Events and Publications

Did you miss an event? Check out our YouTube channel to watch recordings of our favorites.


March 28: Best-selling Author & Public Historian Jason Steinhauer presents

The Internet has changed the past. Social media, Wikipedia, mobile networks, and the viral and visual nature of the Web have inundated the public sphere with historical information and misinformation, changing what we know about our history and History as a discipline. This is the first book to chronicle how and why it matters. Why does History matter at all? What role do history and the past play in our democracy? Our economy? Our understanding of ourselves? How do questions of history intersect with today’s most pressing debates about technology; the role of the media; journalism; tribalism; education; identity politics; the future of government, civilization, and the planet? Now, in the midst of growing political division around the world, this information is critical to an engaged citizenry. As we collectively grapple with the effects of technology and its capacity to destabilize our societies, scholars, educators and the general public should be aware of how the Web and social media shape what we know about ourselves – and crucially, about our past. 

Discovery Building, De Luca Forum, 330 N. Orchard Street

4:30 – 5:30 P.M. Presentation

5:30 – 6:30 P.M. Reception and Book Signing

Books available for purchase during the event provided by Mystery To Me.

This event will be recorded but not live-streamed. Please register to receive event reminders and recording:

Sponsored by the Friends with additional support and collaboration from UW Archives, George L. Mosse Program in History, UW Public History Project, Wisconsin Historical Society, UW Department of Communication Arts, UW Center for the Humanities, UW German, Nordic, and Slavic Department.

We strive to ensure our events are inclusive and welcoming for all participants. If you need an accommodation, please contact

Spring Used Book Sale: March 29 – April 1

Prices fall daily – come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

The sale includes concentrations in Native Americans • Musical instruments • Opera singers • American Literature • Architecture • Gardening • Early 20th century children’s books w/dust jackets • Poetry • Political History of the American Revolution

Find hours and other details here


Sifting & Reckoning Tour & Talk: Thursday, December 1

Through extensive research, oral histories, and rare documents and objects from the UW–Madison Archives, the Sifting & Reckoning exhibition at the Chazen unveils over 175 years of UW–Madison history. The experiences of students, staff, and faculty who have persevered in spite of exclusion are highlighted as they never have been before.

The Friends of UW-Madison Libraries invite you to meet us at the Chazen at 3 P.M. on December 1 to go through the exhibition together. This self-guided group tour will provide the foundation for the discussion to follow. Did you visit earlier this fall? Simply join us for the discussion which follows at 4 P.M. at Memorial Library, Room 126. Led by staff intimately involved with this project, you will have the opportunity to process what you learned and ask questions. Because much of the content used in the exhibition was discovered within the archives, these panelists are uniquely qualified to describe what it takes to support a project of this scope.

  • 3 P.M. Group Self-Guided Tour of the Exhibition – Chazen Museum of Art
  • 4 P.M. Panel-led Discussion – Memorial Library Room 126

Panelists to support the post-tour discussion include

  • Kacie Lucchini Butcher, Director of the Public History Project
  • Lisa Carter, Vice Provost for Libraries
  • Troy Reeves, Oral Historian, UW Archives

R.S.V.P. for an email reminder and/or a link the recording (to be made available after the event):

Press Play: Recorded Sound from Groove to Stream

An exhibition in Special Collections
Curated by Nathan D. Gibson and Mills Music Library staff
976 Memorial Library
September 7, 2022 – December 22, 2022
Open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Exhibit talk with curator Nathan D. Gibson

Refreshments provided by the Friends of UW-Madison Libraries
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public

The confluence of music, art, and technology over the past 150 years has dramatically changed how we record and listen to music, from grooves to tape to digital disc to streaming services and beyond. Drawing from Mills Music Library and Wisconsin Music Archives collections, Press Play highlights the revolution evolution and the unique cultures inspired by each format. Visitors are encouraged to listen to historic recordings and to ponder the future of recorded sound and how it might be preserved.

Ruth Conniff, author of MILKED: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers

October 15, 2022 at 3:00 P.M.

Ruth Conniff, author of MILKED: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers

Wisconsin Historical Society auditorium, 816 State Street

In the Midwest, Mexican workers have become critically important to the survival of rural areas and small towns—and to the individual farmers who rely on their work—with undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico, accounting for an estimated 80 percent of employees on the dairy farms of western Wisconsin.

