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Like photography? The library can keep you in the picture

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

On April 8, Rowan Public Library held its annual Spring Photowalk. What is a photowalk? It is an opportunity for a group of people to go for a walk and take photos together.

All skill levels and ages are welcome and while some bring fancy cameras, others just use their smart phones. The best part of the walk is when participants share their best photos and the library puts them together in an exhibit.

This year, the photowalk was held at the North Carolina Transportation Museum (NCTM) in Spencer. If you weren’t aware, the NCTM is celebrating its 40th anniversary and they have a lot of history on display.

While there are always great subjects to take photos of at the NCTM, this time we also had antique tractors on display and even the Easter Bunny Express was operating full-steam.

If photography interests you, Rowan Public Library stocks plenty of books on the subject. One of the new titles you can check out is “Mastering Street Photography” by Brian Lloyd Duckett. Street photography, also known as candid photography, is the art of taking pictures of random objects and chance encounters.

Street photography has been around for over 100 years, but recently has seen a surge in popularity. Duckett’s book can serve as a fantastic guide for anyone who wanted to try their hand at street photography.

Techniques for being an unseen observer and how to frame and shoot from distant perspectives will help you with your photo skills. There is even information on keeping safe and staying within the law as you capture these interesting, unplanned moments in time.

Have you heard of the amateur photographer named Vivian Maier? I hadn’t until just a couple of years ago when a movie was released about her. Vivian was never famous in real life, but after she died and her belongings were auctioned off, this Chicago area nanny’s negatives and photographs were discovered.

When Vivian’s photos were displayed online, they generated a lot of buzz and a documentary and a book were made to tell her story. Rowan Public Library has both the book and the DVD about her. If you enjoy photography, be sure to check them out.

If trains are more your speed, the library has several books on that subject. One new title is “Smoke over Steamtown” by Dennis A. Livesey. This book has page upon page of gorgeous photographs of steam-powered trains.

It also tells about the interesting history of Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa. Of course, you can’t beat the history that’s even closer to home. Check out one of the library’s copies of “Southern Railway’s Spencer Shops, 1896-1996” by Duane Galloway. It will give you a new appreciation for the NCTM in Spencer.

Don’t forget to stop by Rowan Public Library sometime in May to view the display of our photos from the Spring Photowalk.

You can also browse the library’s online photo gallery (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rowancountypubliclibrary/sets) for a peek at photos from this and other photowalks. If what you see inspires you, make plans to join us on our next adventure in the fall. We’ve got our sights set on another Rowan County gem.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets Tuesdays at East branch meeting room, through May 23, 5 p.m. For more information, contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Fancy Nancy Tea Party: May 6, 10:30 a.m.-noon, East Branch, Rockwell. Celebrate your fancy side with fabulous crafts, delightful refreshments and an exciting story time. Wear your favorite tutus, boas, bowties or hats to complete your fancy ensemble. All children ages 4 to 10 are welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. For more information, call 704-216-7842.

Monday Night Movie at East: “Guardians of the Galaxy,” May 1, 5:30 p.m. East Branch. Make sure you’ve seen the first “Guardians” before its sequel opens in theaters. Starring Chris Pratt, Lee Pace and Zoe Saldana, this 2014, PG-13 film has a runtime of two hours. Light refreshments. Open to the public. All ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 13.

Annual Book Sale: May 5, 6 and 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., headquarters, 201 W. Fisher St. The RPL Annual Book Sale will be in Stanback Auditorium at headquarters. All items are $2 or less. Saturday, May 6, is Educator Day — bring proof of an education-oriented occupation and your own reasonably-sized box and buy a box of books for $5. On Monday, May 8, anyone can bring a reasonably-sized box and buy a box of books for $1. When inventory is gone, the sale ends; a closing notice will be posted on www.RowanPublicLibrary.org. Call 704-216-8243 for more information.

Displays: Headquarters, Photowalk pictures from the N.C. Transportation Museum (Paul Birkhead) and tea cups (Brenda Zimmerman); East, vintage lunchboxes; South, South Rowan High 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.

Weekly teen programs are on hiatus until September. Weekly children’s programs are also on hiatus until further notice. The Summer Reading Program kicks off June 3 for children, teens and adults.

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