Highlights of the Week: Night at the Library, Tea and Tai Chi, and Little Listeners

11/18 | NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY: NATIONAL TREASURE

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Seventy-six teens in grades 6-12 had the library to themselves for an after-hours treasure hunt inspired by the popular movie, National Treasure. The movie focuses around a historian searching for the legendary treasure left behind by the Knights Templar and in order find it, he has to follow clues created by the Founding Fathers. 

Much like the movie, teen players had to work in teams in order to find pieces of the Declaration of Independence hidden around the library. Each piece contained a clue written on the back, leading players closer to the elusive treasure.

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To make things more difficult, players also needed to get past the Knights Templar– volunteers from the library’s teen advisory board– who guarded the clues and challenged the teams to duel before they could have access to the pieces.

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After successfully completing the events, participants got to relax and enjoy snacks while they watched the movie National Treasure

 


 

11/19 | TEA AND TAI CHI

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Led by Chuantong Lin, an award-winning Tai Chi master, and presenter Angel Li– both teachers at the Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi school in Warren, NJ– it’s no surprise that this program held a full-house of one-hundred and twenty-eight people. There were people of all ages ranging from pre-teens to a few people who identified themselves as “past 80.”
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Master Chauntong began the program with a few Kung Fu moves before switching over to a recorded presentation with an explanation of  various physical and calming benefits through Tai Chi movements. To better explain his points, he had the audience stand up and go through specific moves.


Some audience members were already experienced in Tai Chi with one woman commenting that “he is a very patient teacher.” Following the Tai Chi demonstration, Angel Li spoke about the history of tea, including the legend of Emperor Shen Nung and the story that he discovered tea over 5,000 years ago when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water.
She performed a traditional tea ceremony, joined by several audience members who got to taste six varieties of Chinese tea: green, black, yellow, oolong, dark tea, and white. The rest of the audience was invited to tastings at the tables set along the side of the room with Master Chauntong serving and talking with people.


Our librarians, Hongmei Liu and John Sitnik, as well as some library assistants at the Circulation Desk, commented that they found the program educational and entertaining. A woman that attended the program even called the next day to add her thanks and tell us that the library is a “real treasure for Livingston.”


*Photos courtesy of Youxian Zhao, husband to Livingston librarian, Hongmei.

 


 

11/20 | LITTLE LISTENERS

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This week’s Little Listeners story-time session was the last of a six-week program for the Fall.  Preschoolers ages two to five years old, along with their caregivers, enjoyed stories told using books, puppets, flannel board, folders, and music.

The Listeners enjoyed new versions of old favorites, such as “The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk” and a folder story called Old MacDonald Buys a Truck.  They also had fun singing along while Joe O’Brien, a member of the Youth Department, played Little Listener favorites, “The More We Read Together” and “The Library is the Place for Me”.  

 

To incorporate education with entertainment, Amanda included both fact and fiction stories, teaching the kids that squirrels have only four teeth and chew branches to keep them clean, and also teaching them how pumpkins are grown through the story One Child One Seed.

The children loved participating as they used rhyming clues to guess the different truck colors in Old MacDonald Buys a Truck and acted out the different parts of The Little Old Lady who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything.  Using finger puppets and flannel board pieces, Amanda helped the children practice their subtraction and addition skills as they counted turkeys, apples, and trucks.  

 

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To end the program, the Listeners learned about all of the different things to be thankful for as they listened to Amanda read Thanks for Thanksgiving and the flannel board story, The Thankful Turkey.  

***The Little Listeners program will return in January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Cookbook Club, Adult Paint Night, A Carole King Tribute & More!



11/12 | ONE FINE TAPESTRY: A CAROLE KING TRIBUTE

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You could feel the electricity in the air as the husband and wife duo, Diane and Gerard Barros,  performed One Fine Tapestry: A Carole King Tribute to a full house!

Gerard and Diane performed many of the hits off of Tapestry, Carole’s second album, which has sold over twenty five million copies and remains popularly downloaded today. Sing-along classics like Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, It’s Too Late, Beautiful, You’ve Got a Friend, Where you Lead, and Natural Woman lit up the room as the audience danced and sang along.  The fun music drifted out of the Program Room into the Library which attracted many visiting families to join in.

During the program, the musicians provided interesting bits of history on Carole’s life, such as when Carole’s demo tape of Bobby Vee’s Take Good Care of My Baby was accidentally played on the radio and later became a huge hit. Other stories revolved around Carole writing many songs together with her husband, Gerry Goffin, which were recorded by big names such as The Drifters, The Shirelles (Will You Love Me Tomorrow), The Chiffons (One Fine Day), Aretha Franklin (Natural Woman), James Taylor (You’ve Got a Friend), The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Everly Brothers, Herman’s Hermits, Linda Ronstadt, The Bee Gees, and The Monkees.  Pleasant Valley Sunday was actually written by Carole and Gerry when they lived in West Orange, NJ.

