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This year's One Great Read book is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Explore the historic spectacle of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and learn about the darkness that lurked beneath the city's shining exterior.

Click here for more information about the book.


Adult Programs


Columbian Exposition Slide Tour
Thursday, August 29, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a fantasy world of art, architecture, sculpture, technology, amusements and beauty.  Join Head of Reference Alison Moss for a visual tour of its splendors.  Hear fun facts, famous firsts, and details of the drama surrounding this memorable chapter of American and Midwestern history.


Paris Comes to the Prairie
Tuesday, September 10, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

The great Chicago fair was one of a long line of international expositions, many of them most notable hosted by the city of Paris. Neil Harris, author and professor emeritus of history at the University of Chicago, will place the Chicago event in the context of earlier expositions, explore its debts to Paris and Chicago's connections to Paris, and analyze the Columbian Exposition's innovations and impact. Using a large number of images he will document the fair's appearance, both as it was experienced by visitors and as it was popularized throughout the world.


One Great Read Book Group Leaders Help Sessions
Wednesday, September 11, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m., and Thursday, September 12, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Downtown Library

Do you want to discuss Devil in the White City with your book group, but not sure where to begin? In this program we will discuss how to talk about our One Great Read book. Participants will receive a packet of helpful materials.


Mobs, Murder, and Mayhem
Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

Beneath the shining facade of the 1893 World's Fair, there was a crime spree of staggering proportions. Find out from Purdue professor Susan Curtis how the social, cultural, and economic changes of the Gilded Age created a dark underside where mobs, murder, and mayhem.


Women in the White City
Tuesday, September 24, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

Doctor TJ Boisseau, director of Purdue Women's Studies, will speak about the Women's activities at the 1893 World's Fair. The Women's Exposition was one of the most successful (not to mention financially well-managed) parts of the fair, allowing representative women from around the world to make their case for suffrage and demonstrate their role in society on the world stage.


Group Read: The Beast Below
Saturday, October 5, 3:00 p.m.
Robots & Rogues Bookstore, 531 Main St, Lafayette.

Join us for a group reading of the graphic novel, "The Beast of Chicago". The images have been digitized and will be projected for attendees to take turns reading. This will take place at the Robots and Rogues Bookstore, 531 Main Street, Lafayette.


Criminal Investigation and Forensics: Giving the Devil His Due
Tuesday, October 8, 6:30 p.m.
Campus Library (Ivy Tech Community College, Ivy Hall Lilly Room 1114)

Ever wonder how detective and forensic work has changed since the days of H.H. Holmes? John Mishler, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, shares advances in techniques that help police catch criminals and what remains the same.


From the Wild West to White City: The World of Buffalo Bill
Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

Come listen to speaker James H. Nottage, Vice President and Chief Curatorial Officer, at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis speak about Buffalo Bill.


The Gunness Mystery
Wednesday, October 23, 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Library

Bruce Johnson presents his film The Gunness Mystery. In the late 1800s, Bell Gunness began reaching out to men across the Midwest through a series of want ads. Those who answered her ads were promised a bright future as a partner in her farm in La Porte, Indiana, but they were never seen again. If you enjoyed the true crime story in Devil in the White City, you will be fascinated by this killer tale.




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