Thank You, Jon Ronson! Thank you, Fairfield!

What a wonderful evening! Our One Book One Town signature event was last night at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University. Those who were in attendance were treated to something very, very special: an entertaining and thought-provoking discussion on the most timely of subjects.

Jon Ronson

Thank you to all who attended. We hope you were as dazzled by Mr. Ronson as we were.

Special thanks must go out to The Friends of the Fairfield Public Library, who not only generously support the library all year long, but act as the primary funders of the One Book One Town initiative. We also thank our individual sponsors:

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This was our ninth One Book One Town event and it is easily one of our favorite things is getting to work with our wonderful community partners, including the Pequot Library, the Fairfield Museum and History Center, Fairfield Public Schools, our gracious hosts at Fairfield University and the unbelievably patient and professional staff at the Quick Center, and our friends at the Fairfield University Bookstore.

Finally, this event is a true reflection of the passion and commitment of the staff at our public libraries, who work tirelessly every day to connect the community with ideas, opportunities and the wider world.  What an amazing team!

And we’re not done yet! There are still several events to come in this season, including our new Continue the Conversation sessions tomorrow at 1 PM (Woods) and 7 PM (Main), a special viewing of TED Talks on Friday, the last installment of our Film Series on Sunday, and the Writer’s Contest reading on March 16th. We hope you’ll join us!

We hope to see you in one year for our tenth One Book One Town event. Our selection process will begin early this summer. As always, please do share your thoughts and suggestions as we carry on this wonderful tradition of honoring the readers and thinkers of Fairfield!

Tomorrow!

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield tomorrow! In The author of the 2016 One Book One Town selection, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, as well as The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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It is going to be a spectacular night as Fairfield comes together once again to celebrate reading! We can’t wait to see you at the Quick Center. We know that Mr. Ronson is looking forward to his visit to Fairfield tomorrow:

When asked about how Ronson felt about the events leading up to his talk, he said that “One Book One Town” is “the best thing to happen to this book.” He said he felt absolutely honored that his book has been chosen for this event. At his talk on March 8, he hopes to discuss the story of how he came to write the book and the criticism he faced after it was published. He said, “After the book came out, I was actually criticized for some of the points I was making.”

He felt those who organized the events leading up to the talk truly understood his message. Ronson felt that the organized events “perfectly captured the themes of judgment and public humiliation.”

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Our event will begin promptly at 7 PM, with Mr. Ronson’s presentation followed by a book signing. Copies of his books will be available for purchase from the Fairfield University Bookstore at the event.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night for another unforgettable One Book One Town celebration!

In Two Days…

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just two days, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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Now, a note from Kristina, Children’s Librarian and One Book One Town committee member:

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed echoes in my mind as I follow the presidential race in the form of one name: Donald Trump. He seemingly cannot be shamed. His popularity inexplicably grows as he leads the Republican Primary Race with little resistance. Why?

The internet has been trying to shame him for his constant gaffes—sexist, racist, xenophobic, inappropriate and misinformed gaffes that appear in the news on a daily basis. But this privileged, middle-aged white billionaire appears to be impervious to any criticism. As I have been watching his campaign unfold, and cringing from his lack of empathy towards any demographic beyond his own, I keep thinking back to Jon Ronson’s examination of who can be shamed and for what. Trump’s offensive comments get retweeted and shared via Twitter and other Social Media outlets, and outrage huge portions of the population, yet this collective outrage is not enough to shame him into behaving in a socially appropriate way. How does he rise unabashedly from the onslaught?

It would initially appear that Trump’s status as a rich white male would prevent his shaming, but as Mary and Donna pointed out, Cecil the Lion’s killer was by no means immune to our collective outrage—and he was also a rich white male. Ronson attempts to explore this in his book—though he does not leave us with any answers, merely raises more questions as to how some people can come out of scandals unscathed and some collapse under the negative onslaught of comments and backlash.

trump shamePerhaps he is cowed by the outrage but still remains unabashed? Perhaps it is personality traits that allow for the contrasts between shame and popularity? What would it take to shame this man? As he said before the Iowan Caucus in January, he believes that he “could stand in the Middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and not lose any supporters.” I am curious. What could actually shame him?