Thank you so much for organizing this!” “They were wonderful!” “Fantastic!” “That was so much fun!” “I’m happy I came out in the cold for this today!” These are just a few of the comments made to our librarians as the crowd exited the Program Room.

It’s not “too late” to see a video from our show!

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11/13 | COOKBOOK CLUB

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This meeting’s dishes came from the book Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix. Club members who attended chose a recipe they enjoyed from the book and brought their finished dish to the club, setting out each one for everyone to taste.
While eating, the club members discussed how they felt about the recipes in the book, most of them expressing that they enjoyed them, but others felt that the recipes were lacking, choosing to tweak the recipes to their liking. The biggest complaint about the book was that there were almost too many choices and that there were little to no measurements of ingredients. Another complaint was that there were recipes that either didn’t mention adding salt and/or pepper for taste. Even with some downsides encountered in the book, there were many delicious dishes found on the menu for the night!

 

Menu:

  • Lentil Salad
  • Curried Cauliflower Soup
  • Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Peanuts
  • Pommes Anna
  • Classic Deviled Eggs
  • Egg Salad with Dill Pickles
  • Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans and Chile Dressing
  • Pasta, Beans, and Tomatos
  • Crisp Quinoa Cakes with Almonds, Rosemary, and Dijon
  • Chechin-Thigh Kabobs
  • Persian Salad
  • Basic Dough that was also used to make Pecan Pie Squares
  • Knafeh a La Creme
  • Cream Puff Pastries
The next meeting is on January 17th at 7 PM and the book will be Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make by Melissa Clark. If you’re interested in joining the next meeting, pick up a copy of this cookbook at the Circulation Desk!


11/14 & 11/16 | COFFEE & CRIME MYSTERY BOOK CLUB

Our long-running Coffee & Crime Mystery Book Club meets twice a month, on Tuesday at 12:30 PM, and on Thursday at 7:15 PM, to accommodate all of Livingston’s mystery lovers.  This week a total of 27 members turned out to discuss The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum, about a Norwegian bachelor who makes an unlikely love-match on a short trip to India only to have his new wife disappear on her way to his small town in Norway. The ambiguous ending had both groups buzzing (some indignantly) over a snack of Jarlsberg cheese and flatbread crackers chosen in honor of the setting.  Ariel Zeitlin, one of our reference librarians and the book club’s facilitator, also showed clips from a BBC documentary, Time Shift: Nordic Noir, including an interview with Karin Fossum about her personal experiences with murder.
This week Ariel also unveiled her brand new line-up of  Coffee & Crime selections and meeting dates for 2018, as well as a list of all the books the group has read since 2012.

 

11/15 | JR. JOURNALISTS

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Children grades 3-5 learned all about what it takes to be a reporter in Livingston Library’s four-week enrichment course, “Jr. Journalists.”

In week one, Anna read the group three versions of The Three Little Pigs and led a discussion on the 5Ws+1H (Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How), Fact vs. Opinion, Subjectivity vs. Objectivity, and Reliable vs. Unreliable Narrators, to decide which of the three versions was the REAL Three Little Pigs story. After a debate, the majority of the group voted that Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs was the most true version of the story.

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During weeks two and three of Jr. Journalists, Anna assigned groups a fairy tale to research and decide which of the six books was the most true version. Each group used critical thinking skills to determine which books they found to be biased or had unreliable narrators, and which book they found to be most objective and true.

During the fourth and final week, all four groups presented their articles to the class while their parents attended.

 


 

11/15 | ADULT PAINT NIGHT

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Over twenty-five participants had a fun, engaging time recreating vibrant colored hearts in the signature style of American pop artist, Jim Dine, using small canvases, acrylic paints, and a variety of brushes.
Brandon Dorney of Art Kids Academy gave a quick demonstration of Dine’s style and then let the participants follow their own hearts to come up with very unique depictions of the “heart” theme; one participant even painted a broken heart.
To quote some of the attendees, this program was “great fun,” and ” a creative time away from the TV and computer at home.”
Participants included three retired Livingston teachers who seemed to love every minute of it!

11/16 | MARTY SCHNEIT TALK: “NEW YORK CITY DURING WORLD WAR II”
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Historian Marty Schneit gave an entertaining and engaging talk on New York City During World War II to a full house of ninety-two attendees.

