Past Speakers | Women Helping Women Fund Annual Luncheon

1993: Alene Moris

1994: Linda Ellerbee

1995: Anna Quindlen

1996: Cicely Tyson

1997: Carrie Fisher

1998: Judge Glenda Hatchett

1999: Gloria Steinem

2000: Cokie Roberts

2001: Kerry Kennedy Cuomo

2002: Madame Sadat

2003: Ellen Goodman

2004: Deloris Jordan

2005: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

2006: Lisa Ling

2007: Soledad O’Brien

2008: Jeannette Walls

2009: Jean Chatzky

2010: Liz Murrary

2011: Naomi Judd

2012: Elizabeth Smart

2013: Bonnie St. John

2014: Christopher Gardner

2015: Amanda Lindhout

2016: Sheryl WuDunn

2017: Glennon Doyle Melton

2018: Dr. Tererai Trent

2019: Victor Rivas Rivers

Special Announcement


We are honored to share that Spokane Public Library was named a finalist for the 2019 National Medal award.

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in recognition of exceptional service to the community and for making a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
This year’s finalists include public libraries and library systems; a statewide digital library; art, science, and children’s museums; and many other types of institutions that exemplify the great diversity of libraries and museums across the country.

This honor recognizes how our programs Library Cards for Spokane Public Schools, Books for Babies, Lilac City Live, Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital Outreach Program and more impact Spokane and everyone who lives here.

We are grateful for your continued support and are honored to be recognized as a 2019 finalist. National Medal winners will be announced this spring.

Help us celebrate!
We invite you to share your own story about how Spokane Public Library has impacted your life.

Share your Story→

Our Favorite Books from 2018

City of Spokane Bond Proposition 1 Update

As of November 9, with only 18,000 city ballots left to count, City of Spokane Bond Proposition 1 is passing with 63% approval from Spokane voters, approving $77M for library construction and renovation projects citywide. This approval will enable Spokane Public Library to serve more customers, modernize our aging buildings and make much needed upgrades to technology.

Spokane Public Schools Bond Proposition 1 is also passing with 67% approval. We look forward to deepening our partnership in our planned projects with Spokane Public Schools at Hillyard/Shaw, Libby Center and with Spokane Virtual Learning.

This is an historic moment for us and the community. We are encouraged and enthusiastic about the future of the library in Spokane and look forward to continuing to serve you in the years to come as we inspire a city of lifelong learners.

Thank you for your support.


Celebrate Banned Books Week

What are banned or challenged books and why do we celebrate Banned Books Week every September? According to American Library Association, a challenged book is “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group,” while banned books are removed altogether. This is an issue commonly noticed in public libraries, schools and other facets of communities. Celebrating Banned Books Week means we celebrate the freedom to read and the freedom to share ideas without the threat of censorship. Below is a list of the Top 10 Banned Books of 2017, all available at the library.

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  3. Drama
  4. The Kite Runner
  5. George
  6. Sex is a Funny Word
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. The Hate U Give
  9. And Tango Makes Three
  10. I Am Jazz

Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

While Hispanic Heritage Month only lasts four weeks, it’s always a good time to read from authors you may not have before. We have a variety of books written by Hispanic authors at the library. Go beyond your favorite genre and read something new. Below is a short list of books with a diverse range of perspectives. Check them out!

Hispanic Heritage Month for Kids!

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and reflect on how Hispanic culture shapes our country. This is especially expressed in the form of children’s books. Below is a list of powerful stories to read to kids about Hispanic culture and the impact it has in our communities.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Islandborn by Junot Diaz

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina 

The Poet Upstairs by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Too many Tamales by Gary Soto

Day of the Dead by Linda Lowery

Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice by Sylvia Rosa-Casanova

Lilac City Live – September

Join us for the next Lilac City Live! on September 20th. A “late night” talk show featuring local Spokane talent at the Downtown Library — Drinks! Music! Authors! Artists! Comedians! It’s guaranteed to be a fun time. And it’s a great opportunity to see some awesome Spokane talent for free.

September 20th
7 PM, no-host bar featuring Little Spokane Brewing Company (all proceeds benefit Spokane Public Library Foundation)
8 PM, late night talk show-style show

Hosted by Ryan Dean Tucker


Ginger Ewing and Luke Baumgarten 
Ginger and Luke are the co-founders of Terrain. The annual Terrain show will be held October 4 (preview night) and 5 at Terrain. Learn more about the show and how Terrain supports emerging Spokane artists.

Alaska band, Lavoy, will take the stage as the musical guest.

Power 2 the Poetry
Power 2 the Poetry specializes in the art of spoken word. They host a poetry slam at the Downtown Library each month.

Hannah Tilley
Hannah is the featured comedian.



Lilac City Live @ Pig Out in the Park

Join us for the next Lilac City Live! at Pig out in the Park on August 30. A “late night” talk show featuring local Spokane talent, this time at the Ribbon Stage — Music! Authors! Artists! Comedians! It’s guaranteed to be a fun time. And it’s a great opportunity to see some awesome Spokane talent for free.

August 30, 2018
Bring your favorite Pig Out treats and pig out at the show!
8 PM, late night talk show-style show hosted by Ryan Dean Tucker


Bill Burke

Burke is the organizer of Pig Out in the Park. For the past 39 years, he has overseen all the bands and vendors, and watched as the festival grew. It is now one of the largest food festivals in Spokane (if not the largest).

Atari Ferrari 

Musical guest Atari Ferrari features Matthew Hughes (vocals, guitar, songwriter), Robert Shugert (drums), Eric Woodard (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Scott Schultz (bass, vocals). (Source: Facebook &

Nathan Weinbender

Weinbender is The Inlander’s Film and Music Editor and is often a Film Critic for Spokane Public Radio.

Midnight Goats

Spokane-based The Midnight Goats are a musical-comedy duo. They’ve performed at major music festivals such as Seattle’s Bumbershoot and the Seattle Festival of Improvised Theater. (Source: Facebook)

Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced

The Man Booker Prize is awarded to a fiction piece deemed the best novel of the year. It is described as “the leading literary award in the English speaking world” and launches careers for many authors. The list below shares the longlist of nominees revealed for 2018 (the shortlist will be published in September). The winner will be determined in November, but you can still read all of them and determine for yourself which one is the best! And the nominees are (on order, so prepare to place a hold)…

  • Snap by Belinda Bauer
  • Milkman by Anna Burns (Will be released in December)
  • Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (A graphic novel!)
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Will be released in September)
  • In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunarante (Unavailable in the U.S.)
  • Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (Release in 2019)
  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
  • The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (Release in 2019)
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers 
  • The Long Take by Robin Robertson (Unavailable in the U.S.)
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney (Release in 2019)
  • From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

Former President Obama Recommends Books About Africa

This week, former President Obama recommended his reading list as he embarked on his first trip to Africa since leaving office. You can check out these titles from Spokane Public Library.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (also available in ebook)
From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

The Return by Hisham Matar
A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes (also available in ebook)
It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.