In Milked, Ruth Conniff introduces us to the migrants who worked on these dairy farms, their employers, among them white voters who helped elect Donald Trump to office in 2016, and the surprising friendships that have formed between these two groups of people. These stories offer a rich and fascinating account of how two crises—the record-breaking rate of farm bankruptcies in the Upper Midwest, and the contentious politics around immigration—are changing the landscape of rural America.

Ruth Conniff is the editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner and editor-at-large and former editor-in-chief of The Progressive magazine. She has appeared on Good Morning America, C-SPAN, and NPR and has been a frequent guest on All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC. Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers (The New Press) is her first book. Conniff lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

“From the back roads of Mexico to the dairy farms of Wisconsin, Ruth Conniff breaks through so many misperceptions and stereotypes to reveal the commonality of the human experience.”
David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father

UW-Madison Libraries and the Friends are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Book Festival!

Fall Used Book Sale: October 12-15, 2022

Prices fall daily – come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

The sale includes subject concentrations in Elvis, Vikings, Nazi Germany, Military History, German Language History & Culture, Erotica, Flora, Egyptian History, and Fiction – including P.G. Wodehouse, Robert B. Parker and many others.

Find hours and other details here

Inventing the Alphabet, Dr. Johanna Drucker, UCLA

September 20, 2022, Chazen Museum of Art Auditorium

4:30-5:30 P.M. presentation, 5:30-6:30 P.M. reception, book signing

Watch the recording here:

The alphabet is our common writing system, but few pause to consider its origin or history. Remarkable as it may seem, this set of signs that developed in a cultural exchange among people in the Ancient Near East now undergirds the Internet and global systems of communication. Tracking the alphabet across its four-thousand-year history also provides a study in transmission of knowledge—through textual, visual, archaeological, and bibliographic sources. This talk addresses the ways the understanding of the alphabet has changed as these methods of knowledge production bring new evidence and arguments into focus.

We strive to ensure our events are inclusive and welcoming for all.
For accommodations contact:

2022 Mosse-Friends Fellow Luncheon: August 4, 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

Room 126 of Memorial Library

Please join us for two lectures on the history of European fascism and nationalism by the 2022 George L. Mosse Program-Friends of the UW Libraries Fellows. Box Lunches provided. Free and open to the public with R.S.V.P. by July 28:

NATIONALISTS AND FASCISTS IN INTERWAR ITALY: Donatello Aramini, Sapienza Università, Rome

NATIONALIST HUMANISM AFTER GEORGE L. MOSSE: Stefania Ragaù, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

Thursday, June 2, 4-5 P.M. Exhibit Open House hosted by Special Collections and the Friends

“Given to Remember: The Holocene Extinction in Print” an exhibition curated by Carly Sentieri Memorial Library Special Collections, 9th floor, 728 State Street, Madison

Join the Friends and explore this beautiful exhibit featuring materials from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, including UW-Madison’s Special Collections, the Kohler Art Library, Memorial Library, the Leith Library of Geology and Geophysics, and Steenbock Library of Agricultural & Life Sciences, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine. Highlights include a variety of printed works by geologists, zoologists, and other naturalists; a display of fine press and artist’s books that engage with concepts such as biodiversity and environmental degradation; and a selection of artistic and literary treatments of extinction and extinct species of animals and plants. Librarians will be on hand to share a variety of exciting new acquisitions. Light refreshments will be served.

Cartonera Workshop: Saturday, May 28 10AM-2PM

Drop by the UW South Madison Partnership on  2238 S Park Street to celebrate the cartonera! The Friends are collaborating with Centro Hispano and other community groups to provide this interactive program to teach participants how to create their own cartonera books. Originating in Latin America, cartonera books use cardboard to create covers for short books of prose or poetry. Each book cover is hand-painted and is often sold on the streets at very low cost to increase access to literature. The Cartonera Collection at Memorial Library was started in the spring of 2006 by Ibero-American Studies Bibliographer Paloma Celis Carbajal, who will be joining us virtually during the May 28 event. With a growing collection of almost 2,000 volumes representing over 75 different cartonera publishers, UW-Madison holds the largest and most comprehensive cartonera collection in the United States. UW-Madison librarians Laura Martin and Lisa Wettleson will be sharing a portion of the traveling Cartonera collection from Memorial Library and explain how easy it is to access the free and public collections.

