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Make a New Year’s resolution to read

By Hope Loman

Rowan Public Library

When one thinks of making New Year’s resolutions, they usually revolve around something physical — eating healthier food, spending more time at the gym or taking up a new hobby. While these are commendable goals, why not take the time to make a resolution to also improve mentally and set a reading goal for 2020?

Regular reading has benefits beyond just being a good source of entertainment — the University of Sussex reported that readers felt calmer by as much as 68 percent after six minutes of reading, and a 2013 survey by Book Trust said that readers are, on average, more “satisfied with life, happier and more likely to feel the things they do in life are worthwhile.”

For the past few years, I have used the website Goodreads to track all of the books that I have read with their yearly Reading Challenge. The number of books picked for the challenge is completely up to the user, and the website also lets them know if he/she is staying on track as the year progresses (or running a few books behind).

With the website, readers can easily mark all of the books that he/she is currently reading, has completed, or has added to a “to be read” list. Books of any length can count towards a reader’s goal, and can be in any form — novella, graphic novel or even an audiobook. Goodreads also has a rating system and a dedicated community of thoughtful reviewers, so readers can decide ahead of time if a book is right for them.

If patrons want to use something a little simpler, another viable option is Rowan Public Library’s catalog. Any time a patron logs into their account and searches for a book, they can click on the “Add to List” button beneath the title and generate their own record of books they have read or have yet to read. Users can make multiple lists, customize their titles, remove books and select items to place them on hold.

If a patron would like more information about the title, they can click on the Novelist tab up at the top of the RPL catalog page. Novelist is a great alternative to Goodreads because it gives official reviews from publications like Publisher’s Weekly or Kirkus, instead of comments from readers.

Novelist also lets users search for read-alikes to books they’ve enjoyed by letting them search by topics such as genre, storyline, writing style and theme; Goodreads only relies on an algorithm based on how a user has rated previous titles he/she has read, so I have found its recommendations to not be as useful.

Another benefit of a reading resolution is that unlike a pricy gym membership or a joining fee for a weight loss program, a library card from Rowan Public Library is always free! A patron can check out up to 25 books at a time for two weeks (or longer, should he/she choose to renew) at no charge, making this a resolution that fits any budget. This is also a goal that can be done with others, which might help keep a reader motivated. Get the family involved to see who can read the most by the end of the year, or have a friend check out the same book and do a buddy read.

So if this sounds like a resolution that might be right for you, start 2020 off right and stop by RPL today to get started. Staff is always on hand to help patrons navigate the catalog or offer a book suggestion, or can take questions over the phone at 704-216-8228 or through email at info@rowancountync.gov.

January Scavenger Hunt: Snow Animals at headquarters and South, through Jan. 31. Can you find these snow animals hidden throughout the children’s room? Complete the challenge and get a prize. For more information, call 704-216-8234 or 704-216-7728.

Scavenger Hunt: Whiteout! at East, through Jan. 31. Missing! Answer clues and riddles to solve the mystery of where two Siberian tigers are hiding after they escaped from a nearby zoo. Discover their hiding place and be entered into a raffle contest for a literary-themed prize. For more information, call 704-216-7842.

Winter Tea and Tales: East, Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Snuggle up on a cold winter day and enjoy a storytime, craft and light refreshments. Children will have the chance to win a prize for wearing the most creative winter accessory such as mittens, scarves or hats. Call 704-216-7842 for more information.

STEAM into Adventure: Symmetrical Snowflakes, South, Jan. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Make a snowflake picture with various materials and talk about symmetry. This STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) program is geared for ages 6 to 11. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more details, call 704-216-7729.

Reader’s Theater: South, Jan. 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Be an actor without the pressure of memorizing a script! This theater style conveys the story through vocal and facial expressions. This program is designed for ages 8 to 13. Questions? Call 704-216-7729.

Exploration with Aida: Robots, headquarters, Jan. 11, 11 a.m. Learn the basics of coding using Cubetto, Ozobot and Dash robots. This program is designed for ages 10 and under and will be held in the HQ Children’s Room. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact Aida at 704-216-8234.

Bullet Journaling for 2020: Headquarters, Jan. 11, 3-4 p.m. Feel unorganized? Do you want to take charge of your life, habits and health? Learn about bullet journaling and how you can turn a blank book into your personal planner, health tracker, budgeting tool and journal. Bring your own book and use our tools, stencils and inspirations to keep it all together for 2020. Call Abby at 704-216-8248 for more information or email info@rowancountync.gov.

Playday Tuesday: Headquarters, Jan. 14, 5-7 p.m. drop by the children’s room for fun seasonal games with Mr. Robert and Ms. Kimber. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact 704-216-8234.

Crafty Kids: Headquarters, Jan. 15, 6 p.m. Children ages 12 and under are invited to explore their crafty side using a variety of materials and techniques to create art. This will be held in the Children’s Room. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact Aida at 704-216-8234.

Sensory Storytime: Jan. 17, 10:30 a.m., headquarters. Attendees will experience storytime through tactile stimulation as they touch, see, smell and hear different interactive elements. This 30-minute storytime involves books, songs and movement and is designed for those with autism and/or sensory challenges. All ages and those of all abilities are welcome. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For questions or to make accessibility arrangements, call 704-216-8234.

Adventures with Mr. Robert: Snow globe construction, headquarters, Jan. 18, 11 a.m.-noon. Children will build their own snow globe out of a glass jar. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more information, contact 704-216-8234.

Cupcake Wars: Headquarters, Jan. 14, 4-5 p.m.; East, Jan. 16, 4-5 p.m. Teens will use a variety of toppings and ingredients to create the silliest, kookiest cupcakes. This program is designed for teens in sixth-12th grade. Questions? Call 704-216-8229 for more information.

Shad-N-ator Fishing Program: Headquarters, Jan. 16, 6 p.m. Did you know January is a good time to start thinking about fishing? At this special program, retired N.C. Wildlife Officer Tony Sharum – known to his fans as the Shad-N-ator – will present an introduction to fishing, including how and where one can fish in Salisbury and Rowan County, tips and tricks, legal requirements and more. All ages are welcome. For more information, call 704-216-8233.

Wednesday Writers Club: East, Jan. 15, 6 p.m. Love writing? We do too! Join the East Branch for a time of solo writing, group sharing and peer-to-peer reviews. Encouragement, coffee and snacks will be provided. This program is designed for adults 18 and up. Call 704-216-7840 for more information.

Job Readiness on the Go: South, Jan. 16,2-4 p.m. A Career Connections Specialist from Goodwill will be onsite to provide Job Readiness on the Go, which consists of successfully completing employment applications online and on paper, creating a resume, learning interviewing skills and completing assessments to help select a career based on your personality and skills. Call 704-216-8259 for more information.

Job Resource Fair: Headquarters, Jan. 17, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. This inclusive job fair will feature local employers and other resources for job seekers, including resume and job search assistance. Contact Hannah at 704-216-8259 for more information.

Displays: Headquarters, YSAP Rowan (Youth Substance Abuse Prevention), and Salisbury Symphony; East, Disney memorabilia by Cathy Woods; South, South Rowan High School first semester student art presented by Jackie Elliot.

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.

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