May 26, 2022

A 1st For a U.S. Public Library: Social Reading Comes to Chicago Public Library With Launch of “OneBook, One Chicago Online” Pilot

The One Book, One Chicago Online (OBOC Online) pilot comes from a partnership between the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and BiblioCommons.

From the Chicago Public Library:

Chicago Public Library will launch the One Book, One Chicago Online reading experience today, making it the first public library in the nation to offer free, in-browser, social reading of a full novel.

For the first time, Chicagoans can have a social experience while reading the One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) selection on a desktop, tablet or phone with internet connection, without downloading an app. To use the feature, Chicagoans only need a Library card, available in one of 80 branches across the city or online at

“Yet again, the Chicago Public Library is the first Library in the nation to offer a one-of-a kind experience. This new feature serves as just another example of Chicago pioneering the modern 24/7 library for residents and students,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “Throughout its 139-year history, the CPL has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority, and One Book, One Chicago Online fits perfectly with the library’s timeless mission.”


This year’s selection, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, will be released online at in six serialized installments beginning today through May 3rd.  Library cardholders will have access to the first installment of the online reading segment until May 3rd. Each subsequent installment will be available for two weeks at a time. This serialized experience allows Chicagoans all over the city to read the book online at the same time.


The online reading experience will be enhanced for users by allowing readers to highlight passages, post their favorite quotes to Twitter from within the reader and invite friends to read with them. This collective experience of Chicagoans will be emphasized with ‘reading sprints’ to encourage people to read together and finish the book. Reading sprints are designated times for people to read online and then join a collective conversation by tweeting their opinions, favorite quotes and reactions to the narrative.

The first reading sprint will take place on Thursday, February 5th and the schedule can be found at


See Also:  More Recent News From the Chicago Public Library

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.