Get inspired: Read up on travel at the library

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 9, 2018

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

Mark Twain famously said that in his bestselling book, “The Innocents Abroad,” and it remains true today. Rowan Public Library has many resources available to those who wish to journey and expand their horizons.

What does traveling mean to you? Is it a quick trip to see family or is it visiting an exotic location? Does thinking about it put a smile on your face?

Understandably, at this time of year, thoughts of travel might give you pause as you picture stand-still traffic, soaring gas prices and long lines to get through airport security. For most of the year, though, travel can be pleasurable, especially if you do some research beforehand.

The library’s shelves are chock-full of items that can both inspire and help plan your next adventure.

“Around the World in Eighty Wines” is an interesting book. Influenced by Jules Verne’s classic tale, author Mike Veseth set off on a global journey to discover the best wines in every region. Wine lovers are sure to enjoy the book, but even non-aficionados will appreciate interesting and fun facts about this popular beverage.

“Donít Make Me Pull Over!” by Richard Ratay is an informal history of how the quintessential family road trip began in the 1950s with the birth of the interstate highway system. If you’ve ever taken a trip in a station wagon sans seatbelt, this book will certainly make you nostalgic.

Planning a trip is half the fun — or so some people say. Whether you agree or not, no one can dispute that travel guidebooks can be very helpful. They allow you to thoughtfully plan everything from lodging to meals to must-see attractions. Fodor’s, a division of Random House, has been publishing travel guides since the 1930’s. The current editions of some of their most popular destination guides can be found at the library.

Fodor’s 2018 London, for instance, would be great to check out if you are organizing a trip to England’s capital city. Because London is so densely populated, most people find it intimidating to explore. However, Fodor’s breaks the city up into manageable portions. Up-to-date information and plenty of maps are helpful in planning out activities.

A similar set of travel guides is put out by Rick Steves, an American author and television personality. Rick’s laid-back style makes his television series on European travel very popular. His personality comes through in these guidebooks as well. While not as “slick” as the Fodor’s books, Rick Steves’ series makes up for it with advice that is not only helpful, but candid and humorous at the same time.

If all this talk about travel makes you want to go on an adventure, what if I told you that you can travel and help support the library at the same time? For over a decade, Friends of Rowan Public Library has teamed up with Collette Travel to offer group trips to exciting locations in North America and abroad. Trips planned for the coming year include America’s Cowboy Country (June 8-15), Alaska Discovery Land & Cruise (Aug. 6-18), Sunny Portugal (Sept. 10-19), and Spotlight on Tuscany (Oct.17-25).

Melody Moxley, Friends board member and trip coordinator, says “If traveling to Alaska or Italy is on your bucket list and you want to go as part of a fun group, let Collette do all the work for you.” An informational meeting will be held at Rowan Public Library’s Stanback Auditorium on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at 6 p.m. To learn more, contact Melody Moxley at 704-216-8230.

Cards for a Cause: All branches. 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. 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: South, Dec. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m.,  “All Aboard!” Children are invited to a magical ride on the Artic Express with conductor (and magician) Steve Somers. After the program, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit. To learn more about Somers and Amazing Teacher, visit For more details about this program call 704-216-7728.

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.

Classic Cinema Series: “Christmas in Connecticut,” East, Friday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Join us for a showing of the beloved “Christmas in Connecticut.” Free event is open to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more details, call 704-216-7842.