This was the very last meeting of Coffee & Crime, our popular, long-running mystery book club due to our reference librarian, Ariel Zeitlin, venturing out of the library to pursue other goals.
To wrap up the book club, Coffee & Crime talked about a St. Patrick’s Day selection, Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville: an emotionally charged story of an IRA hit man being haunted by the ghosts of twelve innocent people who want him to avenge their murders. It was a customarily lively, sometimes impassioned discussion of a truly compelling book (though not for the faint of heart.) Longtime participant Helen Farber brought oatmeal cookies and the group all agreed to pretend they were Irish scones.
At the end, the members talked about their favorite selections over the years, including Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Still Life by Louise Penny, and Malice by Keigo Higashino. It was a bittersweet, but satisfying end to a great run. We wish the best of luck to Ariel in her new position and recommend our three other adult book clubs, Get Lit, Let’s Talk About Books, and The Cookbook Club.
3/26 | Tween Spring Holiday Origami: Gr 4-6
After finding out that her 4-6th graders had little to no experience with origami, Youth Librarian Anna guided the tweens through a fun experience of making origami frogs and rabbits, and gave them instructions to make an origami hydrangea at home. Several parents requested that more origami programs be held and said their children had a wonderful time.
3/28 | Little Bookworms: Gr K-1
In our successful first session of the Spring, Youth Librarian Gina Vaccaro shared some of her favorite picture books featuring birds, including the brand new, thoughtful, yet silly Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer, the sweet tale of friendship, Bird, Balloon, Bear ,written and illustrated by Il Sung Na, and Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.
Children used their math skills to measure out bird seed, and with help from Teen Volunteers, stirred in corn syrup, flour, and water. The children spooned the feed mixture into small paper cups that were prepared with string attached. Once the mixture dries overnight, the feeders can be hung up outside to feed our feathered friends!
The group had a wonderful time– children and parents thanked Gina for such a fun, educational program.
The third in our series of community health lectures in collaboration with the Summit Medical Group, Dr. Mairanna Shimelfarb, MD, who specializes in Integrative Family Medicine, addressed the epidemic of sleeplessness and enlightened the audience about natural ways to get sound, restorative sleep.
Her talk, which was coincidentally held on the eve of World Sleep Day, discussed why you need to sleep, why you cant get good sleep, why it’s important to do something about it, and how to do it naturally!
Dr. Shimelfarb spoke about the stages of sleep, different types of insomnia, causes of sleep trouble, and the different factors that can help contribute to a good night’s sleep, including a healthy diet, and reducing mind noise (disconnecting from electronic devices).
3/16 | Senior Happening: The Great Lady Songwriters
Fred Miller performed one of his lectures-in-song, “Great Lady Songwriters,” in honor of Women’s History Month. Guests also got in the spirit of wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Miller explained that many women, including four of the most notable ( Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse and Ann Ronnell), were prolific composers and lyricists. Though they never gained as much notoriety as the Gershwin brothers or Irving Berlin, their work was the core of Tin Pan Alley.
As the 1920s brought many changes in American culture, music moved ahead with inventions like the phonograph, radio, and sound movies. Jazz also transformed the music industry. New York City, with its concentration of theaters and publishing houses, became the center of the music world and at the center of the city was a small area called Tin Pan Alley. The musicians of Tin Pan Alley blended ragtime, jazz, and ballads to create a new brand of song that was witty and sophisticated. Fields, who was born in Allenhurst, NJ, brought us “The Way You Look Tonight”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” — just a few of more than 400 songs she wrote for Broadway musicals and films.
Carolyn Leigh teamed with Cy Coleman and other songwriters to write songs for Mary Martin in Peter Pan, including “I’m Flying”and “I Won’t Grow Up.” Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett also sang Leigh tunes, such as “Witchcraft,”“Young at Heart,” and “The Best is Yet to Come.” Leigh also wrote “Hey Look Me Over,” for Lucille Ball in Wildcat.
Miller ended the program with another prolific female songwriter, Peggy Lee. Lee may be better known for her smooth and smoky voice, her career as singer, songwriter, composer, and actress spanned six decades. After leaving the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Lee teamed with her husband to write songs in the 1950s, then worked on her own. She wrote for Disney Studios, and sang some of her own songs in Lady and the Tramp.
Senior Happening is funded by Friends of the Library with a grant awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, administered by the Essex County Department of Cultural and Historic Affairs.
3/20 | The Shannachie of Glendunbun Ballybeg
Part of The Friends of the Library “Think Theatre” series, David Emerson came dressed in traditional Irish garb, with a pipe, cap, green vest, and a cane for props. Playing the character of David McCaffrey, he explained that a Shannachie is a storyteller who shares the wit, wisdom, humor, and humanity of a people through their traditional stories. In tradition of a true Shannachie, Emerson shared a few Celtic tales of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish origin.