April 20, 6:00 P.M. (CDT) Archival Reflections: Can You See Yourself? Experiences in LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Representation in the Archives

How are marginalized communities included in the archives, who decides what history is protected, and how can we create a more inclusive record? Find out how you can influence our community’s future reflection!

Authors Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson and exhibit artist nipinet landsem consider their experiences in researching and designing their new book and exhibit We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin. Moderated by longtime community activist Scott Seyforth, this approachable discussion will focus on archives, representation, the future of community memory work, and LGBTQ+ and BIPOC experiences in cultural heritage settings.

We strive to ensure our events are inclusive and welcoming for all participants. If you need an accommodation, please contact

Spring Used Book Sale: March 30-April 2, 2022

Prices fall daily – come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

The sale will include materials from The late Lewis Bosworth collection: LGBTQ studies and literature, Portuguese and French language and culture, travel, art, poetry, writing, theater, religion, and more.

Plus additional concentrations in: Guitar Music, Native Americans, Japanese Culture, American Folk Music, Teenage Girl Fiction, U.S. Constitutional History, Franklin Library Editions, Roses, Urdu, and Hindi

Find hours and other details here

Books & Hooks

Take a break on Library Mall and listen to music curated by Mills Music Library. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by the Friends’ table for a chance to win free books from the Friends of the Libraries Book Sale!

Friday, April 1, noon – 1:30 P.M.

Come join the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries and Mills Music Library as we collaborate to bring you Books and Hooks, a celebration of The Friends’ 50th annual book sale. From 12-1:30 P.M. on Thursday, March 31st and Friday, April 1st, we’ll fill UW’s Library Mall with music hand-picked by the staff of Mills Music Library. Stop by our table for the opportunity to check out a selection of unique library media…and stick around for a chance to win free books, records, or book sale vouchers as you learn about the world-class collections of Mills Music Library.

Books and Hooks is a companion event to the immensely popular Friends Book Sale, happening from March 30th to April 2nd at UW’s Memorial Library. One of the top book sales in the Midwest, the 4-day book sale features tens of thousands of high-quality books, records, and other media for remarkable prices.

Through October 24 the Friends offered a FREE online screening for the first 200 viewers of the critically acclaimed documentary THE BOOKSELLERS (2020)

In anticipation for our October 20-23 MEGA Book Sale, the Friends are excited to bring you the opportunity to see THE BOOKSELLERS. The 2020 documentary is a loving celebration of book culture and a serious exploration of the future of the book. The film also examines technology’s impact on the trade, the importance of books as physical objects, the decline of used and rare bookstores, collection obsessions, and the relentless hunt for the next great find. We hope you enjoy!  

Use this link to sign up to view the movie and use code uwMLBkS88 to unlock. More instructions below:

Virtual Films On Eventive: Click on “Unlock for Free” and enter the Friends code above. To watch the film, viewers need to create an account OR connect through Facebook. To create an account, enter your email address, name and a password, then choose Create Account. For assistance, Eventive provides 24/7 Tech Support:

Jarrett Adams, Author of REDEEMING JUSTICE


Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 7:30 PM

Madison Central Library – Community Rooms 301 & 302

Jarrett Adams, author of Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System

Jarrett Adams was convicted at age seventeen of a crime he did not commit and sentenced to twenty-eight years in a maximum-security prison. After serving nearly ten years and filing multiple appeals, he was exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Adams used the injustice he endured as inspiration to become an advocate for the underserved. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in May 2015 and started a public-interest law fellowship with Ann Claire Williams, judge for the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the same court that reversed his conviction. Jarrett also clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with the late Honorable Deborah Batts. After working for the Innocence Project in New York, he launched the Law Office of Jarrett Adams, PLLC, in 2017, and now practices in both federal and state courts throughout the country.

In this cinematic story of hope and full-circle redemption, Adams draws on his life and the cases of his clients to show the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and how the lack of equal representation in our courts is a failure not only of empathy but of our collective ability to uncover the truth. Redeeming Justice is an unforgettable firsthand account of the limits—and possibilities—of our country’s system of law.

UW-Madison Libraries and the Friends are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Book Festival!

Friends of UW-Madison Libraries MEGA SALE! The first sale in 2 years!
TWICE as many books – 60,000 of them!
TWICE as much space – Memorial Library, Rooms 116 AND 124
TWICE as many volunteers helping at the sale

Now, we need TWICE as many shoppers! Check out the Deals!
Prices fall daily – come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

Find hours and other details here

“Black Woman Professor – White University” Nellie Y. McKay at UW-Madison

Missed the live event? Click here to view the recording.

