One Book, One Oak Park

Oak Park’s summer-long series centered around one great read returns! This season, we will explore the public good of social infrastructure. Join us as we build community by reading, gathering, and discussing themes from Eric Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People.

About this title

In Palaces for the People, best-selling author and eminent sociologist Eric Klinenberg offers an inspiring blueprint for rebuilding our fractured society. We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together, to find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done? Klinenberg suggests a way forward.

Eric Klinenberg and Palaces for the People book cover

Thank you, Eric!

More than 125 community members, Oak Park stakeholders, and public library staff met the author on June 5 at the Main Library. Watch and listen to the Facebook Live recording, which begins a few minutes into the program »

A Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, Klinenberg has published scholarly work in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography. He is the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012); Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007); and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002). Follow him on Twitter »

It’s about building community

“This is a timely and relevant title in today’s divisive climate,” said Juanita Harrell, One Book Coordinator and Health & Wellness Librarian. “It discusses how social infrastructure creates an environment that leads to better opportunities for people to succeed, particularly when a disaster strikes. It also shows how public libraries, parks, churches, nonprofit organizations, and local stores help a neighborhood and the people living there survive and thrive when times get tough.”

Inspired by this summer’s One Book, One Oak Park selection Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg, we are asking about and sharing community members’ perspectives on social infrastructure. This is what Klinenberg calls “the missing piece of the puzzle; and building places where all kinds of people can gather is the best way to repair the fractured societies we live in today.”

Share your thoughts about building social infrastructure and read what your neighbors are saying »

Where to find Palaces for the People

Borrow this title from any Oak Park library location and as an ebook and digital audiobook through OverDrive.

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More ways to learn and connect, all summer long

Check the event list on this page (more coming soon!) and follow your library on Facebook for all related One Book events, happening June through August at multiple locations.

Watch the video

Hear author and sociologist Eric Klinenberg in conversation with the Strand’s Dorian Warren:

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