Our Events

Danielle Arceneaux, S.J. Rozan, and Paul Vidich talk mysteries in the Members' Room, December 2023.
Danielle Arceneaux, S.J. Rozan, and Paul Vidich talk mysteries in the Members' Room, December 2023.

Our Events Winter-Spring 2024

Our calendar combines in-person and livestreamed events. Click on any event title for more details and to register where required.


Events are added throughout the season. Join our mailing list to get the word first.

Registration is required for all events unless individual listings state otherwise, and space is limited. Please see individual listings for details on time, format, and location. Many events are open to the public, with some for members only; check individual listings for details. For Members' Room events, check-in begins thirty minutes prior to the stated start time. Registrants are asked not to arrive for check-in prior to that time. A seat cannot be guaranteed after an event has begun.

All start times are U.S. Eastern.


Exhibitions | Special Events | Performances | Lectures, Conversations & Panels | Poetry | The Writing Life | Seminars & Reading Groups | Children's & Young Adult Events | Informal & Informational Gatherings


Exhibitions

A Belief in Books: The 270th Anniversary Exhibition

open to the public in the Peluso Family Exhibition Gallery January 18-December 31, 2024

Established in 1754, the New York Society Library is the city's oldest cultural institution and one of the first libraries in the United States. The Library founders were all committed to Enlightenment values - but also to the idea that slavery was part of the natural world order. The ships that carried books from London also carried enslaved Africans to the American and Caribbean colonies. A Belief in Books examines this history in the context of books from the Library's collection between 1754 and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.

270th Anniversary Event: Sophie Jones and Christopher F. Minty, Loyalists and the American Revolution in New York City

Friday, March 8, 12:00 noon | Livestream (online only) | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required
2024 marks the Library's 270th anniversary. Up to the Revolutionary War, the Library occupied a room in City Hall, and our early readers included both revolutionaries and loyalists. In this unique event, two leading scholars of the Loyalist movement in New York City discuss their work and revise our understanding of the coming of the American Revolution.

Special Events

Project Cicero Book Collection at the Library

Thursday, February 29-Thursday, March 7 | Entry Hall
Donate children's & YA books to New York City public schools February 29-March 7.

The Writing Life Special Event: Live from the Library, Spring 2024

Tuesday, March 19, 6:00 PM | Members’ Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required
Library members read from their own short stories, novels, poetry, criticism, memoir, and plays.

Performances

More coming soon!

Lectures, Conversations & Panels

Writing Life Panel: The Lives of Others with Debby Applegate and Kitty Kelley, moderated by Diane Kiesel

Tuesday, March 5, 6:00 PM | Members' Room and Livestream | open to the public | free of charge | registration required
Join expert, entertaining, award-winning biographers Kitty Kelley and Debby Applegate to discuss how and why they choose their subjects, share with us their best and worst moments as writers, and remind us why we love reading about other people.

270th Anniversary Event: Sophie Jones and Christopher F. Minty, Loyalists and the American Revolution in New York City

Friday, March 8, 12:00 noon | Livestream (online only) | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required
2024 marks the Library's 270th anniversary. Up to the Revolutionary War, the Library occupied a room in City Hall, and our early readers included both revolutionaries and loyalists. In this unique event, two leading scholars of the Loyalist movement in New York City discuss their work and revise our understanding of the coming of the American Revolution.

Antony Peattie, The Private Life of Lord Byron: Byron and Napoleon

Wednesday, March 13, 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | free of charge | registration required
This fresh biographical study aims to explore neglected or misunderstood aspects of Lord Byron’s private life. In this event, Antony Peattie explores the poet’s relationship with his hero, Napoleon. It traces its origins to Byron’s fatherlessness and considers how it impacts his love life, his eating disorder, and his work, to reveal new and central aspects to his masterpiece, Don Juan.

Brad Gooch, Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring

Thursday, March 21, 6:00 PM | Members' Room $15 | Livestream $10 | open to the public | registration required
A stunning life of the iconic American artist Keith Haring, by the acclaimed biographer Brad Gooch. Stacy Schiff calls it "A keen-eyed, beautifully written biography, atmospheric, exuberant, and as radiant as they come.”

Bianca Bosker, Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See

Monday, March 25, 6:00 PM | Members' Room $15 | Livestream $10 | open to the public | registration required
The New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork takes readers on another fascinating, hilarious, and revelatory journey—this time burrowing deep inside the secretive world of art and artists.

Michael Korda, Muse of Fire: World War I as Seen Through the Lives of the Soldier Poets, with Daniel Mendelsohn

Thursday, April 11, 6:00 PM | open to the public | Members' Room $15 | Livestream $10 | registration required
The First World War comes to harrowing life through the intertwined lives of the soldier-poets in Michael Korda’s epic Muse of Fire. In this unique event, Mr. Korda discusses the book with An Odyssey author Daniel Mendelsohn.