Utilizing pictures and slides in conjunction with his discussions, Marty talked about many interesting things such as the important role of women in the war: Women were encouraged to donate their nylon stockings to be re-spun for parachutes, and the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter developed from women working in “men’s labor,” such as welding.  There was even a program called W.A.V.E.S., or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, that was started up by the Navy.  Other interesting facts included the Mafia where the State of New York and the Navy struck a deal to let out “Lucky” Luciano from prison so that the Mafia could provide intelligence to the Navy.  That’s definitely not something you learn in history class!

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This wonderful program attracted many people that were either children during this time, served in the war themselves, or had family members that lived during it.  Marty made the talk as interactive as he could, maintaining an ongoing Q&A as people shared their stories and experiences on topics such as food rations, black outs, covering up windows, and meatless Tuesdays.  It was a trip down memory lane for the attendees that lived during the time, many of them reminiscing with each other.

This program was funded by the Friends of the Livingston Library.


 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Story Coders, Yakety Yak Book Club, Tiny Book Workshop & More!

11/4 & 11/9 | STORY CODERS

Our award-winning program by children’s librarian, Amanda Winter, came back for two days this week! Led by our tech librarian, Joseph, and Miss Amanda herself, the program started out with a hands-on exercise in which the kindergartners and first graders used pearl-shaped stickers to write their names in braille. After the warm-up, they were taught how to create different codes using on-screen and off-screen activities in which the children used stickers, directional arrows, and colors:

The off-screen activity included creating a code by utilizing colors to represent different actions in the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” The children then rearranged the order of the colors to create a new code and were challenged to sing and act out the song by following the new code. The on-screen activity consisted of the children learning how to use the app ScratchJr in which they used directional arrows to tell a character on the screen how to move. 

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With the help of the activities, Amanda was ready to introduce everyone to our new Finch bot– a small robot that can be directed to move around by using directional arrows on a computer screen. Working together, Amanda, Joseph, and the children used code to direct the finch bot tell the story “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by having the robot move to pictures on the story mat of the different objects mentioned in the story. 

 


 

11/7 | YAKETY YAK

Composed of second and third graders led by Miss Amanda, this month’s Yakety Yak group discussed the book The Littles and the Big Storm by John Peterson. The story centered around Littles, creatures that are six inches tall and have tails, and the Biggs, a human family. During the discussion, the children used critical thinking to analyze the pros and cons of being a Little, ultimately coming to a majority decision that it would be difficult to be small and have everything around them be so much bigger than themselves.

At the end of the discussion, the kids got to have fun and recreate a scene in the book where the Littles use a sailboat to cross the flooded basement to fix the sump pump.  Using origami to fold boats out of tinfoil and out of wax paper, Miss Amanda and Miss Diane assisted the children create their boats and added a tiny dot of liquid dish soap at the back end of the boats to make them move. The group learned that the water molecules bond with the soap, disrupting the surface tension of the water and causing the boat to move forward.

 


 

11/8 | TINY BOOK SHOW and WORKSHOP

The Creativity Caravan returned to teach a room full of eager crafters how to create Tiny Books!  The instructors, Amy and Maya, shared their suitcase full of fascinating, colorful miniature books they travel with to raise the excitement in the room.  Next, they provided materials and gave detailed, step-by-step instructions for each participant to craft three different styles of tiny books.

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The final products were absolutely beautiful! The attendees were thrilled as they discussed the myriad of uses for their adorable little books: Thanksgiving place markers, books of gratitude to gift their children, books of poetry, as vacation mementos, and so much more!

Interested in making your own book?  Here is a how-to video from the instructor’s website for you to enjoy!

 


 

11/10 | ACT PRACTICE TEST

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Hosted and run by Teen librarian, Karen Dewilde, this free, three hour ACT practice test was full of high school students sacrificing their day off to become better prepared for the exam.

Before starting the test, Karen explained how the it would be conducted, how much time the students would have, and gave them advice on specific aspects of the test they should be paying most attention to. One of the most important topics she touched on was time: she encouraged students to mark where they finished the test at the end of the three hours to see if they needed to work on finishing faster.

Make sure to check our calendar for more ACT, as well as SAT, practice test dates.

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: BookFEST!, Trick or Treat, Nature Heals Workshop, and More!

10/26-29: BOOKFEST 

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Run by the Friends of the Library, BookFEST! is our biggest sale of the year. Just like last year, crowds filled the room each day of the event.  The program room was arranged with tables full of books, puzzles, toys, video games, dvds, art, and other miscellaneous items.  BookFEST! may be centered around books, but there was definitely something for everyone!

