CHICAGO – Every year, Chicago Public Library (CPL) connects Chicagoans and their communities around a singular book through its One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) program, a free citywide literacy initiative across its 81 branches, which fosters connection, dialogue and exploration.
The Mayor’s Office and Chicago Public Library are happy to announce that this year's selection is There There by Tommy Orange, an exploration of twelve distinct yet connected Native American experiences. Aligning with, and in celebration of, CPL's 150 anniversary—We Have Stories to Tell—the Library selected a book that amplifies and acknowledges the depth and richness of individual narratives. This needed perspective has often been overlooked but remains vital to Chicago's history, present and future.
"Chicago Public Library’s mission to foster literacy and learning is pivotal, particularly during a time when education is at the center of my administration's priorities,” says Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Through the One Book, One Chicago initiative, we embrace diversity, connectedness and discourse as Chicagoans come together through reading that helps us to learn about one another and shared experiences. I am pleased to see this year's book selection shed light on an important perspective and hope our readers enjoy There There."
From September through December, Chicago Public Library will explore the book and programs centered around connectedness and the Native American experience. Programming includes history, storytelling, film screenings, performances and cuisine shared by local Native American presenters. CPL will end the season with a keynote by There There author Tommy Orange on November 15 at the Harold Washington Library Center.
"As you embark on this literary journey, know that you aren't just reading a novel,” says Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown. “You're partaking in a citywide endeavor, a collective experience that challenges erasure and celebrates the diverse identities shaping America."
The season also comes at a particularly opportune time as Governor Pritzker recently signed a bill requiring Illinois public schools to teach about the history of Native Americans of the Midwest and the State of Illinois as part of their curriculum. There There presents the opportunity for educators, librarians, community leaders and Chicagoans as a whole, to collectively cherish and uplift Native American stories and history.
For complete program information and events, visit onebookonechicago.org.
The 2023 One Book, One Chicago program is made possible by Bank of America, United Airlines and other generous donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF). To learn more about how CPLF supports the Library’s mission and offerings, visit cplfoundation.org.
About Tommy Orange and There There
Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multigenerational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, and won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award. There There was also longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Orange graduated from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California.
About Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment, and knowledge through innovative services, programs, and technology. Through its 81 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits, and programs for children, teens, and adults. For more information, please call (312) 747-4300 or visit chipublib.org. To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib), Facebook (@chipublib), or Instagram (@chicagopubliclibrary).