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Top 10 programs at the library

Since the new Main Library opened in October, 2003, dozens of authors, historians, photographers and others have presented free programs for the community. Many more are planned in the coming year. Watch the Oak Park Public Library's website Calendar of Events monthly for the schedule at Here are Deb Preiser's picks for the Top 10 thus far:

1) Stephen Kinzer, New York Times writer and author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror - Kinzer, an Oak Park resident, has reported from more than 50 countries on four continents.

2) Al Gini, a regular commentator on National Public Radio's WBEZ and author of The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations - A current River Forest resident (formerly of Oak Park), Gini is a professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago and author of My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual.

3) Heroic Bard presentation of Walt Whitman's Civil War Memories: America's Poet Remember's America's War.

4) Free Readers Ensemble productions: This professional troupe reads a variety of plays, ranging from Private Lives by Noel Coward to Hepburn: From Stage to Screen. They appear at the Main Library on the third Sunday of most months.

5) Alex Kotlowitz, author of Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago: This Oak Park resident is best known for his award-winning There Are No Children Here, selected as one of the 150 most important books of the century by the New York Public Library.

6) "Celebrate India" Festival, which featured Indian culture, music, dance and fashions: This event has been coordinated by Yasmin Ranney six times for the Oak Park Public Library. The 2004 celebration included Oak Park and River Forest High School students who visited India with Asian studies teacher Steve Goldberg.

7) The Friends Film Festivals: Theater critic, writer and historian Doug Deuchler introduces the films and leads discussions for these popular series which have been held on selected Sunday afternoons. Recent series have been "State to Screen: Broadway goes to Hollywood" and "Seize the Day: Recent World Cinema."

8) Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America: This Seattle author could only come on a Sunday evening in 2004. He packed the Veterans Room despite the fact the Oscars were on TV.

9) Clinton diarist Janis Kearney, author of the memoir, Cotton Field of Dreams: On a snowy night in January 2005, Kearney chronicled her journey from the cotton fields of Arkansas to the West Wing of the White House.

10) "40th Anniversary of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show": Local drummer Chris Edwards and Val Camilletti of Val's halla Records drew way more fans on Feb. 9, 2004 than the Veterans Room could hold. A second program was added a few nights later.

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