New! Le Conversazioni: An Evening with Michael Wood

Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | free of charge | registration required
One of the most versatile current critics of literature and film shows movie clips and discusses great forgotten cinema with Antonio Monda.

New! Kevin Baker, The New York Game: Baseball and the Rise of a New City

Monday, April 15, 6:00 PM | Members' Room $15 | Livestream $10 | open to the public | registration required
A hugely entertaining history of baseball and New York City, bursting with larger-than-life figures and fascinating stories from the game’s beginnings to the end of World War II.

Poetry

Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Write What You’ve Always Wanted To Write with Esther Cohen

Thursdays February 15, March 21, April 11, 2:00 PM | Zoom | open to the public; free for members | separate sessions | registration required
Join poet and teacher Esther Cohen to write the poems we've always intended to write.

Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Being in Conversation with a Work of Art with Diane Mehta

Tuesday, April 2, 2:00 PM | Whitridge Room | for members and guests | free of charge | registration required
How do you share your connection to an artwork, and give words to the seemingly irrepressible so that others will feel, see, and sense what you feel so deeply about? We’ll explore the enthusiasms and emotions that accompany our favorite art by reading poems of experiences with art.

Seminar: The Poetry of Rage, with Bhisham Bherwani

Tuesdays April 9, April 16, April 23, 5:15 PM | Whitridge Room | for members and guests | $75 for the three sessions | registration required
Poets responding to a host of asininities and personal or social abuses, inequities, or unenviable circumstances—among others, industrialization, climate change, classism, racism, war, colonial barbarism and duplicity, oppression, hypocrisy, ignorance, betrayal, nepotism, misfortune, and love (gone awry)—have left us a legacy of some of the most ferocious and memorable poetry.

The Writing Life

Prompt!

for members only | free of charge | registration required
Join your fellow member writers for a fun and stimulating hour+ of prompts, writing, and sharing. Sessions are separate - attend any or all.

In person with Carol Weston
Thursdays March 14, April 4

Online with Diane Richards
Fridays February 16, March 15

Online with Charlie Allenson
Fridays March 1, April 5

Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Write What You’ve Always Wanted To Write with Esther Cohen

Thursdays February 15, March 21, April 11, 2:00 PM | Zoom | open to the public; free for members | separate sessions | registration required
Join poet and teacher Esther Cohen to write the poems we've always intended to write.

Writing Life Panel: The Lives of Others with Debby Applegate and Kitty Kelley, moderated by Diane Kiesel

Tuesday, March 5, 6:00 PM | Members' Room and Livestream | open to the public | free of charge | registration required
Join expert, entertaining, award-winning biographers Kitty Kelley and Debby Applegate to discuss how and why they choose their subjects, share with us their best and worst moments as writers, and remind us why we love reading about other people.

Writing Life Workshop: The Editor Is In: An Interactive Seminar with Walter Bode (March 14 session)

Thursday, March 14, 6:00 PM | Zoom | for members only | free of charge | registration required
Books Walter Bode edited have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In this seminar, he’ll help writers find the most effective words and make the best use of them – based on participants’ own writing samples.

Writing Life Daytime Talk: How to Market a Book, with Elizabeth Winthrop

Tuesday, March 19, 3:30 PM | Whitridge Room | for members only | free of charge | registration required
What works and what doesn’t when it comes to publicizing a book? After publishing her memoir with an award-winning independent press that made it clear that they would rely on her to create a marketing plan, Elizabeth Winthrop got to work. In this talk, she’ll provide tips and takeaways from her journey, and lead a discussion useful for all writers: those who are self-publishing, publishing with a small academic or independent press, and even those publishing with one of the big five.

The Writing Life Special Event: Live from the Library, Spring 2024

Tuesday, March 19, 6:00 PM | Members’ Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required
Library members read from their own short stories, novels, poetry, criticism, memoir, and plays.

Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Being in Conversation with a Work of Art with Diane Mehta

Tuesday, April 2, 2:00 PM | Whitridge Room | for members and guests | free of charge | registration required
How do you share your connection to an artwork, and give words to the seemingly irrepressible so that others will feel, see, and sense what you feel so deeply about? We’ll explore the enthusiasms and emotions that accompany our favorite art by reading poems of experiences with art.

Seminars & Reading Groups

Seminar: Crossing Boundaries As A Form of Life: Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob, with Nicholas Birns

Wednesdays February 14, March 6, April 3, 11:00 AM | Whitridge Room | for members only | $75 for the three sessions | registration required
The Books of Jacob (2014) is the central work of the acclaimed contemporary Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature. Tokarczuk uses the form of the historical novel to explore questions of identity in an era, much like ours, poised uneasily between ethnocentric and pluralist ideas of nationhood.

