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Author Reza Aslan Comes to New Canaan for Library/UN Committee Lecture

New Canaan Library
New Canaan Library
Dr. Reza Aslan, internationally acclaimed writer and scholar, will be visiting New Canaan this month as part of a lecture series co-sponsored by the New Canaan Library and UN Committee of New Canaan as part of his book tour discussing his new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

The book has recently garnered some interesting press for Aslan, a Muslim. Aslan has publicly stated he's a religious scholar with four degrees who happens to be Muslim. Library Director Lisa Oldham made clear it shouldn't matter who the library's guest expert is if the conversation is a true pursuit of knowledge. 

"The ethos and concepts of library is the transmission of knowledge, ideas, culture and imagination," Oldham said. "Since the earliest libraries such as Alexandria over 2000 years ago, Libraries have supported communities by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, bringing people together to learn and share and by facilitating conversations by making accessible:  information and works of imagination and culture in any format. One of the key roles of the public library is to enable the transmission of ideas across time and space through any media, including lecture [and] conversation."

Oldham said the library partners with the UN Committee annually to bring renowned speakers to New Canaan and the UN Committee had the foresight to suggest contacting Aslan last April to coincide his lecture with the recent release of his latest book.  

On Sunday, September 22, the doctor will visit the Seldin Performing Arts Center at St. Luke's School at 3 p.m., and the audience is welcome to come prepared with questions, library representatives said. 

"Traditionally, when we can do so, we hold these series in the [Adrian] Lamb Room, which holds 200," said Susan LaPerla, Director of Development and Programs for the library. "We're currently at about 260, and St. Luke's has been a wonderful partner for us."

Following the increased public exposure of Aslan's book following the aggressive nature of the interviewer on the recent national network television channel appearance, LaPerla said she has high hopes for a thoughtful, engaged New Canaan audience that is somewhat larger than they had originally anticipated. 

"He folded this lecture into his book tour and it's just perfect timing. I think he's going to bring some nice perspective and a discussion around Christianity and Islam," she said. "He encourages people to have a conversation, and New Canaan audiences are really terrific. They're very smart and ask insightful questions. I think they'll come away feeling they've learned a lot."

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