Classic Catalog

GR Reads 2021 Events

Summer Reading All Grown Up!

June 3 – August 31, 2021 

The Grand Rapids Public Library has partnered with area organizations to present GR Reads, a summer reading program designed for adults. Our expert staff have selected six engaging titles that can be picked up at any GRPL location, through GRPL To Go, or downloaded directly to your digital device. Join us for a series of fun and interesting online and onsite programming related to the books. All 2021 GR Reads events are free and open to the public. Download a 2021 GR Reads brochure here.

Black History Tour of Downtown Grand Rapids

Walking tour available on demand using the GR Walks app.
Download the app from, the Apple Store, or Google Play.

Discover local Black history with this walking tour of downtown Grand Rapids. City Commissioner Joe Jones narrates the tour, which starts in Lyon Square. The self-guided tour is approximately two miles. It stops at eleven points of interest. Learn the history of local African American leadership, culture, and community.

DGRI and GR Walks organized and produced this tour.

A Conversation with Two-Eagles Marcus

Thursdays, June 17, July 22, August 26, 7:00 pm
Virtual Event | MPWRD’s Facebook Page  

MPWRDX Media Group (Pronounced Empowered X) is a content platform that centers on Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific, and Indigenous Native Americans. It seeks to amplify their voices and experiences in business, entrepreneurship, and social justice. Join founder Two Eagles Marcus as he chats with Indigenous entrepreneurs who are leading the way and changing the narrative in their respective fields.

Comic Geek Out

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
In-person | Yankee Clipper Branch – 2025 Leonard NE
Virtual Events | GRPL’s Facebook Page & YouTube Channel

Discover your inner hero at the library’s comic event. Celebrate the comic books you love, and geek out on your favorite fandom. Join us for hands-on activities, free books, a comic workshop, and other fun events! 

GR Crime Tours

Monday, June 21, 2021, 7:00 pm
Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 7:00 pm
Thursday, August 19, 2021, 7:00 pm

Meet at the flagpole at the Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Learn about some of the most infamous crimes in Grand Rapids on this 1 hour walking tour.
Led by comedian Eirann Betka-Pope, explore the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. You will visit local sites known for their historical crime and lore. 

Tours meet in the Main Library’s parking lot by the flagpole. Limit of 15 participants- first come first served.

Curator Battle: GRPL v. GRPM

Thursday, June 24, 2021, 4:00 pm
Virtual Event | The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Facebook Page

Librarian vs. Curator. Who will win? Watch as a GRPL librarian goes head to head with a Grand Rapids Public Museum curator. This Curator Battle will showcase unique items in both institution’s collections. This friendly competition is sure to educate and entertain.

African American Live Museum

Saturday, June 26, 2021, 2:00-4:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library Street NE
Due to the weather, this event will now take place indoors at GRPL’s Main Library.

Watch some of the most important figures in African American history come to life as they share their life stories, struggles, and accomplishments. Portrayed by actors from New Hope Baptist Church, learn more about the notable figures featured in Black Bottom Saints. 

Please note: The cast does not interact with viewers. They are like animated statues. They tell their stories, but do not answer questions or engage in conversations. If a personality stares straight ahead and does not speak, you are not being ignored. The cast member is only waiting until more people gather.

Private Love, Public School: Gay Teacher Under Fire

Tuesday, June 29, 2020, 6:30 pm
Virtual Event | Zoom 

Private Love, Public School by Christine A. Yared recounts the true story of Gerry Crane. Crane, a high school music teacher, was one of the best teachers at his school. In October 1995, Gerry and his partner married in a private commitment ceremony. Word spread that he had married a man and the much loved teacher came under fire from parents and the school board. The school board issued a statement stating that homosexuals are improper role models for students. They pledged to “monitor and investigate” the gay teacher.  

Crane fought with courage and hope while enduring betrayals, pain, and public humiliation. He reconciled his conservative religious upbringing with his identity as a gay man. His search for an affirming Christian church led him to Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

This panel discussion will reflect on the events of 1995, and the challenges that still remain today. Fred Stella, host of Common Threads, will moderate the panel. Panelists include author Christine Yared; former student Tammy Lee; and Rev. Doug Van Doren, one of the ministers who started the group Concerned Clergy.

GR Reads: The Movies – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 7:00 pm
Wealthy Theatre – 1130 Wealthy St SE

Ma Rainey was one of the most famous and prolific recording artists of the early 20th century. Known as the “Mother of the Blues,” this film follows Ma Rainey as tensions rise with her band, manager, and girlfriend. Featuring performances by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in his award-winning final role.

Please follow COVID safety measures. Tickets are $3 with valid GRPL library card. Buy tickets at the door or online at Use promo code: GRREADS2021.

The Good Life is Our Birthright: Indigenous Foods Research in the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 7:00 pm
Virtual Event | Zoom 

Minobimaadiz (the good life) is something that Anishinaabe people learn as part of their education. It assumes that they will strive to live their lives in a way that is in balance and harmony with nature. Dr. Martin Reinhardt will discuss the relationship the Anishinaabe have with spirit beings that they often think of as food. These relationships with food were nearly destroyed through colonization and neglect.

Dr. Reinhardt is a professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, and serves as the interim director of the Center for Native American Studies. He will share research on Indigenous food relationships in the Great Lakes Region.

Panel on Modern Families

Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 7:00 pm
Virtual Event | Zoom 

Gone are the days of a “traditional” family featuring a dad, a mom, and 2.2 children. Families today come in all shapes and sizes, and all are valid and loving. Join us for a community discussion about what makes a modern family. Hear from local parents Carrie Stratton Burrows, Renee Orr Carr, Charles Darling, and Catrice Morning Bird Thornton. They will lead this discussion and share their parenting insights and wisdom. Topics will include gender neutrality, preferred pronouns, myths and stereotypes, inclusivity, and more.

GR Reads: The Movies – Minari

Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 7:00 pm
Wealthy Theatre – 1130 Wealthy St SE

A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Please follow COVID safety measures. Tickets are $3 with valid GRPL library card. Buy tickets at the door or online at Use promo code: GRREADS2021.

Mastering the Art of Pho *Sold Out*

Thursday, August 12, 2021, 6:00 pm 
Virtual Event| Zoom
Registration is required

Join The Good Bowl restaurant for a fun and interactive cooking class with Executive Chef and co-owner Tony Vu. He will walk you through how to master the art of Vietnam’s national homemade pho virtually in the comfort of your own kitchen. You’ll learn about the iconic dish’s origins, its healthful benefits, and how to make and serve pho. You will also gain insights and history about Vietnamese culture. 

This event is sold out but a recording of the live experience will be posted on GRPL’s YouTube Channel after the event premiere. 

Cerulean Sea Family Celebration

Saturday, August 21, 2021, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Riverside Park Bandshell – 3060 Monroe NE

Come celebrate families of all kinds! 
Enjoy crafts, lawn games, and refreshments. Local photographers will take free family portraits. Listen to special storytimes about diverse families like LGBTQ+, adoptive, and foster families.

This program will be held rain or shine. Please follow COVID-19 safety measures.

GR Reads: The Movies – Clue

Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 7:00 pm
Wealthy Theatre – 1130 Wealthy St SE

Based on the popular board game, this comedy begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), where he admits to blackmailing his visitors. These guests, who have aliases, are: Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) and Col. Mustard (Martin Mull). When Boddy turns up murdered, all are suspects, and together they try to figure out who is the killer.

Please follow COVID safety measures. Tickets are $3 with valid GRPL library card. Buy tickets at the door or online at Use promo code: GRREADS2021.