2023 Programs





Tuesday, March 21 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM | Oak View Room


When New York Times bestselling author Peggy Orenstein takes up a subject, she plunges in, so it is no surprise that her pandemic distraction—knitting—would produce something other than the usual scarves and hats for loved ones. With her trademark curiosity, Orenstein set out to make a sweater from scratch—shearing a ewe, spinning and dying the wool – and along the way learned far more than she ever imagined.  Yes, she figured out how to de-fleece a sheep, but she also recognized the radical nature of traditional women’s work, came to terms with relationships in her family and faced up to a few new truths about herself —all while processing personal grief and keeping the anxiety of the times at bay.

In her captivating memoir, Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dying Wool, and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater, Orenstein recounts how, while everyone else was stress-baking and doomscrolling through the COVID-19 shutdown, she felt the inexplicable, unquenchable urge to confront a large animal, snip off its fleece, and transform it, step-by-step, into a cozy, comforting garment. “Learning to shear sheep during the pandemic had seemed like a bit of a lark,” Orenstein reports, “a way to tap into the romance and resilience of an earlier age; to connect with something enduring when life had become so precarious; to better understand, as a lifelong knitter, where my fiber came from; to get out of my house. Why the hell couldn’t I have stuck to sourdough?”

What Orenstein didn’t expect was all she would discover about how clothing has shaped civilization, class, culture, power, or its pivotal role in our environmental future. Or how the ancient skills she learned would deepen her awareness of women’s work or challenge her sense of place and home. She didn’t anticipate that her quirky project would reflect the social justice reckonings of the moment, or that making yarn would help her untangle the knots of her own life.



NOTE – Masks for ages 2 and older are encouraged. Thank you for helping us protect each other and our community!

Live from the Library

Live! From the Library, presented by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation, features free public lectures, literary events, and cultural programs at the Walnut Creek and Ygnacio Valley libraries. Program sponsors are the East Bay Times, Friends of the Walnut Creek Library, and Minuteman Press, Lafayette. Programming is also made possible by donations to the Foundation’s Annual Fund. View past programs on our Video page.  Contra Costa TV airs past programs Sundays at 8 p.m. Visit their website for channel info.

* Special accommodations require 72 hours advance notice.

The views and opinions expressed in any program are those of the speaker/persons and do not reflect the views of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.

Program sponsors:


Past Events

Chinese in Napa Valley: The Forgotten Community That Built Wine Country




One Singular Sensation: The Power and Passions of American Musical Theatre with Beth Wynstra

Thursday, January 12


2022 Events 

Who Could Ask for Anything More? with Dulais Rhys

Tuesday, December 13

Frida in America: The Impact of Place with Celia Stahr

Tuesday, November 1

Technically Food with Larissa Zimberoff

Tuesday, October 11

The Climate Crisis and Our Parks and Open Spaces

Tuesday, April 12


An Evening with Author Elise Hooper

Tuesday, March 8

Rachel Howzell Hall: A Woman of Mysteries

Tuesday, February 8

2021 Past Events 

The Bounty

Wednesday, November 10 

Broadway’s Golden Age: The Making of an American Art Form, 1927-1964

October 6, 2021

Why We Swim with author Bonnie Tsui

June 9, 2021 



Showing Up Boldly: The Political and Organizing History of Black Women

May 12, 2021


Art & Algae: Journey Into The Curious World of Seaweed

April 14, 2021

California: Of Peril and Stewardship

March 17, 2021

SUCCESSFUL AGING: The Power and Potential of Our Lives
Dr. Daniel Levitin in conversation with founding Grateful Dead member Bob Weir

January 13, 2021

Visit our video page for past Live! from the Library videos.

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