Shared Spaces Reduce Divisions

We are living in a time of deep divisions. Americans are sorting themselves along racial, religious, and cultural lines, leading to a level of polarization that the country hasn’t seen since the Civil War. Pundits and politicians are calling for us to come together and find common purpose. But how, exactly, can this be done?

In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg suggests a way forward. He believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, churches, and parks where crucial connections are formed. Interweaving his own research with examples from around the globe, Klinenberg shows how “social infrastructure” is helping to solve some of our most pressing societal challenges. Richly reported and ultimately uplifting, Palaces for the People offers a blueprint for bridging our seemingly unbridgeable divides.

Klinenberg finds in libraries “the textbook example of social infrastructure in action,” a shared space where everyone from schoolchildren doing homework to the video-gaming elderly can get to know one another better. For him, the presence of destitute or mentally ill visitors is a feature, not a bug, of libraries, because it requires people to confront radical differences in a shared space.

Join us in our community read and let us know your thoughts about how social capital, the amount of interpersonal contact, can impact our community and beyond.  o participate in the Community Read:

  • You can read the book as an individual
  • You can suggest the book to your current book club
  • You can join CPLF book club by emailing: afallon@carmelpubliclibraryfoundation.org – You will then receive periodic emails during the span of the Community Read (Oct.-Dec.) engaging you in thought and leading up to an invitation to meet at the Harrison Memorial Library on December 11th at 6:30pm to discuss the book (max 35 – registration required)
  • You can start a book club
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