For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

One Book, One Philadelphia Kicks Off Season with More Than 100 Programs

The Free Library’s annual community reading program opened its 2020 season with
an evening of conversation, reading, and performance inspired by the novel
There There

PHILADELPHIA, January 23, 2020—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 18th season of its annual One Book, One Philadelphia program on January 22 with a special evening of discussion and performance. The event included an appearance by Tommy Orange, author of the 2020 One Book, One Philadelphia featured selection, There There—a novel written in the voices of a dozen Native American characters of multiple generations as their lives intersect around a powwow in Oakland, California.

The kickoff event signals the start of more than 130 engaging and educational One Book programs that will take place through March 18. Book discussions, children’s craft workshops, historical presentations, culinary events, panel discussions, and film screenings are just some of the wide variety of events offered during One Book, One Philadelphia’s 18th season. 

“The Library is partnering with an incredible group of artists, scholars, and activists for the One Book 2020 events season, which centers Indigenous voices and experiences,” said Brittanie Sterner, Program Director for One Book, One Philadelphia. “There are so many opportunities for Philadelphians to attend free, interactive events and discuss universal themes from Tommy Orange’s novel, including racial justice, violence, and gentrification.”

Featured events during the 2020 One Book season include:

Food and Community Panel
Tuesday, February 11, 6:00 p.m.
Parkway Central Library, Skyline Room, 1901 Vine St.

In There There, the kitchen is a site of memory, emotion, and sometimes powerlessness. Join this expert panel for a conversation about cultural foodways—how what we eat intersects with culture, traditions, and history—through a pan-Indigenous lens. This event is co-presented with the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center.

We Must Act: Black and Indigenous Freedom Dreaming
Saturday, February 15, 1:00 p.m.
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library, 125 S. 52nd St.

At this community forum co-presented by Indigenous 215 and Paul Robeson House and Museum, Black and Native activists will reflect on the local history of relationships between Black liberation and Native sovereignty movements on the Lenape land we now occupy.

Whereas: The Poet Confronts Occupation
Sunday, March 1, 2:00 p.m.
The Rosenbach, 2008–2010 Delancey Pl.

In this public workshop led by Dr. Norma E. Cantú, engage with poems from the piercing, award-winning book Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) alongside historic printed copies of broken U.S. treaties (from 1824 to 1869) from The Rosenbach’s collection.

Bearing Witness: Gun Violence Community Forum
Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 p.m.
Lillian Marrero Library, 601 W. Lehigh Ave.

Hear from gun violence survivors and family members who, living with lifelong trauma, have become advocates for healing and change. Students from the Mighty Writers Teen Scholars Group will open the event with readings from their Anti-Violence Booklet, and the panel will discuss the deep impacts of violence and grief in communities and well as systemic issues of inequality and racial injustice that perpetuate gun violence in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The event will include a resource fair.

One Book, Many Voices Community Dinner
Wednesday, March 11, 6:00 p.m.
Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Library, 5800 Cobbs Creek Pkwy.

Join a family-style dinner of dishes from the Americas catered by El Merkury, Poi Dog Philly, Everything We Eat, and South Philly Barbacoa. Hear thoughts from the contributing chefs on Indigenous food traditions, as we put text on the table and discuss passages from There There. This event is co-presented with the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center.

One Book, One Philadelphia Finale
Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 p.m.
Parkway Central Library, Montgomery Auditorium, 1901 Vine St.

To celebrate the many voices heard in There There and throughout One Book programs, join us in closing the season with a polyphonic presentation of performances by local artists, followed by a conversation about their creative and cultural practices, their relationships with Philadelphia, and staying connected to their roots. This event is curated by We Are the Seeds.

Along with programs and events throughout the city of Philadelphia, One Book has distributed thousands of copies of There There and Eric Gansworth’s If I Ever Get Out of Here, the middle-grade youth companion selection, to middle and high school students throughout the School District of Philadelphia. All Free Library locations have copies of There There for customers to borrow with a Free Library card, as well as limited free copies of the books available at book discussions for participants to keep. In addition, the Free Library has ebook copies and downloadable audiobooks available for checkout from its website. 

The One Book website, at, is devoted to more resources, including downloadable discussion guides, recommended reading lists, event calendars, and more.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850