Friends make a big impact – and you should be one

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 2, 2018

By Melissa J. Oleen

Rowan Public Library

I want to tell you about the best group of friends in Rowan County and why you should join them. The Friends of Rowan Public Library, a non-profit organization with over 400 members makes special things happen at the library every month.

This past year Friends of RPL provided funding to buy touch screen computers for digital media kiosks at every branch. Customers can now download digital materials straight to their electronic devices via text message links with or without a library card.

Being able to offer kiosks in-house has allowed us to test them and determine the best locations for future kiosks. The Friends have approved funding to help provide similar kiosks at Rowan County YMCA locations in 2019.

Friends of RPL made it possible for the library to secure Bright Start Touring Theatre and offer the family program “Let Freedom Ring: The Music and Poetry of Black History.” Thanks to Friends of RPL, Bright Star will be back in February 2019 to present “Heroes of the Underground Railroad.”

Coming up Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.-noon, the library is offering a timely and informative program on the latest tech craze — digital home assistants. Friends of RPL made it possible for us to buy three different digital assistants for the public to test out at this program. Word has it one lucky attendee may get to take one home with them.

You might not realize the ways this generous organization and its hard working volunteers have befriended you.

Does your family participate in the library’s summer reading program? Every summer the Friends provide over $10,000 to pay for performers and buy summer reading prizes. Fact: Summer reading at RPL could not happen without their support.

Do you have a child aged 7-25 years old who attended second grade at a Rowan County school? This class has listened to nationally known and professional storytellers via the Friends sponsored Stories by the Millstream festival for the past 19 years.

Do you live or work in West Rowan? The Friends of RPL have donated $15,000 towards the new West Branch Library.

Do you like our library staff? The Friends help make RPL a great place to work and support RPL staff by providing funding to feed more than 65 staff members on staff development days, pay speakers for special staff training events, supplement the costs of sending staff off-site for conferences and make a scholarship available to RPL staff attending graduate school in library science.

December is when Friends annual memberships are up for renewal. I encourage you to renew your Friends of RPL membership for 2019 and consider bumping your membership up to the next level. For a minimum cost of $10 you can be a part of this amazing group that touches so many people throughout our community each year.

For more information or to renew your membership, visit any RPL branch, call 704-216-8240 or email

Cards for a Cause: All branches. Now-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. Patrons can specify their card(s) is delivered to a certain branch of the armed forces or to the VA. Cards submitted for a branch do have specific deadlines: Dec. 10 for cards distributed stateside. Cards submitted Dec. 11-18 will only be delivered to the VA. Questions? Call Tammie at 704-216-7842.

The Twelve Books of Christmas: Dec. 1-22, East. On the first day of Christmas, I saw at my library 12 books wrapped for a reader like me. Check them out and have a surprise for each day before the holidays. This exciting spin on your regular check-out routine is available through Dec. 22. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Runaway Reindeer Scavenger Hunt: East, Dec, 1-22. Where have the reindeer gone? Can you find all nine before Santa flies back to the North Pole? Find the reindeer, hidden around East Branch, and be entered into a contest for a literary-themed prize. Runs through Dec. 22. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Arctic Express: East, Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m.-noon,  “All Aboard!” Children are invited to a magical ride on the Artic Express with conductor (and magician) Steve Somers. Passengers will visit and learn about winter holiday traditions from around the world. Somers’ presentation, a mix of storytelling and illusions, teaches the importance of respect, the spirit of giving and the magic of sharing. Snowball Bunny, a live rabbit, will also make an appearance. After the program, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit. To learn more about Somers and Amazing Teacher, visit For more details about this program at RPL, call 704-216-7842.

• Also at South, Dec. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., call 704-216-7728 for more details.

Jingle Bell Magic with Steve Somers: Headquarters, Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m., featuring magic tricks, storytelling and music. Witness a snowball come to life, listen to the enchanting tale of Ernie the Elf, and meet Snowball Bunny, a live rabbit from the North Pole. After the program, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit. To learn more about Somers and Amazing Teacher, visit For more details about this program at RPL, call 704-216-8234.

Technology Club: South, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. Do you enjoy learning about technology in a friendly, casual atmosphere? If so, this club is for you. Each month, learn, discuss and experiment with technology. All ages and experience levels welcome. Light refreshments will be served. Need more information? Call Paul at 704-216-7737.

Classic Cinema Series: “Christmas in Connecticut,” East, Friday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Join us for a showing of the beloved 194 film “Christmas in Connecticut” 101 min.). While the Classic Cinema Series is part of Adult Outreach Services and is designed for retired individuals, this free event is open to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more details, call 704-216-7842.

Displays: Headquarters, Ghosts of Christmas Honor Cards Past by Rowan Helping Ministries and Photowalk at Chestnut Hill Cemetery by Paul Birkhead; East, History of Candy by Tammie Foster; South, Santas and Snowmen by Stephanie Reister.

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.