The One Book, One Community (OBOC) program encourages the City of East Lansing – Michigan State University community to read the same book each fall and come together over a four-week period to explore its themes, issues and story in a variety of campus and community settings. The selected book is widely read on and off campus and is a required reading for all incoming freshman. It is used in numerous classes and residence hall activities and is the subject of a variety of city - campus programs and special events. The highlight of the program each fall is the visit by the book’s author to the community and to MSU to welcome the new freshman class to campus. OBOC is one of the first community reading programs to bring together the students of a major university and the residents of its surrounding community.
Statement of Purpose
The program is intended to build an intellectual and social rapport among students and community members through the collective experience of reading, thinking and discussing challenging ideas and themes that raise important social issues.
About “One Book” – Goals
The goal of the “One Book, One Community” program is:
- to create an opportunity for the residents of City of East Lansing to share in an aesthetic and intellectually satisfying experience with community members and organizations and with Michigan State University students and faculty through the discussion and analysis of quality literature; and
- to provide individuals on and off campus with the opportunity to learn from one another their responses and understanding by sharing their experience of a common book; and
- to promote positive interaction between East Lansing residents and MSU students; and
- to annually provide the University’s incoming freshman class with a shared learning experience that introduces them to the intellectual challenges and personal satisfactions of their coming academic life; and
- to engender a sense of shared experience and belonging across the larger city-university community.
History of the Program
In the fall of 2001 representatives of Michigan State University and the City of East Lansing explored the feasibility of establishing a community-wide reading program that would bring students and community members together in a common experience; the reading of a good book. In the fall of 2002 the first OBOC program, featuring Ray Bradbury’s science-fiction masterpiece “Fahrenheit 451,”demonstrated broad community support with community members, students, and faculty embracing the program’s value. The OBOC program, now a much anticipated annual event, enjoys partnerships with campus units and groups representing students and faculty and the East Lansing Public Library, the East Lansing Public Schools and local organizations and businesses.
The OBOC program is guided by a Planning Committee comprised of representatives from the City of East Lansing, Michigan State University, and the community at large and enjoys the assistance of on and off campus volunteers in the book selection process as well as assistance in presenting and hosting the program’s many special events and activities.
Book Selection Criteria
The book selection process includes a spectrum of representatives from MSU and the City of East Lansing who read and evaluate the merits of numerous books. Among the criteria they consider are:
- a work by a major author who is available to visit the city and campus
- a reading complexity appropriate for college students and community members
- relevant themes and issues suitable to group discussion and analysis
- a topic of relevance and appeal to both young adults and the general community
- a subject that lends itself to community-university programming and special activities
© 2010 City of East Lansing & MSU