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Auction helps send library down superhighway

Is there anyone who doesn't love an auction? The Clearwater Library Foundation is holding its annual Cognoscenti Auction on Nov. 10 with rare books, a wonderful bell collection, a silver tea service and other interesting items poised for the auctioneer's hammer.

The Data Base Place, established just a few months ago in the main branch of the Clearwater Library with proceeds from last year's auction, will expand its holdings and services from the money raised this year. Talk about a worthy cause!

Those of you who will suffer from computer-phobia and feel stuck on the side-roads when you hear people talking about the Information Superhighway can come to the auction at the Main Library on Osceola Avenue for a demonstration of the library's new treasure. You will be astonished at what one little CD can hold _ Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, where one or two key words typed into the machine will yield the name, author and full text of one of 8,500 poems. On another disc, you can research every issue of the St. Petersburg Times from 1990 to the present. Slip that one out and put in the Microsoft Art Gallery for reproductions and descriptive text for paintings in London's National Gallery. How about Consumer Reports from 1982? Try it out almost any time by requesting a show-me-how-it-works session on the second floor of the Main Library, and you'll soon be flying down that superhighway.

Besides relishing nicer weather, mystery fans enjoy fall because Dick Francis brings out another of his top-notch stories every year at this time. Wild Horses, one of the best he has produced in ages, has a 30-year-old narrator with a horse-racing background who is directing a movie about an old racing scandal. When he uncovers the truth, he sets off a series of life-threatening situations. Lots of information about how movies are made, and good characters and dialogue keep things moving right along.

Most of us could fantasize about being a movie director easier than we could imagine living to be 100 years old. A marvelous book, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, inspires as well as entertains. Daughters of a man born in slavery, they have lived a rich and fascinating life, one as a dentist and the other as a high school teacher. This rich source is an upbeat, positive picture of what the determined human spirit can accomplish.

The best of the current crop of movies, especially for those of us who remember being riveted to our TV sets back in the '50s, has to be Quiz Show. The camera work is dazzling, the editing on the mark, the script is terrific, the music just right. Best of all are the actors. Ralph Fiennes and Paul Scofield have a father-son scene late at night around the kitchen table that you'll remember a long time. Listen carefully for the last two lines of dialogue, and see if you agree with the verdict. Don't miss this one.

For something completely different, be at the Sarasota Opera House from Nov. 9 to 13 and check out some of those French celebrities over to take part in the Sarasota French Film Festival, which is gaining in reputation every year. While you're there, see at least one of the films _ it will be a whole new experience. Very, very French. Call the Asolo box office in Sarasota, (813) 351-8000, for more information.

If you're looking for top-level entertainment at a reasonable price, don't forget the Adults-At-Leisure series put on by Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. For $10 a ticket, you can enjoy a variety of shows, from the Flying Karamazov Brothers on Nov. 1 to Neil Simon's Promises, Promises on Nov. 10. These performances start at 1 p.m. Best buy in town.

Take note.

You can write to Mim Anne Houk c/o Seniority, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

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