been dramatized many times.  Cirque du Soleil has choreographed a production based on his life and music (“Viva Elvis”).  He has appeared as “walk on” characters in books and movies (for example, “Walk the Line”). He is the frequent object of impersonators (a/k/a “tribute artists”) and parody (such as the king in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”). One can’t walk the streets of Memphis or Las Vegas without spotting an Elvis.  The intellectual property rights attached to his music, image, brand, etc., are so extensive that I once heard a CLE presenter paraphrase that Elvis has not left the building.  All of above perpetuate the myths but do little to reveal the man behind them. In honor of his legacy, I recommend two books, in very different styles.


“Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley” is the first of a two volume biography by Peter Guralnick.  It is well-researched and sensitively-written and narrates the journey of a shy, awkward young man with a raw talent.  It follows his rise from poverty to national acclaim.  Guralnick concludes the first volume of Elvis’ life with several life-altering events: Elvis has been drafted, sent to Germany, is worried that his career won’t survive and has lost his mother, with whom he had been very close. Yes, all life-changers, but somehow there is an element of optimism.  (Volume two, “Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley” is just as well-researched and sensitively-written, but the title sums it all up and we know how the story ends.)

If you’re in the mood for something lighter, try “Blue Suede Clues: A Murder Mystery Featuring Elvis Presley” by Daniel Klein.  Klein wrote several detective novels which portrayed Elvis as rock star by night and amateur detective by day.  The titles of the books were based on the titles of Presley’s hit songs: “Kill Me Tender”, “Viva Las Vengeance” and “Such Vicious Minds.”  In “Blue Suede Clues”, Elvis has just completed filming a movie and finds himself coming to the aid of one of his Army buddies.  The book features fictional characters and references some of the real individuals who played integral roles in Elvis’s life. Klein knows his Elvis facts and weaves them into the mysteries. He also foreshadows some of the darker elements in the performer’s life.

Add these books to your end-of-the-summer reading list and reflect on the man who continues to inspire so many.

~Susan Catterall~

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