London Public Library launches ‘One Book One London’

Londoners taking part in 'One Book One London'. Courtesy of London Public Library

It’s a chance for all of London to experience the same story.

On Monday, the London Public Library launched One Book One London, a city-wide initiative celebrating reading and experiencing a single story as a community.

From now through to the end of September, Londoners can expect to find Emma Hooper’s novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James throughout the city at local libraries, business partners, organizations, and other spots in the community.

LPL communications manager Ellen Hobin noted that the initiative recalls a time before streaming when it was more common to have shared cultural experiences.

“I’m old enough that I remember watching The Wonderful World of Disney. So if you were a kid, growing up, everybody watched it on Sunday night. First they’d have to have a bath, then they’d watch Disney, then the next day everybody would talk about the same show that they watched. The idea with this is just to bring back that shared cultural experience, that’s really about sharing a story.”

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In addition to reading the novel, there will be several events throughout the spring, summer, and fall as part of One Book One London.

“We’re really lucky the author, Emma Hooper, is coming to London. She’s teaching in England right now and she’ll be visiting London on April 24. That night she’ll be at the Central Library at 7:30. Everyone is welcome to come.”

Community partners and Londoners are encouraged to make copies available to pass along the novel when they’re done reading it and Hobin noted they’ve got a strong start.

“We’ve already had to have the publisher reprint the book twice before people even knew what the title was,” Hobin said. “So we expect this to be something that London really does embrace.”

Hobin said they will have a better idea come the fall on whether the initiative would return annually, or bi-annually.

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