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From the Library: Historical fun facts


Since many of my recent columns have focused on the approach of summer, I thought I’d try a bit of a throw-back this week with some fun facts and history. I’ll kick off with a more recent random fact: on May 6, 2004 the final episode of the TV show “Friends” aired, bringing an end to its decade-long run.

Andrea Gilmer

Going back further in history, songwriter Irving Berlin was born on May 11, 1888. He is best known for songs such as God Bless America, White Christmas, Puttin’ On the Ritz, among others; but what is likely less well known is that he never learned to read or write musical notation. In 1820, May 12 to be exact, Florence Nightingale was born. Her contributions helped further modern nursing procedures and elevated nursing as a profession for women.

And May 14 has been a significant day in various years. It was the day on which the first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown, VA (1607); it saw the start of Lewis and Clark’s expedition across the continent from St. Louis across the Northwest (1804); in 1796, this is the day on which Dr. Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine; and on this day, in 1942, an Act of Congress allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties.

Skipping ahead to May 19, we celebrate the birth of Lorraine Hansberry (1930), an incredible African American playwright, likely best know for A Raisin in the Sun. The following day, May 20, saw the signing of the Homestead Act (1862) by President Abraham Lincoln; an Act that made millions of acres of government owned land available to “homesteaders” moving west. They could claim up to 160 acres just by living on the land and working it for five years, paying $1.25 per acre. It was also a big one in
aviation, though in different years, as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart both began their solo transatlantic flights on this day, in 1927 and 1932 respectively.

I could go on, and likely will in future columns, but I’ll end here for now. And maybe I’ve inspired you to do a little of you own research on dates that have importance to you and what happened on those days in history.

Reminder: All library locations will be closed on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.

Coming Up: 

  • Aulds, 742-2337 — Wednesday, May 22 @ 1:00pm – Chair Exercise, ages 18 and up
  • Benton, 965-2751 — Tuesday, June 4 @ 10:00am – Summer Kick-Off: Holiday Lanes, Portable Bowling Lanes, ages 6-12
  • Bossier Central, 746-1693 — Monday, May 20 @ 3:00pm – Marvel Movie Mondays: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ages 13-17; Tuesday, May 21 @ 4:00pm – Master Builders, all ages; Tuesday, May 21 @ 5:30pm – Dungeons & Dragons, ages 13 and up
  • East 80, 949-2665 — Friday, May 23 @ 5:30pm – Wii Bowl Tournament, all ages
  • Haughton, 949-0196 — Thursday, May 16 @ 9:30am – Good Books Book Club: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, ages 18 and up
  • History Center, 746-7717 — Saturday, June 8 @ 1:00pm – Second Saturday Screenings: Saving Mr. Banks (PG-13), all ages
  • Plain Dealing, 326-4233 — Wednesday, May 29 @ 2:00pm – The Amazing Race Game, all ages
  • Tooke, 987-3915 — Monday, May 20 @ 2:00pm – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, ages 18 and up
  • Community Engagement — Saturday, May 18 @ 9:00am – Back to Home Healthy Show ‘n’ Tell @ Sci-Port, all ages

New Materials:

  • Dreaming Out Loud by Baby Ariel (YA Autobiography; Book)
  • Fall Back Down When I Die: A Novel by Joe Wilkins (Fiction; Book)
  • The Lady is a Spy: Virginia Hall, World War II Hero of the French Resistance by Don Mitchell (YANon-Fiction; Book)

Annie Gilmer, Community Engagement Librarian

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