Join us for the Great American Read

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 9, 2018

By Paulette Stiles

Rowan Public Library

If you are anything like me, a book has at one time or another been your Best Friend Forever (BFF). One of the most dismal winters of my life was made much more colorful and bearable by reading a bedraggled copy of “Don Quixote” while I rode the city bus home to a lonely apartment.

In contrast to remembering that time as cold, miserable and downtrodden, I disappeared instead into the timeless world of Miguel de Cervantes’ medieval Spain, remembering the smell of horses, the sight of windmills, the summer heat as I followed the trials and tribulations of the humorous characters in the errant knight’s pursuit of his beloved Dulcinea.

If you have been by your local library this summer, you may have noticed a colorful display of classic novels conveniently displayed to entice you away from your iPads, smart phones and social media. Reading harkens back to a time peaceful enough to enjoy a quiet read. Across the country, libraries and communities are being encouraged to take a quiet moment to reflect on the stories that captured our imaginations, stole our hearts or impacted our lives.

For fun, I enjoy looking at the list of 100 books to see how many I have read, and make a promise to myself to read the ones I have missed.

Luckily, The Great American Read will be going on through Oct. 23, so I have several more months to change the number of books on the list I have read (a paltry 27, if you must know). PBS will be hosting an eight-part companion series examining such themes as “Who Am I?” “Heroes,” “Villains and Monsters” and “What We Do for Love” gleaned from the books on the list.

The series will air every Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. Central from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23 on your local PBS station. PBS and your library invite Americans to come together and enjoy our shared heritage through reading.

Reading has health benefits, too. People who read are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. According to studies, reading six minutes a day reduces stress by up to 68 percent, and reading 30 minutes burns 50 percent more calories than watching TV.  Now that’s a good friend.

Plus, you can vote for your favorite book and watch the finale Oct. 23 to find out which book won the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere.

Care to share your BFF story? Rowan Public Library will be filming testimonials from readers talking about their favorite books at Rowan Public Library, East Branch, 110 Broad St. in Rockwell on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 4:30-6:30 pm. Testimonials will be submitted to PBS Charlotte and could be selected for feature on their social media, and possibly included in the national PBS specials airing this fall.

Find out more by visiting your host Meredith Vieira at the PBS website: or visit your local Rowan County Library and let us help you find your new BFF.

Library Card Sign-up Month: Sept. 1-30. Headquarters, East and South branches. Join us as we celebrate 2018’s Library Card Sign-up Month at all of our branches. Do you have your library card? Cards are free and, when kept in good standing, give you access to RPL’s circulating collection, computer labs and online resources and materials. Contact your nearest branch for more details or visit RPL’s website.

Weekly children’s programs resume week of Sept. 10: Call the children’s desk at your nearest branch for information about weekly storytimes. Headquarters (Salisbury), 704-216-8234; East Branch (Rockwell), 704-216-7842; South Rowan Regional (China Grove), 704-216-7728 or visit

N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources traveling exhibit: Kites! Headquarters. Learn about the science of kite flying from this interactive, STEM-focused exhibit. See it during business hours through Oct. 19.

Paint Class: East, Monday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Celebrate art in this fun, free paint class. All supplies provided — just wear your painting clothes. All ages welcome. Registration required as space is limited. To register, call Bethany at 704-216-7842.

Makerspace event: East, Tuesday, 6-7 p.m. Check out some tools from RPL Headquarters’ Maker Space. Try 3D doodle pens and learn how to build gadgets and devices with the deluxe Little Bits Kit. All ages  welcome. This is part of RPL’s Library Card Sign-up Month Celebration. For more information, call Abby at 704-216-8248.

• Makerspace open house, headquarters, Sept. 15, 1-3 p.m. Drop in and see what’s hatching at The Coop. See how 3D printers work, try 3D doodle pens, etc. Families and individuals of all ages welcome. For more information, call Abby at 704-216-8248.

Dear Duncan: Sept. 1-29, East. “The Day the Crayon Quit” has arrived. Can you find all 12 crayons from Duncan’s collection? Find the pieces and be entered into a contest for a literary-themed prize. This Scavenger Hunt will run through Sept. 28. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Music and Movement with Ms. Chelsea: Headquarters, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. Join Ms. Chelsea for a special music and movement program incorporating singing, dancing and playing musical instruments such as the cajon, ukulele and acoustic guitar. Ages 11 and under. For more details, call 704-216-8269.

Chapter Chats: Tuesday, 5:15-6 p.m. Weekly book club for teens 14-17, intended primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. For more details, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Random Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tuesday, 4-6 p.m., headquarters; Sept. 13, 4-5 p.m., East. Celebrate your favorite Marvel movies and TV shows with a combination of games, crafts, and snacks. For more information, contact Hope at or 704-216-8258.

Lunch at the library: East, Sept. 14, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy a clean, air-conditioned, Wi-Fi-accessible and peaceful place to enjoy your lunch. Every Friday this fall, the East Branch meeting room will be open to all between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lunch not provided, but tables, chairs and ambiance supplied. While in the library, check out upcoming programs and free resources. For more details, call 704-216-7841.

Classic cinema series: East, Sept. 14, 2 p.m., “Casablanca.” Enjoy a free showing of the beloved 1942 film (PG, 120 min.). While the series is part of Adult Outreach Services and is designed for retired individuals, this free event is open to the public; all ages welcome. For more details, call 704-216-7842.

Genealogy Workshop: Discovering Your Roots, headquarters, Sept. 15, 10 a.m. Learn how to trace your ancestors back to a “home” country.   We will take an in-depth look at naturalization records, papers dealing with embarkation and arrival, and other documents that can lead to uncovering origins by paper-trail. This event, co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County and the Edith M. Clark History Room of RPL, is free and open to the public. Call Gretchen at 704-216-8253 for more information.

Displays: Headquarters, celebrating Constitution Week by the Daughters of the American Revolution and 4-H Club display; East, handmade jewelry by Mallory Allen; South, Family Crisis Council by Isela Trujillo.

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.