Planning a family reunion? Library has books full of ideas

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 8, 2015

By Paul Birkhead
Rowan Public Library

When you think of family reunions, what comes to mind? Is it a large gathering at a local park, three-legged races, and wonderful picnic food?
The assembling of extended family is considered by many to be a cherished tradition but isn’t quite as popular as it used to be. Families these days tend to have busier schedules and most do not live as close to one another as they used to. However, just because it might not be easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort.
Rowan Public Library has resources to help you gather those long-lost cousins.

If you want to host a successful family reunion, you’ll need more people attending than just you. You’ll want to invite aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family members.

If those folks don’t live close by or you haven’t ever met them, you might need to start planning early. Tracing your family tree is one way to find relatives you never knew you had. You do this through the practice of genealogy, which is the study of family ancestries and histories.

“Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist” is a fun book to read through if you’re just getting started researching your ancestors. The author, Buzzy Jackson, is a journalist with a Ph.D. in history who gets inspired to discover her roots after the birth of her son. What follows is an interesting account of her journey through historical societies, libraries, abandoned graveyards and even aboard a genealogy cruise ship.
Once you’ve decided to trace your family tree, you’ll discover right away that today’s genealogists can gather a lot of information without ever leaving their homes.

Using the Internet is a good way to jump-start your research. Genealogy Online for Dummies is helpful for finding out how to use your computer to locate family information, communicate with distant relatives and stay organized.

Once you’ve found a good pool of relatives to invite for a reunion, make sure to check out some books from the library to help you plan the event. “Family Reunion Handbook” and “Family Reunion: Everything You Need to Know to Plan Unforgettable Get-Togethers” are two good choices. Both books include examples to follow from successful reunions, helpful checklists and tips on how to feed and entertain everyone.

Did you know that the world’s largest family reunion is being held on June 6 this year? And your “cousin” A.J. Jacobs, a four-time New York Times bestselling author and journalist, wants you to join him at the New York Hall of Science, on the grounds of the World’s Fair.

There will be many celebrities present and various talks, contests and games. The reunion will be highlighted in a future book by Jacobs and be the focus of a new documentary by Morgan Spurlock, of “Super Size Me” fame. Go to to learn more.

If you ever feel the urge to connect (or reconnect) with distant family, don’t forget that Rowan Public Library has resources to help you track down long-lost cousins and plan an unforgettable reunion.

Rescheduled annual chocolate festival for teens: 6:30 p.m., headquarters, March 10, 6:30 p.m. Free, open to middle and high school teens. Light refreshments. For more information call 704-216-8229.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics is for you. Classes are free. Sessions: 90 minutes. Class size limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times subject to change without notice. Call 704-216-8242 for more information. Headquarters, March 10, 7 p.m.; March 26, 9:30 a.m.

Headquarters , Getting to Know Your iPad,  March 24,  7 p.m. Registration required. We’ll discuss components, navigation and use of apps. Must bring own iPad, charged, and have an updated iOS (operating system). Bring current, valid Apple ID. For more info or to register, call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242.

Adventure Club: March 14, 11 a.m.,  Adventurous hands-on science based activities and projects for all ages. Theme is “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plan! It’s a Marshmallow.” Design and build marshmallow shooters. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

MuVchat for teens: All 5:30-7 p.m. Headquarters, March 17; South, March 24; East, March 24. Free and open to middle and high school teens. Enjoy snacks and a movie. For more information call 704-216-8229.

Book Chats for Children: Book discussion group for children (different grade each month), South only, registration required; space limited. Call 704-216-7728 for more information. March 19, 4:15 p.m., grades four and five, discussing “Grant Torelli” by Sharon Creech.

Second Rowan Reading Rendezvous: March 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., headquarters. Meet local, regional and national authors. Books available for purchase to benefit Friends of Rowam Public Library. Authors will meet fans, give talks and sign books. Call 704-216-7841 for more information.

It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What You’re Not Eating workshop: South branch, China Grove, March 23, 5:45 p.m. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, learn more about protein and nutritional food that will keep you full and energized for the day. Led by Morrison Healthcare, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. This free workshop is part of the 2015 Learn.Act.Grow. series. Register online or call 704-216-7734 to ensure your spot.

Explorers Club: Headquarters, March 28, 11 a.m. Investigate different genres through activities based on books from the collection. Programs for children in third-fifth grade last one hour. This month’s theme, Go Green with Team Green.  Have fun and gain knowledge about our world with guidance from Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

Matthew Weaver and Clay Lunsford in concert: March 31, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium, headquarters. These two talented musicians bring bluegrass and country music to a new level with stunning performances on piano and guitar. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show sponsored by Friends of Rowan Public Library.

Book Bites Club: March 31, 6:30 p.m., “The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman. Book discussion groups for adults and children at South Rowan Regional Library meet the last Tuesday of each month. Open and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments. For more information, call 704-216-7841.

Displays: Headquarters, log cabins byNorth Hills Christian School; South, stained glass by Betty Corriher and Sandra Collins; East, Kim Davis.

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.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly events for children through April 30. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Baby Time — Simple stories and songs for 6-23 month-olds with parent or caregiver. Program about one hour. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays,  10 a.m.

Toddler Time — Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills; 18-35 months old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — Stories, musical scarves and instruments for ages 6-23 months with parent or caregiver. Same program offered twice a week;  30 minutes. South, Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool time — Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3-5 years old with parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head storytime — For children 4 years and up to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Based on various themes and media. Activities vary by branch.  Children 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult.; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

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