A Chorus of Voices: The Multi-Perspective Novel, with Claire Jiménez

Thursdays February 22, March 14, March 28, 10:30 AM | Zoom | open to the public | $75 for the three sessions | registration required
In this three-session seminar, we will read three multi-perspective novels, exploring how each author builds their story using the voices and/or perspectives of multiple characters. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice crafting their own multi-perspective stories.

New! Seminar: The Poetry of Rage, with Bhisham Bherwani

Tuesdays April 9, April 16, April 23, 5:15 PM | Whitridge Room | for members and guests | $75 for the three sessions | registration required
Poets responding to a host of asininities and personal or social abuses, inequities, or unenviable circumstances—among others, industrialization, climate change, classism, racism, war, colonial barbarism and duplicity, oppression, hypocrisy, ignorance, betrayal, nepotism, misfortune, and love (gone awry)—have left us a legacy of some of the most ferocious and memorable poetry.

FULLY REGISTERED: Another Half Year with Henry James, taught by Jane Mallison

Wednesdays September 27, October 25, November 29, January 31, February 28, March 27, 11:00 AM
Whitridge Room | for members only | $100 for the six sessions | registration required

“Never say you know the last word about any human heart.” That’s one of the great sentences of this great writer, Henry James (1843-1916). In this seminar – which welcomes both experienced readers of James and novices – we discover many more.

FULLY REGISTERED: Let’s Read Shakespeare for Fun

Sundays January 7, February 4, March 3, 2:00-5:00 PM, Whitridge Room
for members and their guests | free of charge | registration required

We gather monthly to read aloud a play by William Shakespeare. This informal meetup aims to include anyone with an interest in the Bard; theatrical experience is welcome but not needed.

Children's and Young Adult Events

Young Writers' Workshop: Graphic Novels with Mika Song

Thursday, February 29, 5:00 PM | Whitridge Room | Grades 3+ | For members & a guest | $15 per child
In this ongoing series, young writers are invited to join notable authors in exploring different genres. Writer and illustrator Mika Song leads a discussion about making comics and graphic novels, working with young writers and artists to explore the possibilities of cartooning. Participants will learn the tools needed to create their own comics. Mika Song is a cartoonist and the creator of the Norma & Belly series.

Young Writers' Workshop: Playwriting with Rob Ackerman

Thursday, March 14, 5:00 PM | Whitridge Room | Grades 3+ | For members & a guest | $15 per child
In this ongoing series, young writers are invited to join notable authors in exploring different genres. Rob Ackerman will share the fundamental tools of great playwriting and guide participants in writing their own scenes. Rob Ackerman’s work includes the 2023 award-winning feature film Stargazer; the play and film Origin of the Species; Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson, directed by Theresa Rebeck; Volleygirls, Best in Fest at NYMF; Tabletop, Drama Desk Award Winner for Best Ensemble; and other plays.

SEE THE FULL CHILDREN'S CALENDAR HERE.

View our playlist of recorded children's events here.

Informal and Informational Gatherings

Happy Hour, February 2024

Wednesday, February 21, 5:30-7:00 PM | Members' Room | for members and their guests | free of charge | drop in
End your day with wine and light refreshments in the beautiful Members' Room. Library members and their guests are welcome.

New! Member Orientation (3/4/24 session)

Monday, March 4, 11:00 AM | Whitridge Room | for members only | free of charge | drop in
It's your Library. Learn about all the ways to make use of our collections, building, and services in a friendly presentation/Q&A with a staff member. Sessions last 45-60 minutes.

Teatime

weekdays, 3:00 to 3:30 PM
Reference Room | open to the public | free of charge; donations welcome | drop in

Take a break for tea, coffee, and cookies in our first-floor public Reference Room.



The Library will be closed all day Sunday, March 31, for Easter. Otherwise we observe normal hours.


Writing Life events in 2024 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.

A Belief in Books is generously supported by Elizabeth A.R. Brown and Ralph S. Brown, Jr., The Felicia Fund, Ada Peluso and Romano I. Peluso, The Hazen Polsky Foundation, The H.W. Wilson Foundation, and Humanities New York.

The February 22 event is a Harriet Shapiro Lecture, generously supported by Deirdre Kessler.

The February 27 event is a Henry S.F. Cooper Jr. Lecture on Early American History and Literature.

The events with Mika Song, Sophie Jones and Christopher Minty, Antony Peattie, Rob Ackerman, Brad Gooch, and Bianca Bosker are generously sponsored by Polymath Educational Services - providing personalized support for teens with learning differences.