Highlights of Past Programs
Kalamazoo Public Library has long been recognized for its excellence in programming. Authors, writers and illustrators—from local to world renowned (sometimes both!)—present compelling programs about an almost limitless variety of subjects.
Many of these unique events have been captured on video for your enjoyment. Visit the KPL YouTube channel for more clips and vintage items from our archives.
Authors @ KPL
November 13, 2018, Central Library, 63 minutes
In 2009, journalist and screenwriter Drew Philp bought a ruined house in Detroit for $500. In a tribute to the city he loves, Philp’s book A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City tells about “radical neighborliness” and how he not only learned how to repair a house, but how to build a community.
November 8, 2018, Central Library, 88 minutes
A continuing look at Michigan’s growth and development during the mid-19th century. Kalamazoo historian Lynn Houghton looks at various aspects of Michigan’s growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years looking at the events, topics, trends, and people that shaped this state.
September 26, 2018, Central Library, 65 minutes
David Small reveals the story behind Home After Dark: A Novel, the heartbreaking story of a confused 13-year-old boy in the 1950s who’s making new friends while struggling with his own sexuality in a broken home.
September 20, 2018, Central Library, 56 minutes
Another look at the Michigan’s growth and development during the mid-19th century. Kalamazoo historian Lynn Houghton looks at various aspects of Michigan’s growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years looking at the events, topics, trends, and people that shaped this state.
May 21, 2018, Central Library, 83 minutes
Another look at the Territory of Michigan from 1805 until 1837, when Michigan was admitted into the Union as the 26th state. Kalamazoo historian Lynn Houghton looks at various aspects of Michigan’s growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years looking at the events, topics, trends, and people that shaped this state.
April 16, 2018, Central Library, 88 minutes
Kalamazoo historian Lynn Houghton looks at various aspects of Michigan’s growth and development from its early beginnings to recent years looking at events, topics, trends, themes and people, all of which have shaped this state.
April 9, 2018, Eastwood Branch Library, 70 minutes
Kalamazoo author and publisher Sonya Bernard-Hollins discusses her latest book about Merze Tate (1905-1996), grandchild of the first Negro settlers in Mecosta County, and a graduate of Western State Teacher’s College (later Western Michigan University) with the school’s highest academic record at that time.
February 27, 2018, Central Library, 84 minutes
Lynn Houghton, Regional History Curator at the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, and Regina Gorham, Collections Manager at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, share their discoveries about the existence of a separate school for the community’s African-American children, located on North Street between 1861 and 1871.
February 19, 2018, Oshtemo Branch Library, 57 minutes
Kalamazoo author Lonna Hardin introduced her new children’s book Melody's Song and the Adventures of the Sound Catchers and discussed the history of songs using “code language,” which led thousands to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
October 16, 2017, Oshtemo Branch Library, 76 minutes
Award-winning authors Mahak Jain and Eric Dinerstein, along with illustrator Elly MacKay, celebrate the most recent winners of the South Asia Book Award. Their stories are magical adventures that expose readers to the wonders of South Asia.
February 23, 2017, Central Library, 41 minutes
Kalamazoo’s Historic Preservation Coordinator, Sharon Ferraro, and her 95-year-old dad, professional photographer and author Lance Ferraro, walk us inside Kalamazoo’s historic facades, with remembrances from the 1920s to the 1960s.
September 29, 2016, Central Library, 75 minutes
Archivist, author and historian David Kohrman traces the development, faith, and business pursuits of the Israelite House of David from their arrival in Benton Harbor (MI) in 1903 to the present day.
September 22, 2016, Central Library, 22 minutes
Authors of The Library Ladies of Kalamazoo: Their Home and History tell how they collaborated to create a beautifully designed 220-page pictorial guide of the oldest women’s club in Michigan and the third oldest in the nation.
March 7, 2016, Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium, 83 minutes
Reading Together 2016 author Christina Baker Kline spoke about her novel, Orphan Train, in front of a capacity crowd at KCHS Auditorium.
February 25, 2016, Central Library, 85 minutes
Lynn Houghton, Regional History Curator at the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, and co-author of Kalamazoo Lost & Found, discusses some of the women whose contributions played a role in the development of this community.
