Theater, Music and Film: February 2023 Events at The Seattle Public Library

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We’ve got some amazing author programs and community events planned for February, from Lambda Award-winning novelist Annalee Newitz to Bonnie Garmus, author of the bestselling novel “Lessons in Chemistry”. The Fifth Avenue Theatre is also back with a Sondheim show talk and the South Park Branch is hosting a movie screening with former Washington State poet Claudia Castro Luna.

Many events require registration, but all Library events are free and open to the public. Find information and registration through the event links below or at


Annalee Newitz With Misha Stone — “The Terraformers”: From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m, Friday, Feb. 3, at Third Place Books, Ravenna. Science journalist, podcaster and Lambda Award-winning novelist Annalee Newitz will discuss their highly anticipated sci-fi epic, “The Terraformers,” a science fiction epic for our times — and a love letter to our future. Newitz will be in conversation with Misha Stone, Reader Services librarian and Vice-Chair of the Clarion West Writers Workshop board.

Ladies Musical Club Concert: From noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Central Library. The Ladies Musical Club concert this month features solo piano works and songs for soprano, including performances by Tiina Ritalahti (soprano), Joan Lundquist (piano) and Joyce Gibb (piano).

Virtual It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series: From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9. Online. Join us for this virtual event hosted by the Ballard Branch, featuring Amanda Hartzell, Sylvia Pollack, and Jared Leising. New and experienced writers are always welcome to read for a three-minute open mic.

Show Talks With the 5th Avenue Theatre – The Genius of Sondheim: From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. Central Library, Level 1 – Microsoft Auditorium. In this special musical tribute to one of “the most revered and influential composer-lyricists” in Broadway history, artistic director Emeritus of the Fifth Avenue Theatre David Armstrong will share fascinating insights into Sondheim’s life, times, and career. This event will also include musical performances by guest artists.

Virtual Writers Read: From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12. Online. Presented in partnership with the African-American Writers’ Alliance, this monthly reading series features an open mic and selected author readings from local writers who read from their diverse repertoires of poetry, short stories, novels and essays.

Write with Hugo House: Seattle Writes: From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Fremont Branch and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Douglass-Truth Branch. Attend this free multi-genre drop-in writing circle facilitated by an established local writer from Hugo House!

“Pelo Malo” with Claudia Castro Luna and Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra: From 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 at the South Park Branch. Join us for a Spanish-language screening and discussion of the filmPelo Malo,” facilitated by guest curator and former Washington State poet Claudia Castro Luna and Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra of Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle. This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation. Ven a ver la proyección y discusión de la película en español “Pelo Malo”, facilitada por la curadora invitada Claudia Castro Luna y Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra del Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle.

Bonnie Garmus presents “Lessons in Chemistry”: From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23. Central Library, Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium. Bonnie Garmus will discuss her national bestselling debut novel “Lessons in Chemistry,” which tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, “a formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (Parade Magazine) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show. The event will include a public signing and audience Q&A.

Lily Yu discusses “On Fragile Waves”: From 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, February 25 at the Central Library. Join us for a reading and conversation with E. Lily Yu, winner of the 2022 Washington State Book Award for Fiction. “Devastating and perfect” is how the New York Times Book Review described “On Fragile Waves,”the haunting story of a family of dreamers and tale-tellers looking for home in an unwelcoming world. Yu will be in conversation with Jenna Zarzycki, a librarian with the King County Library System and a Washington State Book Award judge.


Mask use is strongly encouraged and additional safety precautions are in place: Library staff are fully vaccinated, the Library offers free masks and hand sanitizer to patrons at sanitation stations, and all Library locations have high-quality ventilation and air filtration.

The Library offers a range of other free events and workshops in February, including services such as Tax Help (back this year at eight locations) and phone and service enrollment; and business workshops and consults. See all events at

The Central Library Expands Hours, and 20-Plus Things to Do There

The Central Library at dusk
The Central Library at dusk

Tourists stop by all the time, but when was the last time you visited The Seattle Public Library’s internationally acclaimed downtown location?

If it’s been a while, we have good news: Starting Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Central Library will be open two nights a week until 8 p.m. (with the exception of the Faye G. Allen Children’s Center on Level 1, which will continue to close at 6 p.m. each evening). The Central Library’s nonfiction book spiral, located on Levels 6 through 9, also recently expanded its hours. It’s now open seven days a week, during all Central Library open hours.

If you need a refresher on what to explore at the Central Library, you can follow one of our self-guided tours, including this kids’ tour for families, chock full of fun facts. And below are floor-by-floor highlights.

