On Sunday, Oct. 9, author and WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore will join us at the Oak Park Public Library for the annual Barbara Ballinger Lecture. As a bonus, local radio host Doris Davenport will moderate this year’s conversation.

The Ballinger Lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library. Each fall, we celebrate and recognize former head librarian Barbara Ballinger and her many years of dedicated service to the library and to Oak Park. This year’s event will be held in person for the first time since 2019, with an option to join via Zoom as well.

Moore is a Chicago Public Radio reporter who regularly covers segregation and inequality. When we first read her nonfiction book The South Side, which came out in 2019 and details historical and contemporary segregation in Chicago, we knew she would be a perfect local author for this event.

And with her latest book, the fictional play The Billboard, her work grows only more timely, her voice only more relevant to the times we live in.

The Billboard, which was produced as a play by 16th Street Theater this summer, is about a fictional Black women’s clinic in Englewood that gets publicly involved in the debate over abortion.

Moore has said the book was inspired by real events, but she wrote it well before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

“I had no idea we would be in this position,” Moore told Block Club Chicago in March. “I thought this play was always going to be timely, but I didn’t think it was going to be urgent.”

Come hear directly from Moore on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2-3 p.m. at the Main Library, 834 Lake St. You can also attend virtually on Zoom. Please register to attend at oppl.org/ballinger. We hope to see you there.

Margita Lidaka is an Adult Services librarian and Jabez Patterson is Programming librarian at the Oak Park Public Library.

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