Learn more about what makes a great city at the library

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2014

SALISBURY — Where might the happiest city on earth be? According to the award-winning journalist Charles Montgomery in his book “Happy City,” it might be Bogota, Colombia. Enrique Penalosa was the mayor who committed to changing the perception of his city and improving the lives of the residents. His plan for reducing traffic and creating public space for people has played a large part in creating a more livable city.
In the book “The Livable City” from the Partners for Livable Communities, the authors define what makes a city livable: open space, free-flowing traffic, historic preservation, attractive cultural and civic institutions, good housing, good jobs and good schools. This book provides the tools that help civic leaders get a handle on the many of the problems cities face today.
Jeff Speck writes about many problems he sees in American cities that he believes can be solved by improving their walkability in his book “Walkable City.” Public health, sustainability and even the lagging economy, he argues, can be boosted by making cities friendlier for pedestrians. Drawing on his background as a city planner and architectural designer, Speck makes a convincing case for revitalizing our public spaces in favor of foot traffic, with steps such as planting more trees and narrowing roads, investing in public transit systems and designing visually interesting buildings.
For thousands of years streets have been a major center of commerce, socialization and cultural exchange. But the advent of automobiles and suburbanization in the 20th century eroded the richness of American street life. Streets and sidewalks, once filled with people, are now filled with automobiles. In the book “Street Reclaiming,” David Engwicht prescribes a series of methods for returning vibrancy to our streets.
These days everyone is familiar with smartphones and smart homes, but how about smart cities? Increasingly such things as traffic patterns, sewage flow and street lighting are all being guided by software. In his book, “Smart Cities,” author Anthony Townsend takes a look at how cities are upgrading their infrastructure for the Internet age.
Children’s Storytime: Weekly Story Time through May 2. For more information call 704-216-8234.
Toddler Time (18- to 35-month olds) — 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, headquarters; 11 a.m. Mondays, East.
Baby Time (6- to 23-month olds) — 10 a.m. Wednesdays, headquarters; 10 a.m. Mondays, East.
Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds) — 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, South; 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Thursdays, East.
Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds) — 4 p.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 4 p.m. Mondays, South.
Tiny Tumblers (6- to 35-month-olds) — Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., South.
Children’s art programs: Learn different art techniques and start a new art project; runs weekly during storytime. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Art Party, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.; Art with Char, East, Thursdays, 4 p.m.
Lego Mania: East, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. Children of all ages can help build a city of Legos. This is part of the 411 Community Read program. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.
Courage & Conflict: Rowan in the Civil War: Headquarters, April 10, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. A short film that describes the events and effects of the American Civil War on the people of Rowan County. This episode is part of “Ramble through Rowan” DVD series. Free and open to public. A discussion session and reception will follow. Visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8232.
The Great Book Caper reading festival: Presented by the library and Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Headquarters, April 12, 10 a.m.-noon. Participants may show off their skills at reading clues, taking fingerprints and solving puzzles. Local authors will sell books, sign autographs and chat with the crowd. Festivities on the front lawn and in the street at Rowan Public Library Headquarters. The STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) bus will appear at this year’s festival. Admission is free.
Teen poetry slam: April 15, 5:30-7 p.m., headquarters. Each teen may perform three original poems in three rounds, and each round will be judged by a panel of judges and the audience. All middle and high school students are eligible. Winners will receive cash prizes up to $75. Registration is required. For more information please visit the website or call 704-216-8234.
Rowan Reading Rendezvous: Headquarters, April 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., an opportunity to connect with Carolina authors. Each author will give a 30-minute presentation and then be available to sign books and have one-on-one or small group discussions. Copies of books will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of Rowan Public Library. All are welcome, and there is no cost for admission. Find more information here or on the library website or call 704-216-8240.
Outdoor exploration workshop: South, April 28, 5:45-7:15 p.m. Learn about planning day trips, local and regional parks and trails, travel and safety tips and more. All ages welcome, but anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be door prizes. Participants who attend four out of five workshops will be entered to win grand prize. No charge to participate, but registration is required. Visit the website or call 704-216-7734 to register.
Book Bites Club: South (only), April 29, 6:30 p.m., “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Displays for April: headquarters, 411 Community Read; South, student art by Carson High School; East, Rockwell Civitans.
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.