February 9, 2016, Alma Powell Branch Library (Douglass Community Center), 22 minutes
Author and self-publisher Sonya Hollins co-wrote with her husband Sean, a brand new children’s book, Benjamin Losford and His Handy Dandy Clippers. Sonya reads from her book and talks about the story behind it.
January 19, 2016, Oshtemo Branch Library, 63 minutes
In this highly interactive presentation, author Barbara VanderMolen shares fun filled facts and stories about every county in our great state from her book, Discovering Michigan County by County.
November 10, 2015, Powell Branch Library, 62 minutes
Yolanda Neals, founder/visionary of The RED Panty Society and co-author of Dear Yvette: Shattered Fairytales, talks about her experiences as both a survivor and a writer. Presented Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at Powell Branch Library.
October 15, 2015, Central Library, 38 minutes
National Book Award finalist and local literary treasure Bonnie Jo Campbell read from her newly released story collection, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, at Central Library on Thursday, October 15, 2015.
September 22, 2015, Central Library, 40 minutes
Recent Newbery Medal winner Katherine Applegate hosted a release event for her upcoming novel, Crenshaw, at Central Library on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.
July 24, 2015, Washington Square Branch Library, 6 minutes
Authors and mad scientists Fritz Grobe & Stephen Voltz (EepyBird), a.k.a. the “Coke and Mentos guys,” brought their DIY science project to the Washington Square Branch Library on Friday, July 24, 2015.
July 16, 2015, Eastwood Branch Library, 42 minutes
Kalamazoo author and chef, Keneisha Darden (a.k.a. Chef K) helped students ages 10 and up identify, prepare, cook, challenge and consume a variety of tasty treats in this hands-on program.
June 22, 2015, Central Library, 44 minutes
Kevin Coval, author and the founder of “Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival,” now the largest youth poetry slam in the world, returned to KPL for a poetry workshop and performance.
June 13, 2015, Oshtemo Branch Library, 56 minutes
Mark Crilley, author of Brody’s Ghost, Miki Falls, Akiko and the Mastering Manga drawing series, presented a hands-on drawing event on Saturday, June 13, 2015, featuring anime, manga, comics and fun.
May 14, 2015, Central Library
Lynn Houghton, co-author of Kalamazoo: Lost and Found, examines the history and architectural styles that are found in Kalamazoo’s Westnedge Hill Neighborhood.
April 21, 2015, Washington Square Branch Library
Local authors Jane and Ellen Knuth discuss their newest book Love Will Steer Me True, a novel based on discussions between Jane and her daughter Ellen, and how how their mother/daughter relationship grew.
April 7, 2015, Eastwood Branch Library
Sarah Stewart, respected author of The Gardener and The Money Tree, both illustrated by David Small, gives a writer’s perspective of preparing your garden in the springtime.
April 2, 2015, Central Library
Author Loreen Niewenhuis takes us along the shores of all five Great Lakes and many of the waterways connecting them. She explores the geology, hydrology, and natural history of the largest system of fresh water lakes in the world.
March 31, 2015, Oshtemo Branch Library
Author and explorer Valerie van Heest takes us back in time to experience the careers and tragic sinkings of historic Lake Michigan ships, then beneath the lake to participate in the triumphant discovery and exciting exploration of their remains.
March 19, 2015, Central Library
Illustrator Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen takes a group of young artists through a step by step process using circles, squares and triangles showing how easy it is to draw. Gijsbert has illustrated numerous books about the Great Lakes Region.
March 4, 2015, Davenport University, Kalamazoo
A casual classroom-style conversation with Jerry Dennis, author of "The Living Great Lakes," Kalamazoo Public Library's 2015 Reading Together selection. Jerry talks about his writing process and how he got started as a writer.
March 3, 2015, Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium
Dennis shared his adventures and misadventures while writing The Living Great Lakes, and discussed the impact the lakes have on us. He also talked about the challenges facing the lakes, and some of the steps being taken to meet them.
February 23, 2015, Central Library
Local historian Lynn Houghton looks at more than 100 years of Kalamazoo’s history through the work of six notable photographers: Schuyler Baldwin, Wallace White, Ward Morgan, George and Mamie Austin, and Lance Ferraro.
February 17, 2015, Alma Powell Branch Library
Publisher and self-published author Sonya Hollins shows participants how to form the concept of a book, design it, and sell it.
