Let's continue the conversation this February

Join us at the Main Library this February to continue the conversation about race, class, and democracy inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, #1 New York Times best-seller, winner of the National Book Award, and last summer's One Book, One Oak Park selection

  • Gifts & Challenges of Our Diversity, Thursday, February 16, 7-9 pm. How can we examine our own unconscious biases as an important step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society? How can our individual actions transform our collective impact on the diversity we value?  Please join this forum, facilitated by Corrie Wallace (pictured on this page), an equity consultant with Evanston/Skokie School District 65, as we explore unconscious bias, stereotypes, discrimination, racism, and privilege that play out through micro-aggressions in our daily lives and even within our community. 

  • At July's One Book, One Oak Park's closing panel discussion, from left: John Fountain, Stan West, Nakisha Hobbs, George Bailey, and Lionel Kimble. West, Hobbs, and Bailey will return to the Main Library for a Diversity Panel Discussion on Feb. 23 at 6 pm. Diversity Panel Discussion, Thursday, February 23, 6-9 pm with (returning from the July panel discussion) author George Bailey; journalist, teacher and filmmaker Stan West; and principal and co-founder of the Village Leadership Academy, Nakisha Hobbs.

Thanks for taking part in this inspiring, thought-provoking series

Throughout June and July 2016, the library provided spaces for provocative, honest discussions. We have recorded higher than average program attendance. The book, chosen based on community feedback, has proved to be especially relevant this summer. Given current events and national discussions on race relations, we’ve found it to be more pressing than ever for our community to have opportunities to come together to discuss the issues that matter. More >

Why this title?

The selection explores a theme Oak Parkers have told us matters most to them, and to this community’s future. The title was chosen by a library team that consulted results from library staff and patron surveys asking for the top titles of 2015. Especially personal and compelling, Between the World and Me is a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son regarding the subject of race. Watch this video to learn more and get a flavor of this summer's One Book, One Oak Park title. More >

More about Between the World and Me

More specifically, the book is Coates’ attempt to share with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. It is beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, and while it clearly illuminates the past, it bracingly confronts our present and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward. Individual copies are available in multiple formats, including print and digital editions. Log in to request your copy now.

Book discussion bags available for checkout

Want to talk about this title with your own group? Book discussion bags are available through the catalog. Each is loaded with 10 copies of the book, discussion questions, and more. When done, you can choose to keep the bag, and return only the books. Here are PDFs of what is inside each bag:

MORE: Reader resources

We've compiled the following list of resources to help keep conversations going even further. 

Coates' reading recommendations

More further reading

Literary works referenced by Coates in Between the World and Me

More questions and reading guides


Teaching tools

Videos about Coates



Articles about Coates

Articles by Coates


Race and identity

Accounts similar to Ta-Nehisi Coates on Twitter

  • Jamelle Bouie @jbouie
  • Melissa Harris-Perry @MHarrisPerry
  • deray mckesson @deray