Bach to Books

Bach to Books is the name for the Friends’-sponsored arts and humanities series offered at the library, free to the community. Artists, writers, and musicians appear at the library and share their talents.

The main goal of Bach to Books is to share a variety of programs featuring music, dance, visual arts, literature, history and more with the people of our community for their enjoyment and enlightenment. We offer these programs free to the public, so that everybody can attend. Most events are held in the auditorium in the library.

Upcoming Events

Here are our upcoming events. Also, check the Library Calendar or call (214) 509-4911 for more information about any Bach to Books performance.

Princess Maria Anna of Austria

Princess Maria Anna of Austria and Suzanne Pearson

Thursday, September 13th at 7:30 PM

Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Anna of Austria and Suzanne Pearson will discuss the life and legacy of Charles I, or Emperor Karl, the last emperor of the Austrian Hungarian Empire at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, at the Allen Public Library.  Princess Maria Anna was born in Belgium in 1954 as the eldest child of Archduke Rudolf, son of Emperor Charles I.  Suzanne Pearson is an established authority on the life, character and place in history of this revered Hapsburg monarch.

After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Charles became heir apparent to the throne.  In 1916, Franz Joseph died after reigning for 66 years and Charles became the new emperor. By this time World War I had been going on for two years, and Charles immediately initiated efforts to press for peace. All of his efforts were met with rigid resistance from both the Allies and the Germans.

making of the film, giant

Making of the Legendary American Film, “Giant”

Thursday, September 20th at 7:30 PM

The Hollywood epic “Giant” (1956) was the first blockbuster film shot on location in Texas.   George Stevens garnered an Oscar for Best Director and the film received nine Oscar nominations.   The production of Giant garnered huge media attention, including megastars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean.  For the then-desolate and impoverished town of Marfa, it meant sorely needed income for local citizens who served as extras, laundry detailers, cooks, and maids.

Lucas native Don Graham will discuss his book Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 20. at the Allen Public Library.

Mr. Graham’s book explores the interpersonal relationships between Taylor, Dean and Hudson and the challenges director George Stevens had to overcome to produce this cinematic masterpiece.  Wooing Texans over was his first challenge since Edna Ferber’s novel Giant was despised by most Texans.  Stevens invited amateur film clubs to Marfa to shoot the acting and production. The author points out, “How many times would you have the chance to see Elizabeth Taylor up close?”

New Jerusalem Choir

Black Gospel: Robert F. Darden and the New Jerusalem Baptist Choir

Sunday, September 23rd at 3:00 PM

Black gospel music has proved to be one of America’s most phenomenal musical genres.  Robert Darden will discuss the Black Gospel Restoration Project, followed by a performance from the New Jerusalem Baptist Choir, at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, September 23, at the Allen Public Library.

Through the use of stunning audio recordings, Mr. Darden will highlight various facets of Black Gospel music.

Mr. Darden is the founder of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University, the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, digitize, categorize and eventually make accessible fast-vanishing vinyl of gospel music from gospel’s Golden Age (1945-1970). The Black Gospel Music Restoration project provides the gospel music for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History & Culture.

the polio years in texas

The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown

Thursday, September 27th at 7:30 PM

By the early 20th Century American parents were gripped by a horrifying fear that their children might contract the contagious polio virus.  Although the disease had a cruel preference for children, adults were affected as well.  President Franklin Roosevelt was struck with polio at age 39.  Reports of outbreaks frequently lead to swimming pools and movie theaters closing, and in some cases, entire communities being quarantined.  Houston and Harris Counties, Texas, had the second-highest rate of infection in the nation.

Thus, sighs of relief could be heard across the nation when Jonas Salk introduced the first polio vaccine in 1955.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, Dr. Heather Wooten will discuss her award-winning book The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown at the Allen Public Library. This book received the T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award by the Texas Historical Commission and the East Texas Historical Association’s Ottis Lock Endowment Award, Best Book category.

Orchestra of New Spain

Orchestra of New Spain and the Convivencia

Friday, September 28th at 7:30 PM

Experience the Orchestra of New Spain and the music of the three cultures co-habiting in Medieval Spain – Christian, Arabic and Sephardic at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the Allen Public Library.

From the 711 occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors until the end of the 14th century, Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations of Spain lived and worked together in relative peace. This cohabitation (in Spanish, Convivencia) was marked by rich intercultural influences that were evident throughout peninsula.  This concert will feature soloists and period instruments from the Orchestra singing the famous Cantigas (songs) de Santa Maria, SMU’s World Music Ensemble “Beledi” and their lively jazz-like works from the Muslim tradition, and modern interpretations of haunting Sephardic music.

The Orchestra of New Spain is a period-instrument baroque orchestra and chorus specializing in, but not limited to, the music of Spain and its sphere of New Worlds influence. Created in 1989 for as the Hispanic offering for the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center and to celebrate the Hispanic orientation of the Guadalupe Cathedral in the life of the aborning Dallas Arts District, the orchestra is a significant purveyor of Spanish baroque musical masterworks and has produced two CDs.

Wally Funk: America's first Female Astronaut

America’s First Female Astronaut, Wally Funk

Saturday, September 29th at 3:00 PM

Most Americans can name at least one of the Mercury 7 astronauts who were the first to fly into outer space, but what about the women who were considered for this endeavor?  Wally Funk had “the right stuff” but was denied the possibility of traveling into outer space because of her gender.

In the early 60s, 13 women endured secret tests to determine if they could become astronauts.  The Mercury 13, as they are now known, underwent and passed the same rigorous mental and physical tests as the men of Mercury 7.

