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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Housing Is a Human Right: Community Ownership
Listen to a panel discussion with local and national leaders working to build out a vision for community control that allows neighbors to thrive in place. They discuss the necessary principles for community ownership, and community led strategies to curb displacement. Hear about specific examples where community ownership is taking root in the form of Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives (LEHCs) and Community Land Trusts (CLTs). -- Panelists include: Urban Homesteading Assistance Board- NYC; TRUST South LA- Los Angeles, CA; Benson East Apartments- Kent, WA; and the Africatown-Central District Preservation & Development Association - Seattle, WA. -- Co-hosts: Puget Sound Sage & Councilmember Mike O'Brien.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 45.01MB] [Play time: 01 hr 38 min]
Michael Chabon reads from 'Moonglow'
Listen to Michael Chabon as he discusses his new novel with Nancy Pearl. "Moonglow" unfolds as a deathbed confession. An old man, tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, tells stories to his grandson, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried. From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of a New York prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of "the American Century," "Moonglow" collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. -- A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the 20th century, "Moonglow" is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics and Boy's Life.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 32.00MB] [Play time: 1 hr 09 min]
Clay Jenkinson portrays Meriwether Lewis
Listen to history come alive when Clay Jenkinson, humanities scholar and Chautauquan, portrays Meriwether Lewis, commander of the Corps of Discovery. Jenkinson appears in costume and character as Meriwether Lewis, who with his friend William Clark, led the most successful exploration of American history -- one that made Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea principle figures in American mythology.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 29.81MB] [Play time: 1 hr 05 min]
Clay Jenkinson portrays Theodore Roosevelt
Listen to history come alive when Clay Jenkinson, humanities scholar and Chautauquan, portrays Theodore Roosevelt. Jenkinson appears in costume and character as Theodore Roosevelt, who served seven years, 171 days as the 26th President of the United States. He was an accidental president-"kicked upstairs" into the vice presidency in 1900, he ascended to the presidency on September 14, 1901, after President William McKinley died of gunshot wounds.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 47.79MB] [Play time: 1 hr 44 min]
Tim Wu reads and discusses 'The Attention Merchants'
The author who coined the phrase "net neutrality" takes a revelatory look at the rise of "attention harvesting" and its effect on our society and ourselves. In "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads," author Tim Wu offers this definition of "attention merchant:" An Industrial-scale harvester of human attention; a firm whose business model is the mass capture of attention for resale to advertisers. -- In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of advertising enticements, branding efforts, sponsored social media, commercials and other efforts to harvest our attention. Wu argues that from the pre-Madison Avenue birth of advertising to TV's golden age to our present age of radically individualized choices, the business model of attention merchants has always been the same. He describes the revolts that have risen against attempts to influence our consumption, from the remote control to FDA regulations to Apple's ad-blocking OS. "The Attention Merchants" examines how the methods for harvesting our attention have given rise to the defining industries of our time, changing our nature - cognitive, social and otherwise-in ways unimaginable even a generation ago.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 22.30MB] [Play time: 0 hr 48 min]
Paid Parental Leave - Panel Discussion
Listen to a panel discussion and learn about the paid family leave policy that will be considered by state legislators in 2017. Panel guests include Marilyn Watkins of the Economic Opportunity Institute; Rich Fox, President of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance; and Danielle Hulton Co-Owner of Ada's Technical Bookstore and Cafe. Recorded on Nov. 15, 2016.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 32.63MB] [Play time: 01 hr 11 min]
Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna reads from 'This City'
Listen as Seattle's First Civic Poet, Claudia Castro Luna, reads from "This City," her chapbook of poems published by Floating Bridge Press. A writer of poetry and non-fiction, Castro Luna is a King County 4Culture grant recipient, a 2014 Jack Straw Fellow and VONA alumna. As civic poet, she is The Seattle Public Library's first poet-in-residence, leading month-long interactive poetic explorations, inspired by the everyday life of a neighborhood, in libraries across the city through "The Poet Is In" project. - Having arrived in the United States in 1981 after escaping from civil war in El Salvador, Castro Luna states that she writes "because the flesh remembers even when the mind forgets and moving the hand across a page is a measure of resistance."
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 12.07MB] [Play time: 0 hr 26 min]
2016 Jack Straw Writers Program
Listen to readings from the writers who were selected for the prestigious Jack Straw Writers Program. This reading features fellows in the 2016 Jack Straw Writers Program, hosted by curator Karen Finneyfrock. The 2016 Jack Straw Writers are Anis Gisele, Ramon Isao, EJ Koh, Robert Lashley, Casandra Lopez, Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, Corinne Manning, Ruby Hansen Murray, Shin Yu Pai, Alison Stagner, Shontina Vernon and Carolyne Wright. -- The Jack Straw Writers Program, now in its 20th year, was created to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio, to develop their presentation skills for both live and recorded readings, to encourage the creation of new literary work, and to provide new venues for the writers and their work. -- Each year 12 writers/writing teams are selected by a curator out of dozens of applicants, based on artistic excellence, diversity of literary genres, and a cohesive grouping of writers. The program features voice and presentation training, in-studio interviews, public readings, a published anthology, and podcasts. Live readings are recorded, and selected portions are produced for podcasts and radio broadcast.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 29.66MB] [Play time: 01 hr 04 min]
Ha Jin reads and discusses ‘The Boat Rocker’
Listen as award-winning author Ha Jin, discusses his newest novel, 'The Boat Rocker' a darkly funny story of corruption, integrity and the power of the pen . -- New York, 2005. Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin is a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency that produces a website read by Chinese all over the world. Danlin's explosive exposés have made him legendary among readers and feared by Communist officials. But his newest assignment may be his undoing: investigating his ex-wife, Yan Haili, an unscrupulous novelist who has willingly become a pawn of the Chinese government in order to realize her dreams of literary stardom. Haili's scheme infuriates Danlin both morally and personally-he will do whatever it takes to expose her as a fraud. But in outing Haili, he is also provoking her powerful political allies, and he will need to draw on all of his journalistic cunning to come out of this investigation with his career, and his life, still intact.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 24.46MB] [Play time: 0 hr 53 min]
A Historical Perspective on Homelessness in Seattle
What did local homeless encampments look like 80 years ago? How did homelessness become a state of emergency in Seattle? Gain a historical perspective on homelessness from a panel of experts.
Listen to Audio (mp3) [file size: 46.07MB] [Play time: 01 hr 40 min]