April 5 – 10, 2021

Library Fest is a community celebration and showcase of the many diverse ways the library can be a part of your life. The week includes a community reading program, with selected reads for every age and the chance to directly engage with authors and illustrators. But there’s more to it than just books! Join us for programs highlighting our STEAM and business offerings, humanities programming, local history collection, and much more!

Library Fest is supported by the Durham Library Foundation.

Thanks to our supporters:

Get in touch

For questions about Library Fest, contact Natalie Killion.

Featured media

Podcast: Interview with Gordon C. James

Podcast: Interview with Volkan Alkanoglu

Podcast: Interview with Tayari Jones

See all Library Fest videos

Featured events

Morning Call with Author Tayari Jones

Saturday, April 10, 2021 • 10:30am - 11:30am

Virtual Events

An American Marriage was named a notable book by The New York Times and The Washington Post and was included on Obama’s Best of 2018 roundup, in addition to being awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), the Aspen Words Prize, and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction. It has been published in over 20 countries, with over a million copies in print around the world.

A native of Atlanta, Jones is drawn to thorny coming-of-age stories set in the New South. In the tradition of writers from Flannery O’Connor to Jesmyn Ward, she evokes her setting as vividly as her characters. The Los Angeles Times notes that “Jones gives readers a sense of place in a deeply observed way” while The Village Voice said the author “is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester.”

Ages: Senior Citizen, Adult

Registration required

Previous events

I Am Every Good Thing - Meet Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James

Monday, April 05, 2021 • 10:00am - 11:00am

Virtual Events

                                                                                                 

Speakers

Derrick Barnes
Author
Derrick Barnes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten, as well as the critically acclaimed multi-award-winning picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, and the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. He also wrote the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. In 2020, he became the only author, in the history of the award, to have won the Kirkus Prize twice for his twelfth release, the New York Times bestseller, I Am Every Good Thing. Derrick is a graduate of Jackson State University (BA-Marketing ’99) and was the first African-American male creative copywriter hired by greeting cards giant Hallmark Cards. He is a native of Kansas City, MO, but currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his enchanting wife, Dr. Tinka Barnes, and their four sons, the Mighty Barnes Brothers.

Gordon C. James
Illustrator
Gordon C. James is the award-winning illustrator of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes, for which Gordon received the Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Honor and Ezra Jack Keats Honor awards, among others. Some of his other works include illustrations of Patricia McKissack’s Scraps of Time series.

Pierce Freelon
Moderator
Pierce Freelon is an American politician, musician and academic. He is a current member of Durham City Council representing Ward 3. Freelon is the founder of Blackspace, an Afrofuturist digital makerspace. He co-founded Beat Making Lab, an Emmy Award winning PBS web-series. He is co-director, writer and composer of The History of White People in America, a PBS animated series. He is a Children's Music artist and producer.

Ages: Intergenerational, Elementary School

Lunch Meetup with Author Brit Bennett

Tuesday, April 06, 2021 • 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Virtual Events

Brit Bennett is the author of the dazzling coming of age novel The Mothers and the National Book Award nominated novel, The Vanishing Half. Already a much buzzed about social commentator, well-known for her powerful personal essays, Bennett is one of today's most exciting new voices in literary fiction. Her lectures are as unflinching and memorable as her writing and give audiences a window into her craft while exploring broader themes of race and systemic injustice.

Ages: Adult

An Evening with the Author: Yaa Gyasi

Thursday, April 08, 2021 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Virtual Events

Born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Yaa Gyasi is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and lives in Berkeley, California. She is the author of the highly acclaimed debut novel Homegoing and a recipient of the National Book Foundation's 2016 "5 Under 35" Award.  She is also the winner of the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel, and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Gyasi's second novel, Transcendent Kingdom, is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama. Transcendent Kingdom was an instant New York Times bestseller.

Ages: Adult

Morning Call with Author Tayari Jones

Saturday, April 10, 2021 • 10:30am - 11:30am

Virtual Events

An American Marriage was named a notable book by The New York Times and The Washington Post and was included on Obama’s Best of 2018 roundup, in addition to being awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), the Aspen Words Prize, and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction. It has been published in over 20 countries, with over a million copies in print around the world.

A native of Atlanta, Jones is drawn to thorny coming-of-age stories set in the New South. In the tradition of writers from Flannery O’Connor to Jesmyn Ward, she evokes her setting as vividly as her characters. The Los Angeles Times notes that “Jones gives readers a sense of place in a deeply observed way” while The Village Voice said the author “is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester.”

Ages: Senior Citizen, Adult