Books Available

The Great Good Place (Berkshire Edition) by Ray Oldenburg with a foreword by Karen Christensen. This is the original book now in fresh covers and also available as an ebook. When we told people we were writing a new 2024 edition, there was a lot of excitement but we also heard how much the original 1989 text is cherished. We decided to make it available immediately, and you can get a paperback copy at Amazon or from pretty much any major bookseller (it’s available through Ingram Global Distribution). Click here for the Kindle edition. Or buy and download an individual-use PDF ebook here. (Already have a copy? Here is a sheet of discussion questions for classes or book clubs.)

The Joy of Tippling is Ray Oldenburg’s last book, a toast to the importance of drinking together crafted by the ultimate tippler. Like his bestselling The Great Good Place, in which he coined the now-famous term “third places,” The Joy of Tippling is packed with factual information, humor and wit, personal insights, and sound sociological observations. It is a celebration of third places, and a call to community. Click here to buy a paperback copy or the ebook. Also available at Amazon and through your local bookshop.

Third Places: A Very VERY Short Introduction is a succinct explanation of the concept of the third place, which many specific examples. It’s one of the first books in a new series from Berkshire Publishing Group, and derives from Ray Oldenburg’s work as associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Community, a major work for which Karen Christensen was the senior academic editor. It can be pre-ordered now and will be available in Autumn/Winter 2023. Click here to learn more or place an order.

Community, a subject that lies at the heart of dozens of social initiatives and academic endeavors, has at last been explored in a resource large enough to encompass its variety and complexity. The Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World is the creation of a global team, led by senior academic editor Karen Christensen of Berkshire Publishing Group, of nearly 400 scholars and professionals. The encyclopedia captures the fullness of our deep and contradictory responses to community, drawing on the work of historians, sociologists, anthropologists, town planners, and experts from a variety of other disciplines and some twenty countries. Ray Oldenburg was the associate editor for the articles covering Social Life, including his own article on “Third Places.” This publication was developed for SAGE Reference by Berkshire; the online version is available from SAGE. The review in CHOICE follows.

Incredibly, this is the first encyclopedia to focus on community as concept and experience, so stands alone in its field as the one title any library must buy to cover this topic. It does not concern itself only with alternative or intentional communities, as readers might expect. The “Reader’s Guide” in volume 1 classifies entries under 20 categories (many under more than one) that indicate the work’s broad scope-e.g., “Activism and Social Transformation,” “Biographies”, “Communities, Affinity,” “Communities, Primordial,” “Internet and Communities,” “Rural Life,” “Social Capital,” “Urban and Suburban Life.” Volume 1 also lists entries alphabetically along with the numerous sidebars that dot the volumes (e.g., “Virtual Visits to International Communities in Russia and Eastern Europe” with the entry, “International Communities in Russia and Eastern Europe”).. . . Volume 4 has the index for the set and appendixes, “Libraries Build Community” (the library as meeting place, community bulletin board center, and provider of information resources on health, employment, and other subjects that build community); “Community in Popular Culture” (an annotated list of fiction and nonfiction, plays, movies, television and radio programs, and music); and an invaluable “Master Bibliography of Community: (p. 1611-1734). . . . Summing up: Essential. All readerships.

Here is another Berkshire Publishing title that shows how libraries are redefining their role to include serving as third places in their communities. The three hundred nominations for Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love ranged from single-page essays to bulging binders filled with newspaper clippings, annual reports, and color photos. They came from urban libraries that had been brought back from the dead, rural libraries that had recovered from tornadoes and fires, old libraries made totally modern while retaining a sense of historic continuity, and new libraries that blend into the physical environment with energy-efficient and water-saving features. This volume is a treasure trove of historical information, inspiring stories, and beautiful images, old and new. Book News: “Published in an oversize format (9.25×12.25″), and full of color photos, this volume contains descriptions and histories of 80 libraries mainly in the US and a few in Canada, with two pages devoted to each. Each library’s address, details about its founding and building, current specialities and focus, and future plans are included in each profile.”