Upcoming Events | Season 3  (Sep. 2023 - May 2024)

Surviving the Holidays with Lori Gottlieb 

Wednesday, December 6 at 7 PM CST

Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and co-host of the “Dear Therapists” podcast joins us for a thought-provoking conversation about mental health in anticipation of the winter holiday season. 

Gottlieb will share tools to help in everyday life, especially as you prepare for the holidays. Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which has sold over a million copies and is currently being adapted into a television series. In addition to her clinical practice, she is co-host of the popular “Dear Therapists” podcast and writes The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” advice column. She has been on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air” as a therapy expert and her 2019 TED Talk was one of the most watched of the year. 

Experience The Nutcracker at Home

Saturday, December 16 & Sunday, December  17

Watch a Recording of the Famous Ballet.

Get in the spirit of the season with a recorded virtual performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker performed by the United Kingdom’s internationally renowned Royal Ballet. The ballet, a holiday staple for all ages, can be viewed Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17. Registrants will receive an email with a special link to the performance. 

With sumptuous period designs, spellbinding stage effects, and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, the 2016 performance of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages. Performed by Britain's flagship ballet company, registrants can expect to see some of the most elite ballerinas in this performance.

Speculating about Our AI Future with Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, and Martha Wells 

Thursday, January 11 at 7 PM CST

Join us for a panel discussion featuring three best-selling science fiction writers, Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, and Martha Wells. They will discuss the promise, perils, and possible impacts that AI will have on our future, as well as AI in contemporary and future science fiction writing.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, a Big Tech disassembly manual; Red Team Blues, a science fiction crime thriller; Chokepoint Capitalism, nonfiction about monopoly and creative labor markets; the Little Brother series for young adults; In Real Life, a graphic novel; and the picture book Poesy the Monster Slayer. In 2020, he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Ken Liu ( is an American author of speculative fiction. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he wrote the Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series (starting with The Grace of Kings), as well as short story collections The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories and The Hidden Girl and Other Stories. He also penned the Star Wars novel The Legends of Luke Skywalker. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Liu worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Liu frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, machine-augmented creativity, history of technology, bookmaking, and the mathematics of origami.

Martha Wells ( been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series, The Murderbot Diaries series, and other fantasy novels, most recently Witch King (Tordotcom, 2023). She has also written media tie-in fiction for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards, and Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, the Sunday Times Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. She is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and her books have been published in twenty-five languages. 

Season 3 Past Events

The Power of Story with Colson Whitehead

Wednesday, September 6, 2023 

Kicking off our third season, we hosted two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Colson Whitehead to our Illinois libraries. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys, The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and a collection of essays, Whitehead is only the fourth writer to win two Pulitzers in the Fiction category (for Underground Railroad in 2018 and The Nickel Boys in 2020). His latest bestselling novel, Harlem Shuffle, was published in 2021.

Chills & Thrills with Stephen Graham Jones

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians and Don’t Fear the Reaper. He has been an NEA fellowship recipient and been the recipient of several awards including: the Ray Bradbury Award from the Los Angeles Times, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, and the Alex Award from American Library Association. He is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Food Family & Folktales: A Conversation with Grace Lin

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The season continues with Food, Family, and Folktales: A Conversation with Grace Lin, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers, and middle-grade novels. 

Lin was recognized in 2016 by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling and, in 2022, was awarded the Children’s Literature Legacy Award from the American Library Association. Her work received the Chinese American Librarians Association Annual Best Book Award.

A Taste of Love with Maya-Camille Broussard

Wednesday, November 8 at 7 PM CST

Join Maya Camille Broussard, star of Netflix’s Bake Squad, owner of Chicago-based Justice of the Pies, and cookbook author, for a demo from her kitchen.

Broussard uses her love of food to positively impact the local community. She offers an “I Knead Love” workshop several times yearly for children from lower-income communities to learn basic cooking skills, healthy eating habits, and nutrition. She founded Justice of the Pies in 2014, to honor her late father, The Pie Master. The bakery with a social mission has partnered with many Chicago area charities to provide meals for communities on the South and West sides and with Frontline Foods, to provide food from restaurants for front-line workers during the COVID pandemic.

Previous Season Events

Season 2 | 2022-23

Braiding Sweetgrass: A Conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer   

Wed, Jun 21, 2023

A Conversation with Jesmyn Ward   

Tue, Jun 6, 2023

On Being Fabulous with Jonathan Van Ness & Kristi Yamaguchi 

Wed, May 17, 2023

Drawing Comics with Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Sat, May 6, 2023

Will Shortz: Secrets of a Puzzle Master  

Tue, Apr 25, 2023

Danny Trejo Talks Tacos, Hollywood, & Redemption  

Tue, Apr 4, 2023

The Weird & Wonderful World with Mary Roach  

with Annalee Newitz

Wed, Mar 1, 2023

Kwame Alexander: Saying Yes to Your Story 

Wed, Feb 8, 2023

A Conversation with Ross Gay 

with Dan "Sully" Sullivan

Wed, Jan 11, 2023

A Conversation with Shauna Sever 

with Louisa Chu

Tue, Dec 13, 2022

A Conversation with Caitlin Doughty 

with Mark Bazer

Wed, Nov 16, 2022

Marlee Matlin: From Oscar to West Wing and Beyond

Wed, Sep 17, 2022

Pilot Season Events | 2022

An Evening with Michelle Zauner

with Jessica Hopper

Thursday, June 30, 2022

 An Evening with Chef Kwame Onwuachi

with Erick Williams

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

 Jessamine Chan & Emily Maloney

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Nick Offerman & Jeff Tweedy

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

An Evening with Jenny Lawson

with R. Eric Thomas

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

An Evening with Jasmine Guillory

with Morgan Rogers

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

An Evening with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

with Gus Moreno

Wednesday, January 26, 2022