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Learn more about China before Olympics begin

By Edward Hirst
Rowan Public Library
With the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympics upon us, you may want to know more about this year’s host country.
While China may physically be 7,120 miles from Rowan County, you can easily explore this country from your local branch of Rowan Public Library.
There are quite a few books available that can be borrowed, from traditional travel guides to large table top books full of beautiful photographs of the landscape and the people who inhabit the most populous country in the world.The book “Beijing and Shanghai” is from the Eyewitness Travel Series and is a pocket guide packed full of information and photographs from the two Olympic host cities of the same name. Chapters in this book include “Four Great Days in Beijing,” “Four Great Days in Shanghai” and “The History of China.” Other travel guide books available include three titles from Fodor’s: “China: See It,” “China” and “Exploring China.”
“A Traveler’s History of China” by Stephen Haw provides an illuminating look at the third largest country in the world. He begins his narrative with the prehistoric civilizations that inhabited China from 4,000 years ago into the modern age. Haw first visited China in 1980 and then studied at the University of Shandong for two years. He is able to deliver a concise overview in his book.
Two books explore the third longest river in the world, “Yangtze,” by Philip Wilkinson and “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze,” by Peter Hessler. In “Yangtze,” Wilkinson follows the river from its beginnings in the highlands of Tibet where icy water from melting glaciers joins to begin the journey to the East China Sea and the city of Shanghai.
The book is divided into four geographical parts: the Upper Reaches, the Three Gorges (including an intensive look at the Three Gorges Dam), the Middle Reaches and the Lower Reaches.
In “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze,” Hessler explores the impact the Yangtze has had on the small city of Fuling. While the city and its inhabitants had rarely seen change for generations, the Three Gorges Dam will flood most of the city and force the relocation of many of the people who live there.Other titles about China that are available at Rowan Public Library include “China: Its Most Scenic Places,” “China Revealed,” “The Forbidden City: China’s Ancient Capital.”
Computer classes: South branch ó Basic Word, Thursday, Thursday, 7 p.m.; Basic Windows, Thursday, April 24, 11 a.m.
Children’s programs: Call 704-216-8256 for headquarter programs; 704-216-7839 for East branch; and 704-216-7727 for South Regional programs.
Tuesday movies: April is Foreign Films Movie Month. Come to headquarters at 6:30 p.m. to see movies awarded Oscars. Featured films, “Babette’s Feast,” Tuesday; “Day for Night,” April 15; “Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” April 22; and “Closely Watched Trains,” April 29. Free refreshments will be served.
Displays: Headquarters ó art by Janie Allen and giraffes by Jan McCanless. East ó horses by Ann Furr. South ó wearable arts by Patti Schmid.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpubliclibrary .org.

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