Author Ron Chapman will discuss his book “The Battle of New Orleans: But for a Piece of Wood” as part of the New Orleans Public Library’s ongoing Author Series.

The Battle of New Orleans marked a turning point in American history, and Chapman’s book details the events of and leading up to the battle and the British military blunders, chief among them a failure to account for the strong current of the Mississippi River. If the British had tested the river’s flow with a simple piece of wood, all might have been lost for the fledgling American nation. The Author Series will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Mid-City Library.

P.3 READS: The library and Prospect.3, the city’s ongoing arts festival, have partnered to present P.3 Reads, where P.3 participating artists share books that have been important to them, either in their personal lives or their work. The next P.3 Reads event features Firelei Báez, who will discuss Junot Diaz’s “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” with Jose Torres-Tam, of Artefuturo Productions. This event will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Nix Library.

MLK BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: Join others from noon to 1 p.m. Monday at the Main Library for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration. The program will feature a keynote speaker and performances. Happy Johnson is the master of ceremonies, and Kai Knight’s Silhouette Dancers will perform. This program is presented in partnership with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Planning Commission.

SHOE-BOX FLOATS: Blain Kern Studios artist Alex Sherrod will present two Mardi Gras programs at the Algiers Regional Library on Saturday . The first program is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for children 10 and younger. Sherrod will show them how to make a shoe-box float. Children must be accompanied by a guardian. Reservations are required, so call the library at (504) 596-2641 or come in to reserve a spot. Children can bring their own shoe box if they have one.

From 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sherrod will show those ages 10-18 how to make their own Mardi Gras mask and walk away with a wearable piece of art. Supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Charles Brown is the executive director of the New Orleans Public Library. For more information, visit, like the Facebook page at, and follow on Twitter at