To kick off the 150th anniversary year of the Rock Island Public Library, the 25th annual Frieze Lecture series focuses on ideas that had a profound impact in their own times – much like the opening of the Rock Island Public Library, the first tax-supported public library to open in Illinois.

The free lecture series takes place on four Thursdays at 2:00 pm, October 20, 27, November 3, and 10, in the Community Room of the Downtown Library, 401 19th Street. The 25th annual Frieze Lectures, a partnership between the Rock Island Public Library and Augustana College, will offer four faculty presentations on works that fundamentally affected the cultural landscape. All lectures are open to the public, free of charge.

“The Frieze Lecture series with Augustana College began with the celebration of the library’s 125th anniversary, so it was a particularly appropriate way to kick off our 150th,” said Angela Campbell, Rock Island Public Library director. “We are honored to continue our association with Augustana College, which brings college-level lectures into the public learning setting of the library.”

Rock Island Frieze Lecture Series Considers Ideas that Changed Everything

Just as having a truly public library available to Rock Island citizens in 1872 was seen as a life-changing event, this year’s lecture themes focus on ideas that had a seismic impact in their own times. Each lecture features an Augustana faculty member discussing books that mark significant artistic, scientific, or political movements.


All of the following lectures in the Ideas That Changed Everything series begin at 2:00 pm, and are free and open to the public:


  • October 20: Shakespeare’s First Folio, presented by Dr. Karin Youngberg, professor emerita of English. Without the publication of this work, many of Shakespeare’s most recognizable plays may have been lost for all time.
  • October 27The 1619 Project, edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, and presented by Dr. Lauren Hammond, associate professor of history. The long-form journalism project reframes the country’s history around the perspectives and contributions of Black Americans.
  • November 3Cosmos and the work of Alexander von Humboldt, presented by Dr. Stephen Hager, professor of biology. Considered by some as the first environmentalist, von Humboldt’s work is a holistic observation of all of nature.
  • November 10Belovedby Toni Morrison, presented by Dr. Ashley Burge, assistant professor of English. Morrison’s literary masterpiece has faced multiple book ban challenges for its frank depiction of the horrors of slavery.

Immediately following the final November 10 Frieze Lecture, the library will host a 150th birthday party from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, with cake, special giveaways and contests, behind- the-scenes library tours, and other activities. Party guests are encouraged to bring items or special greetings to go into a 150th anniversary time capsule. For a lasting keepsake of the event, attendees and families can pose with a book or library card for a professional photo. Those who dress as their favorite literary character may win a prize. The party launches a year of special 150th anniversary programming.

All of the above events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

For more events at the Rock Island Public Library, anniversary or otherwise, visit, call 309-732-READ, or follow library social media sites.

Rock Island Frieze Lecture Series Considers Ideas that Changed Everything
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.
Rock Island Frieze Lecture Series Considers Ideas that Changed Everything

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