A look back: One Book in 2018

A People’s History of Chicago was at the center of our One Book, One Oak Park series in 2018. In 77 poems, author Kevin Coval traces the city’s history through often untold perspectives, including African-American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and working-class experiences.

Find it in the catalog »

Poem and Place
Poem and Place book discussion in June

Poems that bridge time and place

One thread running through the series: the poems illustrate Chicago history, but their themes bridge time and place.

From May through August, we discussed the poems both inside and outside the library. In five Poem & Place discussions, we met on street corners around Oak Park, relating the poems to events, people, and places in Oak Park’s own history.

“We’re finding we’re part of not only this story but many stories,” Supervisor Kelly Knowles said. “We want to shake, wake, provoke curiosity.”

Snake Doctors
Snake Doctors and Lance in concert in July

Discussion, art & action

In addition to discussing the book around town, including at four senior centers in Oak Park, we toured murals in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and participated in a poetry workshop with former library artist in residence Luis Tubens. We contributed to an art installation honoring black lives. And we enjoyed live music, spoken word, and a visit from author Kevin Coval.

And as one book discussion participant at Dole Branch told us: “While reading the references to the people and movements that rose up, I asked myself: How can I make a difference? Can I find something that I am good at and contribute?”

Kevin Coval signs book for Barbara Ballinger
Author Kevin Coval visited the Main Library in June

By the numbers

  • 5th summer of the series
  • 1st time selecting a poetry title
  • 510 physical and digital checkouts
  • 16 events
  • 400+ attendees
  • 17 videos of library staff reading their favorites
  • 7,000+ video views on social media

Reading out loud

Read about author Kevin Coval’s visit »

See videos of staff reading poems »