The Third Coast: One Book, One Chicago 2015-2016

The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja was the 26th selection for One Book, One Chicago. The season’s program explored the book's central theme, Chicago: The City That Gives.

From October 2015 through May 2016, we explored the theme from multiple perspectives, as recounted through personal experience, imagined in literature, presented in politics, or synthesized in music and art.

The Third Coast presents a critically acclaimed history of Chicago at mid-century, featuring many of the incredible personalities that shaped American culture.


The 2015-16 One Book, One Chicago season featured a variety of events at Harold Washington Library Center, as well as at partner locations, and for the first time, at every single neighborhood branch location of Chicago Public Library.

Mainstage programs at Harold Washington Library Center included:

CPL branch location programs included:

  • neighborhood walking tours with urbanologist Max Grinnell
  • storytelling workshops with 2nd Story
  • musical concerts with Chris Vallillo on Songs of the Civil Rights Movement
  • lectures on 20 Moments: Chicago in the 20th Century with urbanologist Max Grinnell
  • lectures on Chicago’s Public Art: Out of the Past, Into the Future with urbanologist Max Grinnell
  • screenings of the documentary film In The Game and discussion guide provided by Kartemquin Films
  • concerts on Music of Chicago with Old Town School of Folk Music resident musicians
  • discussion on Reorienting the City and tour of The 606 with Illinois Humanities Council and Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • discussions of Sculpture Among Us: Inspiring Communities Through Art with Chicago Sculpture International and Chicago Artists Month
  • presentations on Giving to Your Community Through Environmental Actions with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District President Mariyana T. Spyropoulos
  • discussion on Beyond The Building: The Social Impact of Architecture with Illinois Humanities Council and Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • workshops on Giving and Donation: Being Smart with Your Support with Karen Chan
  • programs on the art of the neighborhood community, Visible Histories from The Art Institute of Chicago
  • workshops on writing Protest Poetry with Samira E. Robinson
  • workshops on starting your own non-profit organization with Goodcity Chicago
  • workshops on Grantwriting 101 with Goodcity Chicago

Community Partner programming included:

  • Conversation with Barry Bergdoll at Chicago Cultural Center as part of Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • Panel discussion on Chicago’s Jukebox Heroes at Revolution Brewery Tap Room
  • Panel discussion on Making in Chicago at DePaul University’s Art Museum
  • Panel discussion on Literary Citizenship and the Power of Collaborative Storytelling at DePaul University’s Art Museum
  • Panel discussion on Veterans Giving Back at Pritzker Military Museum and Library
  • gallery/museum tours with Art Institute Visible Histories series at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Roger Brown Museum

Art Exhibits

  • Straight Into the Camera: David Gremp’s Chicago 1978-79 presented by the Special Collections Department
  • Really Tiny Houses: Competition Winners presented by One Book, One Chicago

Additionally, One Book, One Chicago funded a series of CPL Maker Lab programs on design and architecture, the “Really Tiny House” series.

Digital Programming

In addition to events, the season featured the introduction of several innovative digital programs including:

  • One Book, One Chicago Online Reading Experience, a serialized book release allowing patrons to read the same book at the same time by logging in to the CPL website with their library card and reading from anywhere they had an internet connection
  • Interactive missions allowing patrons to complete tasks and share their creations with others
  • Reading sprints hosted on the @1book1chicago Twitter account, dedicated hourlong sessions where participants set aside time to read and discuss the book
  • “Chicago: The City That Gives” guest blog series featuring a series of original essays by Chicago writers
  • Studs Terkel Archive Partnership - The Studs Terkel Archive created a playlist of interviews that Studs Terkel did with people featured in The Third Coast, and made it available for anyone to listen to at
  • CHIRP Radio Listen While You Read Playlist - CHIRP Radio created a playlist of songs and musical artists featured in The Third Coast, and made it available for anyone to listen to at

Further Reading

Sponsors and Partners

The 2014-15 One Book, One Chicago was presented by the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation and sponsors The Chicago Community Trust, BMO Harris Bank, Allstate and United. Programming partners included Art Institute of Chicago, Books On The L, Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago Artists Month, Chicago Teen Lit Fest, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Revolution Brewery.

Content last updated: April 30, 2016

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