Each year the Library hosts readings, lectures, and discussions by authors and other public figures. You may watch video recordings of recent programs on our YouTube channel. Our archive of audio recordings goes back more than 10 years and includes thousands of memorable Library events.
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Food Justice, Food Education, and Food Literacy
Listen as we celebrate Food Literacy Month with a panel discussion about food justice, food education, and food literacy. The kickoff speaker, Chef Eduardo Jordan from Salare Restaurant was named among the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine and will be followed by a lively panel moderated by Philip Lee from Readers to Eaters. -- Panelists include: Mei Yook Woo, Danny Woo Garden/FoodWays Project; Michael Friedman, Farestart; Tarik Abdullah, Hillman City Collaboratory; Cecilia McGowan, King County Library System; and Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project.
Listen to Audio (01:01:25)
"Looking for Betty MacDonald" A conversation with Paula Becker
Paula Becker talks about Betty MacDonald, her life and writings. MacDonald (1907-1958) was the best-selling author of 'The Egg and I' and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children's books. Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald's archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. 'Looking for Betty MacDonald', a biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.
Listen to Audio (01:11:57)
The Legacy of Mary Ellen Mark - an Art History Talk
Photographic Center Northwest executive director Michelle Dunn Marsh reflects on the documentary photography of Mary Ellen Mark.
Listen to Audio (01:02:57)
Sarah Jaffe reads from ‘Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt'
Journalist Sarah Jaffe examines the new era of political engagement and social activism, including the $15 minimum wage and Black Lives Matter. Pundits once fretted about Americans’ apathy, but in the last few years we’ve seen uprisings and protests across the country: the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the rise of the Tea Party, and grassroots political networks. In "Necessary Trouble," journalist Sarah Jaffe leads readers into the heart of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans from Seattle to St. Louis to Atlanta become activists. As Jaffe shows, Americans, regardless of political alignment, are boldly challenging who wields power in this country.
Listen to Audio (01:04:07)
Robert Wyss discusses 'The Man Who Built the Sierra Club'
Robert Wyss reads and discusses his latest book, 'The Man Who Built the Sierra Club', which tells the story of the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club. David Brower (1912–2000) was a central figure in the modern environmental movement. As a young man growing up in Berkeley, California, Brower proved himself a fearless climber of the Sierra Nevada's dangerous peaks. After serving in the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II, he became executive director of the Sierra Club. Brower transformed the Sierra Club into a national force that challenged and stopped federally-sponsored projects that would have dammed the Grand Canyon and destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of our nation's wilderness. This uncompromising biography explores Brower's role as a steward of the modern environmental movement. What emerges from this unique portrait is a rich and robust profile of a leader who took up the work of John Muir and, along with Rachel Carson, made environmentalism the cause of our time.
Listen to Audio (00:42:15)
Michael Swanwick reads from his new novel "Chasing the Phoenix"
Join award-winning writer Michael Swanwick for a reading and discussion as part of the Clarion West Summer Reading Series. -- Swanwick is the author of eight novels, including "In the Drift," "Vacuum Flowers," "Stations of the Tide," "The Iron Dragon's Daughter," "Jack Faust," "Bones of the Earth," "The Dragons of Babel," and "Dancing With Bears." His short fiction has been collected in Gravity's Angels, A Geography of Imaginary Lands, Moon Dogs, Tales of Old Earth, Cigar Box Faust and Other Miniatures, The Dog Said Bow Wow, and The Best of Michael Swanwick. His most recent novel, "Chasing the Phoenix," which chronicles the adventures of confidence artists Darger and Surplus in post-Utopian China, is currently available from Tor Books. He is currently at work on a third and final novel set in Industrialized Faerie.
Listen to Audio (00:53:03)
Discussion of the Film 'Under the Bridge: the Criminalization of Homelessness'
Listen to a discussion about 'Under the Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness' a film about the plight of a homeless camp under threat of closure by the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. -- The Davidson St. homeless camp is a community, bordering on family, for the 60-70 camp residents. The community includes the volunteers, many of them church activists, who come on a regular basis to help and befriend the campers. -- For many of the homeless here, the camp is the only island of stability they have known in their chaotic lives. This is a group of citizens that American society has left behind. As we get to know these residents, and hear their intimate stories, it becomes apparent that in addition to not having homes or jobs, most are battling addiction, mental illness or both.
Listen to Audio (00:42:12)
Moby reads from his memoir 'Porcelain'
From one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time, a piercingly tender, funny, and harrowing account of the path from suburban poverty and alienation to a life of beauty, squalor and unlikely success out of the NYC club scene of the late ’80s and ’90s. There were many reasons Moby was never going to make it as a DJ and musician in the New York club scene. This was the New York of Palladium; of Mars, Limelight, and Twilo; of unchecked, drug-fueled hedonism in pumping clubs where dance music was still largely underground, popular chiefly among working-class African Americans and Latinos. And then there was Moby—not just a poor, skinny white kid from Connecticut, but a devout Christian, a vegan, and a teetotaler. He would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way. But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling 'Play'. -- At once bighearted and remorseless in its excavation of a lost world, Porcelain is both a chronicle of a city and a time and a deeply intimate exploration of finding one’s place during the most gloriously anxious period in life, when you’re on your own, betting on yourself, but have no idea how the story ends, and so you live with the honest dread that you’re one false step from being thrown out on your face. Moby’s voice resonates with honesty, wit, and, above all, an unshakable passion for his music that steered him through some very rough seas. -- Porcelain is about making it, losing it, loving it, and hating it. It’s about finding your people, your place, thinking you’ve lost them both, and then, somehow, when you think it’s over, from a place of well-earned despair, creating a masterpiece. As a portrait of the young artist, Porcelain is a masterpiece in its own right, fit for the short shelf of musicians’ memoirs that capture not just a scene but an age, and something timeless about the human condition. Push play.
Listen to Audio (00:51:01)
Alain de Botton reads from his new novel 'The Course of Love'
“The Course of Love” explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. The novel follows Edinburgh couple Rabih and Kirsten through the complex and intricate course of a long-term relationship. Interwoven with their story and its challenges is an overlay of philosophy -- an annotation and a guide to what we are reading. -- Alain de Botton is the internationally bestselling author of “On Love” and “How Proust Can Change Your Life.” His other works include "The Consolations of Philosophy," "The Art of Travel," and "The Course of Love." He lives in London where he founded The School of Life, an organization devoted to fostering emotional health and intelligence.
Listen to Audio (01:00:26)
Terry McMillan reads from 'I Almost Forgot About You'
The latest from Terry McMillan, the bestselling author of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and “Waiting to Exhale,” is the story of a woman who shakes things up in her life to find greater meaning. -- Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life -- great friends, family, and successful career -- aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. “I Almost Forgot About You” shows readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction. -- “McMillan has written an engaging novel with an appealing cast of women... This near-perfect choice for women’s book club discussions will prompt arguments of what makes a guy too good to be true.” -Library Journal starred review
Listen to Audio (00:58:50)