Even though it was sleeting, about thirty people attended the program, including one couple who drove all the down from Sussex County.
To start the program, kindergartners, first graders, and parents worked together to solve the tangram challenges. Using the seven shapes, children and parents had to recreate the shapes shown on the challenge sheet.
For the next activity, the children practiced breaking down tasks into smaller steps. Joseph, pretending to be a robot, explained that there was a problem with the code, (directions he used to complete the “get ready for bed” activity) and he needed their help to rewrite it. The children had to use step-by-step directions to tell “Robot Joseph” how to use a brush, read a book, use toothbrush and toothpaste, and drink a glass of water. With guidance from parents, Amanda, and Joseph, the children learned that their directions to a robot needed to be more specific than when they give directions to another person.
The library’s new Code & Go Mouse Bot was also revealed, which was a hit with the kids. Amanda explained that the mouse bot needed to be given directions using different color directional arrows. The mouse bot could be directed to go forward, backward, turn left, and turn right. While reading the story “The Journey” by Arnold Lobel, Amanda helped the kids retell the story by directing the mouse to move from picture to picture in the maze, with each picture representing a different part of the story. The children planned out how the mouse should move using arrow cards for each part of the maze, then Joseph input the commands into the mouse bot. Just like the mouse in the story, the mouse bot navigated the maze to go home and have some cheese!
3/10 | Makers Day
Despite a recent snowstorm and trees down in the parking lot, the library’s third annual Makers Day was a huge success! Approximately 500 people participated in the event, making slime, drawing spin art using LEGO machines, viewing robotics demonstrations, looking through telescopes, and more.
The Library benefited from partnerships with the high school robotics team, Livingston Robotics Club, Morris Museum Astronomical Society, Montclair Learning Center, and Bricks 4 Kidz to make this the best attended Makers Day at Livingston.
3/11 | Eco Friendly Lawn Care
This was the second installment in our “Know Your Garden” series with presenter, Marc Zukovich, a professor of horticulture at County College of Morris and a storehouse of knowledge on all gardening and botanical matters.
He began by saying that the lawn is America’s contribution to landscape architecture and is a $40 billion industry in the USA. Marc’s talk focused on the cultural practices associated with lawn care and gave many useful tips on conscientious lawn care and maintenance.
Mowing, aeration, seeding and over seeding, watering, topdressing, dethatching and soil texture analysis, which are different elements in lawn care, were highlighted. Marc spoke of the importance of soil testing and advised all lawn owners to use the services of the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory. The lab will analyse the nutrients and PH levels of a sample of soil from your yard, which is extremely beneficial when creating your lawn care regimen.
The importance of nitrogen to plants, how to read fertilizer labels (numbers like 5-10-5), types of fertilizers (organic vs inorganic), and when and how to fertilize was discussed. Marc also recommended environmental friendly organic products, such as Epsoma fertilizers and using corn gluten as a weed killer. He spoke of the environmental dangers of using synthetic fertilizers, especially “weed and feed” brands.
Read more about lawn care in a Rodale’s Organic Life article that was distributed, titled The Dark Side of Lawns.
3/12 & 3/13 | Stuffed Animal Story Time & Craft
Children, ages two-years-old to seven-years-old, along with their stuffed animal friends, enjoyed a special Story Time with Miss Amanda. They listened to stories about a girl who learns to love a pink, stuffed armadillo that her grandmother knitted, and a story about a rescued dog who can’t sleep without her collection of stuffed toys. The children counted teddy bears that fell out of bed as Miss Amanda sang the song “Rollover” and named the colors of a teddy bear’s clothing as he got dressed.
For the craft, the children chose the colors they wanted to use. With help, they put together the bear ears and paper strips to construct their teddy bear headband. Teen volunteer Lizzi Tesoriero helped the children with the craft.
3/14 | Creativity Blooms: Making Book Page Blossoms
Artist and instructor Donna Drew led a workshop using sustainable design concepts and showed the audience how to turn discarded book pages into pretty paper flowers. Using pages from recycled books, a flower template, and materials like a thin wire hook, glue, brushes and pens, she instructed the eager participants in cutting, folding, gluing and shaping the pages into petaled blooms.
Thought parts of the craft were challenging, everyone had an enjoyable experience, appeared engaged in the process, and each one took home a pretty paper flower. One participant commented that “this library has such great programs, offers a lot, and I love it!”
Some audience members admired the jewelry made and worn by Donna and asked about having her back for a jewelry class. You can view more of Donna’s art on her Triangle Designs Facebook Page.
“At Long Last Love” was the theme of a post-Valentine’s Day Senior Happening at the Library. Over 100 seniors enjoyed a program of appropriate love songs from the Great American Songbook, sung by Soprano Jean McClelland, accompanied by her husband, pianist Bill McClelland.
