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June 04, 2024

The Free Library is not canceling its Author Events program – contrary to a message put out Monday night

A mass email containing 'misinformation' was sent by a former staff member, library officials say. All events are expected to continue as scheduled.

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Free Library Author Events Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation says no Author Events have been canceled. An email blast suggesting otherwise was sent by a former staff member and contained misinformation, library officials say.

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation plans to continue hosting author events despite the resignation of four team members behind the long-running program, according to Executive Director Monique Moore Pryor. She said an email blast sent Monday night by the library – stating the program's scheduled events were being canceled – contained "misinformation." 

The library's Author Events program brings writers, artists, musicians, researchers and other speakers to Parkway Central Library and other branches throughout the year to engage audiences about their work and other topics in the humanities and sciences.

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Shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, the library sent a mass email stating "the entire lineup of scheduled Author Events is cancelled," and noting the Author Events team was no longer with the library. It was signed by team members Andy Kahan, Jason Freeman, Laura Lovacs and Nell Mittlestead. 

Less than two hours later, a second email was sent clarifying that "no Author Events are canceled and we remain committed to continuing this beloved program." It acknowledged the immediate resignations of the four team members, adding that the library was "taking steps to ensure a smooth transition." It was signed by Pryor.

The library later posted a statement on social media that described the initial email as "misinformation" spread by a former staff member. 

"Contrary to what has been communicated, there are no plans to cancel any scheduled events," the statement read. "We understand that misinformation can lead to confusion and concern among our team, stakeholders, and the public. Please rest assured that all scheduled events will proceed as planned, and any changes or updates will be communicated promptly and reliably through our official channels." 

Pryor did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The Author Events program, established in 1994, brings at least 125 authors to the library each year. 

The Free Library of Philadelphia website still lists several upcoming Author Events, with Philly-based children's book illustrator Kah Yangni scheduled for visits at three Free Library locations on Tuesday, and talks from authors John Kim Faye, Mia Bay and Mark Harman also scheduled for Tuesday.