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

In Three Days…

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just a few days, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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Now, a note from Craig, Trade Manager at the Fairfield University Bookstore and One Book One Town Committee Member:

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is filled with Puritan references, the terms ‘scarlet letter’ and ‘pillory’ show up in one of Jon Ronson’s examples with a quote from Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. I kept musing how Hester Prynne’s adulterous shame extended to the edges of her tiny Massachusetts village, and to neighboring villages, but no farther.

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Today’s village is global, a Global Village Marshall McLuhan envisioned when he coined the term in the ’60s with his pioneering books on media theory. Our 21st century village is quite a leap from Hawthorne’s tiny Puritan community, as Ronson takes delight in discovering with these cautionary tales.

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

In Four Days…

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just a few days, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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Now, a note from Donna, Member of the Board of the Fairfield Public Library and One Book One Town committee member:

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is not just for people on social media. No, this is a conversation that we all should take part in.  When did it become okay to cross the line?

I first read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson as the story of Cecil the Lion was in the news.  Walter Palmer hunted and killed a beloved lion. International attention and outrage exploded on social media. The online torrent of anger took on a mob mentality.  Twitter users said he should “be shot and skinned” and he should “lose his home, his practice & his money.” His home was vandalized and ‘Lion Killer’ was painted across his garage door. His life was threatened.  His wife was threatened.  They hired private security, shut down his business, and went into hiding as a result of threats to their safety.  He was judged by social media and public opinion before all the facts were known. Palmer had legal authority to partake in the hunt. Palmer was not charged with a crime yet he paid a terrible price.

Then, another story captures our attention.  Do we ever think about what happens to the person who has been publicly shamed?

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Steve Harvey made a mistake. Within a minute or two, he was back on the stage at the Miss Universe competition and acknowledged he had made a mistake.  He apologized for the mistake.  In the days that followed, Harvey was the recipient of public shaming.  Harvey stated “Here’s the part that people don’t understand. My family got death threats. They threatened my wife, they threatened my children.”   When did this become an acceptable response to someone making a mistake?

I believe that there is better way to respond.  I’m looking forward to hearing Jon Ronson speak next Tuesday, March 8th, about his thought provoking book. I believe this is a conversation that needs to continue.

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

In Five Days

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just a few days, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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Now, a note from Marissa, Teen Library Associate:

How merciless do we want to be?

This is the question Jon Ronson asks in a short video prepared for The Guardian on Twitter’s ability to ruin people’s lives via public shaming. We as a society are currently navigating the new waters of Internet etiquette and public shaming is playing a major role in that journey. Though let’s be clear: public shaming has existed since before computers, before television, before industrialization: we’re talking the literal stone ages. Whether in person, print, or electronically, public shaming in some form has existed since the dawn of time. And in a way, public shaming makes sense. What better way to teach both an individual and society a lesson than to make a mockery of the accused? You kill two birds with one stone and if the shaming is harsh enough, odds are no one else will attempt to do what the shamed did.

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HBO’s Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has harnessed the power of public shaming to fight back against corporations, tax loopholes, and bail issues with a fair amount of success. But even so…it’s an inherently confusing issue. Who should have the power to decide who gets shamed? How do we decide? And most importantly, how merciless do we want to be? The Internet has allowed us great freedom in expanding democracy to issues of social justice in ways that were previously inaccessible to us (read: you had to be a judge or other high member of society to decide who to punish), but like a young child home alone for the first time, we’re drunk with power and don’t know when to stop ourselves. I don’t know what we should do, but for the first time we have a cohesive text to show the effects of public shaming, and perhaps letting those stories inform our decisions going forward may help in defining boundaries.

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

In Six Days…

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just just a few days, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

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Now, a note from Mary, Branch Reference Librarian and One Book One Town Co-Chair:

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An interesting thing happened to me as I was reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.  I had been relishing all of the social media shaming going on surrounding the murder (and yes, I do see it as murder) of Cecil the Lion by dentist-pseudo-hunter Dr. Walter Palmer.  What he had done absolutely infuriated me, and although I never would have posted a derogatory comment myself, I was thrilled that it was being done by others.

