Did you ever think you would be able to borrow a sewing machine or a fully functioning robotics kit with your library card? Well, at the Livingston Library you can, along with ukuleles, engineering kits, fiber arts, paper crafts, puzzles and more with our Ready, Set, Create! Toolkits for Emerging Artists and Inventors!
Each toolkit contains all the materials and instructions you need, just add your imagination.
Our available Toolkits include:
Ukulele: Learn to play the ukulele with instructions on how to tune and play it.
Sewing: A sewing machine, fabric and step-by-step instructions to get you started.
Code & Go Mouse Kits: A fun way for children to develop foundational coding skills. Create a maze, then program the mouse bot through it to reach the cheese!
LEGO Robotics: Build and program a robot with LEGO WeDo and Scratch.
Snap Circuits: This toolkit makes learning electronics easy and fun. Follow the colorful pictures in the instruction book to build projects such as FM radios, digital voice recorders, AM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells, and more.
Makey Makey: Turns everyday objects into touchpads, limited only by your imagination!
Strawbees: use engineering skills to build projects with ordinary drinking straws.
Paper Marbling: everything you need to create beautiful swirled designs on paper.
Quilling: Art form in which strips of paper are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. Quilling can be used to decorate cards, pictures, gift bags or boxes — the list goes on.
Puzzles: Alphabet puzzles, dinosaur, number and animal puzzles and continent puzzles for those looking for a little more of a challenge.
The cold, winter months are the perfect time to experiment and learn something new. Stop by the Youth Department and take home a toolkit today!
For May’s Nursery Rhyme Time, Gina shared stories, songs and sign language to introduce language patterns, body parts, colors, and nature.
In Tiny Toddlers, Anna shared stories and songs based around Early Learning Concepts to hone concentration skills in addition to science concepts to recognize patterns.
For Little Listeners, Amanda shared stories and songs that helped to build math skills and self-confidence.
5/2 & 5/14 | Intro to Soft Pastels
Under the competent direction of artist and instructor, Sarah Canfield, thirty participants learned to paint using soft pastels. Sarah began with a thorough overview of the medium, explaining the varieties/types of pastels, the unique qualities of pastel, and their drawbacks.
Participants brought an original color photograph: their first step was to sketch out their drawing using pencil or a light pastel. The group then gathered around a table and Sarah demonstrated how to apply the pastel color, including how to blend and layer color that are unique to the medium.
Intermittently, Sarah spoke of different tips and tricks , the various papers that can be used, and the challenges of the medium. She patiently helped participants and answered questions. A few participants tried to copy pictures from their phones or tablets, a few used pictures from books, and one had a pic of her pet dog that she was painstakingly trying to recreate.
Everyone had a good time, were engaged in their work, and several said this was the first time they tried this medium but were sure to go back to using it again.
5/4 | Teen Mindfulness Afternoon with Miniature Therapy Horse
Our Teen Librarian organized an afternoon of mindfulness. Teens had a place to write out stressors as they entered, then made squishy stress-relief balls, enjoyed refreshing mindfulness tea with fruit juices, and had a chance to bond with Noble, a mini therapy horse!
5/6 | 12 Dependable Perennials
Horticulture professor and expert, Marc Zukovich gave an excellent presentation on some dependable perennial plants and shrubs that we could plant in our gardens for year round beauty and enjoyment.
Some of the topics Professor Zukovich discussed were:
—Deer resistant plants (A useful title he suggested is called “50 most beautiful deer resistant plants”).
–The criteria for dependability for perennials, which are long blooming, tolerate less than perfect conditions, require low maintenance, are disease and insect resistant, and not invasive.
Marc’s dependable perennial plant list included: Lady’s Mantle, Echinacea, Hosta, Shasta Daisy, Salvia, Stonecrop, Lamb’s Ear, Catmint, and Russian Sage. He also included perennial shrubs like Abelia, Barberry, Buddleia, Spirea, and Weigela.
One patron remarked that she came expecting the presentation to be boring after a while, but Marc made the session both informative and fun.
5/8 | X-treme Readers Book Club
Miss Gina’s 4-5th grade book club read Katherine Applegate’s touching novel, Wishtree. They enjoyed discussing the themes of the book outside in the warm Spring air.
Children wrote their wishes down and hung them on our tree, creating our very own “Wishtree” on the Grace Chen Children’s Terrace!
5/12 | The Missing Stories with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
Samip Mallick, Executive Director of SAADA, explained the work that SAADA does preserving South Asian American history. Mallick explained that 1 in every 100 Americans traces their roots to South Asia, yet South Asian American history is rarely preserved. He went over some stories in the archives, such as Dilip Singh Saund, who became the first Asian American elected official in 1952, and Bhagwan Singh Gyanee, whose name was recorded incorrectly by Congress as “Bhagwarr,” so SAADA had to do investigative work to piece together his identity. All participants were excited to learn about SAADA’s work and asked both for help preserving their families’ histories and also to be added to SAADA’s mailing list.
5/17 | Toddler Yoga
Sarah Elbell of Smarty ‘Kins led a full house of Sensorimotor, Art & Yoga for toddlers!
5/17 & 5/19 | Story Coders
Second and third-graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning about basic coding concepts using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr. For both activities, Amanda and Joseph demonstrated how one character can be used to control another. Joseph demonstrated how the Finch Bot could be coded to send a message to the character or object on the screen. A different message was sent depending on how the person held the Finch Bot.
The children took turns using the Finch Bot to control the paddle on the screen to play the game Pog. Amanda also demonstrated how one character can control another using the ScratchJr App. She led the children in selecting one character for each direction that they wanted to have the Cat on the screen move. Amanda explained how to code each character to send a message when tapped to the Cat and have the Cat move in a particular direction. The children then chose a background, an object to have the Cat move toward, and a story to create their very own game. To test their logic skills, children and parents worked together on two puzzles from the game Rush Hour Jr.
