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Spend next Saturday playing games at the library

By Gretchen Beilfuss Witt

Rowan Public Library

Games have been around for centuries, probably since before recorded history. Rounded objects made of wood, marble, stone, papyrus or leather and used as balls have been found by archaeologists dating back 5,000 or more years.

Romans played dice games. A game similar to chess may have been played as early as the seventh century in India and chess is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Backgammon, considered a “race game,” was played in Greek Byzantium in the 400 ADs. A similar race game, senet, has been excavated from Egyptian royal tombs dating back to 3500 BC.

Card games for children or adults have been played the world over from China to England. Some games are relatively confined to the place of origin – hurling in Ireland or Pesa Pallo, a Finnish ball game similar to American baseball.

Today, participating in game playing is largely a leisure-time activity, but games can be very useful. Physical games can help promote flexibility, strength and stamina. Children can learn the importance of rules, team building and other social skills. Word and number games can be challenging but build literacy, as well.

“The Reader’s Digest Treasury of Family Games” by Jim Glenn and Carey Denton, is an excellent resource for all types of games. Explaining in clear and concise language, with fun historical tidbits and helpful illustrations the treasury demonstrates the gamut – commercial games like Clue, dice games, card games, outdoor and party games. There is a category for every interest indoor and outdoor, solitaire and party, even a section explaining the intricacies of professional sport games like American football and cricket.

Another fun game book is “The Art of Stone Skipping and other fun Old Time Games” by J.J. Ferrer. Ferrer identifies games that can be played alone or with companions, in the yard or on your way to grandma’s house in the car.

The Alphabet Traveler is one such game; beginning with “A” describe a destination, an activity and an adjective all beginning with A , for instance, I’m going to Alabama to act in an airy amphitheater. Continue through the rest of the alphabet.

Yo-yo games and string games are also explained step-by-step with references given for the website of the International String Figure Association that offers a new string design each month. The Art of Stone Skipping” is a fun resource that yields a lot of fun with very little need for elaborate equipment or even any electricity.

All over the world, especially in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America, communities get together for a day of pure fun playing all types of games ,traditional and electronic. International Game Day (IGD) is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of November.

This year Rowan Public Library will observe its second IGD at the headquarters library from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. A wide array of games will be offered, including Chutes and Ladders and A Story Vine in the children’s room, family board games near the spiral stairs, Minecraft in the computer lab, croquet on the side lawn and many others scattered all over the library. Come join us for the day or just drop in for a quick hand of cards.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, Nov. 17, 6:30-8 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. “A Walk in the Woodsby Bill Bryson. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7841.

Computer classes: If you’re new to computers or never felt comfortable, Computer Basics will cover the everything from components to programs. Nov. 19, 9:30-11 a.m., headquarters.

Getting to know your iPad, headquarters, Nov. 17, 7-8 p.m. Discussion of components, navigation, apps. Must preregister, bring iPad, charged, and with an updated operating system, and have a current, valid Apple ID. Free signup at https://appleid.apple.com/ Space is limited. Call Paul Birkhead at 704-216-8242 to reserve a spot.

Reading with Ringling: Nov. 16-Jan. 31, 2016. Children ages 2-12 may register at any library location to read and report on five books to receive a voucher for a ticket to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus Jan. 27-21, 2016, at Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte. For information and program rules, call 704-216-8234 or visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

International Games Day: Headquarters, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Join thousands of libraries around the world for the eighth annual celebration of Games Day.

Cards for a Cause: All locations, Saturday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-noon. Families may make cards for service men and women. Mailboxes will be set up at all library locations Nov. 21-Dec. 5 to collect additional cards.

Displays: Headquarters, Photowalk photos and International Games Day; South, Rowan Doll Society; East, “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas village.

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.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7 to 9 years old (first to third grade) can reserve a 15-minute session to read aloud to a therapy dog. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m., Nov. 17, Oliver; Nov. 24, Dupree; Dec. 1 Oliver. 10 a.m. Saturdays, headquarters, Dec. 12. East Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Nov. 23 and Dec. 7, Oliver.

Lego Saturdays: The library’s Lego collection will be available for children to play; all times 10 a.m.-noon. South, Nov. 21; headquarters, Nov. 28.

Adventure Club: Headquarters, Nov. 21, 11 a.m. Join Robert and Johnathan for another round of adventurous hands-on science activities and projects; lasts one hour. This month: “Pipe Cleaner Construction.”

Teen program: Middle and high school teens. All 5:30-7 p.m. Thanksgiving in a Jar, create Thanksgiving themed crafts and food in a jar, headquarters, Nov. 17; East, Nov. 23.

Weekly events for children through Nov. 30.

Baby Time: Loosely interactive, introducing simple stories and songs to babies  6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. About 30 minutes. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.

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

Tiny Tumblers: Simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with  parent or caregiver. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; 30 minutes.

Preschool Time: Encourages exploration of books and builds reading readiness  for children 3-5 years old. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head Story Time: For children 4 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: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media.  Program 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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