Chicago Public Library Foundation Hosts the CARL SANDBURG LITERARY AWARDS Review – An Evening of Banter for Books!

Chicago Public Library Foundation sponsors the CARL SANDBURG LITERARY AWARDS
Judy Blume signing a copy of her book for a guest Photo credit Lynn Renee Photography

Chicago Public Library Foundation Breaks Fundraising Record

The evening was filled to capacity, as always; tables were packed round with foundation members, guests, local politicians and authors to talk, eat, drink and raise money for one of the city’s most successful community-government partnerships around. This year over $2.3 million was raised for the CPL Foundation, turning the page on last year’s record of $1.8 million. This public/private effort that has existed in the Windy City for three decades provides a model for the country in practical, non-partisan, sustainable efforts in funding for libraries, literacy programs, employment search aids and much more.


Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, radio/television personality and author received the award at the event in recognition for his work on the series “Cosmos” and “Star Talk.”

Judy Bloom, household name and author of dozens of Young Adult fiction books like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” was awarded the prize to honor her life-long passion for writing, helping teens through much awkwardness and angst with her more than 82 million copies sold in over 30 languages.

Chicago Public Library Foundation sponsors the CARL SANDBURG LITERARY AWARDS
Neil deGrasse Tyson autographing a book for a guest Photo credit Lynn Renee Photography

The two authors were quite amiable with each other, with the host and the audience. At one point, Tyson confessed to being involved in the “expulsion” of Pluto, formerly known as a planet; he said he didn’t actually do the expelling, but had it been a bank heist he would’ve been driving the getaway car. Bloom is a natural storyteller on paper as well as in the flesh. Her ease with which she conversed showed clearly her love of words and of her fellow human beings.

Chicago Public Library Foundation grants their 21st Century Award

Local author Erika L. Sanchez was honored earlier in the evening with this annual prize for her groundbreaking work in fiction from the perspective of a young woman of color. She took the adage quite literally as a girl, “If you can’t find a book you want to read, then write one.” So, she wrote it, “Lessons on Expulsion” and then another, “I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.” Uplifting and hopeful, she gave a short acceptance speech and rallied the crowd for compassion, tolerance and freedom.

The walls surrounding the banquet hall flashed quotes from famous authors throughout the evening. Even the tongue-in-cheek made it, to give the event its jovial tone. “Books – helping introverts avoid conversation since 1454.” This bookish jab was anything but true that evening as the CPL Foundation and its supporters and honorees touted the love of reading, of readers and those who join in its proliferation.

For more information on the Chicago Public Library Foundation and their work, visit them online at Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Joseph Anthony Rulli
Nathanael Filbert

Joseph Anthony Rulli is a transplanted Hoosier, living in Chicago since the fall of 2006. A 1987 graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, History) and a 1992 graduate of St. Meinrad School of Theology (MDiv) he taught Social Studies, Religion, Philosophy and History at the high school level. He began writing as a career upon his arrival to his second city and has had two short stories published, a stage play performed, an electronic tour book published online and The Chicago Haymarket Affair (History Press/Arcadia Publishing, 2016) his first print book.


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