November 13, 2014, Central Library (photos only)
New York Times Bestselling Author Todd Parr visited Central Library as part of the 37th annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar. Todd shared stories and macaroni and cheese with fans of all ages. (photos)
October 23, 2014, Central Library, 51 minutes
Susan Nenadic, author of A Purse of Her Own, discusses women's work and employment in Michigan during the nineteenth century, as told through stories of women who endured the many challenges of a male-dominated society.
October 6, 2014, Oshtemo Branch Library, 71 minutes
Inspired by her father’s letters home from World War II, Teresa Irish presents a moving and heartfelt tribute to America’s history, accompanied by 1940’s photographs and music.
October 2, 2014, Central Library, 47 minutes
Kalamazoo author Brian C. Wilson traces the fascinating history of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, emphasizing the role Dr. Kellogg's developing religious views played in the rise and fall of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
September 10, 2014, Central Library, 51 minutes
Award-winning author and illustrator David Small and author/agent Holly McGhee talk with Kevin King about their creative partnership as artist and agent, and about their journey together over the past decade.
October 23, 2013, Central Library, 65 minutes
Archivist, historian and author John Urschel follows the soldiers of the five most heavily-recruited Civil War regiments from the Kalamazoo area. Urschel is currently the supervisor of the local history room at the Buchanan (Michigan) District Library.
September 11, 2013, Central Library, 54 minutes
Valerie van Heest, director of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates and award-winning author, discusses Fatal Crossing, her book about the 1950 crash of NWA flight 2501 into Lake Michigan.
August 7, 2013, Powell Branch Library, 35 minutes
Walter Dean Myers, critically acclaimed author of books for young people and Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature speaks at Powell Branch Library.
August 6, 2013, Central Library, 29 minutes
Walter Dean Myers, critically acclaimed author of books for young people and Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature speaks at Central Library.
July 30, 2013, Powell Branch Library, 61 minutes
Urban fiction writer Earl Sewell explores his writing process, shares his family history, and discusses his latest passion, historical fiction, at Powell Branch Library.
May 22, 2013, Central Library, 59 minutes
Lynn Houghton presents an examination of Arcadia Creek history and the major development project more than twenty years ago.
May 21, 2013, Washington Square Branch Library, 37 minutes
Michigan author Bob Tarte talks about his pets, and his latest book, Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home.
May 14, 2013, Oshtemo Branch Library, 1 hour 18 minutes
WMU history professor Ed Martini discusses his latest book, Agent Orange: History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty at Oshtemo Branch Library, May 14, 2013.
May 14, 2013, Eastwood Branch Library, 4 minutes
Highlights from the Doggone Fun! program, featuring Leslie Helakoski, who introduces her series of award-winning children's books, plus a visit from Zeus, the world's tallest dog!
May 8, 2013, Central Library, 55 minutes
Lynn Houghton, co-author of Kalamazoo: Lost and Found, examines the variety of architectural styles that are found in Kalamazoo's Stuart Historic District.
May 2, 2013, Central Library, 25 minutes
Kalamazoo author Victor Robinson shares his remarkable story of rock n roll excess and self-discovery as a former bodyguard in his book, Never Say Never. May 2, 2013, at Central Library.
April 16, 2013, Washington Square Branch Library, 1 hour 25 minutes
Author D. E. Johnson discusses the research and writing process for his newest novel, “Detroit Breakdown,” the third book in his Will Anderson series.
May 6, 2012, Central Library, 1 hour 10 minutes
Author, historian and lecturer Tim Pinnick explains how to find and effectively use African American newspapers in genealogical research. Presented at Central Library, May 6, 2012.
April 25, 2012, Central Library, 50 minutes
Authors Jaye Beeler and Dianne Carroll Burdick discuss their book, Tasting and Touring Michigan's Homegrown Food: A Culinary Road Trip, at Central Library, April 25, 2012.
April 14, 2012, Central Library, 45 minutes
Author Margean Gladysz talks about her fascinating memoir, A Spy on the Bus: Memoir of a Company Rat. Presented at Central Library, April 14, 2012.
March 2012, Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium, 37 minutes
Author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea talks about his book, Into the Beautiful North, as part of Reading Together 2012 featured programming.
February 7, 2011, Washington Square Branch Library, 1 hour 19 minutes
Author Dan Johnson discusses his first novel, The Detroit Electric Scheme, and his second, Motor City Shakedown. Washington Square Branch Library, February 7, 2011.