South Rowan Regional hosts Star Party on Friday
Rowan Public Library
SALISBURY – Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what’s out there? Watched objects streak across the sky and wondered what they are? Or are you simply looking for something free and fun to do on a Friday evening?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then Rowan Public Library has something for you. On Friday, RPL’s South Rowan Regional branch, at 920 Kimball Road in China Grove, will host “Stars, STEAM, & Fun” from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The program is free, and all ages are welcome.
“Stars, STEAM, & Fun” is part of the 2018 Statewide Star Party sponsored by the N.C. Science Festival and made possible through the support of the N.C. Space Grant. South Rowan Regional is one of only six public libraries serving as host sites, and it’s the first year that libraries have been invited to do so.
There are 37 host sites across the state, including astronomy clubs, state and local parks, universities, planetariums, science centers, nature centers, and libraries that will host public sky-watching sessions either Friday or Saturday. About 4,000 visitors and 200 STEM professionals and volunteers are expected to participate statewide.
The library staff has been busy getting details sorted out. Book displays are going up throughout the branch, and the lobby display, “Is Anyone Out There?” will be available until April 30. “Is Anyone Out There?” features periodicals collected by the father of children’s librarian Stephanie Reister that celebrate the 1969 moon landing.
“We had a great response to our programming around the solar eclipse last August,” said Jennifer Nicholson, the library’s youth services supervisor, referring to the storytimes, educational programs, and viewing parties themed around the total eclipse. “It showed us that many of our patrons are interested in space and science, so we’re hoping that they’ll come out and enjoy the Star Party, too.”
Night-sky watching is the prime focus of “Stars, STEAM, & Fun.” After sunset, Horizons Unlimited staff will lead viewers in a tour of the night sky on the lawn of J. Fred Corriher Jr. YMCA, located across the parking lot from the library. There will be long-range binoculars and spotting scopes available for viewers, too.
The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. when the library reopens. “Apps for Night-Sky Watching” is a drop-in program that runs from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants should bring a phone or other app-friendly e-device, download apps of choice, then try them out at the night-sky watching or use Google Cardboard to get the virtual reality experience from apps.
While the program will focus on free apps, there may be costs associated with your app of choice. All ages are welcome at this program.
From 8 to 9 p.m., “Yoga Under the Stars” will be on South library’s lawn. The free class will be led by SoFul Yoga & Wellness of Salisbury staff. Participants are encouraged to bring a mat or towel.
From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., there will be a wide range of hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) activities, informational displays, and a face-painting booth.
Statewide Star Party organizers provided all host sites with a kit that includes activities based on the year’s theme, “Anyone Out There.”
“There are a lot of fun activities in the kit,” said Laurie Lyda, South Rowan Regional branch supervisor. “The ice world exploration is one of my favorites.”
Staff members have created small ice worlds that people can explore with magnifying glasses. “There are some fun surprises in a few of the worlds,” Lyda added.
There will also be learning stations that showcase the library’s growing collection of teachable technology.
“RPL has received some STEAM-specific grants that have allowed us to add to the system’s collection,” Lyda explained. “We’ll have some of those items here that evening for people to experiment with.”
The learning stations will feature Ozobots (pocket-sized coding robots), Cubelets (modular robots), SquishyCircuits (conductive dough that teaches about electrical circuitry), Makey Makey (connect everyday objects to a computer program (for example, make a banana play music), and more.
During “Stars, STEAM, & Fun,” all branch services will be available, including computer labs and circulation. Patrons are welcome to browse the collection, check out items, and work on the public computers.
South library returns to regular hours on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rowan Public Library has two more program scheduled that are also part of the N.C. Science Festival:
• Celebrate Earth Day, Lorax-style, on Saturday at Headquarters Library, 201 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury, with “Hats Off to You, Earth.” Crafts and activities begin at 10 a.m., with a showing of “The Lorax” (rated PG and 95 minutes) at 11 a.m. The program is recommended for ages 5-11, though all children are welcome.
• A “Legos and Robots Party” will be held April 28 at the Headquarters Library from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The hands-on program features activities with the library’s newly acquired Lego We Do 2.0, Dash Robot and Cubelets. The program is recommended for ages 5-11, though all children are welcome.
For more information about RPL and its programming, visit rowanpubliclibrary.org. To learn more about the N.C. Science Festival, visit www.ncsciencefestival.org. For a full list of 37 statewide Star Party host sites, visit www.ncsciencefestival.org/starparty.