Our Events

Our Events Spring/Summer 2020

The Library is open for book returns and pickups, and events continue online. Click on any event title for more details and to register where required.

Exhibition | Special Events | Performances | Lectures & Panels | PoetrySeminars & Reading Groups | The Writing Life | Children's & Young Adult Events | Informal & Informational Gatherings


The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong & Her Bindings
The Peluso Family Exhibition Gallery will reopen when normal programming resumes. In the meantime, enjoy 

Margaret Armstrong was one of the most sought-after artists in an almost forgotten chapter in the history of book publishing—the golden age of the decorated book cover. Today Armstrong’s covers are once again prized by scholars, educators and collectors. This exhibition showcases some of Armstrong’s most exquisite covers, along with historic photographs and documents.

NEW! Virtual Tour: Margaret Armstrong's Botanical Watercolors at the Met Museum
Wednesday, July 8, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | by donation | registration required

A special virtual tour of Margaret Armstrong's botanical watercolors from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, premiering June 19, 2020. Curators discuss Armstrong's life and work, highlighting her Field Book of Western Wildflowers, the role of women in the decorative arts at the turn of the 20th century, and the influence of her artistic family on her career.

Special Events

Virtual Exploration of the Library with New York Adventure Club
Friday, July 10, 1:00 PM
online | $10 per person | registration required

We're pleased to offer a new virtual visit to the Library then and now, including discussion of our history, a digital building walk-through, tips from our Book Conservator, and a detailed look at our current exhibition.

NEW! Trivia Tuesday: Bastille Day Edition!
Tuesday, July 14, 6:00-7:15 PM
online | open to the public | by donation | registration required

Liberté! Egalité! Put on your thinking cap and join Library staff and friends on Zoom for an informal hour of book-based trivia with a Francophone flair.


Laura Rocklyn as Jane Austen: Who Dares to Be an Authoress?
Monday, June 29, 6:00 PM
online | $10 per person | registration required

A genteel summer visit to 1815 with writer/actress Laura Rocklyn as Jane Austen, with interactive discussion of Regency deportment and etiquette.

Lectures & Panels

NEW! An Evening with Jamaica Kincaid
Thursday, July 16, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

Jamaica Kincaid is a writer and professor whose works include the novels See Now Then, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter; a classic history of Antigua, A Small Place; and a memoir, My Brother. In this special one-time-only event, Ms. Kincaid talks about her work and the past and present worlds in which it happens.

NEW! Clifford Thompson, What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues
Monday, July 20, 6:00 PM
online | $10 per person | registration required

In the tradition of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me comes Clifford Thompson’s What It Is: an African-American writer’s concise, heartfelt take on the state of his nation, exploring the war between the values he has always held and the reality with which he is confronted in twenty-first-century America.

NEW! S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland
Thursday. July 30, 6:00 PM
online | $10 per person | registration required

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner...And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi. Like Ocean's Eleven meets Drive with a Southern noir twist, S. A. Cosby's Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of a man pushed to his limits by poverty, race, and his own former life of crime. Lee Child calls it "sensationally good - new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart. More than recommended."


Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Write What Life Feels Like Now with Esther Cohen
Thursdays July 2, July 16, 3:00 PM (separate sessions)
On the Zoom Meetings platform | open to the public | by donation | drop in

There are so many words to say how we feel. Let's try together.

Seminars and Reading Groups

Nicholas Birns
Knight of the Rueful Countenance: Reading Cervantes' Don Quixote

Wednesdays May 20, June 3, June 24, July 15, 11:00 AM

on the Zoom Meetings platform | for members | $60 per person | registration required

Considered the first great novel and the origin of European fictional representation, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote is a book at once tragic, inspiring, thought-provoking and, above all, funny. Reading it in Edith Grossman's acclaimed recent translation, we will consider this timeless classic in its contexts old and new.

NEW! Meeting Virgil's Aeneid with Jane Mallison
Thursdays July 9, July 23, August 6, August 13, 11:00 AM
online | $60 for the set of four sessions | registration required

Written at the request of the Roman Emperor Augustus, this first-century BCE epic is much more than a piece of propaganda designed to make Rome great again. We’ll read books one through six (of twelve) in Robert Fagles’ fine translation (2006).

The Writing Life

Poetry Workshop: Write What Life Feels Like Now with Esther Cohen
Thursdays July 2 and July 16, 3:00 PM (separate sessions)
online | open to the public | by donation | drop in

There are so many words to say how we feel. Let's try together. Attend any or all sessions.

Fridays  July 10 and August 14, 11:00 AM (separate sessions)
online | for members | by donation | registration required

Join your fellow member writers for a fun and stimulating hour+ of prompts, writing, and sharing. Attend any or all sessions.

Children's Events

Ice Cream in a Bag!
Wednesday, July 1, 12:00 PM
YouTube | open to the public | for all ages | no registration required

Heat got you craving something cold and creamy? Join Pete on YouTube as he teaches you how to make ice cream with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.

Storytime Online! 
varying dates
On YouTube and Zoom | for all ages | no registration required


Informal and Informational Gatherings

Member Orientation Videos

Videos introducing the Library's collections, services, and online resources are now available on the website.

Digital Teatime
Every Friday until further notice, 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM
online | for members | by donation | drop in

Grab your favorite cup and your current read and spend a little time in social sipping and book-friendly chat with your fellow members.

The Book Beautiful is generously supported by The H.W. Wilson Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Thomas E. Dewey Fund and The Felicia Fund.

Who Dares to Be an Authoress? is generously underwritten by Alexander Sanger in honor of Jeannette Watson Sanger.

The Writing Life events in 2020 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.

Children's events are generously supported by the Richard Peck Fund.

New events are added throughout the season. To receive the latest updates, sign up for our electronic newsletters.

(Sidebar image: Sigrid Nunez and Amy Hempel in the Members' Room, October 2019. Photo by Maureen Langloss.)