Library notes: A different way to approach history

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 12, 2009

By Paul Birkhead
Rowan Public Library
“What’s past is prologue” is a famous quote from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” that has been prominently carved into the National Archives building in Washington, D.C.
The quote means the past repeats itself and continually influences the present. If history interests you as much as it does me, there are many books in Rowan Public Library’s collection you might enjoy. Here are three recent arrivals.
“Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure” chronicles a cross-country road trip that took place in 1953. Road trips as a whole are not unusual, back then or today. However, the man who drove a big, black Chrysler down the highway that year was no ordinary American. He was none other than Harry S. Truman who, a few months prior, had been president of the United States.
The book’s author, Matthew Algeo, tells the story of Harry and Bess Truman’s attempt to travel incognito from Independence, Mo., to Washington, D.C., and back. As Algeo recreates the trip in modern times, he delights the reader with anecdotes about people and places Harry and Bess encountered along the way.
“Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” by Brian Biegel is a fascinating story about baseball that also touches on the subjects of self renewal and father/son relationships.
Biegel recounts his quest to determine the fate of what has been called the “Holy Grail” of baseball collectibles. On Oct. 3, 1951, New York Giants player Bobby Thompson hit a home run that clinched the pennant title from the Giants’ crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
After clearing the left field fence, the ball seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. In his journey to find the “miracle ball,” the author scours records, interviews eyewitnesses, and even gets a crucial tip from a retired NYPD detective. If you want to know whether Biegel solves the mystery or if the dusty ball sitting on top of his father’s armoire played any role in it, you’ll have to read the book.
In 1984, Peter Feldstein had an ambitious goal ó to photograph every single person in his hometown. Granted, this was Oxford, Iowa (population: 676), but it was still quite a chore to get it done.
Twenty years passed and Feldstein decided to photograph the town’s residents again. “The Oxford Project” is the collaborative effort of photographer Feldstein and writer Stephen Bloom to document what happened to the Oxford citizens over two decades. The black and white photographs in this oversized book are stunning and even though the before and after photos are sure to grab your attention, it’s the life stories attached to them that will keep you turning pages.
If you’re interested in the past, take some advice from the present and go check out what Rowan Public Library has to offer.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Absolute Beginner’s PowerPoint; Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Yahoo e-mail: Beyond the Basics; June 22, 7 p.m., Power Point: Beyond the Basics; June 25, 2:30 p.m., Open Office Up Close: Writer.Children’s: Summer Reading Program begins. This week’s featured artist is Flow’s Circus with circus art and magic. Storytellers, educators and entertainers will make “Be Creative” a fun-filled summer. For more information, call 704-216-8234. Children must be the minimum age listed by May 1.
Space is limited to 20 for 1- and 2-year-olds. Please call the nearest library location to pre-register.
Headquarters: Tumblers (12-24 months) Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Dancers (2-year-olds) Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; Singers (3- to 5-year-olds) Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Artist (rising first- through fifth-graders) Tuesdays, 2 p.m.
East: Tumblers (12-24 months), Mondays, 10:30 a.m.; Dancers (2-year-olds), Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Singers (3- to 5-year-olds), Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; Artist (rising first- through fifth-graders) Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
South: Tumblers (12-24 months), Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; Dancers (2-year-olds), Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Singers (3- to 5-year-olds), Mondays, 10:30 a.m.; Artist (rising first- through fifth-graders), Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Teen program: RPL’s program for teens, Express Yourself @ Your Library, will kick off Monday for rising sixth- through 12th-graders. Skill Toys Workshop will be the first scheduled event which will include Japanese Kendama, juggling and more. Because class size is limited, registration is required for this week only. Please call the library location nearest you to register. Teens can attend any of the other programs without registration.
Headquarters, Monday, 5:30 p.m.; South, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.; East, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.June movies are anime features selected by the Rowan County Anime Group.
Tuesday, “A Tree of Plame”; June 23, “Sakura Wars. The Movie”; June 30, “Howl’s Moving.”Displays: Headquarters ó Rowan Arts Council, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College; South ó Ireland by Diane Brideson; East ó stained glass by James Brady.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.