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Library celebrates centennial Sunday

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — The Rowan Public Library turns 100 this year, and it is inviting the local community to its birthday party Sunday afternoon.
There will be a suitably large cake, along with cupcakes, ice cream and Cheerwine, staff members say. Both children and adults can enjoy the games, balloons and entertainment at this party.
The centennial celebration will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the library headquarters, 105 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury. It will recognize those who started the library in March 1911 and honor those who have supported it through its first century.
“We’re really excited about being able to provide wonderful library service for 100 years, and we want to share that excitement with the community,” said Suzanne White, public services manager with the Rowan Public Library.
A rededication ceremony at 3 p.m. will include comments from community leaders and the launching of 11 golden balloons.
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz will present the library with a book given by Salisbury’s namesake and sister city in England. Chad Mitchell, chair of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, will read a proclamation by the county.
Rosalie Kizziah Laughlin, a long-time member of the Salisbury Travelers Club, will speak on behalf of the group that began the public library one century ago. Library Director Jeff Hall and others also will make remarks.
“This celebrates the library’s position in the community,” Hall said Thursday. “It emphasizes that communities still need libraries and libraries still need communities, and that hasn’t changed in 100 years.”
The library is hosting a variety of vintage activities for people of all ages, including a scavenger hunt, old time children’s games on the lawn and fantastic story times.
The Salisbury Brass Band played for every special occasion in 1911, and this party will continue that tradition with a brass band with Steve Etters. Music also will be provided by the Bar None Barbershop Quartet and classical guitarist Rob Howle.
The centennial celebration will feature special guest appearances from costumed historical library “friends,” including Beulah Stewart Moore, who had the idea for the library in the first place. Former Salisbury Mayor Archibald Henderson Boyden, Elizabeth Maxwell Steele and Daniel Boone also will attend.
Andrew Jackson will greet visitors at the one-room Henderson Law Office, which will be open for all to see. It was used for the first public library in Rowan County.
Phil Barton, former library director, said Sunday’s party celebrates 100 years of a library dedicated to serving Rowan County residents, “from the youngest to the oldest.”
“What has driven that all along has been the commitment on the part of the board, the staff and the (Friends of Rowan Public Library) group to offer our citizens the best possible library service that we can,” Barton said. “This celebration is really to honor that commitment and to say ‘thanks’ to all those library users over the years who have helped turn our library into such great one.”
The library has planned many other events throughout 2011 to celebrate this milestone with the community, including a variety of activities and programs this month.
Take in the Civil War Sesquicentennial Photo Exhibit: “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory” at the library headquarters in Salisbury during the month of June.
On Tuesday, June 14, head to the South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove at 7 p.m. for an evening with award-winning thumb-picking guitarist Comer “Moon” Mullins.
On Tuesday, June 28, the Rowan Public Library and N.C. Humanities present “Still Cookin’: Food and Memory in Southern Literature,” tracing the history of “foodtalk” in southern cookbooks and fiction.
Summer movie nights at the Salisbury library headquarters include the following: June 7, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief; June 21, Diary of a Wimpy Kid; July 12, How to Train Your Dragon; July 26, Ramona and Beezus.
For more details about centennial events and programs, visit the library’s website at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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