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Harvard sociologist and MacArthur Prize awardee Matthew Desmond tells the story of eight families living on the edge in the New York Times bestselling Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Evictions used to be rare, but today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond’s landmark work of scholarship and reportage bears witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality and transforms our understanding of extreme poverty. Desmond explores these devastating issues of economic exploitation with L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, and offers ideas for solving these uniquely American problems.

Matthew Desmond

Matthew Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project. A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, he is the author of the award-winning book, On the Fireline, coauthor of two books on race, and editor of a collection of studies on severe deprivation in America. In 2015, Desmond was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant.


Steve Lopez

Steve Lopez is a California native who has been an L.A. Times columnist since 2001. He has won more than a dozen national journalism awards for his reporting and column writing at seven newspapers and four news magazines, and was a 2011 Pulitzer finalist for his columns on elder care. He is the author of three novels, two collections of columns and a non-fiction work called “The Soloist,” winner of numerous prizes and the subject of a Dream Works movie by the same name. Lopez’s television reporting for public station KCET has won three local news Emmys, three Golden Mike awards and a share of the Columbia University DuPont Award.


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: Haight Street Eviction Sidewalk Sale  Credit: Lynne Friedman


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.