Featured on the BBC, NPR and Netflix, Ms. Funk is in high demand as a speaker.  An aviator for over 63 years and a member of the Mercury 13, she will share her story 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 29, at the Allen Public Library.


Allen Reads Program: Celebrating Differences

Thursday, October 4th at 7:30 PM

  • Coping with special needs in your family?
  • Feeling overwhelmed but don’t know where to turn?
  • Worried about your children’s future?

Local experts will discuss coping strategies for families involved in caring for loved ones who have special needs at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 4, 2018 at the Allen Public Library Civic Auditorium, 300 N. Allen Dr.  Topics will include effective alternatives for disciplining children, financial planning, and helping children transition into adulthood.

A ‘Resource Fair’ where families will find additional information from a variety of local businesses offering special services for these kids.

Aimee Benfield, licensed marriage & family therapist-associate of Serenity Family Therapy, will discuss how special needs impact family functioning.

Monica Piper, board certified behavioral analyst will talk about handling difficult behavior.

A representative from 29 Acres will discuss this proposed housing community for adults who have special needs.

Dawn D. Hallman, JD, an estate and tax planning attorney, will present an overview of the essential estate planning tools for individuals with special needs.

Allen Philharmonic

Allen Reads Program: Allen Philharmonic Concerts for Young Audiences

Sunday, October 7th at 2:00 (Instrument Petting Zoo) and 3:00 (Concert)

Join us on Sunday, October 7th, as the Allen Philharmonic presents the Fall Concert for Young Audiences program at the Allen Public Library with music designed to reinforce the themes of the 2018 ALLen Reads book selections.  Arrive at 2:00 p.m. and learn about the instrument families of the orchestra with our petting zoo.  Then enjoy the concert at 3:00 p.m. in the Civic Auditorium with music from Spider-Man, Moana, and Coco who, like the characters in the ALLen Reads books, put others’ needs before their own.  Free event!

Anne Keene

The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team that Helped Win World War II

Thursday, October 11th at 7:0 PM

During World War II a number of professional athletes—many in the prime of their careers— enlisted in the military.  Anne Keene, author of The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team Who Helped Win World War II, will share of one exciting saga involving baseball icons at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. October 11 at the Allen Public Library.  Come early to enjoy old fashion baseball music.

In 1943, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series, but another of the nation’s most capable baseball teams practiced on a college field in North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among the dedicated fighter-pilot cadets who donned Cloudbuster Nine baseball jerseys at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time in this recently published book.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My Life

Allen Reads Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Thursday, October 18th at 6:00 PM

In a previous era, often children with challenges were needlessly hidden in cellars, closets or attics, depriving them of an education and social life, or even an opportunity for forming friendships.  This year’s ALLen Reads selection, The War That Saved My Life, is an engaging story about Ava, a girl born with a clubfoot who was hidden from public view and abused.  When she and her younger brother are evacuated from London during World War II, Ava develops persistence and perseverance, which prove to be invaluable in her newly adopted home.

At 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 18 at the Allen Public Library, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley will discuss her book that garnered a Newberry Honor Medal and a Kirkus Best Books of the Year designation and was on the New York Times Bestsellers list.  This will be followed by a light reception and book signing.

Jack Bick

Be Mission Control: Own Your Dream Career

Thursday, October 25th at 6:30 PM

Want a new job? Access the hiring manager and be appointed to a new position.  Competition and the impersonal hiring process make the effort a daunting task.  Listen to Jack Bick, author of Mission Critical, Own Your Dream Career at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 25 at the Allen Public Library’s 2nd Floor Program Room.

Even though all companies are presently hiring, Jack will demonstrate a successful strategy to overcome hiring obstacles.  Jack declares, “If you offer yourself as ‘Mission Critical’ to the corporate needs, the company will find a place for you.”

History of White Rock Lake

History of White Rock Lake

Thursday, October 25th at 7:30 PM

A long-time popular recreation destination in East Dallas, White Rock Lake has a rich heritage.    Learn the story of this historical body of water that lies west of Buckner Boulevard, between Garland Road and Mockingbird Lane, with Sally Rodriguez at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 25 at the Allen Public Library.

Responding to a water shortage, Dallas city leaders approved the damming of White Rock Creek to create a new water source in 1909. The project was completed in 1911. Later, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration constructed stunning amenities that still adorn the landscape.  Sailing, rowing, hunting, and fishing activities were soon enormously popular at the site.

World War II brought increased military uses to this locale, including a prisoner of war camp for German officers. In 1943, the government used the barracks at Winfrey Point to house German prisoners of war who had served in Rommel’s Afrika Corps.

White Rock Lake is the source for one Dallas’ most famous folk stories—the Lady of the Lake.  Several versions of the story are told around campfires.  Any variant of the tale involves a woman in a soaked white dress spotted somewhere along the edge of the lake. After pleading for and getting a ride home, always in the back seat, she vanishes before reaching the destination.  A puddle of water on the seat is the only visible evidence that she had been in the car.

psycho movie


Monday, October 31st at 7:00 PM

During filming and production, Alfred Hitchcock insisted that the plot for his masterpiece Psycho (1960) be kept under a cloak of secrecy.  Find out why at 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 31 at the Allen Public Library.  This mystery thriller is full of surprises and shocks, which are heightened because it was filmed in black and white.

Alfred Hitchcock was captivated with the study of psychology, an emerging field during the previous decades of his career and various Freudian principles were loosely applied to the story line.

Paramount studios rejected Hitchcock’s proposal for this film. In response, Hitchcock financed the film and waived his director’s fee for a 60% stake in the sales.  A wise choice, the film grossed over $50,000,000, a huge amount for 1960.

Starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, a Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel.