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Best Places For Book And Literary Events In Chicago

By Magdalene Paniotte

In search of a quality book club or discussion group this season? The following libraries provide several opportunities for literary enrichment. For those interested in attending a book fair, be sure to visit the Printer's Row Literary Fest in June.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Chicago Public Library
400 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 747-4300

Price: Free
Click here for calendar of events.

Since its inception in 1873, the Chicago Public Library has endeavored to inspire intellectual development and transformational growth through the enjoyment of books in various mediums. With a rich and diverse collection of materials available to the reading public, the CPL has launched a sophisticated online system that interconnects more than 70 locations throughout the Chicagoland area. Among many literary programs open to readers of all ages, One Book One Chicago is a very popular event and comes highly recommended. Now in its 10th anniversary, the program occurs twice a year and engages a wide reading audience within all communities to participate in the study of a great literary work through lectures, author appearances, discussions and performances.

Related: Best New Chicago Books

Creative writing class
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Division of the Humanities
University of Chicago
1115 E 58th St
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-8512

Price: Free
Click here for calendar of events.

Located in Chicago's historic Hyde Park neighborhood, The Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago was founded in 1892, and is internationally recognized as a pioneer for intellectual inquiry and rigorous debate in the study of language and culture. The Division offers advanced degree programs taught by distinguished faculty through 12 interdisciplinary departments designed to immerse the student in a wide range of literary interests in the humanities. As part of it's lifelong mission to enlighten and educate, the Division regularly hosts workshops, lectures and events such as the upcoming U of Chicagoland Reading, scheduled to take place on May 24th at 4:30 p.m. The creative writing event will consist of a reading by students and other members of the community.

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Printers Row Lit Fest 2012
Located on Dearborn St, and from Congress St. to Polk St. in Chicago
(312) 222-4577

Price: Free (tickets required for some events)
Click here for calendar of events.

Currently the largest literary festival in the midwest, this year's much anticipated book fair will be held on the weekend of June 9-10 in the historic Printer's Row district. Originated in 1985 by the Near South Planning Board in an effort to develop the area, the festival was purchased by The Chicago Tribune Company in 2002 and has since grown immensely as merchants, writers and publishers display and showcase their work. Featuring over 100 events on seven different stages, the fair will welcome book lovers from all parts of the country attending in excess of 100,000 and will host special programs such as Lil' Lit Park for kids, Mash Stage for teens, Lit After Dark for adults and The Trib Nation panel, which will give away the Young Adult Literary Prize and the Nelson Algren Awards.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 448-8600

Price: Free
Click here for calendar of events.

Instituted for well over 125 years as a valuable resource for personal enrichment and higher learning, the library is conveniently located in Evanston, the first suburb just north of Chicago. With two locations on the north shore, the EPL houses an extensive variety of library programs open to the public. Among these are an intriguing array of book discussions such as the North Branch Book Group, the African American and Latin Literature Discussion Groups and the Evanston Northwestern Humanities Lecture series. Of notable interest is the Mission Impossible: War & Peace ongoing bi-monthly discussion of Tolstoy's classic masterpiece.

Skokie Public Library
(credit: Skokie Public Library/Facebook)

Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton St
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 673-7774

Price: Free
Click here for calendar of events.

A prestigious recipient of the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the Skokie Public Library was established in 1929 and is distinguished for excellence in the pursuit of lifelong learning and intellectual discovery. Committed to public service and second to none in the community, the library hosts a variety of quality outreach programs designed to inform and educate the inquiring mind, while consistently providing personal growth and development opportunities for all ages. Among numerous book clubs open to the public is the Great Books Discussion Group which meets every second Tuesday of the month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Related: Guide To Chicago's Literary Landmarks

Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago and very pleased to be a CBS Contributor. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has written a few screenplays as well as a selection of short stories and poems.  Maggie recently edited a University student writing journal as part of her internship toward an online Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing.  She is currently working on her first fictional novel. Her work can be found at

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