Chicago Public Library innovates once again with One Book One Chicago online


The book

Chicago Public Library (CPL)  began One Book One Chicago in 2001 and takes a leap forward with the project by being the first in the country to go online, offering free, in-browser, social reading of a full novel. 

“We love being able to engage our patrons in one-of-a-kind experiences like online reading of Kavalier & Clay,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “Providing free access to Library card holders enhances our existing One Book, One Chicago programming and allows more people to join the conversation, expand their knowledge and inspire ideas, and connect to people in a different, digital way.” 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is set amidst the backdrop of the rise of fascism and years leading up to World War II. 

Michael Chabon transports readers into an exciting world of comic books, heroes and superheroes, according to CPL. Readers are left wondering about their own personal transformations and what it means to be a hero. 

To view the book on a desktop, tablet or phone with internet connection, Chicagoans only need a Library card. For those in need of a card, applicants must take proper identification to any of the 80 CPL location. A valid identification is: a current, item with their name, photo and Chicago address, such as any Illinois state-issued identification.

If they don’t have a photo ID with name and current Chicago address, two pieces of current ID are required. One must include their name and Chicago address, and one must include their name and photo. Accepted forms of ID include:

  • Personal check
  • Current telephone, gas, electric or cable bill
  • Mail postmarked within 30 days
  • Voter registration card

Since post office box numbers are not accepted for an address, applicant may use a letter certifying their Chicago residency from the social service agency where they receive mail. 

This year’s selection, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, will be released online at in six serialized installments beginning Feb. 2 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 full schedule is as follows: 

Part 1: Mon., Feb. 2 – Sun., May 3
Part 2: Mon., Feb. 23 – Sun., Mar. 8
Part 3: Mon., Mar. 9 – Sun., Mar. 22
Part 4: Mon., Mar. 23 – Sun., Apr. 5
Part 5: Mon., Apr. 6 – Sun., Apr. 19  
Part 6: Mon., Apr. 20 – Sun., May 3  

Online readers will be allowed to highlight passages, post their favorite quotes to Twitter from within the reader and invite friends to read with them. 

CPL this type of interaction will encourage people to read together and finish the book. There will be "reading sprints" which 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 Thurs., Feb. 5. The schedule can be found online

Editor's note: Please share your experience with us so we can pass it on!



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