Friends of Rowan Public Library membership offers benefits, opportunities
By Laurie Lyda
Rowan Public Library
Do you frequent Rowan Public Library’s physical branches in Salisbury, Rockwell and China Grove? Or do you usually peruse the e-Branch instead?
Are you a fan of summer reading, storytimes and other children’s programs? Do you enjoy the teen or adult programs? Or make use of RPL’s outreach services? Or are you a community member who values the library, even though you have little time to enjoy its services? Or are you learning the community still and looking for ways to get involved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider this an official “Friend request.”
Each December, the Friends of Rowan Public Library, a vibrant, volunteer nonprofit organization, sponsors its annual membership drive. While some members are heavily involved, membership doesn’t carry a service requirement: Instead, members choose their level of involvement and activity. An individual membership costs $10 annually, and a family membership is $15; applications with full joining details and membership options can be found online at www.rowancountync.gov/772/Friends-of-the-Library. Hard copies of the applications are available at any RPL branch.
You might be asking what the Friends do – well, settle in, my friend, and let me tell you a little about this wonderful organization and how it gives back to Rowan County.
RPL’s summer reading program includes events for children and adults and reaches thousands of Rowan County residents. Because of the Friends’ sponsorship, RPL is able to offer more summer reading programs and hold them at more venues.
The Friends sponsor the annual Stories by the Millstream festival each September. Typically held at Sloan Park in Mount Ulla, the festival celebrates the power of storytelling with several shorter sessions, each with a different teller, and culminates with a performance by a featured storyteller.
All Rowan County second-graders from public, private and home schools are invited to attend this festival, which runs during the regular school day. Then, that evening, the Friends sponsor the Millstream Family Storytime, a free event that is open to the public and to all ages.
In cooperation with Cheerwine, the Friends sponsor a free concert series. Past performers have included Wayne Henderson, Clay Lunsford and Matthew Weaver performing as a trio; the Thistledown Tinkers and Logie Meachum. The next concert will be Tuesday, Jan. 30, with a performer to be announced.
The Friends support RPL and the communities it serves in many other ways, too, from the annual children’s Bookmark Contest to donating literary baskets for prizes, such as at South Rowan Regional’s recent Fall Festival & Open House.
To fund these community outreaches, the Friends engage in different fundraisers. Anyone can participate, so even if you’re not a member of the Friends, you can still provide extra support for RPL.
Each fall, the Friends host a book sale that is the largest volunteer opportunity for its members. Those who choose to participate can help sort, organize and run the book sale. The book sale is a mammoth-sized undertaking; this year, there were approximately 1,000 boxes of books for sale. While these sales are a fundraiser, they’re a form of community support, too, offering a wide range of nonfiction and fiction books, DVDs and specialty items at discount prices. The sales are also a lot of fun. I attend each one and always wind up getting several books at a great price.
Year-round, the organization has ongoing literary basket sales, including holiday-themed literary baskets. (So, if you are looking for the perfect gift for the booklover in your life, check out the selection at your nearest branch.) The Friends also sell great canvas tote bags that are useful and attractive for only $10 each.
Each branch also has a year-round book sale with a limited and varied selection of books; hardbacks are $2 and paperbacks $1. The Friends also offer book and DVD rentals of recent bestsellers at each branch, so if you can’t wait to read John Grisham’s latest, and RPL’s circulating copies are checked out and/or on hold, you don’t have to wait — you can rent a copy.
The Friends’ annual membership drive, going on now, is another way the organization supports itself. In addition to offering members volunteer and community engagement opportunities, benefits include admission to the annual fall book sale’s preview night (before the sale opens to the public), a monthly newsletter, and a book or DVD rental coupon ($3 value).
This month, consider joining the Friends of RPL — your membership, no matter how active (or not) you choose to be, will make a tangible, positive difference in our community. Individuals are welcome to buy memberships as gifts, too. For more information, call 704-216-8240.
Chapter Chats: Weekly book club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. Mondays, 5 p.m. at East Branch, Rockwell. Contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842. This program goes on hiatus after Dec. 18.
Cards for a Cause: Headquarters, East and South, through Dec. 18. Create holiday cards that will be delivered to active service members in the U.S. Armed Forces and to veterans at the Hefner VAMC in Salisbury. Call Laurie at 704-216-7732.
Book Bites Book Club: Dec. 19, 6 p.m., South. Free, open to the public. Do you enjoy good books, fun fellowship and tasty food? If so, join this free book club where we discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. Need more information? Call 704-216-7731.
‘The Vietnam War” Film Screening: Headquarters, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. The library hosts free weekly screenings of “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that aired on PBS. Episode 10: “The Weight of Memory (March 1973 onward)” will be shown. Adults (17 and up) only.
Through a Soldier’s Eyes: An oral history project at headquarters, East and South. Through Dec. 30, brochures explaining the oral history project, outlining prompts for questions, and offering the contact information for two librarians who can record stories will be distributed at all branches and throughout the community. These brochures are intended for teens and adults.Nonveterans, particularly teens with friends or family members who served in Vietnam or remember the time period well, are encouraged to use these brochures as guides to engage in conversations that can then be recorded, either on their own or with a librarian’s assistance.
Veterans are invited to consider what aspects of their story they want to tell and to contact a listed librarian for an appointment.
All recordings of veterans’ stories will be archived by RPL and added to its existing collection of veterans’ oral histories. In the future, RPL hopes to edit the newly added stories and make portions available on the library’s website.
Visual stories may be displayed at the Welcome Home event scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30.
Holiday Movie Marathon: East, Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 10 a.m., “A Christmas Carol”; noon, “A Muppets Christmas Carol”; 2 p.m., “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Free popcorn and lemonade. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.
Movie: East, Dec. 22, 2 p.m., 1995’s “While You Were Sleeping,” starring Sandra Bulloc and Bill Pullman.Fre popcorn and lemonade. Call 704-216-7842.
No-School Cinema: South, Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Now that you’ve seen “The Last Jedi” are you ready to revisit the original trilogy that started it all? Starting at 10:30 a.m., watch “ANew Hope” (121 min.), “The Empire Strikes Back,” (124 min.) and “Return of the Jedi” (131 min.). Have fun with some Star Wars-themed activities, free popcorn and lemonade. All films are rated PG. An adult must accompany children under 9. Questions? Call 704-216-7728.
Book Talk: Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” headquarters, Dec. 29, noon-2 p.m. Join the Salisbury Post’s Deirdre Parker Smith and South Main Book Co.’s Wendy Beeker and other guests for this special RPL Book Talk. Bring your lunch and/or enjoy light refreshments. This free event is open to the public. Questions? Call 704-216-7731. This program is intended for teens and adults.
Welcome Home Celebration: Headquarters, Dec. 30, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. This free celebration honors all veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Open to the public, it will include exhibits, a reception, period-specific music, guest speakers and more. Exhibit areas open at 11 a.m. The program featuring guest speakers begin at 11:30 a.m. Questions? Call 704-216-7730.
Displays: December — Headquarters, Kwanzaa by Eleanor Qadirah. Grids, “Through a Soldier’s Eyes: Remembering Vietnam” (photographs) by Edith M. Clark History Room. Gallery, Vietnam Remembered featuring veteran’s artifacts. East, Santa, by Chris Wilson; South, Christmas Village by Tammie Foster.
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.