The Friends of UW-Madison Libraries invited Dr. Shanna Greene Benjamin to campus via a virtual event to discuss her book, Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay (UNC Press, April 2021). Dr. Benjamin was joined in conversation by Dr. Monica M. White, Associate Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW–Madison. UW-Madison’s Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Cheryl Gittens, provided introductions and context for the event.

Dr. Benjamin used the Nellie Y. McKay papers at the UW-Madison Archives while writing her biography of Dr. McKay. The archives revealed the limitations the academic world placed around Dr. McKay because she was a Black woman. We see in Dr. McKay’s story the strength it takes for Black women to pursue their dreams in academia.

In her biography of the influential professor and scholar, Dr. Nellie Y. McKay, Dr. Shanna Greene Benjamin examines Dr. McKay’s strategies for succeeding professionally while navigating the white-dominated academy. Dr. McKay (1930-2006) served on the UW-Madison faculty from 1977 to 2006, during which time she co-edited The Norton Anthology of African American Literature with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. With the Norton Anthology, Dr. McKay created a space for the study of Black literature and Black feminist thought in the academy. 

Despite gaining notoriety in her academic life, Dr. McKay chose to hide details about her personal life from her colleagues. Dr. Benjamin’s research demonstrates that this secrecy was a strategy McKay deemed necessary for her professional success. Dr. Benjamin’s book, Half In Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay (UNC Press, April 2021), lays bare the social climate in which Dr. McKay lived, the academic atmosphere in which she worked, and the strategies she employed to succeed in the white academy. Dr. Benjamin goes on to connect Dr. McKay’s legacy with the ongoing struggles of contemporary women of color in the academy.

We strive to ensure our events are inclusive and welcoming for all participants. If you need an accommodation, please contact


Author Eddie R. Cole and UW-Madison’s Public History Project Director Kacie Lucchini Butcher dissect the decisions made by UW leadership and other universities during the Civil Rights Era. 


Click here to view recording.

With a focus on UW-Madison, author Eddie R. Cole discusses his new book, The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom with UW-Madison’s Public History Project Director, Kacie Lucchini Butcher. Together they explore the remarkable history of how college presidents shaped the struggle for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

The Campus Color Line touches on issues still crucially important to the campus community today. Student protest movements, housing discrimination, controversial campus speakers, and efforts to diversify the student body were just as much of concern to students in the past as they are in 2021. Today, as universities face growing calls to fight for racial justice, amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cole’s book highlights how society’s most pressing social issues are often intertwined with higher education. His work not only provides critical historical insights but asks us to reflect on how we can understand this history today.

MONEY, MARRIAGE, & MADNESS – The Life of Anna Ott

A conversation with author Kim Nielsen:  Lessons about disability history, human value, and today’s struggles with race and equality.


Click here to view the recording.

Join Kim Nielsen and Mari Magler, Director of the McBurney Disability Resource Center for a 30-minute discussion around disability history and why it matters– particularly in the context of a pandemic and as the U.S. wrestles with understanding its social biases. Dr. Kim Nielsen is a professor of Disability Studies, History, and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Toledo (previously at UW Green Bay) and a 2013 Friends scholar. Her book Money Marriage, and Madness follows the life of Anna Ott, Madison’s first female physician who was involuntarily committed to Wisconsin’s State Hospital for the Insane in 1873.

Kim E. Nielsen, Professor of Disability Studies, History, and Women’s & Gender Studies.  Since earning her Ph.D. in History from the University of Iowa in 1996, Nielsen’s scholarship has centered on historical debates about who is fit to participate in civic life; using gender, disability, and changing notions of competency as her tools of analysis. Money, Marriage, and Madness, The Life of Anna Ott (UIP, 2020), Nielsen’s newest book, reveals much about power, the social structures of patriarchy and ableism, and the role of law in nineteenth century America. Other books include A Disability History of the United States (Beacon, Oct 2012), Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller (Beacon, 2009); Helen Keller: Selected Writings (NYUP, 2005); The Radical Lives of Helen Keller (NYUP, 2004); and Un-American Womanhood: Anti-Radicalism, Anti-Feminism, and the First Red Scare (OSUP, 2001). In 2010 the Organization of American Historians (OAH) honored Nielsen by appointing her a Distinguished Lecturer. Other awards include a Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching, an NEH Summer Fellowship, a 2005 OAH lectureship in Japan, and a Fulbright Scholars Award to the University of Iceland. Nielsen currently chairs the OAH Committee on Disability and Disability History, and was founding president of the Disability History Association. She recently arrived at the University of Toledo after fourteen years at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

