Concord Reads

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Concord Reads is a citywide literary event encouraging community members to read and discuss the same book. Celebrate the power of books in creating a stronger community.

The goal of Concord Reads is to celebrate the written word and to build social capital. Concord Reads brings people together by encouraging them to read and participate in discussions and other events about the same book.

When choosing a title the committee considers many things, including if it appeals to a wide audience and resonates with the citizens of the Greater Concord, NH community; whether it appeals to all age groups from teens to older adults; whether the themes of the book are relevant to the times and community and lend to open and robust discussion; whether the themes of the book lend to library programming at all age levels; whether the book is available in a multitude of formats; and whether the themes of the book vary from years prior.

Concord Reads 2019: Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin

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Ghost of the Innocent Man tells the heart-wrenching story of an innocent man's twenty-five years in prison and his relentless champion's efforts to prove his innocence.  Wrought with examples of the shortcomings of the country's criminal justice system, the story is also suffused with hope and the possibility of meaningful reform as it follows the gallant efforts of the people who are working to change the system. With an overarching theme of the roles of race, ethnicity, and class in wrongful conviction, this title is sure to spark engaging and important conversation in the Concord Community. 

Schedule of Events - All Concord Reads events are free and open to the public

Wrongfully Convicted: A Panel Discussion - Wednesday, March 13 at 7pm - NHTI (31 College Dr.) Grappone Hall Rm. 301

A mere 19 years old at the time of his original arrest, Sean Ellis steadfastly maintained his innocence for the 1993 murder of a Boston police detective through three separate criminal trials, 21 years of incarceration, and 3 years awaiting what would have been his 4th trial before finally being exonerated with the help of the New England Innocence Project. Meet Sean Ellis and experts in the criminal justice field as we kick off Concord Reads 2019 programming with a panel discussion on Wrongful Conviction. In addition to Mr. Ellis, hear from Cynthia Mousseau - the New Hampshire Staff Attorney for the New England Innocence Project; Gilles Bissonnette - the Legal Director for the ACLU-NH; and Don Topham - an Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney who has been both a public defender and prosecutor. Moderated by Jason Moon of New Hampshire Public Radio and host of the Bear Brook podcast. On Wednesday, March 13th at NHTI (31 College Drive) in Grappone Hall Room 301.

Concord Reads Film Festival - Snacks Provided!

Shawshank Redemption - 3/21 @5:30pm, Concord Public Library

The Fugitive - 3/28  @5:30pm, Concord Public Library

Chinatown  - 4/3 @7pm, NHTI (31 College Dr.)  Sweeney Auditorium 

Do You Know Where Your DNA is? With Buzz Scherr, Chair of the Int'l Law & Justice Program at UNH Law - Tuesday, April 16th at 7pm - UNH Law (2 White St.) Rm. 282

DNA evidence is an important tool used in the modern criminal justice system—it can help convict and exonerate defendants. It recent years, many wrongly accused defendants have been set free because of DNA. However, the availability of testing products and DNA registries made popular through programs like 23 and Me and have led to a new DNA reality. When California police finally caught the “Golden State Killer,” they admitted that that they used an opensource genealogy website to narrow the suspects and make the arrest. Who owns your DNA? Who can access it? Join noted scientific evidence expert, Albert “Buzz” Scherr as he explores some of these sticky questions.

Concord Reads Trivia Night - Thursday, April 25th at 7pm - Lithermans Limited Brewery (126 Hall St., Unit B)

Lithermans Limited hosts the Concord Public Library for an evening of trivia on the themes found in the Concord Reads 2019 book: Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption. Prizes to top winners, library swag for all.

Ghost of the Innocent Man Book Discussions - NHTI (31 College Dr.) Library Living Room

The Two Faces of Justice - 2/26 @5pm 

Join Larissa Striga and Luis Rosa of NHTI for a discussion about the social justice issues raised in Benjamin Rachlin’s Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption.

Victimization and Social Order - 4/10 @1:30pm 

We will explore questions sacrifice and the social order, broader historical and cultural implications of Benjamin Rachlin’s Ghost of the Innocent Man.

Children's Programs at Concord Public Library

Empowerment Wall - Month of March

Has anyone ever hurt your feelings or made you feel left out? How did it make you feel? Did you find a way to help yourself to feel better? Come share your experience by writing a letter to the person (anonymously) to display on our empowerment wall. Your letter may help another child who is feeling the same way, or could help someone to realize their words and actions can hurt others. The letter will be displayed for the month of March. 

STEAM Team - Get a Clue: Crime Scene Investigation - Wednesday, March 20th at 3pm

Have you ever wanted to be an investigator? Want to learn how criminals get caught? Join us as Concord PD’s Officer Howe shares secrets of crime scene investigation during this special STEAM event. From DNA to fingerprinting, and so much more, you can learn the tricks of the trade. Hands on activities will be included. Program recommended for elementary and middle school aged children.
Register online at, at the Main Desk, or by phone (603)225-8670. 

Social Justice Storytime - Friday, March 22nd at 3pm

Learn about courageous children who bravely went against the rules of society to fix injustices. They bravely fought to make changes in schools and public places to ensure equality for all children. Program is best suited for elementary aged children. 

Meet Concord Reads Author Benjamin Rachlin - Thursday, May 2nd at 7pm - Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St.)

Meet author Benjamin Rachlin at Red River Theatres on Thursday, May 2nd at 7:00pm. Benjamin will discuss his writing process and answer questions from NHPR's Peter Biello and the audience. The evening will conclude with a book signing in the Red River Theatres Lobby.

Concord Reads 2019 Poster

Concord Reads 2019 Schedule

Concord Reads 2019 Author Event

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Concord Reads 2019 Author Event Graphic

Past Concord Reads Programs

2018: Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

Following Atticus Book Cover

2017: Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan

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2016: When Books went to War by Molly Guptil Manning

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2014-2015: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman Book Cover

2013: Maxine Kumin's three books: Inside the Halo and Beyond, Where I Live: New & Selected Poems, 1990-2010,

Women, Animals & Vegetables: Essays & Stories.

Women_Animals_and Vegetables Book CoverWhere I Live Book Cover

Inside the Halo and Beyond Book Cover

2012: Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

The Weight of Water Book Cover

2011: Outcasts United by Warren St. John

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2010: Firoozeh Dumas’ two books Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without an Accent 

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2009: “How one person can make a difference” - theme with two books:
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and The Soloist by Steve Lopez

Pay it Forward Book Cover

2008: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

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2007: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

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2006: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

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2005: Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian

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2004:  The works of poet and author Donald Hall

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2003:  Empire Falls by Richard Russo

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2002:  The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

The Bridge of San Luis Rey Book Cover