Out Loud in the Library with Tayari Jones

The final Library Fest Podcast is out now! 

Out Loud in the Library: Durham Tech Library Podcast

I was honored to interview three amazing, influential, and accomplished people for Out Loud in the Library and Library Fest– Gordon C. James, Volkan Alkanoglu, and Tayari Jones. You can find the first two interviews at the links below. 

However, this blog post is to highlight the interview I did with Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta, and more. I highly recommend reading at least one (or all!) of her books. She’s a great writer who approaches stories with a real grounding in character.

Listen below as we discuss research, typewriters, happy mail, and what it was like to discover her book being read in the wild. 

Make sure you sign up for the Morning Call with Tayari Jones at the Library Fest website. And, check what else is going on as well. Chances are you’ll find something interesting!

What You Could Be Watching: The Hayti Heritage Film Festival

The Hayti Heritage Film Festival, created in 1994 to create and celebrate a “Black film ecosystem in the South” and normally held in Durham at St. Joseph’s United AME Church, is mostly virtual this year. 

Hayti Heritage Film Festival-- The Hero's Journey: Call to Action, March 1-6, 2021

Now in its 27th year, the films are centered around the theme of “The Hero’s Journey,” and has a combination of films and panels, running from Monday, March 1 to Saturday, March 6. While most films will be screened online, there will be a few drive-in movies. 

Check out the schedule to purchase tickets or passes

The Hayti Heritage Foundation hosts events throughout the year, including walking tours of both Black Wall Street and the Hayti neighborhood (by appointment). For more information about historic Durham, including the Hayti neighborhood, keep reading. 

Continue Reading →

Celebrate Black History Month with Streaming Films

We are highlighting three important films from our Library’s streaming video collections.  Simply log in with your Durham Tech username and password to watch the films or clips from the films. A transcript and closed captioning are provided for each film.

February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four film cover, showing the backs of 4 men sitting at the counter of a lunch counter

Do you know the history of the Greensboro Four?  You can watch the documentary film, February One, to learn about the four NC A&T University students who sat down at a lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. in 1960 as part of the civil rights movement. 

John Lewis 'Good Trouble' documentary film cover showing a drawing of the mugshot a young John Lewis, slightly smiling

John Lewis: Good Trouble is an inspirational new film that shares the life and legacy of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis and his 60 years of  activism for civil rights. 

Fannie Lou Hamer speaking into a handheld microphone and surrounded by people

Learn more about Mississippi civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer and her work for voting rights and women’s rights in the 1960’s, in the film The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer: Never Turn Back.  

To discover additional streaming films, explore Films on Demand and AVON: Academic Video Online.

Constitution Day and Durham Reads Together

The Library and Student Government Association are pleased to host a Constitution Day event on Monday as part of Durham Reads Together.

Durham Reads Together logoEvent Details:
Mon. Sept. 18, 2017  10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Constitution Day Read-in with students, faculty, administration, and staff.

US Constitution book coverPick up a free copy of the US Constitution, register to vote, color at the craft table, win cupcakes at our trivia contest, and learn about the Constitution on the Main Campus plaza.  Our rain location is the ERC Auditorium in Building 5.

Durham Reads Together is a biennial celebration of reading. The Durham community reads the same book, attends programs around its theme, and discusses important issues together.

For more information, videos of community members talking about the US Constitution, and a list of all Durham Reads Together community events, visit:


Also of note, is an exciting free event with Sarah Vowell, the New York Times’ bestselling author of six nonfiction books on American history and culture: Monday, October 9, 2017, 7:00 pm Carolina Theatre, Durham.  The library has copies of some of Sarah’s Vowell’s books available for checkout.


Lafayette book coverWordy shipmates book cover








Visit our display window outside the library for books, DVDs, and other materials related to the Constitution.

