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Prepare for an Olympic summer with reading fun

By Hope Loman

Rowan Public Library

If you have watched any of the commercial breaks on NBC or read the sports section of a newspaper recently, then you probably know that the 2016 Summer Olympics are set to open in Rio de Janeiro this August.

There, more than 10,000 athletes from 207 countries are expected to participate in a combined total of 306 events in 28 different sports. Perhaps you’re curious to see how some of the storylines the media is already hyping will play out: if swimmer Michael Phelps will win his 20th Olympic medal; if gymnast Gabby Douglas will win back-to-back gold; or how far the USA men’s basketball team will go now that various NBA all-stars will not be attending the games.

Whether you’re counting down the days until opening ceremonies or consider yourself more of a Winter Olympics person, there is still something you can get excited about in the weeks leading up to this big event: exercising your mind (and maybe your body, too) at Rowan Public Library.

The summer reading programs at the library this year all have a sports theme, with weekly events that often have a distinctive Olympic Games influence: “On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!” is for kids ages 1 through fifth grade, “Get in the Game…Read!” for teenagers going into the sixth through the 12th grade, and “Exercise Your Mind…Read!” is for adults ages 18+.

Weekly programs are free and open to everyone in the community, and include a wide range of activities — from hands-on crafts and trivia games to interactive story times and sessions on learning stress relief techniques. Be sure to check out the days and times of the programs that appeal to you, as they will vary by library branch.

On Tuesday nights at headquarters and Wednesday afternoons at South we will also be hosting a variety of sports-themed movies, including the true story about the Jamaican bobsled team that raced in the 1988 Winter Olympics, “Cool Runnings.”

I would be remiss if I failed to mention all of the materials we have available to check out at the library that are Olympics- and sports-related. For juvenile readers, there is the “Olympic Sports” series, which covers a range of games from combat sports to cycling, as well as how-to guides for beginners trying to learn a new game or hone their skills.

YA fiction readers might want to try out titles written by John Feinstein or Mike Lupica, and teens who gravitate more towards non-fiction can learn about the science behind sports or about potential careers in the sports industry.

Adult readers might be inspired by reading biographies of Olympic athletes like runner Jesse Owens or may wish to read various social commentaries about our sports-centered culture. There is even more to discover, so be sure to explore all of your options — and don’t forget to record all of the time you spend reading over the course of the summer for a chance to win raffle prizes at the end.

So what are you waiting for? Head on down to the library today and check out all that we have to offer you — mentally and physically — this summer.

Summer reading: Children 12 months old to rising fifth-graders are invited to participate in On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!! Summer Reading Program at all branches. Programs run through July 28. Cleveland reading program Thursdays, 10 a.m., Cleveland Town Hall, for all age groups.

Summer movie series: Headquarters, starting at 6:30 p.m. Free popcorn and lemonade served. June 21, “Secretariat” (PG). After agreeing to take over her father’s horse farm, a housewife draws together the resources to train Secretariat, a horse that ultimately turns out to be a Triple Crown winner. June 28, “The Mighty Ducks,” (PG).

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, June 28, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. “Rebecca,by Daphne du Maurier. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7731.

Olympic Readers: rising first- though fifth-graders, June 20-23, Criss Cross Mangosauce. June 27-30, Mark Daniel, magical storyteller.

Foosball fields (for teens): Open to rising sixth- through 12th-graders. Create your own Foosball table. Please bring any size shoebox. All at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, headquarters; Wednesday, June 22, East; Thursday, June 23, South Regional.

Water Olympics (for teens): Open to rising sixth- through 12th-graders. Prepare to get soaked. All at 3:30 p.m., June 28, headquarters; June 29, East; June 30, South Regional.

Genealogy Class: Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m.-noon, headquarters. The class, will focus on census, military and court records; it is a repeat of the May 14 class.

Science Parent Workshop: Monday, 6-7 p.m., headquarters. Fun, free, interactive workshop for parents of children ages 2-5. Learn to nurture your child’s curiosity about science and the world around them through hands-on activities. Child care provided. Registration required; call 704-216-8234.

Adult Summer Reading Program: Zentangle and other stress relief, Monday, June 27, 6:30 p.m., headquarters. Explore the new craze of adult coloring and its therapeutic benefits, along with other stress relieving activities.

An Evening with Mark O’Connor: Headquarters, June 23, doors open at 6:30 p.m. Performance at 7. O’Connor is enjoying his return to his Bluegrass roots having recently moved to North Carolina. This concert is made possible through the North Carolina Bluegrass Association.

Displays: Headquarters, RHA Behavioral Health, Carter House and photos from Spring photowalk; South, stained glass by Sandra Collins and Betty Corriher; East, vintage lunchboxes.

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.

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