Fall 2022 Events: Improv-Inspired Lit Fest, Business of Books, Seattle Reads and More

Like us, you have a lot going on this fall. But trust us: You will want to make room in your calendar for at least a few of these inspiring, thought-provoking, community-driven and entertaining events at the Library. (Note: This list covers September and October; stay tuned for November and December!)

All Library events are free and open to everyone. Most events require registration beforehand, which you can find at the link. Questions? Go to www.spl.org/Ask. Find more events at www.spl.org/Calendar.


Ghost BoysBanned: Censorship and Intellectual Freedom. Monday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Online. Seattle-area writers Jewell Parker Rhodes (“Ghost Boys) and Jonathan Evison (“Lawn Boy”), along with librarians Soraya Silverman-Montero, of The Seattle Public Library, and Deb Sica, of Alameda County Library, discuss censorship and intellectual freedom as well as the challenges faced by librarians and schools. Presented with Folio Seattle.

The Business of Books, four-part series.  Thursday, Sept. 22, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Beacon Hill Branch. Want to start a book-related business but don’t know where to start? This four-part workshop series designed for BIPOC literary entrepreneurs kicks off with an overview of the industry by former Sasquatch Books publisher Gary Luke; and a roundtable discussion with publisher Christina Vega, author and festival founder Jeffrey Cheatham II, and longtime bookseller Karen Maeda Allman. Other workshop dates are Oct. 8, Nov. 12, and Dec. 6.

Jekeva Phillips of Bibliophilia
Jekeva Phillips, curator of Bibliophilia

Bibliophilia, a four-day festival. Tuesday to Friday, Sept. 27, 28, 29, 30. Microsoft Auditorium, Central Library. Guest curator Jekeva Phillips brings the page to the stage combining poetry and prose with improvisational theater. Themes include “Heathcliff Letters” (Sept. 27), “Bestsellers” (Sept. 28); “Vonnegut” (Sept. 29); and a “Quiz Show” finale (Sept. 30, with games, prize packages and live reading and performance).

Legendary ChildrenLegendary Children 2022Friday, Sept. 23, 8 to 11 p.m. Olympic Sculpture Park and online. The annual celebration of Queer and Trans Black Indigenous and People of Color (QTBIPOC) communities celebrates the amazing artistry of the Pacific Northwest’s house and ball culture, with live performances, an outdoor dance party, hot DJs, and premier drag royalty. This virtual event is trans-affirming, QTBIPOC-led and all ages. Partners include Seattle Art Museum, Office of Arts & Culture and Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinh
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinh

The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs. Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. Online. Join us to celebrate the release of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinh’s follow-up essay collection that expands on her bestselling book, “Care Work,” centering and uplifting disability justice and care in the pandemic era.

Monthly Ladies Musical Club Concert. Wednesday, Oct. 12, noon. Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium. After a pandemic hiatus, the Ladies Musical Concerts returns! From October through May, the Ladies Musical Club offers free classical music concerts on the second Wednesday of the month at noon. Enjoy local musicians performing vocal and instrumental pieces in diverse musical styles and periods. Other dates: Nov. 9 and Dec. 14.

House of Broken Angels photoshootSeattle Reads “The House of Broken Angels.” Wednesday – Thursday, Oct. 19 – 20. Read this year’s Seattle Reads pick, “The House Broken Angels,” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Luis Alberto Urrea, and then hear Urrea discuss the book in person. In a Spanish-language event, he will appear at Centilia Cultural Center on Beacon Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. He will appear at the Lake City Branch on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m.; and –the main event – on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium (with La Sala, Seattle Escribe and El Centro de la Raza). Find out more and download the discussion guide at www.spl.org/SeattleReads.

Many of these events are supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation.

Escape the Heat at The Seattle Public Library

Fan - credit to Ronan Futura of Unsplash
Courtesy of Ronan Futura of Unsplash

With temperatures rising again, Seattle residents without access to air conditioning will look for public spaces to cool down, including at The Seattle Public Library.

The Central Library and 17 of our neighborhood branches have air conditioning, and everyone is welcome to come in, cool down and stay hydrated during open hours. (In addition to the 17 branches with A/C, the NewHolly Branch does have a portable A/C unit, but it sometimes isn’t enough to cool the branch sufficiently.)

You can find our air-conditioned locations listed at www.spl.org/Shelter and they are also listed below. The schedule of open hours for each location is available at www.spl.org/Hours.

