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).

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


The Book Beautiful: Margaret Armstrong & Her Bindings

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:

Special Events

Film Screening and Screenwriting Discussion: Love, Repeat
Sunday, January 24, 2:00 PM
open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

James is still in love with his ex-wife Barbara. His quirky and diverse circle of family and friends are all breaking up too. But, in a crazy world, love is the only thing that makes sense. To love, and then love again. This special event includes a screening of this new film and discussion with screenwriter/star Bill Connington.

Black Literature Matters: The 1800s
Thursday, January 28, 6:00 PM
open to the public | free of charge | registration required

In this original series of live online events, hear the voices of Black writers through history re-examined to inspire understanding of race in our country today. This second event of the series features writers from the 1800s including William Wells Brown, Frederick Douglass, Frances E.W. Harper (shown here), Harriet Jacobs, David Walker, and Ida B. Wells, with historic context, dramatic readings, images, and music.

NEW! EX LIBRIS: Ann Patchett
Friday, February 5, 5:30 PM
online | open to the public | free of charge | registration required through the Providence Athenaeum

Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, State of Wonder, Commonwealth, The Dutch House) is a celebrated bestselling author, devoted reader, and a champion of literary culture, joined here in conversation by author Patrick Ryan. Library members and the public are invited to this special event presented by our sister institution the Providence Athenaeum.

Lectures & Panels

Simon Winchester, Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World
Wednesday, February 3, 6:00 PM
open to the public | $30 per person including book purchase | registration required through the Athenaeum of Philadelphia

"The latest sweeping, satisfying popular history from the British American author and journalist, this time covering a topic that many of us take for granted...Engaging revelations about land and property, often discouraging but never dull." - Kirkus Reviews Library members and the public are invited to this special event presented by our sister institution the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Casey Cep, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
Monday, February 8, 6:00 PM
open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

Furious Hours brings to life a shocking historic case, from the murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. It also offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

NEW! Russell Shorto, Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob
Thursday, February 18, 6:00 PM
open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

Family secrets emerge as the bestselling author of The Island at the Center of the World dives into the history of the mob in small-town America.

NEW! Ian W. Toll, Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945
Thursday, March 4, 6:00 PM
open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

The final volume of the magisterial Pacific War Trilogy from acclaimed historian Ian W. Toll, “one of the great storytellers of War” (Evan Thomas). Drawing from a wealth of rich archival sources and new material, Twilight of the Gods casts a penetrating light on the battles, grand strategic decisions and naval logistics that enabled the Allied victory in the Pacific.

NEW! Janice P. Nimura, The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine
Wednesday, March 10, 6:00 PM
online | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required

This richly researched new biography celebrates two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women in medicine. "Nimura casts a thoughtful and revelatory new light onto women’s and medical history." (Publishers Weekly)

Seminars and Reading Groups

Seminar: Ivelisse Rodriguez, Puerto Rican Literature: From New York to Puerto Rico and Back
Thursdays, December 3, December 17, January 7, January 21, 6:00 PM
open to the public | $60 for the four sessions | registration required

The author of PEN/Faulkner finalist Love War Stories explores memoirs, poetry, and fiction covering almost 100 years of Puerto Rican writing from the continental United States.

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.

Seminar: Claire Jimenez, An Exploration of Food and Memory
Saturdays, February 13, February 27, March 13, March 27, 1:00 PM
for members only | $60 for the set of four sessions | registration required

Award-winning writer Claire Jimenez leads discussion of four great food memoirs and inspires participants to explore their own food stories and memories.

The Writing Life

Write What Life Feels Like Now with Esther Cohen
Thursdays January 7, January 21, February 4, February 18, March 4, March 18, 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 January 8, February 12, March 12, 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.

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


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 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.)