Our Events

Our Events Winter/Spring 2021

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

All events are open to the public unless otherwise listed.

New events are added throughout the season. Join our mailing list to hear about it first (open to all).


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


Exhibitions

The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong & Her Bindings
open through Saturday, April 3

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. The exhibition is open to the public in limited numbers during the Library's open hours. Or enjoy these online offerings:

Black Literature Matters
April 28, 2021 - May 1, 2022

In a consequential moment in American history, the New York Society Library presents a not-to-be-missed exhibition of its remarkable collection of African American, Caribbean, and African writers. The exhibition is open to the public in limited numbers during the Library's open hours.
 

Special Events

The Writing Life: Live from Your Living Room, Spring 2021
Monday, April 5, 6:00 PM
open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Library members read from their own short stories, novels, poetry, criticism, memoir, and plays.

Edward Hirsch, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, with dramatic readers
Wednesday, April 21, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Edward Hirsch's new book presents 100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem. In this special event, Dr. Hirsch introduces the poems and their creators, with moving readings by actors R.J. Foster and Sarah Rose Kearns.

SAVE THE DATE! Black Literature Matters: 1960-Now
Thursday, May 20, 6:00 PM
open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Lectures & Panels

Mary Schmidt Campbell, An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, with special guests
Monday, April 12, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

An American Odyssey illuminates the life and work of Romare Bearden, whose art celebrated the traditions and ceremonies of African American culture. In this special event, biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses Bearden's life and art and talks with gallery owners Sherman Edmiston and June Kelly.

Laurence Bergreen, In Search of a Kingdom: Francis Drake, Elizabeth I, and the Perilous Birth of the British Empire
Monday, April 19, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

In this grand and thrilling narrative, the acclaimed biographer of Magellan, Columbus, and Marco Polo brings alive the singular life and adventures of Sir Francis Drake, the pirate/explorer/admiral whose mastery of the seas during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I changed the course of history.

NEW! Melissa J, Homestead, The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis
Tuesday, May 4, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

What would Willa Cather's widely read and cherished novels have looked like if she had never met magazine editor and copywriter Edith Lewis? A groundbreaking new look at the American novelist's creative process.

Poetry

30 Days of Poetry 2021
online | open to the public | April 1-30 (contribution deadline April 9)

Calling poets and poetry lovers of all ages! April is National Poetry Month, and we're celebrating with your favorite poems every day of the month. Record a video of yourself reading a poem - one you wrote, or one by another poet. (Five minutes or less, please.) Add it to our collection anytime until end-of-day Friday, April 9, and we'll include it in our monthlong celebration.

Edward Hirsch, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, with dramatic readers
Wednesday, April 21, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Edward Hirsch's new book presents 100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem. In this special event, Dr. Hirsch introduces the poems and their creators, with moving readings by actors R.J. Foster and Sarah Rose Kearns.

Seminars and Reading Groups

Seminar: Nicholas Birns, Hilary Mantel's Cromwell Trilogy
Wednesdays January 27, February 17, March 10, April 7, 11:00 AM
for members only | $60 for the set of four sessions | registration required

We read Mantel's magisterial historical-fiction trilogy on Thomas Cromwell as the author uses her characters and settings to trace the evolution of the earliest stirrings of a modernity we may still inhabit.

Seminar: Jane Mallison, Vladimir Nabokov: Four Books
Thursdays January 28, February 18, March 11, April 1, 11:00 AM
for members only | $60 for the set of four sessions | registration required

This seminar reads three of Nabokov’s novels and his autobiography, emphasizing the pleasure of enjoying his originality and the intricacies of his style.

The Writing Life

Write What Life Feels Like Now with Esther Cohen
Thursdays April 1, April 15, 3:00 PM
open to the public; free for members | registration required

It's an unusual year. There are so many words to say how we feel. Let's try together. Esther Cohen is a writer and poet in New York City. She also teaches and is a cultural activist. Most days she posts a poem at esthercohen.com.

Prompt! with Terena Elizabeth Bell
Fridays April 9, May 14, June 11, 11:00 AM (separate sessions)
for members only | online | by donation | registration required

Join your fellow member writers for a fun and stimulating hour and a half of prompts, writing, and sharing.

The Writing Life: Live from Your Living Room, Spring 2021
Monday, April 5, 6:00 PM
open to the public | free of charge | registration required

Library members read from their own short stories, novels, poetry, criticism, memoir, and plays.

Children's Events

Storytime Live!
varying dates
Zoom | for all ages | no registration required

Join us on Zoom for a live face-to-face storytime.

Storytime Online
varying dates
YouTube | for all ages | no registration required

SEE THE FULL CHILDREN'S CALENDAR HERE.

View our playlist of recorded children's events here.

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
for members only | online | 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.

The Black Literature Matters exhibition is generously supported by The Florence Gould Foundation. Photograph of Langston Hughes Copyright © Van Vechten Trust; Gravure and Compilation copyright © Eakins Press Foundation.

Black Literature Matters events are presented with generous support from the Florence Gould Foundation.

The April 21 poetry event with Edward Hirsch is generously supported by the Lyn Chase Poetry Fund.

The Writing Life events in 2021 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.

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


(Sidebar image: Meredith Talusan spoke on her memoir Fairest in October 2020.)