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Spring reservations now open to Library Foundation Members! Unlock reservations with the password included in the January 31st ALOUD email to members.
Reservations for all May programs will open to the public on Friday, April 7th at noon.

Since 1916 when Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves—the powerful aftermath occurring when black holes collide—scientists have been trying to provide evidence of this profusion of energy. However, a telescope cannot record this event—the only evidence is the sound of spacetime ringing. Janna Levin, one of today’s most eminent theoretical astrophysicists and an award-winning writer, recounts the fascinating story of the surprises, disappointments, achievements, and risks of the scientists who embarked on an epic endeavor to capture the first sounds from space in her latest book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space. Join us as Levin explores this radical scientific campaign to record the soundtrack of our universe with cosmologist Sean Carroll.

Janna Levin

Janna Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is also director of sciences at Pioneer Works, a center for arts and sciences in Brooklyn, and has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. Her previous books include How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. She was recently named a Guggenheim fellow.


Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on fundamental physics and cosmology, especially issues of dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of the universe. He is the author of The Particle at the End of the Universe and From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. Recent awards include the Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics and the Winton Prize from the Royal Society of London. He frequently consults for film and television, and has been featured on shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main image credit: Georgios Kaleadis


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.