Barbara Ballinger Lecture
2012 Presenter: Louise Erdrich, Award-Winning Author
Louise Erdrich is the author of 14 novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Most recently, The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Much of her writing draws from the Ojibwe tribe of which she is a part, leading to authentic and beautiful levels of detail. Younger readers will find Erdrich’s Birchbark series appealing. The series, beginning with The Birchbark House and continuing with Chickadee, follows young Omakayas and her family through life in the mid-1800s.
Her latest release, The Round House, is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. Riveting, suspenseful, and arguably her most accessible novel to date, it won the 2012 National Book Award for fiction. Read more about this prestigious award.
About the Barbara Ballinger Lecture
Each year, the Barbara Ballinger Lecture brings an accomplished author to speak in Oak Park. Hosted by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, this public event is free, honoring Barbara Ballinger and her 32 years of service as a librarian in the Oak Park community.
About Barbara Ballinger
Born in Miami, Oklahoma, Ballinger began her library career with the Oklahoma City Public Library. After graduating from the University of Kansas, she received her chauffeur’s license to drive a bookmobile for the Topeka Public Library. She went on to earn her MSLS degree at the Graduate School of Library Science of the University of Illinois. Ballinger expected to stay in her Oak Park librarian position for only a few years. More than 32 years later, she retired as head librarian.
Ballinger led the library during a period of extensive growth and change, a time which saw development of Illinois library resource sharing, the introduction of multiple new technologies, and the overall growth of the library's collection and use. She valued working with civic-minded library boards, dedicated staff members, and the ever supportive Friends.
Today, she enjoys the services of our vibrant library community, one she was instrumental in helping create, and volunteers for The Ernest Hemingway Foundation Archives, now housed in our Main Library.