Then along came Jon Ronson and his thought-provoking book.  It was time to hold the mirror up to my own face.  Talk about finding the right book at the right time!

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Yes, animal rights is one of my hot-button issues, I recognize that.  But was it right for me to be happy to learn Mia Farrow had tweeted the address of his dental practice and he had to shut down it down for several weeks? Or that there was an online petition with over 200,000 signatures calling for his extradition to face poaching charges in Zimbabwe?  Was the public fury he received for his actions justified?  While Jon may not have had answers to all my questions, he certainly shed some light on why it has been so easy for us to become a society of judges and juries with viral soapboxes.  Once you read it, I promise you it will change the way you feel about the next public shaming, which is always just around the corner.

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

In Seven Days…

We still can’t believe that Jon Ronson is coming to Fairfield! In just one week, on Tuesday, March 8, the author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test, Them and more will be at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Performing Arts at Fairfield University.

We do hope you can join us at 7 PM. There are still some places left in the audience, and we guarantee that you will not want to miss this outstanding speaker.

_____________________________________________________________________

Now, a note from Nicole, Teen Librarian and One Book One Town Co-Chair:

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Hey Fairfield! I hope you are as excited as I am that Jon Ronson is coming to town! It is always an honor to serve on the OBOT committee each year. We take our work very seriously, we always do our best to bring something to the town that will spark a community conversation, and I believe there are very few topics as timely as the way we live our digital lives, and how much of a reflection that is of who we are in our ‘analog,’ day-to-day existence as humans on this planet.

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Like many librarians, I am also a (slightly accidental) technologist. To do my job well, I have to learn and use and teach all kinds of internet stuff. I’ve seen that, for better or worse, each new gadget or app we opt to incorporate into our lives has a massive effect on how we operate and in many cases, how we interact with each other. Our ongoing digital ‘revolution’ is miraculous and terrifying, but we are witnessing just another radical shift in a long line of them. As a student of tech history (yes, there is a such a thing, and it is utterly fascinating!) I think this love/hate relationship with our tools of communication can be seen in the evolution of many human innovations stretching back to things we don’t even consider as  ‘technology’ anymore, from cave paintings to the creation of language and writing, to the rise (and sometimes fall) of the telegraph, the telephone, radio and television. The issues presented in this year’s book  aren’t new to these times, but instead long-standing, universal, and relevant to our entire history as a species.

I think we all have something to gain by reading this timely book, even if we think we’ve rejected the latest versions of what we today call social media. (By the way: Not one of us really can ignore this stuff, even if we aren’t tweeting or sending snaps. The effect these tools have had on our culture has been too seismic for even the most ardent Luddite to ignore…)

But enough about that.

I’m really excited about this year’s OBOT for many, many reasons, but this one might surprise you. Those of you who have ever run into me at the library know that I’m a big movie and TV nerd. And Mr. Ronson was the co-screenwriter of one of my favorite movies of 2014, which was loosely based on his own experiences with the Frank Sidebottom Band. Here is the trailer from this fantastic and surreal film, Frank, which, of course, you can borrow from the library:

And there is your fill of absurdity for the day. On that note, I hope to see you all next week at the Quick Center!

Register here for our One Book One Town Signature Event.

 

Registration for An Evening with Jon Ronson is now open for Fairfield Residents

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Can you believe that the highlight of the One Book One Town season is only three weeks away! (We certainly can’t…!)

Registration for our signature event, An Evening with Jon Ronson, is now open. The most efficient way to sign up is to use our online calendar of events, here. You can also call us at 203.256.3160 and speak to anyone at our Reference desk during the hours that the library is open.

Please note: The first six days of registration is for Fairfield residents only.

Registration for An Evening with Emily St. John Mandel begins on Wednesday!

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March is here, and even though we might not see the end of this winter for a few more weeks, it’s officially time for One Book One Town! Copies of Station Eleven are flying off our shelves and displays, and we are ready to get our community conversation started!

Registration for our signature event, An Evening with Emily St. John Mandel begins this Wednesday, March 4th at 9:00 am. Register here, or call us at 203.256.3160. This event is expected to fill to capacity quickly, but don’t hesitate to put yourself on the waiting list if necessary – we are constantly working to make sure we can accommodate as many people as possible!