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Table Talk Book Club: The Personal Librarian

February 14, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join the Champaign Public Library’s casual monthly get-togethers to talk about books by contemporary African American writers. New members are welcome; call 217/403-2090 for more information.

On February 14, 2023, the book club will discuss The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

“The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white-her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives”– Provided by publisher.

Books for this season are:

  • Feb 14, The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
  • Mar 14, Sister Friends Forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby
  • Apr 13, Brighter by the Day by Robin Roberts *Note: This is a joint meeting with the library’s other book clubs and will be held at the Main Library.
  • May 9, No book discussion. We will meet to select the books for next season.


February 14, 2023
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Champaign Public Library – Douglass Branch
504 E. Grove St.
Champaign, IL 61820
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