The One Community, One Book program, also known as OCOB, is an annual community-wide reading project coordinated by the UICHR. The project invites campus and community members to read the same human rights-related text and participate in activities such as book clubs, discussions, film screenings, and author visits. 

OCOB 2021

Our 2021 One Community, One Book selection is Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Aftermath of Incarceration by Dr. Reuben Jonathan Miller. In this moving text, Dr. Miller presents the story of incarceration and its impact on those it touches, an impact extending far longer than peoples' incarceration and significantly affecting the lives of family and friends also. With the use of personal stories and in-depth research, Dr. Miller shows how the system has discrimination built in at every level,  creates obstacles to already disadvantaged groups, and therefore reinforces and exacerbates societal inequities.

Dr. Miller will come to campus during the week of the annual Iowa City, City of Literature Book Festival and will speak at Hancher Auditorium on the evening of October 21st, an event that will also be live-streamed.

If you are interested in participating in OCOB activities this year such as book clubs, discussions, film screenings, or author visits please reach out to us at

History of OCOB

Launched in 2001 by UICHR founders Dorothy Paul and Burns Weston, One Community, One Book was uniquely envisioned as a collaborative effort between the campus and community to promote human rights education through the reading of literature. Groups from around the City and County, such as public libraries, high schools, the Oakdale correctional facility, and the Iowa City Senior Center have collaborated to host local events such as discussion forums, book groups, film screenings, and author visits. 

Highlights of the program over the years include a visit by author Khaled Hosseini whose debut novel set in Afghanistan, The Kite Runner, was chosen in 2004 well before it became an international bestseller. In 2008, through a partnership with the Provost's Office and the Lecture Committee, copies of the book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, were given to each incoming first-year student and the author spoke to approximately 1,500 people at First Methodist church in Iowa City. In recent years, UICHR has partnered with the City of Literature, Geneva Campus Ministry, and other campus and community groups to fully integrate the program into the life of the community. In 2015, more than 1100 people attended the keynote lecture delivered by author Bryan Stevenson, who spoke about his best-selling book Just Mercy.