The Library Book Author Booked at CALS

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) will host New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean (The Library Book, The Orchid Thief) on September 28 to give the 2019 Fred K. Darragh Jr. Lecture, part of the CALS Speaker Series. Orlean will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. at CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue. Admission is free, but reservations are required and will be available at on Thursday, August 1.

Orlean has been called “a national treasure” by The Washington Post. Her deeply moving explorations of American stories both familiar and obscure have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as “an exceptional essayist” (Publishers Weekly) and a writer who “approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and fairness” (Bookmarks).

Her latest work is the instant New York Times bestseller The Library Book, an exploration of the history, power, and future of these endangered institutions. The Library Book is told through the lens of Orlean’s quest to solve a notorious cold case: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, ultimately destroying 400,000 books? The Library Book was named one of both The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018 and The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2018. Orlean will adapt The Library Book for a forthcoming television series with Paramount TV.

In addition to the lecture, CALS will also present a free showing of the 2002 film Adaptation(R) at CALS Ron Robinson Theater on Friday, September 27, at 7 p.m. Adaptation, loosely based on Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief, stars Nicolas Cage as a screenwriter who tries and fails to write a movie based on The Orchid Thief.

This CALS Speaker Series talk honors Fred K. Darragh Jr., who served on CALS Board of Directors, in part, as Board President. The lectures were established in 1998 in honor of his contributions to public libraries and reflect his interest in civil liberties, international friendship, intellectual freedom, and education.

For more information, call 501.918.3098.  To reserve seats, visit the event page at