Although it was raining, our most popular day was Bag Day on Sunday: customers could buy a Friends bag, fill it up with books instead of purchasing the individual items.  Talk about a good deal!

Proceeds from the sale support great library programs for children and adults all year long.



10/30: CODERGALS 

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An exceptional program led by LHS female coder volunteers, Codergals started on October 16th, and continues on until November 6th. In this program, girls in grades 3-5 learn new coding techniques each week, such as creating their own emojis, opening their own blogs using WIX, exploring objects & variables in coding with the dancing Yeti project, and this most recent week, in the spirit of Halloween, the group practiced their coding skills with a zombie game.  They also began learning about app coding using the bitsbox system.

On the last day of the class, they will present their completed blogs containing all of their work.  With the technical field expanding and growing every year, this is a fun opportunity for girls to learn about some of the latest programs, apps, and pages used for coding.



10/31: TRICK OR TREAT AT THE LIBRARY

If you were looking for a fun place to visit on Halloween, the library was it. Our librarians dressed up for the occasion, many donning traditional witch hats to celebrate the day.  Hundreds of kids showed up in costume, said the magic words– “trick or treat”– and received candy either at the circulation or the children’s desk.  Kids with allergies and food restrictions were given non-sweet treats.  Make sure to keep the library in mind when planning your Halloween adventures next year!



11/1: NATURE HEALS WORKSHOP: SEASONAL EATING AND HERBS FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT 

 

 

Run by herbal specialist Jenna Henry Hansen and yoga instructor/nutritional therapist Jenn Dorney, this incredibly informative workshop focused on the ideas of ancient eating, specifically the practices of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.  Jenna and Jenn went over specific grocery items to purchase based on the season, including sample recipes for everyone to take home with them and sample foods and drinks to try at the event itself.  There were also many packets handed out with information on the properties of many foods and herbs with information on how they help strengthen the immune system.

Here is an immune boosting recipe from last night’s program that you may find useful as we head into the colder months.  Be sure to let us know if you try it out!

ZESTY IMMUNE-BOOST ELDERBERRY SYRUP

Take 1 tsp 3-4x daily at the first sign of a cold.

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup fresh or 1/2 Cup dried elderberries
1/4 Cup rose hips
1 Cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 Whole cloves
Zest of one orange
3 Cups water
1 Cup organic raw honey

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Place the berries, rose hips, cinnamon, orange zest, clove and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and mash up the mixture.
4. Strain the mixture though a cheesecloth or strainer, making sure to squeeze out all the goodness from the herbs.
5. Stir in honey. Add more or less to taste.
6. Bottle the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.



11/2: TEEN ADVISORY BOARD

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Did you think that those awesome teen programs happen by themselves?  Of course not! That’s why we’re giving you an inside look into a planning meeting of the Teen Advisory Board.  They are working to finalize the plans for Night at the Library: National Treasure.  The group tested the puzzles, worked on the clues and ensured that the event will be fun for all!



11/2: MARTY SCHNEIT LECTURE – THE BORSCHT BELT

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Historian Martin Schneit lectured to a packed house about the Borscht Belt, the  nickname for the summer resorts that existed in the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties in New York.  He displayed many colorful slides of Grossinger’s Hotel, with its grand dining room and indoor swimming pool.  Marty shared stories from his time as a busboy at Grossinger’s;  displaying a photo of Bess Myerson,  the 1st Jewish “Miss America,” being crowned in 1945, sitting at one of the tables.  He dazzled the crowd with interesting facts, such as basketball player Wilt Chamberlain worked as a bellhop at Kutsher’s Hotel.  The crowd enjoyed musical clips of Eddie Fisher singing “Sunrise, Sunset,” and of Jimmy Durante singing “Make Someone Happy.”  Marty had the audience heartily laughing along to jokes originally told by Rodney Dangerfield and George Burns.

This fantastic trip down memory lane was made possible by the Friends of the Livingston Public Library.

Don’t miss Marty Schneit’s next lecture on November 16th, about New York City During World War II, also sponsored by the Friends.


11/3: ONLINE BUSINESS & NJ TAX

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Representatives from the New Jersey Division of Taxation, as part of the Taxation University Series, in cooperation with the New Jersey State Library presented Online Business & New Jersey Tax to small business owners.
They explained the NJ Sales and Use Tax, how to properly report and pay taxes, helpful publications and useful contact information.  Participants were able to ask questions and both representatives provided useful information.

This is the first in the It’s Your Business Series of business and personal finance programs. Registration is open for the next program in the series, Fundamentals of New Jersey Sales Tax.