Librarian turns to library resources to break out of a funk

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 24, 2019

By Stephanie Reister

Rowan Public Library

I’ve been in a funk. It’s not a good Kool and the Gang or Bruno Mars kind, so it has to go. I’ve turned to the library for help to get in a better groove.

I read Brené Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness” to learn about her idea of true belonging to yourself and the world. She says, “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong.” That really got me thinking. Since moving miles away from the people and place I was most comfortable with, I’m still tentative in making connections.

I find myself worrying about how I fit in here. I’m an extrovert who has been holding back. Concerned that my sense of humor and experiences may not click with the people I meet. Brown has a response to that: “True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.”

Brown’s words remind me that you can’t make friends without some effort. You have to take a chance and reach out as your genuine self. After the initial awkwardness, strangers can usually find common ground to carry on a conversation.

I want to also share more of my creativity, which includes writing. I’ve been using a mantra to get unstuck. “The best (perfect) is the enemy of the good.” Voltaire popularized this Italian proverb. It cautions us that the idea of perfection can stop us from doing a task at all.

Elizabeth Gilbert addresses using persistence to overcome the idea of perfection in her book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” I like her conversational tone and honest advice on the creative process, specifically for writing.

At the beginning of the book, Gilbert gives a long list of possible fears that prevent people from using their creativity. Seeing those excuses in print gave me a clear perspective on how we easily trick ourselves into procrastination.

Perfectionism is an ethereal obsession that holds many of us back from taking action. She uses a colorful analogy to discredit the idea, “I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified.”

Another key point Gilbert shares is that the creative process is mostly tedious, unglamorous and requires courage to be disciplined. She asks, “What are you passionate enough about that you can endure even the most disagreeable aspects of the work?” If you have a creative passion, you have to make the time to carry it out.

To push forward with my own writing, I’m taking a class through Gale Courses online. It’s free and easy to access through Rowan Public Library’s website with my library card number and PIN.

I really enjoy the class and am impressed by the instructor’s background. The homework and online discussion with fellow writers persuade me to write regularly.

Even though I’m out of my comfort zone, I will open up more to meeting people, sharing who I am, and using my creativity. I’m bound to find the light at the end of my funk. Right now, I need to get past perfectionism and a little insecurity to turn in this column.

Dr. Seuss Scavenger Hunt: Headquarters, through Feb. 28. Join us in celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday with a scavenger hunt featuring your favorite Dr. Seuss characters. Children who complete the hunt will be entered into a contest for a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Dr. Seuss Day: March 1, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., headquarters; March 2, 10:30 a.m.-noon, East. Children of all ages are invited to celebrate Dr. Seuss and his very own “Day of all Days” – For if he’d never been born, well then what would we do? No Horton? No Lorax? No Thing One or Thing Two? That isn’t a world that we can see, so join in our revelry. Contact your nearest branch for more details.

Be My Valentine: East, through Feb. 28. Spread the love to different areas in the library with a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt. Participants will be entered in a contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Sensory Storytime: Feb. 27, East Rowan, 10:30 a.m.; Feb. 28, 10:30 a.m., South. This interactive, 30-minute storytime involves books, songs and movement and is designed for those with autism and/or sensory challenges. All ages and all abilities are welcome. For questions or to make accessibility arrangements, call 704-216-7842 (East) or 704-216-7728 (South).

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt: Headquarters, March 1-30. Learn about the planet we live on and how we can take care of it with this scavenger hunt. Children who finish the scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle contest for a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Dragon Training: East, March 1-30. Toothless and his friends have flown off on an adventure. Help Hiccup find them before he goes to the hidden world. Find them all and be entered into a raffle contest for a literary-themed prize. Also, enjoy a “How to Train Your Dragon” movie marathon on March 11. For more information, contact Tammie at 704-216-7842.

Music with Miss Chelsea: March 2, 11 a.m., headquarters. This upbeat program will teach children (ages 0-7) about musical concepts like rhythm and pitch with the help of instruments and fun musical activities. For more information, call Chelsea at 704-216-8269.

Mystery Chocolate Tasting: Feb. 26, 4-5:30 p.m., headquarters; Feb. 28, 4-5 p.m., East. Teens are invited to a mystery tasting of a wide variety of chocolate and other sweet treats. Questions? Call 704-216-8258.

Chapter Chats: East, Feb. 26, 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.

Blind Date with a Book: East, through Feb. 28. Life is full of surprises. All ages are welcome to experience the mystery of checking out an unknown book and discovering what’s under the wrapping. For more details, call 704-216-7842.

Lunch at the Library: East, March 1, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Enjoy a clean, Wi-Fi-accessible, peaceful place to eat lunch. The East Branch meeting room will be open. Lunch not provided, but tables, chairs and ambiance supplied. While in the library, check out upcoming programs and free resources. For more details, call 704-216-7840.

Friends of RPL Concert Series: Kevin Williams and Dulci Ellenberger. Headquarters, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. This event is free, open to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more information, call 704-216-8243.

Makerspace DIY: 3D printing; headquarters, Feb. 28, 3:30-5 p.m. Learn how to make a design using 3D modeling software. Participants will use Tinkercad to design a 3D model and have the opportunity to print their creation during our open sessions. Sessions are available for people of all ages. Please register online, by phone at 704-216-8242, or by emailing

49 Days of Gratitude: Gratitude Journaling, Feb. 25, 6-7 p.m. Reduce stress, improve your sleep, increase self esteem and improve your relationships by cultivating gratitude in your life. Bring a blank notebook and learn the basics of how to start your own gratitude journal. Call Abby at 704-216-8248 or email to sign up.

This program is part of the NC Transportation Museum’s 49 Days of Gratitude: A Celebration of Thanks, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of North Carolina’s Merci Train boxcar’s arrival in Raleigh on Feb. 8, 1949. The Merci Train was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France, given in appreciation for the United States’ help to the French during World War II. To learn more, visit

Book Bites Club: South, Feb. 26, 6 p.m. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. Refreshments will be served, and new members are welcome. Questions? Contact Paulette at

Gardening Party Saturdays: South, March 2, 11 a.m. Gardening is cheaper than therapy – and you get tomatoes. Join us for Gardening Party, a new monthly club. For gardeners from beginners to experts, country to city, there are topics for everyone to enjoy. Questions? Call Paulette 704-216-7731.

Displays: Headquarters, log cabins by North Hills Christian School; East, Sherlock Holmes by Cathy Woods; South, student art from Corriher-Lipe Middle School art classes.

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.