Love of Books a Common Thread for ‘One Book’ Community Talks

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On April 17, community leaders in Charlotte, NC will headline one night of book talks in four Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branches, exploring the powerful themes of Fahrenheit 451.

Ray Bradbury [AP Photo]

Ray Bradbury [AP Photo]

Ray Bradbury was a visionary author, and Fahrenheit 451 is proof of his brilliance. Though it was written over 60 years ago, the themes are still as relevant now as when it was written.

When we read, we learn new things. And when we read together, we learn things not just about the book, but also about the people with whom we are reading.

As the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s “One Book, One Week, One Community,” week of reading approaches, local leaders in the fields of education, journalism and literacy make plans for one night of public conversation in local libraries about the selected book: Ray Bradbury’s classic masterpiece Fahrenheit 451.

In January, Fahrenheit 451 was selected as the book of choice for Charlotte-Mecklenburg to read, with events planned during National Library Week, April 13-19. The dystopian novel depicts life in a futuristic city where books are banned and burned. In anticipation of the popularity of this title, additional copies of Fahrenheit 451 have been made available through the Library catalog in various print, digital and audio formats.

“Copies of the book are still available, so it’s easy to join the community-wide discussion,” notes Charlotte Mecklenburg Director of Libraries David Singleton.

But even for those who haven't yet had a chance to read the book, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library hopes they’ll make plans to attend one of four public book talks lead by community leaders on April 17. These “One Book, One Community Conversations” will bring the book's themes to life, and in doing so aim to bring the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community closer together.

“Ray Bradbury was a visionary author, and Fahrenheit 451 is proof of his brilliance,” notes Library CEO Lee Keesler, who will be co-facilitating one of the book talks with CMS Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark. “Though it was written over 60 years ago, the themes are still as relevant now as when it was written.”

A recent Huffington Post article notes that “in Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury predicted a raft of later technological developments, among them flat-screen televisions, iPod earbuds, Bluetooth headsets, ATMs, and rolling news. Even Facebook -- given that people converse via a digital ‘wall’ in Bradbury's novel -- seems to have been eerily and prophetically prefigured in this novel.”

From predictions of our digital lives to the topic of intellectual freedom, the book offers much to discuss.

The “One Book, One Community Conversations” will be held at four regional libraries on Thursday, April 17 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. Each discussion will be co-facilitated by a member of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library administration or the Library’s Board of Trustees, paired with an esteemed member of the community. The talks are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. For questions, the public can call 704-416-0617.

In addition to these discussions, there are additional One Book events happening in library branches throughout Mecklenburg County, including screenings of the 1966 film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 directed by François Truffaut. For a full schedule of upcoming programs, visit

One Book, One Community Discussions
Thursday, April 17, 2014, from 6 - 7:30 p.m

  • South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road, Charlotte, NC

Conversation co-facilitated by Ann Clark, CMS Deputy Superintendent, and Lee Keesler, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO.

  • Beatties Ford Road Regional Library, 2412 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC

Conversation co-facilitated by Dr. Mark West, UNCC Professor of English/Chair of the English Department, and Gloria Kelley, Library Trustee and CPCC Dean of Library Services.

  • Morrison Regional Library, 7015 Morrison Boulevard, Charlotte, NC

Conversation co-facilitated by Richard Thurmond, Publisher of Charlotte Magazine, and David Singleton, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Director of Libraries.

  • North County Regional Library, 16500 Holly Crest Lane, Huntersville, NC

Conversation co-facilitated by Jill Gremmels, Davidson College Director of Libraries, and Jenni Gaisbauer, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation Director.

About the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library:
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is one of America’s leading urban public libraries, serving a community of over one million citizens in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Accessible and welcoming to all, the Library celebrates the joy of reading, fosters learning and growth, connects people to each other and the world, and inspires individuals with what they can achieve. Through 20 locations, targeted outreach and online at, the Library delivers exceptional services and programs, with a mission to create a community of readers and empower individuals with free access to information and the universe of ideas.

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Sarah Goldstein
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