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Readers Connect event brings lovers of romance, mystery together

By Abigail Hardison 

Rowan Public Library

This spring, Rowan Public Library has two very special events planned for readers. On Feb. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m., we are hosting a tea party called Love in the Afternoon for patrons who love romance novels.

Our following event, On a Dark and Stormy Night, is for those who love thrillers and mysteries. It will be held March 22 from 6-8 p.m. The purpose of these events may seem quaint to some in the day and age of Goodreads and other popular reader’s advisory publications, but they address a fundamental question that is still posed to librarians every day: “What should I read next?”

Bestseller lists and high-brow literary reviews are not terribly helpful for many casual readers, and Rowan County has a demographic and readership that is all its own.

People select books for a wide variety of reasons, such as the recommendation of a friend or family member, or they saw an advertisement for an adaptation into a TV series or movie, or they know and love the author already.

Many of our most voracious readers are very devoted to certain authors or subgenres, and when there is not a new release that looks familiar, the dreaded unease of having nothing to read sets in.

Nowadays, fan conventions are fairly common. The most common, the science fiction/comic conventions, bring big crowds to visit vendors and buy memorabilia, collector’s edition comics and all sorts of merchandise, but much of the enjoyment among attendees is just being around people who like the same things.

This is the spirit with which our Readers Connect events were created. These are places where people who love the same things can come together and find kindred spirits in their very own community.

Sure, games, prizes and refreshments are part of the event, but the true magic is in the interactions that start with “Hey, you love (name an author)? Me too!” and lead to, “Have you tried (a different author)?” These conversations are the ones that tickle the hearts of librarians, because we very much want people to read and read the books they love, but we can’t be experts in every genre and subgenre. So the very best way for us to foster those conversations is to provide the place and time for people to share their own experiences.

Our Love in the Afternoon event will feature refreshments, decorations and prizes provided by local businesses such as Better Loafing Artisan Bread Company, Abigail’s Bakery, Mean Mug Coffee Company, Sweet Meadow Café, South Main Book Company, S&D Coffee and Tea and Harris Teeter.

Prizes include literary-themed gifts, books and DVD adaptations of popular romances by Nicholas Sparks and Debbie Macomber.

On A Dark and Stormy Night will provide participants with the case files and clues to solve the mystery of what they’ll read next. We will have coffee and doughnuts graciously provided by Dunkin’ Donuts to sustain our amateur sleuths as they investigate. Hopefully our patrons will have as much fun attending these events as we have had planning them. We hope to see you there!

Weekly events for children run through the week of April 28.

Baby Time: Infants to 23 months. A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to infants up to 23 months old with a parent or caregiver; 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesday, 10 a.m.; East branch, Tammie’s Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South Regional, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills with a parent or caregiver. 30 min. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 .m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Time: To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children 3 to 5 years old with a parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, East and South, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Noodlehead Story Time: Books and songs for all ages; primary focus is pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Appropriate for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; South, Canvas Kids, Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7 to 9 can practice their reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations are recommended but not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.; South, selected Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at East branch meeting room, Tuesdays, 5 p.m. For more information, contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Anime Club: Teens and college-age adults (21 and under) may watch anime and engage in Japanese-themed crafts and games. Headquarters, Feb. 7, 4:30 p.m.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on RPL’s teen programming and book selection and discuss current events and issues of interest. Members can count their hours of participation toward school community service requirements. South, Feb. 2, 4:30 p.m.; East, Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m.; headquarters, Feb. 28, 4:30 p.m.

Teen program: Join us each month as teens play games, make crafts and do activities related to a specific theme. February is the Chocolate Festival. Enjoy all things chocolate, complete with a chocolate fountain. Headquarters, Feb. 21, 4:30 p.m.; East, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m.; South, Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m.

“Dr. Who” Days: Travel through time and space with screenings of the classic BBC program, “Dr. Who.” Families are invited. Headquarters, Feb. 14, 4:30 p.m.

Readers Connect: Headquarters, Feb. 16, 3 p.m. “Love in the Afternoon: A Celebration of Romance Novels” offers an afternoon of tea and conversation among fellow admirers of the genre. This is for readers of romance to come together and discuss favorite characters, authors and genres. Games, door prizes and refreshments will be provided. Free and open to the public.

No-school Cinema: “Transformers,” East, Feb. 17, 2 p.m. It’s the Autobots vs. the Decepticons in this 2007 film. Rated PG-13, it has a runtime of 143 minutes. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public. All ages welcome, however, children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Lego free play: Feb. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., headquarters. The library’s Lego collection will be available for free play for children.

Adventure Club: Adventurous hands-on science based activities and projects. Programs are suitable for children in second through fifth grade. Headquarters, Feb. 11, 11 a.m.-noon.

Displays: Headquarters, North Hills Christian School log cabin projects; East, doll exhibit; South, Corriher-Lipe Middle School student artwork.

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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