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Illinois Libraries Present

The following virtual events are made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration between public libraries, including Northbrook Public Library, which offers high-quality events for member libraries of all sizes and budgets. To request accommodations, email

The Power of Story with Colson Whitehead

Wednesday, September 6 at 7:00pm (Online) Register now

Join us for a conversation with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead. The bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys, Harlem Shuffle, The Noble Hustle, and more, 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 highly anticipated book, Crook Manifesto, is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. 

Chills and Thrills with Stephen Graham Jones

Wednesday, October 4 at 7:00pm (Online) Register now

Stephen Graham Jones joins us to talk scary stories, horror and more with librarian Becky Spratford. Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians and Don’t Fear the Reaper, and a prolific author of more than 25 books spanning genres. 

Food, Family, and Folktales: A Conversation with Grace Lin

Tuesday, October 17 at 7:00pm (Online) Register now

Newbery and Caldecott honoree and New York Times bestselling Grace Lin will join us for an engaging conversation about her journey to become an award-winning author and illustrator. Her latest middle-grade book, Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods, explores the whimsical myths and stories behind your favorite American Chinese food. She will also show you how to draw your own stories. Evanston Public Library Children’s Librarian, Brian E. Wilson, joins Grace in conversation. 

A Taste of Love with Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies

Wednesday, November 8 at 7:00pm (Online) Register now

Join Maya Camille Broussard, star of Netflix’s "Bake Squad," and owner of Chicago based Justice of the Pies for a demo from her kitchen just in time for Thanksgiving. 

Surviving the Holidays with Lori Gottlieb

Wednesday, December 6 at 7:00pm (Online) Register now

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. Lori will share tools to help in everyday life and especially as you prepare for the holidays. 


Past Illinois Libraries Present Events  

Braiding Sweetgrass: A Conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer (6/21/23)

Robin Wall Kimmerer, the award-winning author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants led an insightful and inspiring talk, sharing her unique perspective on the interconnectedness of humans and nature and the importance of recognizing and respecting the gifts of the earth. 

Navigate Your Stars: Jesmyn Ward in Conversation with Tracie D. Hall (6/17/23)

The two-time National Book Award winner discussed her life, her literary vision, and her unique perspectives on love and loss. Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association joined her in conversation.

On Being Fabulous with Jonathan Van Ness & Kristi Yamaguchi (5/17/23)

“Queer Eye” and “Getting Curious” star and ice skating superfan, Jonathan Van Ness talked with his idol, Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.

Drawing Comics with Jarrett J. Krosoczka (5/6/23)

Bestselling author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka led a live, virtual drawing workshop that inspired our inner artist.

Secrets of a Puzzle Master: A Conversation with Will Shortz (4/25/23)

Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, and the world’s only academically accredited puzzle master, discussed crossword puzzles.

Danny Trejo Talks Tacos, Hollywood, and Redemption (4/4/23)

Actor, author, and restaurateur Danny Trejo talked about developing a prolific career in the entertainment industry and his atypical road to success. 

The Weird & Wonderful World with Mary Roach (3/1/23)

New York Times best-selling science author, Mary Roach Roach discussed her frank approach to science, the importance of humor, and the weird, wonderful world in which we live. 

Saying Yes to Your Story: A Conversation with Kwame Alexander (2/8/23) 

An evening of inspiration and conversation with best-selling and award-winning children’s and young adult author and poet.

Inciting Joy: A Conversation with Ross Gay (1/11/23) 

We kicked off the new year with a conversation about joy with best-selling essayist and award-winning poet Ross Gay.

Midwest Baking with Shauna Sever (12/13/22)

Shauna Sever, cookbook author, TV and radio contributor, and daughter of the great Midwest, shared her love of food, baking, and some tips to make your holiday gatherings delicious.

A Conversation with Caitlin Doughty (11/16/22)

A conversation with Caitlin Doughty, mortician, bestselling author, and advocate for death acceptance, who discussed the reform of Western funeral industry practices and much more with Mark Bazer (The Interview Show).

A Conversation with Marlee Matlin: From Oscar to West Wing and Beyond (9/14/22)

In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month, Marlee Matlin shared the highs and lows of her Hollywood career and journeys as a Deaf rights activist. This program was offered in ASL and translated through an interpreter.

An Evening with Michelle Zauner (6/30/22)

Musician and author Michelle Zauner discussed her music career and her beloved bestselling memoir, Crying in H Mart with Chicago-based author and music critic, Jessica Hopper. 

An Evening with Kwame Onwuachi (6/22/22)

Chef Kwame Onwuachi discussed his first cookbook, My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef with Erick Williams. the owner and executive chef of Chicago's Virtue restaurant.  

Illinois Libraries Present: Jessamine Chan & Emily Maloney (5/25/22)

Jessamine Chan and Emily Maloney discussed the systems of power that impact our lives, our families, and our finances, through the lens of their acclaimed books, The School for Good Mothers (Chan) and Cost of Living (Maloney).  

An Evening With Nick Offerman & Jeff Tweedy (4/27/22)

Actor, humorist, and woodworker, Nick Offerman discussed his newest book, Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside. Nick was joined in conversation by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.   

An Evening With Jenny Lawson (3/30/22)

Award-winning humorist Jenny Lawson discussed her most recent bestseller, Broken (in the best possible way), and her brilliantly funny body of work. She was joined in conversation by R. Eric Thomas, a national bestselling author, playwright, screenwriter, and podcast host. 

An Evening With Jasmine Guillory (2/16/22)

Bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, discussed her latest novel, While We Were Dating, and the modern rom-com with author Morgan Rogers (Honey Girl). Jasmine Guillory is a writer, lawyer, and bestselling author of six romance novels. 

Illinois Libraries Present

About Illinois Libraries Present

Illinois Libraries Present is a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering high-quality events. Illinois Libraries Present is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

Illinois Libraries Present consists of over 200 public libraries across the state who have joined together to provide high-quality online events at equitable prices for member libraries of all sizes and budgets. It connects communities and audiences across the state through shared event experiences. We're proud to be involved with such a great collaboration. Our Executive Director, Kate Hall chairs the Steering Committee, and our Auditorium Coordinator, Arielle Raybuck chairs the Event Production Committee. 


  • To provide high-quality, high-profile events that highlight national names and social justice/DEI issues, that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive for single libraries to hold on their own.
  • To reduce costs and maximize reach by taking advantage of both virtual event platforms and the collective buying power of Illinois public libraries.
  • To allow access to all libraries as equitably as possible, by aligning each library’s cost to participate with the size of their operating budget.
  • To define clear and distinct roles among Illinois Libraries Present committees and the participating libraries, including patron contact points, marketing, invoicing, etc.

The group also is committed to inclusion and accessibility. To request accommodations, email