By Tim Moloney

What's that roosting outside the HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY'S ALICE MCKEAN YOUNG NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY? It's "Book of a Feather" by local artist DIXIE FRIEND GAY.

"Books of a Feather' draws parallels between the physical flight of birds and the flights of imagination found in books. The free movement of birds stretches our imagination towards a world that exists beyond our vision, just as explorations in the library open our minds to new and unfamiliar views," she explains.

"Books of a Feather" features three 12 to 15 feet tall x 6 feet wide x 10 feet long stainless steel and concrete birds that are covered in multicolored glass and ceramic mosaic tiles. The hand-made, high-fired ceramic tiles were stamped with book titles that include words associated with birds and flight. Titles flow like ribbon along the birds' sides and the tiles shimmer and sparkle when caught by the light. A lighting system illuminates the birds after sunset.

HAA Director of Civic Art + Design, Sara Kellner commented, "Books of a Feather' by Dixie Friend Gay is a major addition to the renowned City of Houston Art Collection. The artwork was created to both complement the new Young Neighborhood Library building, and to create a beacon for the community at the intersection of MLK and Griggs."

You've probably seen Gay's work before. She's a nationally acclaimed artist whose career spans more than three decades and encompasses public art, sculpture, painting and drawing. Her works can be found in Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, as well as in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Rice University, Texas A&M-Galveston and in a number of major airports and other public facilities throughout the U.S.