While you’re cooling off, you can browse the Library’s collections, including the latest Peak Picks; get recommendations from our Library staff for your Summer Book Bingo card; use a computer or printer; check out our public art; or simply sit and read. Continue reading “Escape the Heat at The Seattle Public Library”

In Their Own Words: Densho and Japanese Americans making oral history

Join us on Saturday, July 23, at 1 p.m. for a conversation with Densho’s executive director Tom Ikeda, Michael Shiosaki of Seattle Parks and Recreation, and author Daniel James Brown about writing Facing the Mountain and the importance of oral histories in revealing a legacy of resilience and courage. The event will include a book signing with the author, with books available for purchase in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company. Check out this list of further reading and resources around the Internment in our library catalog, and see past Shelf Talk posts on this topic here.

If you aren’t familiar with the local nonprofit organization Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, come learn about the incredible work they do collecting and preserving the legacy of Japanese Americans unjustly relocated and incarcerated during World War II. And if you are familiar with Densho, take a second look, because there is so much more to discover, including a podcast, interactive maps, digitized documents from the 1940s and beyond, and over 900 oral histories recorded to date—all available online. The incredible depth, breadth, and accessibility of these sources make books like Facing the Mountain: An Inspiring Story of Japanese American Patriots in World War II , by Daniel James Brown possible.

Densho’s work chronicles events leading up to and the 80 years since the spring of 1942, when the United States passed Executive Order 9066 to forcibly remove and incarcerate “all persons of Japanese ancestry, including aliens and non-aliens” from “military zones” on the West Coast. Some 120,000 residents of Japanese ancestry, many from Western Washington, were incarcerated in camps across the United States. Entire families, from infants to elders, were taken from their homes and livelihoods, forced to live in poor conditions with no freedom to come or go. Some people, like young University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi, objected to being incarcerated; he refused to board a bus and was taken to King County jail to await legal action that would end up spanning years as he and others challenged Order 9066’s legality. An additional 1,500 Japanese American and Hawaiian men were drafted or volunteered to fight in World War II, such as the all-volunteer 442nd Regimental Combat Team, even as their families were imprisoned by the country they fought for. Continue reading “In Their Own Words: Densho and Japanese Americans making oral history”

New Additions to our Northwest Photograph Collection

We’ve just wrapped up the addition of more than 800 historic images to our Northwest Photograph Collection thanks to grant funding from Washington State Library and Institute of Museum and Library Services. The collection now includes over 1300 photographs from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.

The newly added photos include views of :

Group in regalia at Lummi Stommish Water Festival, 1949

  • The 1949 Lummi Stommish Water Festival. The celebration started near Bellingham in 1946 with activities including canoe races, salmon bakes, dancing and the selection of a festival princess.

Gov. Ernest Lister and admirals at Bremerton dry dock, 1913

  • Governor Ernest Lister and his family. Lister served as governor of Washington from 1913 to 1919, leading the state through the influenza epidemic and World War I. Lister died of heart disease while in office in 1919, shortly after many of these photos were taken.

Continue reading “New Additions to our Northwest Photograph Collection”

July Author Events: Daniel James Brown, Fonda Lee, Annalee Newitz and more

Here are a few reasons to be indoors in July: The Seattle Public Library’s lineup of free author programs, including Daniel James Brown (“The Boys in the Boat”) in conversation with Tom Ikeda about his new book “Facing the Mountain;” and two terrific Clarion West events featuring authors Fonda Lee, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders.

You can trek to our air-conditioned Central Library for these events, or watch them livestreamed from the comfort of your couch. Registration is required for both in-person and online attendance; check the event descriptions at spl.org/Calendar for registration and links. See upcoming programs at spl.org/Authors.

Jade City, Fonda LeeClarion West presents Fonda Lee

From 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, Central Library and online

Fonda Lee is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of the epic urban fantasy “Green Bone Saga” as well as the acclaimed young adult science fiction novels “Zeroboxer,” “Exo,” and “Cross Fire.” This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsors the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation and Seattle City of Literature, and is presented in partnership with University Book Store.

Virtual Writers Read

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 10, online.

This monthly reading series features local writers reading from their diverse repertoires of poetry, short stories, novels and essays. It is Continue reading “July Author Events: Daniel James Brown, Fonda Lee, Annalee Newitz and more”