We strive to ensure our events are inclusive and welcoming for all participants. If you need an accommodation, please contact

MAKE ME RAIN, by Nikki Giovanni

with conversation partner, Kiese Laymon

Thursday, October 15, 2020

7:00 PM

UW-Madison Libraries and the Friends are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Book Festival!

One of America’s most celebrated poets challenges us with this powerful and deeply personal collection of verse that speaks to the injustices of society while illuminating the depths of her own heart. For more than thirty years, Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has inspired, enlightened, and dazzled readers. As sharp and outspoken as ever, this artist long hailed as a healer and a sage returns with this profound book of poetry in which she continues to call attention to injustice and give readers an unfiltered look into the most private parts of herself.

Nikki Giovanni will appear live on Crowdcast in conversation with Kiese Laymon, author of HeavyJoin the event at: Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.

In Make Me Rain, she celebrates her loved ones and unapologetically declares her pride in her black heritage, while exploring the enduring impact of the twin sins of racism and white nationalism. Giovanni reaffirms her place as a uniquely vibrant and relevant American voice with poems such as “I Come from Athletes” and “Rainy Days”—calling out segregation and Donald Trump; as well as “Unloved (for Aunt Cleota)” and “”When I Could No Longer”—her personal elegy for the relatives who saved her from an abusive home life. Stirring, provocative, and resonant, the poems in Make Me Rain pierce the heart and nourish the soul.

JOSHUA CALHOUN: A discussion about his new book, The Nature of the Page

Thursday, September 24, 2020  

View the recording here.

In The Nature of the Page, Joshua Calhoun tells the story of handmade paper in Renaissance England and beyond. For most of the history of printing, paper was made primarily from recycled rags, so this is a story about using old clothes to tell new stories, about plants used to make clothes, and about plants that frustrated papermakers’ best attempts to replace scarce natural resources with abundant ones. Because plants, like humans, are susceptible to the ravages of time, it is also a story of corruption and the hope that we can preserve the things we love from decay.

Combining environmental and bibliographical research with deft literary analysis, Calhoun reveals how much we have left to discover in familiar texts.

Joshua Calhoun is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in Shakespeare, 16th- and 17th-century poetry, and the history of media. As a Faculty Affiliate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, he also teaches courses in the environmental humanities. In addition, he is Co-Director of Holding History, an interdisciplinary public outreach program at UW-Madison dedicated to mentoring the next generation of public scholars, thinkers, and writers. In his teaching and research, he gets to explore three things he loves (and thinks everyone else should love, too): Shakespeare, old books, and nature. His work has been published in PMLA, Shakespeare Studies, and Environmental Philosophy. The Nature of the Page: Poetry, Papermaking, and Ecology in Renaissance England, is his first book.  @awayandback

SIGRID SCHULTZ – Investigative Reporter Who Predicted WWII


Lunch with Historian Dr. David Milne

  • 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.                                               
  • University Club, downstairs Banquet Room 
  • All are welcome! The meal is complimentary; space is limited.  R.S.V.P. here:  Sigrid Schultz Luncheon

Walking the Line as Tensions Grew:  American-born Sigrid Schultz worked in Berlin as the Chicago Tribune’s first female chief correspondent during the years following World War I.   Schultz quickly recognized Nazi Germany’s ambitions and cultivated connections with leading members of the party. Interviewing Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials, often writing under a pseudonym, Schultz presciently reported on the rising threat of the Nazi regime.

Dr. David Milne is a Professor of Modern History at the University of East Anglia, U.K. Dr. Milne will be conducting research in the Sigrid Schultz Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives with the support of a Mosse-Friends grant. He is working on a biography of Shultz, titled, Witness to Catastrophe. Please join us for lunch to answer intriguing questions such as:

How does one interview Hitler? How do you report about Nazism critically while avoiding deportation? How do you write such stories for an isolationist newspaper and editor? How do you act when you are the only woman in a room filled with Germany’s most powerful men? And how do you access that room in the first place?

