New Canaan and Darien libraries team up for Head to Head event
NEW CANAAN — The Darien and New Canaan libraries are leaving town rivalries to the lacrosse fields.
The two libraries teamed up on Sept. 25 for their first “Head to Head” event, an occasional series featuring two authors coming together to interview each other on a shared stage.
Despite their towns being athletic rivals, Darien and New Canaan librarians said they work together often.
“We have similar audiences and communities,” said Christle Chumney, adult services manager at the New Canaan Library. Chumney explained the idea call it Head to Head plays on the rivalry between the two towns.
For the first event, the libraries hosted authors Lauren Groff and Robin Black in the auditorium of St. Luke’s School in New Canaan. Groff is the author of four books, including “Fates and Furies”, a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.
Black is the author of three books, including the short story collection, “If I loved you, I would tell you” this which was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor Story Prize and winner of the 2010 Philadelphia Athenaeum Fiction Award. Black also reviewed “Fates and Furies” for the New York Times.
“We as libraries, our industry is based on sharing,” Mallory Arents, head of adult programming at Darien Library said. “We’re not competition. Google is our competition. We’re constantly working on collaborations, playing off the town rivalries.”
On stage the authors, who had only met once before in a brief encounter, discussed the art of writing, how they handles reviews and juggling being a writer with other parts of their lives. In particular, the writers touched upon the topic of marriage, a subject that is prominent in both of their work.
“I think what’s difficult is if you write about people who are married to each other, it doesn’t mean you’re trying to make vast statements on marriage,” said Black in an interview prior to the event. “It might just be you’re writing about two people who are married to each other.”
Following the hour-long talk, the two authors signed books in the lobby of the school, while guests enjoyed light snacks and drinks provided by the library.
According to the librarians, there is another “Head to Head” event planned for next year.