SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Rowan Public Library: Public library staff often receive requests for information about legal forms and even legal procedures. While staff can point patrons in the direction of reference books with commonly used forms like those concerning wills or divorce, more extensive questions are typically outside their realm of expertise.
Navigating the justice system can be confusing and frustrating and also carry negative consequences for those who don't understand its inner workings.
In an effort to meet the needs of Rowan County citizens who have questions about legal matters, RPL will debut "Lawyers at the Library" on Monday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. at RPL Headquarters, located at 201 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury. The program consists of free, educational consultations with legal professionals.
"It's a goal of RPL to provide programs to our community that connect people with the resources and information that they need to grow, learn, and succeed," said Abigail Hardison, Headquarters reference librarian and coordinator of "Lawyers at the Library." "This program does just that."
Hardison contacted the NC Bar Association and the Rowan County Bar in search of lawyers willing to volunteer their time. Six local attorneys will offer free consultations and information on the topics of wills and estates, divorces and custody, criminal and expungement questions, creditor and landlord issues, as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and disability questions. Hardison emphasizes that this is an information service only and stresses, "No attorney-client relationship is being created with this service."
The program will begin at 6 p.m. with an introduction, and RPL staff will then assign each of the six attorneys with an attendee. That person will have a maximum of 20 minutes with their assigned legal consultant to ask questions. Each attorney will see a maximum of three attendees.
"This will allow our six participating attorneys to see a total of 18 attendees," said Hardison. "At this time, we currently have 15 individuals signed up, so space is limited." To secure a remaining slot, individuals should contact Hardison at 704-216-8248 or Abigail.Hardison@rowancountync.gov.
The participating attorneys are B. Ashley Andrews (traffic, criminal, family law); Dick Huffman (SSI/Disability, worker's comp, entrepreneurship); J. Andrew Porter (probate, estates, and wills); David Post (landlord/tenant, debtor/creditor, probate, and estates); Douglas A. Smith (family, criminal, civil); and Bryan Wymbs (probate, estates, and wills). Each has an office in Salisbury.
If all goes well, there will be future "Lawyers at the Library" events. Hardison notes that several attorneys who cannot attend this February's event expressed interest in future participation. "Our goal is to hopefully provide "Lawyers at the Library" annually or even bi-annually, if the community need is there and the lawyers are willing."
In addition to legal advice, RPL's February programming offers other opportunities for learning, as well as for inspiration and just plain fun. All programs are free and open to the public.
Are you a movie buff? RPL's East Branch, located at 110 Broad St. in Rockwell, continues its Classic Cinema Series at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb 9, with "Arsenic and Old Lace." The 1944, unrated film (118 min.) stars Cary Grant and is a comedy classic. The Classic Cinema Series is part of Adult Outreach and designed for retired individuals; however, all ages are welcome. If you're in the mood for a romantic film, check out East's matinee of "The Lake House" at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 13. The 2006, PG-rated film stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves and has a runtime of 99 min. Free popcorn provided at both showings.
On Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m., Headquarters (Salisbury) hosts "Let Freedom Ring: Music & Poetry of Black History." This family-friendly production from Bright Star Theatre takes the audience on a journey through African American history and culture from slavery to the civil rights movement through the voices of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, and more. This hour-long family program is best suited for ages 8 and up.
"Tech Tuesdays" at South Rowan Regional, located at 920 Kimball Rd. in China Grove, continue at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 with "Reading on Your Favorite Device." Learn the tips and tricks to access library books, audiobooks, and more on your tablet, phone, or other electronic device of choice. Space is limited, so participants are encouraged to call Paul at 704-216-7737 to register.
Families and individuals of all ages are invited to Family Game Night at East Branch (Rockwell) on Feb. 26. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., people are welcome to play the games provided or bring their own. For more details, call 704-216-7842.
The "Book Bites Book Club" meets at South Rowan Regional (China Grove) at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27. This month's selection is "Girl Waits with Gun" by Amy Stewart. Refreshments will be served, and new members are welcome. February's meeting features a virtual discussion with Stewart via Skype. Questions? Contact Amy at 704-216-7731.
The Friends of Rowan Public Library and Cheerwine Concert Series returns in February with Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee of Castlebay performing "Irish Bards & Blarney." Celebrating the Irish bardic tradition, this concert includes poetry and legends accompanied by music and songs inspired by Celtic literature and lore. The concert will be held at Headquarters (Salisbury) on Feb. 27; doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome. To learn more about Castlebay, visit www.castlebay.net.
A variety of teen programs are also among the February line up. If you're a teen and a fan of Star Wars, then "Random Fandom: Star Wars" is for you! Be "one with the Force" while you enjoy food inspired by the popular animated series, watch "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," and make your very own lightsaber. All three branches offer this program: East Branch (Rockwell) on Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.; Headquarters (Salisbury) on Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m.; and South Rowan Regional (China Grove) on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
The annual "Teen Chocolate Festival" returns just in time for Valentine's Day! Come prepared to celebrate all things chocolate with special games, trivia, and a chocolate fountain that even Willy Wonka would love. All three branches offer this program: East Branch (Rockwell) on Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m.; Headquarters (Salisbury) on Feb. 13 at 4:30 p.m.; and South Rowan Regional (China Grove) on Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.
February's teen escape room continues the Star Wars theme. "Escape the Death Star" relies upon participants' knowledge about the Star Wars franchise to help them steal the secret battle plans before time runs out. All three branches offer this program: East Branch (Rockwell) on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m.; Headquarters (Salisbury) on Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m.; and South Rowan Regional (China Grove) on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.
Headquarters (Salisbury) offers the Teen Board, which meets on Feb. 27 at 4:30 p.m. The Teen Advisory Board combines leadership and fun, allowing participants to make decisions about upcoming programs while hanging out and playing board games.