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As you have hopefully heard by now, 2021 is Harris County Public Library’s Centennial anniversary! From the incredible work our archivist team has put into the vast Harris County Digital Archive, to our series of delightful videos celebrating different decades in our library’s history, we have been working overtime to find ways to help you celebrate this historical milestone with us all year long.  

Out of the plethora of video projects we’ve shared with you this year, one of my personal favorites (not just because I edit, act in, and help write it, but that helps) is our ongoing video series “The Librarian’s Guide To Time Travel.” The show follows the four members of HCPL’s new Mobile Outreach Librarian team, Celeste Plew, Taylor Monroe, Sarah Ondras, and Leif Steenson (hey, that’s me!) They use the titular mysterious oversized tome to travel to each decade in our library’s history and learn about the history of our library and county, as well as the pop culture of the time, first-hand from both famous and little-known historical figures of the time period.

Since February of this year, we have taken 5 trips through spacetime to meet luminaries from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s with at least two more trips on the docket to round out the twentieth century. As you plunge through the fabric of reality with our heroes, see this blog post as your personal travel companion. I've compiled some of the most notable books, films, and music we mention in each video, as well as other supplementary material, so that you can check them out using your library card! 

The 1930s! 

In their first trip to the past, the librarians meet Elnora Buchanan, head librarian for HCPL between 1932-1939, and one of the first to pilot the then brand new bookmobile. The backgrounds used in this video are from the excellent bookmobiles collection, one of twelve themed collections of archival material available in the Harris County Digital Archive.

Books of the 1930s (Click or tap the cover to check it out from our library!)

Brave New World book cover The Good Earth Book Cover The Hobbit Book Cover As I Lay Dying Book Cover Madeline Book Cover

Movies of the 1930s

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Poster King Kong Movie Poster Dracula Movie Poster Frankenstein Movie Poster Wizard Of Oz Movie Poster

Music of the 1930s

Freegal Music 1930s Centennial Playlist

You should also click or touch the picture above to check out HCPL's official three hour 1930s centennial playlist on the Freegal Music website! It features several artists mentioned in the video, like Benny Goodman, Louie Armstrong, and Billie Holiday.

The 1940s!

The 40s video saw our librarians meeting the beloved first librarian of the West Universty branch, Thelma Ann Sanders, as she operated the library's temporary location in a realtor's office during the height of World War 2. Thelma famously lived across the street from the library and was known to run from her kitchen to help patrons after hours, which we added to the video.

Books of the 1940s

1984 book cover Stuart Little book cover Brideshead Revisited book cover The Little Prince book cover A Tree Grows In Brooklyn book cover

Movies of the 1940s

Gaslight movie poster Citizen Kane movie poster Pinocchio movie poster Bicycle Thieves movie poster The Maltese Falcon movie poster

Music of the 1940s

Freegal Music 1940s Centennial Playlist button Dust Bowl Ballads album cover

The 40s centennial playlist includes chart toppers like Frank Sinatra, The Glenn Miller Band, Dinah Shore, and Nat King Cole!

The 1950s!

The Librarian's visit to 1950s sent them to the early days of KPRC studios in 1959, where they run into grumpy Chief Engineer Paul Huhndorff as he searches for the titular host of "The Larry Kane Show", a local rock and roll TV show modeled on American Bandstand. A comprehensive history of early Houston television can be found in the book "The Fault Does Not Lie With Your Set: The First 40 Years Of Houston Television", cowritten by Mr. Huhndorff himself!

Books of the 1950s

Things Fall Apart book cover Lord Of The Flies book cover The Haunting Of Hill House book cover Catcher In The Rye book cover I Robot book cover

Movies of the 1950s

Godzilla movie poster Vertigo movie poster roman holiday dvd cover Pather Panchali movie poster The 400 Blows movie poster

Music of the 1950s

kind of blue album cover Freegal Music 1950s Centennial Playlist Elvis Presley album cover

The 1950s centennial playlist features Rock N Roll and R&B legends like Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Sam Cooke!

The 1960s!

For the 1960s, our heroes got an inside look at the "eighth wonder of the world," the Astrodome, as they stumbled into the lavish private suite of politician and land developer Roy Hofheinz during an exciting late 1969 baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Books of the 1960s

A Wrinkle In Time book cover Charlie and the chocolate factory book cover One Hundred Years Of Solitude book cover The Autobiography Of Malcolm X book cover Slaughterhouse-5 book cover

Movies of the 1960s

A Hard Day's Night movie poster 2001 a space odyssey movie poster Planet Of The Apes movie poster Breathless Movie Poster psycho movie poster

Music of the 1960s

Becoming The Beach Boys Album Cover

Freegal Music 1960s Centennial Playlist

Running Out Of Fool album cover

The 1960s centennial playlist has artists mentioned in the video like The Beach Boys and The Beatles!

The 1970s!

In the 1970s, the Librarian's met their most exciting interview subject yet when they traveled to September 1979 to meet Stephen King during an actual visit to the Cypress Creek Branch Library! The video also features HCPL's own Kelly Hayden presenting his very best 70s hippie outfit and british accent.

Books of the 1970s

The Bluest Eye book cover Fear and loathing in las vegas book cover The Shining book cover Kindred book cover The Dispossessed book cover

Movies of the 1970s

Jaws dvd cover Carrie movie poster The Omen movie poster The Godfather dvd cover Star Wars Episode 4 Dvd cover

Music of the 1970s

David Bowie Legacy album cover Freegal Music 1970s Centennial Playlist Pink Floyd The Dark Side Of The Moon album cover

The 1970s centennial playlist features artists mentioned in the video like The Beegees, Funkadelic, and Lynard Skynard!

I hope you have enjoyed this companion to our Time Traveler video series, and maybe found something good to read, watch or listen to! Keep an eye out on our YouTube page and social media feeds so you can be the first to watch our next installment. See you in the past!






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