Many of the songs were familiar from the Broadway musicals Brigadoon, Guys and Dolls, and Showboat. Others were from composers like Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Alan Jay Lerner, or Irving Berlin. Berlin, known as Mr. Tin Pan Alley, wrote over 1,500 songs between 1907 and the 1960s. “Blue Skies” and “How Deep is the Ocean” were two of his songs that Jean sang.
Other selections for the afternoon’s program included “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” and “Summertime” from Showboat, “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,”“S Wonderful,”“Wouldn’t It be Lovely,” and “In the Still of the Night.”
2/20 & 2/22 |Coffee and Crime
This week’s discussion was on the book Time’s Up by Janey Mack, a light, frothy mystery about a young woman from a cop family who becomes a meter maid to prove she’s tough enough to join the police force.
There were twenty five attendees in total and the two groups had surprisingly different reactions to the book: the night owls enjoyed the book’s slapstick humor, broadly drawn characters, and steamy romance (perfect for Valentine’s Day!). The early birds were critical of the book’s stereotypes, which did seem dated since its publication two years earlier before #MeToo and other social movements had taken off.
Our librarian, Ariel Zeitlin, who leads the group, played a clip from the children’s movie Zootopia, which has a strikingly similar plot to the book. And longtime member Helen Farber brought her own delicious homemade cookie bars to the evening meeting, which were devoured by all.
2/22 |Library Mini Golf Fundraiser
The Livingston Community came together for an evening of fun and fundraising at LPL’s first mini golf event. Cheers and laughter could be heard throughout the children’s department as players aimed for the illusive hole-in-one on a whimsical golf course created entirely by volunteers. The groups who volunteered were the Weeblos Troop 12, Livingston High School Twin Club, Emerald Knights Robotics, Italian Club, National Art Honor Society, and the Livingston Library Teen Advisory Board. All Proceeds Benefited Friends of the Livingston Library and the ALA disaster Relief Fund.
The Livingston Library booth for Chinese Culture Day at the Livingston High School drew a large crowd. Kids who attended loved our free toys, the free Chinese magazines we gave out were very popular as well. Over one hundred bags of toys, eighty Chinese magazines, and dozens of pens were given out.
2/20, 2/26 & 2/27 | Little Listeners
During the winter session of Little Listeners, children ages two to five years old and their caregivers, reinforced their knowledge of basic concepts while enjoying stories, songs, and books. When Amanda read stories about winter, the children loved practicing shape names as they participated in the flannel board story “Where is the Snowball?”. The children learned about the value of sharing and problem-solving in Lost, a book about a bear who loses his mitten. The children also practiced counting and colors in the flannel board story “Ten Rabbits”, in which rabbits gather ingredients to make vegetable soup.
Amanda shared songs related to the different storytime themes and the kids enjoyed a special visit from Guitar Joe who sung Jewel’s “That’s What I’d Do.”
2/26 | Teen Crafters
Teens attending the Library’s annual Teen Crafters Program learned to crochet and/or knit. Over the course of the six-week program, the crafters practiced basic skills while making a small project such as a scarf, bracelet, or mini hat. Once the projects are complete the teens will choose to keep their creation or to donate them to a local charity such as Emily’s Hats for Hope or Woman’s Heart Scarves program.
2/27 | X-treme Readers
The group read one of Gina’s favorite books of recent years, the National Book Award winner and 2015 Newbery Honor Book,Brown Girl Dreaming written by the National Ambassador to Young People’s Literature for 2018, Jacqueline Woodson. The children commented how they loved her poetic use of language and how descriptive the author was in her storytelling– these are some of the same reasons Gina loved the book so much. The readers shared stories of their family history, the story of their names, discussed the Civil Rights Movement, and figured out their “thing,” a.k.a the one thing they do well.
The readers then created word art of their names, using calligraphy and bubble letter templates to simulate ‘graffiti,’ (the author was caught by her uncle as she tried to spray paint her tag.) As the children were writing, Gina played YouTube interviews of Jacqueline Woodson on the Chromebook for the children to listen to. One of the girls took it to the next level by including #xtreme in her ‘tag.’
Finally, the group (and some of their parents) enjoyed the last few minutes of the Livingston Listens Lecture, Understanding Your Child’s Racial Identity.
2/28 |Children’s Chess
Chess classes this winter were led by LHS Chess Club member Varun Maheshwari with assistance from other members of the chess club. Having the class led by a teen volunteer provided a wonderful opportunity for the children to interact with members of the LHS Chess Club, a group which the children chess players will one day have a chance to participate in.
The well-attended chess class for children in grade 2 to grade 5 included experienced chess players as well as players learning chess for the first time. Children reviewed chess basics and chess strategy by listening and answering questions during lessons led by Varun using a demonstration chessboard. Varun and the teen volunteers also challenged the children with chess puzzles that the children solved using the class chess sets and chessboards (purchased by the Friends of the Livingston Library).