The Oak Park Public Library typically offers a summer reading program for children and teens. But this year, it hopes to bring the village’s adult readers into the fold by offering the inaugural “One Book, One Oak Park” program.
Library staff have selected New York Times bestseller “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by science journalist Joshua Foer. The book can be reserved as a print title, downloadable audiobook or e-book, or it can be purchased through Amazon.com, with a percentage of the purchase price going to the library.
The program kicks off 7:30 p.m. June 14 with Weird Science: An Adult Science Fair in the Veterans Room of the Main Library. This is an adults-only event that includes a cash bar. Participants may register through June 8 at www.eventbrite.com/e/weird-science-summer-school-edition-an-adult-science-fair-registration-11258908699.
The library, of course, will offer at least one book discussion at each branch, starting June 18. Readers also are encouraged to lead their own discussion groups. Librarians have created a group discussion kit that’s available now online at www.oppl.org/events/summer-reading/book-group-discussion-kit or in hard copy at the library starting June 1.
The two-month event will end with a celebration party from 6 to 8 p.m. July 31 in the Veterans Room.
Reference Librarian Alexandra Skinner, who is leading One Book, One Oak Park, offers some insight into why it was developed and how it will enhance the community.
Q: Many cities have had a community reading program like this for years. What makes having this good for Oak Park now?
A: We wanted a fresh take on the traditional summer reading program for adults. And since helping people connect with their library and each other is an important part of our mission, we found the community reading model to be a great alternative to the traditional “log your reads and share them with us” model. So we’re really excited to offer this shared community reading experience for adults with many different ways to participate.
Q: How do you hope getting Oak Park residents to read this book will bring them together as a community?
A: I think there’s a real magic that happens with shared experiences. As library staff, we see it all the time, that moment when a customer asks for a certain title and someone nearby chimes in, “Oh, I read that book! What did you think?” and the conversation continues.
It opens a door to connecting with our friends or with total strangers. Even if opinions differ, shared experiences provide immediate opportunities for dialogue and understanding. We look forward to facilitating that connection within the community with “One Book One Oak Park.”
Q: How was “Moonwalking with Einstein” selected, especially in light of the huge diversity of this community?
A: We asked everyone who works at the library for science-themed suggestions — science-themed because we wanted to tie into and support the library’s summer reading program for children and teens, both of which are STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics]-based programs this year.
For adults, the suggestions needed to be published fairly recently and available in multiple formats, such as digital and paperback. We received more than 30 suggestions from staff, and a cross-department team narrowed it to “Moonwalking with Einstein,” written by Joshua Foer, a science journalist, which was critically acclaimed by The New York Times, among others. We are beginning to discuss the title with staff and can’t wait to do so with the community.Tags: library