This lunch-lecture is free and open to the public with R.S.V.P.

Funded by the Friends and the George L. Mosse Program


October 16-19, 2019

Memorial Library, Room 116

Thousands of books, great bargains, and always open to the public.

Come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

Find hours and other details here

DEEP RIVER, by Karl Marlantes

October 19, 2019

Madison Public Central Library – The Bubbler

6:00 PM

UW-Madison Libraries and the Friends are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Book Festival!

Marlantes draws glancing inspiration from his own family history to tell a story against the backdrop of a logging industry clashing with the radical burgeoning labor movement, World War I, and the upheavals of early twentieth century America.

REMEMBER ME: An Evening of Poetry & Piano in Celebration of Jazz Pianist Mary Lou Williams


The University Club, 803 State Street

  • 5:30-6:30 PM

Featuring Fabu Phillis Carter (poet) and Lawren Brianna Ware (pianist)

  • Calling all Jazz and poetry lovers!  Join us for an evening of original poetry read by Poet Fabu with Williams’ compositions played underneath by pianist Lawren Brianna Ware.  Refreshments will be served and the Mills Music Library will share a recording of Mary Lou Williams performing at the Wisconsin Union Theater following the performance.




  • 3:00-4:00 PM Discussion with Math Dept. Faculty, Staff & Students
    • “Character vs Gender in Mathematics and Beyond”
    • 911 Van Vleck Hall
  • 5:30-6:30 PM Public Presentation
    • “The Art of Logic: Using It to Find Clarity for Life’s Problems”
    • The Discovery Building, 330 Orchard Street, H.F. DeLuca Forum
  • 6:30-7:00 PM Reception & book signing immediately to follow

For thousands of years, mathematicians have used the timeless art of logic to see the world more clearly. Today, truth is buried under soundbites, spin, memes, divisive arguments and “fake news” and seeing clearly is more important than ever.  With appearances on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Ted Talks, YouTube sensation Dr. Eugenia Cheng will show how anyone can think like a mathematician to understand what people are really telling us. Taking a careful scalpel to politics, privilege, sexism and dozens of other real-world situations, she shows us that math is not just about numbers and equations, but is also about thinking better, and that it can help us find clarity without losing nuance in our complex world.

Eugenia Cheng is a mathematician and concert pianist. She is Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and won tenure at the University of Sheffield, UK. She has previously taught at the universities of Cambridge, Chicago and Nice and holds a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Cambridge. Alongside her research in Category Theory and undergraduate teaching her aim is to rid the world of “math phobia”.  The author of several books including “How to Bake Pi” and “Beyond Infinity,” her most recent book “The Art of Logic in an Illogical World” was published in 2018.


Presented in partnership with the UW-Madison Department of Mathematics 



  • 2:00-4:00 PM

Get a behind-the-scenes tour of this exciting state-of-the-art preservation facility!

The State Archives Preservation Facility (SAPF) is a 188,733-square-foot facility built to protect some of the state’s most important historical assets and provide secure and environmentally sophisticated conditions for our research collections. This facility houses all the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Madison-based museum collections, approximately 35% of its archival holdings, and 20% of its library collections. It also holds collections owned by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, including motion picture collections of United Artists, RKO, and Warner Brothers.

Opportunities to tour this facility are rare! Be sure to register to reserve your space.    R.S.V.P. here

This is an hour-long walking tour so wear comfortable shoes. Bus transportation is provided: meet on the Langdon Street side of the WHS.

Presented by the Friends of UW-Madison Libraries in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society


THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2019

Madison Public Central Library – Community Rooms 301-302

  • 5:30-8:00 PM

Since August 2017, the Lands We Share initiative has sought to use Wisconsin’s rich agricultural history as the basis for a project supporting community dialogue in three Wisconsin locations: Milwaukee County, Jefferson County, and several counties comprising northeast Wisconsin.  The initiative includes the development of a traveling multimedia pop-up exhibit and companion web tool to support, structure, capture, and ultimately disseminate nine community conversations (three in each of the three regions).

Join us in the grand culmination of this project, meet the participants, and hear the unique perspectives our our rural neighbors.  Refreshments will be served.


Presented in partnership with Madison Public Library and the Lands We Share Project (part of the UW-Madison Oral History Program)


April 10-13, 20198

Memorial Library, Room 116

Thousands of books, great bargains, and always open to the public.

