Home-schoolers thank Rowan Public Library employees
By Mark Wineka
Home-schoolers know they have a friend in Rowan Public Library.
The Salisbury, East Rowan and South Rowan locations of the library system often represent the media centers for children who learn at home from their parents.
“We rely on them very heavily,” said Diana Young, who has been home-schooling her children for nine years. “… They are the public servants closest to our hearts. They foster an environment for learning and loving to read.”
The Rowan County Home School Association celebrated National Library Week Tuesday by paying tribute to Rowan’s libraries, especially staff members of children’s services.
“We have a gem of a system here,” Young said.
The association donated books on home-schooling to the library’s permanent collection. It presented flowers to staff representatives of each library, gave out numerous door prizes, unfurled a National Library Week banner for display and provided staff members with pizza and baked goods ó home-baked, of course.
Young said she has always been impressed with the library staff’s patience, friendliness and efforts to provide the resources home-school parents and students need.
“And anything free helps the home-school budget be extended,” she said.
The home school association has roughly 200 families as members, though that doesn’t represent all the children being home-schooled in Rowan County.
The association serves as a support group in providing information and arranging for extraterritorial activities important to rounding out a child’s education and social interaction.
Those group activities often include subjects and classes such as Latin, physical education, computer labs, band and community service opportunities.
Young said the association is trying to organize a Junior Civitan Club, for example.
Parents of home-schooled children often try to fit visits to Rowan’s public libraries into their normal routines. Children’s story time is especially popular for the younger students. Young spoke highly of the library’s Teen Action Group, “which I think is fabulous.”
When the Home School Association approached businesses about donating things for Tuesday’s appreciation day, “All we had to say was we wanted to honor the library,” Young said.
The library also has played an important role for home-schoolers in the current recession because families typically depend on only one income.
Young said the library’s computers and its job-search information are important resources. Her own husband was laid off more than a year ago, and he depended on the library while searching (and finding) a new job, Young said.
Rowan’s libraries were closed Monday so county employees could take a recession-forced furlough day.
For people who depend on Rowan Public Library, it probably served as a wake-up call not to take the libraries for granted, Young said.
At the main Rowan Public Library branch in Salisbury Tuesday, Home School Association members and their students presented flowers to Erika Kosin, youth services coordinator, and Dara Cain and Elaine Burchette, who head the children’s programs at the South and East branches, respectively.
Sam’s Car Wash and Uncle Buck’s restaurant provided gift cards for library staff members; Domino’s, the pizza; Cheerwine, the drinks; and Wal-Mart, a cake and the flowers.