It's Friday 11:38 PMThe Library is currently closed
Catalog | Hours | Get a Card | Suggestion Form | eNewsletters | Account | Contact
It's Friday 11:38 PMThe Library is currently closed

Open Book / Open Mind History

Open Book / Open Mind Begins

Montclair Public Library’s flagship series of literary events started in 2015, when series co-founders and Library Foundation members David Jones and Jennifer Dorr-Moon organized the first of these “must watch” author conversations. Their goals were to rally support for the Library, highlight outstanding authors from Montclair and beyond, and spark the discussion of important ideas across our highly diverse community. Over the past 9 years, with the help of Library staff and an active advisory board now chaired by Dave Jones and Kate Tuttle, Open Book / Open Mind has hosted Colson Whitehead, Michelle Zauner, Maggie Haberman, Isabel Wilkerson, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Charles Blow, Maureen Dowd, Tayari Jones, Anna Quindlen, Lawrence O’Donnell, Alan Cumming and many others. We are proud that participation in Open Book / Open Mind has become a Montclair tradition.

We’re Back in Person!

As of June 2023, we returned to an all in-person format, hosting legendary guitarist and rock critic Lenny Kaye in a completely full house. We continued our all in-person welcome to authors such as Colson Whitehead, Rachel Swarns and Lisa Belkin for the remainder of the year and beyond.

In the spring of 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown, the Library transferred Open Book / Open Mind to a webcast format. By fall 2022, the series had presented virtual programs with Isabel Wilkerson, Ann Patchett, contributors to The 1619 Project, Jhumpa Lahiri, Charles Blow, Alice Hoffman, Sandra Cisneros, Mary Roach, Elizabeth Kolbert, Michael Schmidt, Patrick Radden Keefe, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Lawrence Wright, and more. We drew as many as 400 or 750 for events, including attendees from 35 states outside New Jersey as well as Canada, Europe, the UK, the Caribbean, Thailand and New Zealand. 

In September 2022, Open Book / Open Mind transitioned to a hybrid format. We livestreamed in-person programs with Maggie Haberman, Michelle Zauner, Robert Pinsky, Alice Elliott Dark, and more. The format may change but the series continues onward! 

For information about current and upcoming Open Book / Open Mind Online events, click here or contact MPL programming librarian Ariel Zeitlin.

Explore Past Programs

We offer complete annotated lists of author conversations and multimedia materials:

  • 2023 includes Colson Whitehead, Michelle Zauner and Toluse Olorunnipa
  • 2022 includes Maggie Haberman, Patrick Radden Keefe, and contributors to “The 1619 Project”
  • 2021 includes Isabel Wilkerson, Ann Patchett, Jhumpa Lahiri and Sandra Cisneros
  • 2020 includes Gail Collins, Alice Hoffman, Ada Calhoun and Michael Schmidt
  • 2019 includes Dan Barry, Lidia Bastianich, Julia Alvarez, Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
  • 2018 includes Nathan Englander, Tayari Jones and Lawrence O’Donnell
  • 2017 includes Isabel Allende, Katy Tur, Floyd Abrams and Jacqueline Woodson
  • 2016 includes Anna Quindlen, Maureen Dowd, and Khalil Gibran Muhammad
  • 2015 includes Christina Baker Kline, Frank Bruni and Charles Blow

Funding for Open Book / Open Mind

Open Book / Open Mind is currently made possible by the support of The Montclair Public Library Foundation, Watchung Booksellers, the NJ Council for the Humanities, Rosemary Iversen and an anonymous donor, as well as in-kind support from the First Congregational Church of Montclair, The George Montclair, and Amanti Vino. Diana Lunin generously funded the first year of the series and Susan and Thomas Dunn generously funded the second year. If you enjoy and appreciate Open Book / Open Mind’s contributions to our community, please consider donating to the Montclair Public Library Foundation to keep our series going strong.

Let’s Connect