Come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

Find hours and other details here


OPEN HOUSE with lecture by CURT MEINE



  • 2PM Exhibit viewing
  • 3PM Curt Meine, Biographer of Aldo Leopold & Senior Fellow at Aldo Leopold Foundation
  • 4PM Reception with refreshments provided by the Friends
  • RSVP Requested through the Aldo Leopold Foundation link below

Presented in partnership with Aldo Leopold Foundation and UW-Madison Special Collections

African American Pioneers: THE LEARNING TREE with discussion led by STEVE RYFLE

750 University Ave, Madison WI

  • 6 PM Discussion with Q&A by Steve Ryfle: “Desegregating Hollywood: Film and the Civil Rights Era”
  • Prior to the film, Steve Ryfle will provide context by highlighting some of the archival materials showing just how difficult it was for the Hollywood studios to address racial politics through film; to hire African-American filmmakers, writers, and cast; and how certain people within the industry worked actively to reverse decades of institutional racism. Steve Ryfle’s reporting and criticism has been published in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and other publications. A visiting independent scholar, Steve is in Madison on a Friends of the Libraries research grant, utilizing the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research to work on a nonfiction book project.
  • 7PM Film Screening of THE LEARNING TREE, a 1969 drama
  • THE LEARNING TREE, the directorial debut of legendary photojournalist and writer Gordon Parks, is adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel about his adolescent years in Fort Scott, Kansas. Parks became the first African American to direct a feature film for a major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros). This film depicts the coming-of-age of teenager Newt Winger (Johnson) in rural Kansas of the 1920s.

CAST:  Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans, George Mitchell, Richard Ward, Malcolm Attenbury, Russell Thorson, Dana Elcar, Joel Fluellen

Presented in partnership with the Chazen Museum of Art and UW-Madison Cinematheque

Let’s Hear It For Book Arts!

November 8, 2018

Memorial Library, Room 126

5:00 – 6:00 PM

Existing for thousands of years, book art is simply using books as the creative medium for artistic expression beyond the written word. iSchool graduate student, Sarah Lange, has spent a year gathering and preserving the memories and reflections of student and faculty artists who contributed to the rich history of book arts on the UW-Madison campus between the 1970s and the present. What can we learn from those who practiced this unusual art form? Expect a lively presentation enhanced by voices of some interviewees, a handful of unique artists’ books on display, and plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Presenters: Sarah Lange; Troy Reeves, Head, UW-Madison Oral History Program; and Lyn Korenic, Director, Kohler Art Library.

This is a collaborative project between the Kohler Art Library and the UW-Madison Oral History Program.

WE CAN’T BREATHE, by Jabari Asim

October 26, 2018

Madison Public Central Library – Community Rooms 301-302

7:00 PM

UW-Madison Libraries and the Friends are proud to partner with the Wisconsin Book Festival!

Jabari Asim discusses his powerful new book that lays bare the current black experience in America, using eight thought-provoking essays to challenge the reader to consider conventional ideas from the context of a legacy that remains ever resilient and hopeful despite racism and trauma.



October 16, 2018, Noon-1:00 PM

Steenbock Library BioCommons

Hear about Dr. Williams’ book project, Growing Rural Modernity: 4-H Clubs in America and the World, based on discoveries in the UW-Madison Archives!


October 10-13, 2018

Memorial Library, Room 116

Thousands of books, great bargains, and always open to the public.

Come early for the best selection; come later for the best prices!

Find hours and other details here:


September 27, 2018

Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street (Library Mall)

5:30 PM – Welcome

6:00 PM – Presentation

7:00 PM – Dessert and Book Signing

The Friends of UW-Madison Libraries 2018 Schewe lecture, presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Book Festival


September 24, 2018

University Club, 803 State Street (Library Mall)

Doors open at 5 PM, music begins at 6 PM

This early evening event with food and cash bar is free and open to the public.

Die Tanzgeiger is a traditional Austrian dance band with Upper Midwestern connections, including performances drawn from such UW Library holdings and co-productions as the Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings, the Wisconsin Folksong Collection, and Local Centers/Global Sounds.

Co-sponsored by the Friends of UW-Madison Libraries, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture, Mills Music Library and Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies.

For additional information about the Friends of the UW–Madison Libraries, contact:

Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries
330H Memorial Library
728 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 265-2505
Friends Contact Form