Map from the kids tour of the Central Library
Map from the kids’ tour of the Central Library

Level 1, Fourth Avenue entrance

After you enter from Fourth Avenue, you can learn about the Rem Koolhaas-designed building at the displays in the lobby, then peruse the Peak Picks display (near the circulation desk) for the hottest new titles. Make sure to admire Ann Hamilton’s floor artwork of raised text in 11 languages.

Look down at the Peak Picks display to see the Ann Hamilton floor art
Look down at the Peak Picks display to see the Ann Hamilton floor art

Bring the children in your life to the spacious Faye G. Allen’s Children’s Center and cozy up with a book under the twinkling lights. Kids can browse books, play on filtered computers, and look for colorful artwork such as Mandy Greer’s Babe the Blue Ox. Or check out a Read-Aloud book, which comes with a built-in MP3 player.

Continue reading “The Central Library Expands Hours, and 20-Plus Things to Do There”

What Seattle Read in 2022: Most Popular Checkouts of the Year

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Curious about which books Seattle’s insatiable readers turned to in 2022? Need a little inspiration for that 2023 book list you’re already making? The Library has you covered.

The most popular fiction book checked out from January through November 2022 was “The Sentence,” by Louise Erdrich. The most checked out e-novel was “The House of Broken Angels” by renowned Mexican-American author Luis Alberto Urrea, the selection for the Library’s 2022 Seattle Reads program. Seattle’s community of e-audiobook listeners checked out “Braiding Sweetgrass,” read by author Robin Wall Kimmerer, more than any other e-audiobook.

Several books by Northwest authors also ranked high in popularity in 2022, including “Secret Seattle,” by Library staff member Susanna Ryan; “Red Paint,” by Coast Salish author Sasha LaPointe; The Final Case, by David Guterson; and “Grains for every Season,” by Oregon chef Joshua McFadden (with Martha Holmberg).

Here are the other most popular fiction and nonfiction books, e-books and e-audiobooks among Library patrons last year. Please note that these lists were compiled from anonymous checkout data collected from January 1 through November 30, 2022.

(Also be sure to see the Library’s most popular books of the year in visual form at “Your Checked-Out 2022.”)

10 most popular adult fiction physical books

  1. The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
  2. The Maid, by Nita Prose
  3. Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel
  4. The Final Case, by David Guterson
  5. The Swimmers, by Julie Otsuka
  6. Book Lovers, by Emily Henry
  7. One Italian Summer, by Rebecca Serle
  8. This Time Tomorrow, by Emma Straub
  9. Remarkably Bright Creatures, by Shelby Van Pelt
  10. The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan

Continue reading “What Seattle Read in 2022: Most Popular Checkouts of the Year”

Poetry, Pictures, Architecture and Orcas: January 2023 Events and Author Readings

Picture of leaves in snow by Rodion Kutsaiev with Unsplash
Courtesy Rodion Kutsaiev with Unsplash

Want something to look forward to after the holidays? The Seattle Public Library’s author programs and community events in January 2023 include a Lunar New Year celebration, the Seattle Times’ annual Pictures of the Year event, and author events highlighting Lynda Mapes’ award-winning book about orcas and a picture book about Pacific Science Center architect Minoru Yamasaki.

Many of these events require registration. Find information and registration through the event links below or at All Library events are free and open to the public.

Continue reading “Poetry, Pictures, Architecture and Orcas: January 2023 Events and Author Readings”

Winter Break Fun: 8 Ways to Entertain Kids Through The Seattle Public Library

The Beacon Hill Branch children's area. Photo by Anthony Martinez
The Beacon Hill Branch children’s area. Photo by Anthony Martinez

Winter break is coming up – what’s your plan? If you need help keeping your children entertained and maybe even learning while they’re on break from school, The Seattle Public Library has many solutions, from new Read-Along books to streaming stories, TV and movies.

Find more programs and services at or at any of the Library’s 27 locations (, and find more ideas on our list of 50-plus things to do through the Library at

For young kids (ages 1-6)

Read-Along book kits at the Northeast Branch
Read-Along book kits at the Northeast Branch

Check out a Read-Along book: Families can now borrow from the Library’s new collection of Read-Along picture books, which come with an attached MP3 player on the inside front cover that reads the book aloud – no internet access needed. The collection includes over 50 titles and 500 copies, and has books in Spanish as well. Just go to your nearest branch and ask where the Read-Along books are.

BookflixStream books and animated stories. You can also use your Library card to access services such as TumbleBooks, virtual books that let your kids read along, and BookFlix, a service with animated stories in both Spanish and English – just click on a category such as animals, adventure, music and rhyme and celebrations. Let these services do the reading for you!

Continue reading “Winter Break Fun: 8 Ways to Entertain Kids Through The Seattle Public Library”