New Collaboration Empowers Community to Take Control of Media Consumption

Media Literacy Book Club to Start at the Sunderland Public Library

Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 6pm, and the club will be discussing the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

The New England Literacy Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) and the Sunderland Public Library have partnered to create a new book club focusing on media literacy and gender based violence, facilitated by Charity O’Connor, Domestic Violence Intervention Project Advocate for NELCWIT.

The book club will meet the last Monday of every month from 6 – 7 pm in the Lane Reading Room of the Sunderland Public Library, and will discuss how popular media, such as books, portrays sexual/domestic violence and how those portrayals impact our culture.

It is hoped that the Media Literacy Book Club will become a safe space for people to discuss difficult issues that many people choose to avoid. “I would love to see this book club become a space for community members to engage in critical discussions about popular media and how popular media influences our beliefs, perpetuates harmful stereotypes about sexual and domestic violence, and romanticizes abusive behavior,” says Charity O’Connor. “If our media consumption goes unchecked, we internalize the harmful messages we receive from the media and those messages can negatively influence our personal relationships. This is why I think a book club such as this is so important – it’s our chance to take control of the media we consume and be active participants in breaking down those harmful messages.” 

Katherine Hand, Director of the Sunderland Public Library, is also excited to be partnering with NELCWIT on the Media Literacy Book Club.”One of the most important roles public libraries play in our communities is the creation of a welcoming environment in which to gain knowledge and share ideas.” Katherine hopes that this book club, which is open to people of all genders and ages, will provide a forum in which a diverse group of people can explore dominant and lesser known media stereotypes. “It is wonderful to see organizations such as NELCWIT reaching out to public libraries to establish programs such as this. NELCWIT has the expertise and resources to facilitate a fruitful discussion on media literacy, while the Sunderland Public Library can provide the space, the media, and the people to discuss it.”

The first meeting of the Media Literacy Book Club will be Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 6pm, and the club will be discussing the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. People who are interested in joining should sign up at the Sunderland Public Library (20 School Street in Sunderland) or call 413-665 2642. Copies of the book can be borrowed at no cost from the Sunderland Public Library or most other public libraries.

– Submitted by Katherine Hand

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