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Hot and cool weekend Downtown

We’ll be hot and cool at the Downtown Huntsville Library during August Indoors on August 15-16. We’ll have two hot-topic programs, one on racism and another on interpretations of the Bible. We’ll also help you chill out with DIY Garden Water Features. These three free programs will be held in the Events Room on the second floor.

On Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., meet author S. McEachin “Mac” Otts and hear him talk about his book, “Better Than Them: The Unmaking of an Alabama Racist.” Otts was a child welfare professional for many years, both as a counselor and director. He also received governors’ appointments on the board of the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and the State Children’s Policy Council.

In his book, Otts reflects on how he outgrew his racist upbringing and how he returned to his hometown to interview select black demonstrators and white peers. His conclusions make this a memoir about his life and experiences in a racially divided world, but the book also reveals how a life is lived, celebrated and understood.

Herb Lewis will give a workshop on building water features for your garden from 2 to 4 p.m. He teaches workshops on gardening and birding for many organizations in Alabama, including the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Free light refreshments – and free air conditioning – will be served.

Lewis’s backyard is a National Wildlife Federation certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat. With his help, yours could be, too. He will demonstrate three designs for garden water features, each one specifically designed to attract a variety of birds.

Meet Dr. Jennifer Grace Bird, author of “Permission Granted: Take the Bible into Your Own Hands,” on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Bird is a professor, writer and speaker based in Portland, Ore. When her own mother violated 1 Timothy 2:12 by getting ordained, Bird felt led to dig deeper into scripture for herself and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Vanderbilt University. In classrooms and churches from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, she challenges people of faith to engage the Bible without fear.