More Than Just Books

While we love our books, the public library is more than just a place where people come to find new novels to take home and read.  The Livingston Public Library is also an active community center where people can gather together to learn things by ways of lecture, participate in lively discussions, make crafts, and more.  Here are a few Adult Programming Highlights from this month.

We Colored Our Stress Away on Monday evenings and Thursday Mornings.  While listening to some relaxing music, we made designs come to life with color, made new friends, and forgot about our worries, even if only for a little while.

We also had lively discussions centered around…you guessed it, books!  Our Feminist Fare book club read Ms. Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann M. Ross, Let’s Talk About Books discussed Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Get Lit read Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, and the Cook Book Club read Can’t Cook by Jessica Seinfeld.

We also hosted a Sustainable Design Workshop and made upholstery pouches with art instructor Donna Drew!  The pouches were made out of a variety of materials including: fabric samples, buttons, ribbon, lace, and cord.  They came out beautiful!

Judith Krall-Russon from dazzled us during her presentation Food, Fashion, and Tea From Jane Austen to Queen Victoria.  Who knew that the Industrial Revolution had such a large impact on tea?

So many things are constantly going on in the library. We also enjoyed programs this month such as:Pruning Your Garden, Diabetes Prevention, a concert of a Musical Journey Through the Decades, a business workshop for Women Returning to Work,  and more! You can check out what’s going on next month and register for upcoming events through our calendar.

Hope to see you soon!

-Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian

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Woman’s Work


Dear Livingston Library Community,

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” ~Shirley Chisholm

Are you a woman who has been out of the workforce for a while taking care of children, an elderly family member, or yourself? Whether it has been 12 months or 12 years, you can return to work successfully! And, as always, the Livingston Public Library is here to help.

Explore strategies to reassess your career options, refresh your job search skills, and strengthen your career network in the presentation “Women Returning to Work” being held on Wednesday, November 28th at 7 pm, as part of our “It’s Your Business”  program series.

Lauren Markon, a Livingston based Career Counselor who owns and operates Career Connections NJ, will review topics such as barriers to employment, utilizing your networking to find meaningful employment, and uncovering transferable career skills that were acquired while staying at home.”
All the best,

The Possibilities of Time Travel

Did you ever wish that you could step back into time and see what life was like?  Did you know that you can? The Livingston Public Library has access to both digitized and physical local history archives that make time travel (at least in the research sense) local hisotrypossible.  

80 years ago on the week of November 24, 1938, Livingston was very much an active community just as it was today.  In this week alone, there were meetings, fellowship gatherings, and lectures happening… even a roast beef supper!

There were also changes in the town that affected our present day.  The biggest of these changes was the adoption of a new Sanitary Code affecting people who work with the public and handle milk products, as well as the early stages of a sewer construction project.  You can read more about it here in our digitized Local History Archive, found on our website under the “Newspapers and Magazines” tab.  

Through a few simple clicks, you can remotely visit our digitized archives and browse: photos, The West Essex Tribune (1929-2008), Livingston High School Yearbooks (1957-2008), and even some books. Looking for something that you can touch?  We also have a Local History room with old photos, books, and glorious wonders from Livingston’s yesteryear.

So, come check out the library both in person and online you may just find yourself going back in time.  

-Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian             

Thanksgiving Cookbooks


Dear Livingston Library Community,

Thanksgiving is a holiday steeped in tradition –turkey, football, the Macy’s parade, stuffing, and yes, even the ubiquitous green bean casserole.  But what about the vegetarian, the vegan, the allergy sufferer or the just plain fussy eater? If you are looking for a new recipe to add to your repertoire,  you’re sure to find the cookbook you want in the Library’s huge cookbook collection. And if inspiration happens to strike you in the middle of the night, you can access Overdrive for eBooks by famous chefs from Mario Batali to Jennie Grossinger, and Rb Digital for online magazine editions of Bon Appetit, Cooks Country and more.

And remember, as the great cartoonist Charles M. Schulz once said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
All the best,

Harry Potter Casts a Spell on the Livingston Library

Harry Potter fans were able to celebrate their wizard love at two Livingston Library events.

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Close to 500 fans, some in costume, attended our Harry Potter Family Halloween event.  Children went from station to station to create Mini Monster Books, Edible Wizard Hats, Charms Practice (a.k.a. Dementor Bowling) and complete a Riddle Challenge to free Dobby from danger.  The night would not be complete without a family photo op on Platform 9 3/4.

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Teens had the library to themselves on a Saturday night as they competed in house events, earning points for prizes while the library was closed!  Houses Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Slytherin played Quidditch, mixed potions, answered HP trivia questions and conducted a Horcrux Hunt as they searched for the seven pieces of Voldemort’s fragmented soul.