What We’re Reading: Camino Island

Title: Camino Island

Camino Island book cover

Camino Island by John Grisham

Read by: Mary Kennery

Author: John Grisham

 Genre: thriller/suspense

Why did you choose to read this book?  I love mysteries and I have read other books by the author. This 30th novel written by John Grisham published in June 2017 is a different style for the author.  There is no young lawyer this time, but a young soon-to-be unemployed UNC-Chapel Hill English instructor/ struggling novelist Mercer who is pegged to infiltrate a rare book dealer Bruce’s bookstore with a black market connection after F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts are stolen from Princeton and find their way to Camino Island, Florida.

What did you like about it?  How the plot unfolds between Mercer and Bruce and the islanders and all gets resolved.  The island’s inhabitants are certainly characters!  The many fond memories that Mercer has of spending summers with her grandmother on the island are endearing.  You can imagine the author tours, rare book collecting and preservation and storage of prized books.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?  Other mystery authors/ missing artifacts, but this one has a rare book angle.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book? References to UNC-Chapel Hill, Franklin St., and The Lantern Restaurant made it especially appealing.  These are places that Grisham likes to visit.

What feeling did the book leave you with?  Resolution plus wanting to know what future blockbuster novel will be next on the horizon for Mercer when she gets over her writer’s block.  Will Camino Island be made into a movie?  Plus another Grisham book is due out later this year.  I will add that one to my must read list.

Who would you recommend the book to? A mystery lover, a John Grisham fan, a bookstore afficionado.

What would you pair this book with?  Even though Camino Island mainly takes place in Florida, I enjoyed reading it on my front porch under a Carolina blue sky with a sweet tea while dog sitting.  I guess I should have read it on a favorite beach.

Were you one of the lucky ones to meet John Grisham at his first book tour in over 25 years?  One was held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh in June.  Sorry to say, but I was not there.

John Grisham was interviewed recently in The News & Observer:

The library plans to purchase a copy of this book for our collection in July.  In the meantime, we have most of Grisham’s other novels available.

Take a walk! Explore NC State Parks, Trails, and more.

Are you stressed by the end-of-semester crunch or the upcoming holidays?  Spend time outdoors!  It’s amazing what nature, walks or hikes, and fresh air can do for you!  We have many beautiful parks and trails in the triangle to enjoy as well as throughout the state.

Visit the NCpedia page, Exploring North Carolina: North Carolina State Parks, Trails, Lakes, Rivers & Natural Areas, which includes links to articles and contemporary and historic images of the parks from the NC Division of Parks and Recreation, the State Archives of North Carolina, the North Carolina Museum of History.  You’ll also find links to maps and web pages for the individual parks, trails, and recreation areas.

NCpedia is an online encyclopedia about North Carolina and highlights North Carolina’s unique resources, people, and culture. It is coordinated and managed by the Government & Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina, a part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

North Carolina Beaches

North Carolina is lucky to have such wonderful beaches to visit. Are you heading to the beach this summer? Would you like to learn more about North Carolina’s beaches? These books will fill you in on the history and culture of NC’s beautiful coast as well as help you plan your trip.

North Carolina Beaches by Glenn Morris

North Carolina Beaches by Glenn Morris

Long hailed as the best guide to enjoying the state’s 320 miles of coastline, North Carolina Beaches will help you find just the right spot for a long vacation or a one-day getaway.  In a beach-by-beach tour, Morris details attractions and activities and provides phone numbers, addresses, and websites to help with your trip planning. Continue Reading →

Read Local Book Festival – This Weekend!

Whether you’re taking summer classes or celebrating the first week of summer vacation, take a few moments (heck, maybe even give it a few hours!) this weekend to check out the Read Local Book Festival in downtown Durham from Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17.  

Read Local Book Festival logoThe festival will feature authors and publishers local to Durham (meaning: Durham County and the nearest surrounding counties, including Orange, Wake, Chatham, Person, and Granville).

Check out the list of participants— you may see a familiar Durham Tech face!

Events vary from writing workshops to cookbook “rodeo”s to an exhibitor fair to reading performances.  Look at the schedule of events to find something that fits you!