Library can help out with the simple things you do not know

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 23, 2017

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

Do you know how to sew a button on a shirt? Can you zest a lemon or fold a fitted sheet? Are you willing and able to step up and change a flat tire for a stranger?

For some, these are skills that they’ve possessed since growing up. For others, they’ve never been taught basic resourcefulness that will help them in their everyday lives. Fortunately, Rowan Public Library has material that can impart some of this forgotten wisdom on those of us who need it.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember taking home economics or metal/wood shop classes in high school. Regrettably, these classes were defunded over the past few decades once technology took hold. While some viewed them as too costly or old-fashioned, these classes did manage to instill a lot of wisdom in our society that we now realize we no longer have.

“The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop,” by Sharon and David Bowers, is a good manual for picking up neglected knowledge. There are sections in the book on how to tackle cooking, sewing, domestic arts, life skills, as well as plumbing and electrical repair.

I found the pages that showed how to rewire a lamp interesting because I have discarded a few over the years that I’m now sure could have been saved quite easily.

In the past, teaching handiness and know-how not only was the responsibility of public schools, it was a family affair, as well. Two books the library has on its shelves describe the many skills that were passed down from one generation to the next. “How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew” by Erin Bried shares over 100 how-to tips. These include how to break in a baseball mitt, bait a hook, and tie a perfect tie.

Of course, grandma knew a lot of things as well and these are detailed in Bried’s other book, “How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew.” Reading how to make your own jam, roll out a piecrus, and clean without harsh chemicals might just make you nostalgic for days of yore.

Speaking of nostalgia, “The Foxfire Book of Simple Living: Celebrating Fifty Years of Listenin’, Laughin’, and Learnin'” has just recently been published. I’m sure many have heard of the Foxfire series, but for those who have not, Foxfire is an organization that preserves and promotes the Appalachian way of living.

Volumes have been published over the years that share mountain anecdotes and history and teach skills such as basket weaving and soap making. If you enjoy learning about folk tales and folk art, then this book is for you.

Another book series has an anniversary this year. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is celebrating 225 years with the publication of its 2017 edition. Inside the book, you’ll find a lot of interesting things including long-term weather forecasts. The accuracy of those forecasts is debatable, but some farmers swear by them and plant their crops accordingly.

What might be more helpful and enjoyable to others are the short articles throughout the book that dispense humor, historical tidbits and practical wisdom.

Whether you’re 9 or 99, it’s never too early or too late to learn things, especially skills that will assist you in day-to-day living. Rowan Public Library is a strong advocate of lifelong learning and is proud to offer you tools to help you gain wisdom.

Preschool Time: Each program last 30-45 minutes. Doors close at 10:40 a.m.; 3- to 5-years-old. Through July 28. All at 10:30 a.m. — Headquarters, Tuesdays; East, Thursdays; and South, Mondays.

School age: Rising first- through fifth-graders; 45-60 minutes. Storytellers, educators and entertainers provide different programs each week for seven weeks. To enter the weekly prize drawing, “Reader Book Reviews” should be turned in before the program begins. Headquarters, Thursdays, 2 p.m.; East, Wednesdays, 2 p.m.; South, Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Program schedule: July 24-28, Lee Street theatre.

Cleveland: School-Age programs at Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Patrons in Cleveland may report summer reading hours during the programs.

Teen Summer Reading: All at 3:30 p.m. Mondays, East Branch; Tuesdays at headquarters; Thursdays at South Rowan Regional. Teens receive booklets to keep track of points earned by reading, attending library programs and completing activity challenges. Points can go toward prizes at the end of summer.

Program schedule: July 24-27, Quiz Bowl; July 28, National Teen Lock-in, 6:30-10:30 p.m. at library headquarters; permission slip required for teens to participate.

Adult Summer Reading: July 25, 2:15 p.m. Headquarters. Hour-long chair yoga with registered teacher Marie Theriault. Qigong, July 25, 6 p.m., hourlong session with Theriault.

• Monday, Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m., headquarters, Water Smart — Rowan County Cooperative Extension Service agent Danélle Cutting discusses how to  conserve water and care for the earth locally. At this final event, Adult Summer Reading grand prizes will also be awarded.

Book Bites Club: South, July 25, 6 p.m., Discuss “Brighten the Corner Where You Are,” by Fred Chappell. Refreshments loosely related to the theme.

Summer reading film series: “Pay It Forward,” July 24, 5:30 p.m. at East; and at headquarters the same day, 6:30 p.m. Also July 28, 10 a.m., headquarters. This PG-13 film has a runtime of two hours and three minutes. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 13. Free popcorn and lemonade.

• “Pursuit of Happyness,” South, July 26, 2 and 6 p.m. PG-13 film has a runtime 117 minutes. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 13. Free popcorn and lemonade.

• “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” East, July 31, 5:30 p.m. PG, 101 minutes. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. Free popcorn and lemonade.

Displays: Headquarters, Piedmont Players Theatre and Bookend Art Sculpture by Wayne Gladden; East, Charles Whitley art; South, lunch box memorabilia by Sharon Ross.

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.