After the House Competition, teens enjoyed snacks of wizard hats and homemade butterbeer while viewing the film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the big screen.

The winning house members earned special prizes, a few special participants earned door prizes and all other wizard fans reached into the giant cauldron for a goodie bag.

The foam on the butterbeer of the night: the Livingston Library Teen Advisory Board planned, organized and helped run the event.

—  Gina Vaccaro, Youth Services Librarian 

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Family Lines

Have you ever wondered who’s in your family line but don’t know where or how to start?

Here are some of our resources that can help point you in the right direction:

Keep On Learning - Themes and Resources - Family Lines
Keep On Learning – Themes and Resources – Family Lines

Universal Class offers numerous courses in the subject of family, one of which is entitled “Genealogy 101”.

Gale Courses also offers a great number of courses on family, including “Genealogy Basics”.

These courses can be accessed online from anywhere you have time to do so.  First step is to sign up.

To top it off, our Library offers in-house access to to interested patrons.  Just use any of our computer workstations and you’re good to search away in their databases, features, and billions of records.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see who was part of the family, maybe even all the way to the medieval times?  Or it could be a nice project to set a trail for the generations down the line.

With the holidays coming, this sounds like small talk that could bloom into great conversations and deeper connections with family.

May you have great fun with your discoveries!

— Janea Agbayani, Adult Services Library Specialist

For more information, visit:


Positive Outlook is Everything


Dear Livingston Library Community,

“Most people have had adversity in their lives. An individual can view it as a problem, a challenge or an opportunity. In my case, I made my MS an opportunity.” -Bruce Freeman

Join us this Saturday, November 17 at 10:30 AM for an inspiring talk by Bruce Freeman, a successful entrepreneur, author, columnist, professor, and Livingston resident. In his mid-60s and combating progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), Bruce Freeman considers himself to be in the prime of his life. Now, as a motivational speaker, Bruce inspires and captivates, delivering his message of turning adversity into opportunity with his own brand of humor.

Bruce’s message is specifically for people who are facing their own personal challenges, or as he would say: “Encountering their own opportunities.” Freeman’s presentation opens with a discourse on three personal adverse situations that he transformed into opportunities. He then provides his audiences with five tools that everyone can use to overcome their challenges, with the goal of turning those challenges into positive, lifetime outcomes and achievements.

Join us this Saturday morning and get ready to transform your challenges into opportunities!
All the best,

Keep On Learning

Here at the Livingston Public Library, we provide a ton of resources that can be used in the pursuit of Lifelong Learning — waiting to be browsed, seeked and availed of.

We are looking for learners.

And learners-to-be.

Young or older.  From sunrise to sunset, as in times of day or times of life.

We like encouraging you all to go for any subject that catches your fancy.

Does it really matter what stage of life we are in, what skills we have, or what knowledge we have to begin with — when it comes to learning something new?

It doesn’t.  It shouldn’t.

Let Your Mind Grow Bit by Bit
Let Your Mind Grow Bit by Bit

Because Lifelong Learning can be done bit by bit, from a huge spectrum of interests, at all times of the day, at all stages in life.  In full intensity, or in light taps.  In whatever form or effort works for us.

We just need to want it and be motivated enough.  AND take that first step!

Then the rest will come — time that can be scraped up, efforts that can be mustered, resources that can be used, little pieces of knowledge that will come together in the end — with all the fun, connections and reconnections that can be discovered and re-discovered along the way.

Wouldn’t you agree?

FINAL Lifelong Learning Logo
Keep On Learning

Coming up soon, we’ll feature themes plus some of our resources and courses you might want to immerse in and get you started.

We are here to encourage you to… Keep On Learning!

— Janea Agbayani, Adult Services Library Specialist



To explore more, visit:

Book Club in a Bag

Have you ever had dreams of running your own book club but ended up overwhelmed instead? The Livingston Public Library is here to help! We offer a Book Club in a Bag service that is here to end your book club frustrations once and for all. Book Club in a Bag contains everything you need.. In each bag there are 8 copies of a single title, an author bio and discussion questions. Current titles include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project (to name a few). Explore the full selection on our website at Just add some friends and get ready to host the book club of your dreams. This service is available to Livingston cardholders, and the bags can be checked out for 28 days.

Friends & cups not included. 

– Katie Neylan, Head of Adult Services


Check out what the Livingston Public Library librarians are reading on our new book talk Instagram series, LiviLit! In the latest episode of LiviLit, librarians Jessica and Gina discuss this month’s Get Lit book club choice Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, a memoir about growing up as an immigrant in America.  To find out more about the library’s book clubs, check out our website here.      

For the full video, head on over to our Instagram @LivingstonLibrary

Be sure to follow our Instagram @LivingstonLibrary to be the first to see new LiviLit videos and other fun things that are going on in the library!  

-Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian