Library’s West Branch will be a center for learning, community

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 17, 2018

By Laurie Lyda

Rowan Public Library

For those who call the townships in West Rowan County home, the West Branch Library will bring the resources and materials that now require a 10-12 mile (on average) drive much closer. Cleveland, Mt. Ulla, and Woodleaf alone make up approximately 4,500 of the library card holders in Rowan Public Library’s system.

Rowan County’s Board of Commissioners approved the West Branch proposal in early 2018, and the site for the building was then secured. Serendipitously, Cleveland Elementary School’s upcoming move leaves the current school media center and auditorium vacant. These buildings, when renovated, will be the home of West Branch Library. The park will also be part of the library’s grounds.

For RPL administration, anchoring West Branch in the West Rowan community has been a priority since the earliest iterations of the proposal. This remains true as the project moves forward: West Branch will be a center for learning and community.

West Branch’s physical collections — including books, audiobooks, DVDs and periodicals —will be housed in the soon-to-be renovated school media center. The open floor plan allows for economical modifications so that the final product will meet the needs of West patrons, allowing space for quiet study, internet use, browsing collections and similar activities.

West Branch will offer free broadband internet to the community. RPL patrons can use their library card number and PIN to log on to the system; guest users can buy a guest pass during business hours. Wireless internet access will be available on the library’s grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At a time when internet is a crucial resource in our everyday lives for everything from banking to job-searching to personal correspondence, this service is a necessity for West Rowan residents.

The rural setting of West Rowan can make securing meeting spaces difficult. Plans for West Branch include the auditorium’s conversion into three separate but flexible meeting spaces: two small rooms and one large (200 capacity). There will also be a catering kitchen. Unlike other RPL branches’ meeting spaces, West Branch will open its reservations to both public and private events.

West Branch’s proximity to the new West Rowan Elementary School will allow for new collaborations to provide quality programs, resources and assistance to school groups, clubs and parent-teacher organizations. Current collaborations between RPL and Rowan-Salisbury Schools include the Rowan One Card, Summer Reading outreach, Books-n-Bites Summer Outreach, and the annual Stories by the Millstream Storytelling Festival for second-graders.

West Branch will be open more than 30 hours a week, Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays. The RPL system looks forward to better serving the communities of West Rowan and is excited that West Branch Library will become part of the neighborhood very soon.

In the meantime, contributions to the West Branch Library Campaign are being accepted. It takes a community to make a library, and each gift — of any amount — is appreciated. Gifts can be designated; opportunities for giving include computer lab furnishings, meeting room furnishings, general furnishings, children’s book and materials collection, and the West Branch endowment.

Unless requested otherwise, all gifts will be publicly recognized in RPL’s monthly newsletter; amounts are not included. Contributions of $500 and above will be publicly recognized on a donor wall, located in West Branch’s main entry. For questions about the West Branch Library Campaign or the gift-giving process, call 704-216-8240.

Summer Reading: Registration is open for all age groups, children, teen and adults. Consult your nearest branch for details. Headquarters, 704-216-8228; East, 704-216-7838; South 704-216-7727.

School age summer reading program: Steve Somers of “Amazing Teacher” will perform. The program includes storytelling, silly puppets, magic tricks and lots of humor. While the program is designed for rising first through fifth graders, all ages are welcome; an adult must accompany children under 9. Tuesday, 2 p.m., South; Wednesday, 2 p.m., East; Thursday, 10 a.m., Cleveland and 2 p.m., headquarters.

Teen summer reading: Songwriting workshop will teach teens how to compose music and lyrics. Monday, 3:30 p.m., East; Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., headquarters; Thursday, 3:30 p.m., South.

Adult summer reading: “History of Americana in Rowan, South, Monday, 6:30 p.m., Vivian Hopkins, president of the North Carolina Bluegrass Association, will discuss the history of traditional music in the Rowan area. The presentation includes demonstrations of various songs and instruments.

“Ramble Through Rowan:” Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, Tuesday, 10 a.m. This week’s episode concludes the series at Rufty-Holmes, located at 1120 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S. in Salisbury. There will be exhibit and discussion time after the screening. This film series is open to the public.

Summer Reading Film Series: “Sing,”(PG, 2016, 108 minutes) Monday, East, 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, headquarters, 6:30 p.m.; June 23, 10 a.m., South. Find out if a singing competition can save a theatre.  All ages welcome, but an adult must accompany children under 9.

Displays: Headquarters, PBS’ Great American Read by RPL; East, Summer Reading Promotional; South, Rowan Doll Society.

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.