Community Building: The Da Vinci Code helped me see the light

Community Building: The Da Vinci Code helped me see the light

I spent last Thursday night listening to Dan Brown the author of “The Da Vinci Code” and many other best sellers talk about his new book “Origins” at the Unity Temple in Kansas City. He did comment on the irony of the location, which got a chuckle from the audience.

I understood the event might be packed so Susie and I planned to get there a little early. There were close to a thousand people, as the first floor was nearly full, and people were sitting in the balcony.

Dan had brought his Dad with him on tour and he gave his son’s introduction, a task I could tell he totally relished. He shared Dan’s first book that he wrote and bound when I think he was five, and told how hard Dan had worked on his first three novels. Rising at 4 am and writing until 8 am before then going to work.

There was a short video introduction about the book and its Spanish location. Dan then spoke for a while, afterwards taking questions. I wonder what it is like to be an author and to look out into an audience knowing that almost everyone there has read your book.

In that hall, at that moment we are a tribe of book lovers, a community that cherishes this author’s writing and the characters he has created.
I have been pondering the question of what makes a community, and asking myself if those words have any real meaning in today’s modern world.

Community Building is one of Johnson County Library’s strategic goals. If I do not really understand the idea of a community and its meaning, how successful can I be in articulating that idea?

Last Thursday as I sat in the audience and I listened to people connect as they talked about this author’s books. They asked questions about his new novel and his past works.

Books, plays, movies, experiences and locations all connect us in some immutable way; they are ephemeral strands undulating back and forth in time, organic unpredictable, they are the ingredients of community.

Community can bloom at any moment when people gather, talk and share. It is what we do in public libraries every day.

The most poignant moment of the evening for me came from a man who stood to thank Dan for his books because it inspired him to read.
It is a comfort to know that where there is a book there is also a community of readers.