Dr. David Robinson was met with an incredibly interested audience for his informative and engaging talk on NJ’s changing weather. He touched upon potential climate change impacts on health, agriculture, water and other natural resources, species, and other areas. Dr. Robinson spoke about different factors affecting climate change, saying, “Preponderance of evidence suggests climate change is occurring and humans are responsible for a significant portion of recent changes.”
Dr. Robinson ended the presentation by providing information and brochures on how interested individuals of all ages can contribute to the monitoring of weather/climate conditions in the local region by participating in the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network (Cocorahs is a community based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation).
He also gave a list of useful websites to check out for anyone interested in learning more:
We all know that with April, comes the rain. After sharing stories about clouds, Miss Gina taught the class the science behind rain clouds. See the cloud rain!
4/26 | Mediumship Demonstration
Ordained Spiritual Medium and author of the book Speaking From Spirit, RoseMarie Rubinetti Cappiello gave a talk on mediumship to a crowd of ninety-eight people.
A professional in her field, Rosemarie conducts classes at different locations on various spiritual, psychic and energetic topics. She has done thousands of private medium readings and demonstrations throughout NJ, NY, and Conn. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University, teaching yoga in the Phys. Ed. Dept.
For the demonstrations, Rosemarie asked the audience if anyone had ever gone to a medium, and several in the audience raised their hands. She passed the microphone around to a few people who then briefly relayed their experiences. After, she began to tune into the energy around her and said she felt that someone named Daria was speaking to her. One woman responded that it was her deceased aunt.
Another instance of this was when a Chinese woman stood up and asked if Rosemary could sense anything about her. Rosemary said that either she or someone in the family was artistic. The Chinese woman then exclaimed that her brother did calligraphy, and in the eyes of her parents, was “the perfect son.”
4/30 | Get Your Woman On
Did you know that isolation can quickly turn into loneliness? Doctors, scientists, researchers and educators are paying close attention. In fact, loneliness has been penned “the next epidemic”, and is directly linked to a whole host of health issues, including dementia and mortality. This inspirational talk by Carol Kasperowitz, a renowned motivational speaker, Founder of Retreats Women Want, Life Coach, and Teacher of the Year, mainly focused on how women in their 50s and beyond can avoid the mistake of being afflicted by loneliness in their later years.
Carol spoke about how being alone, or a “homebody,” can be dangerous for women as they get older. She has found that when women age, their motivation, desire, ability and confidence to meet new friends and form connections, wane.
In her own words: “The older people get, the more isolated they become. The physical changes are just a part of it. Children and grandchildren move on, friends can no longer be relied on for connection, because they too, are transitioning to changes. Spouses pass away, or there may be conflict with children.”
Carol encouraged the women in attendance to become “doers”:
They’re patient: Friendship takes time and effort!
Avoids watching TV during the day.
Notices patterns in journal when bored.
Phones at least 1 person a day. Avoids texting.
“Comments,” Doesn’t “like” (on FaceBook).
Volunteers, gets involved and feels needed.
Schedules friendship dates on calendar.
Goes outside, exercises at least once a day.
Has courage to be imperfect.
Her tips for being physically and socially active:
Walk outside every day
Wave to your neighbors
Join a gym/yoga/meditate
Go to the local pub
Volunteer. Donate. Cook something for someone.
Host a fundraiser event
Have a girlfriend sleep-over
Go hiking, camping, trailing
Sign up for a class/event/retreat
Look at a stranger, smile, and hold it
Plant flowers, vegetables, herbs
Work that core and exercise!
Join a book club
Meet with congregation after church
5/1 | Yakety Yak
Eleven second and third-graders enjoyed discussing Debbi Michiko Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen. In the story, Jasmine is determined to help pound the sweet rice so that it can be used to make a dessert called mochi, even though her family tells her that she is too young.
Amanda and the children discussed rules and whether or not they agreed with Jasmine that this rule was unfair. Half the children felt that it was okay to limit some activities for certain ages, while others thought there should be no age limits. Amanda and the children compared how Jasmine imagined mochi pounding to be to what actually happened when she was allowed to pound the mochi. For the activity, Amanda guided the children in using mochi flour (no mochi pounding!), sugar, and water to make the recipe found at the end of the book. Everyone agreed that it was delicious!
Breath in…hold…breath out. Miss Gina shared stories about mindfulness in this week’s Little Bookworms Elementary Enrichment class. Gina shared the enchanting story, Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver and the inspiring tale, What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada.
To help children relax and calm their minds, Gina taught the children how to make “Mindful Jars.” She used recycled water bottles, clear glue, water, food coloring, and some glitter to create beautiful jars for the children to use to help them relax before bedtime, or whenever they need to take a mindful minute.
4/12| Raw Food Workshop
With the assistance of raw food nutrition author, coach and chef Karen Ranzi, M.A, thirty-five eager attendees learned how they could incorporate the raw foods lifestyle into their routines and eat their way to healthier, energetic, and more vibrant selves.
Karen Ranzi is an award winning author, internationally renowned speaker, raw food coach, certified raw food chef, speech and feeding therapist, and the creator of SuperHealthyChildren.com and the NJ Raw Food Support Network. She became a passionate advocate for the raw food lifestyle when she saw that a plant based diet helped heal her family members from life threatening-illnesses.
During the workshop, Karen spoke about the general poor health that afflicts our families, including problems caused by processed and refined foods (with the consumption of acrylamide ), as well as nutrient loss. Karen explained that a whole plant nutrition is beneficial due to healthy protein sources, drinking more water, and fiber-rich foods that are dense in various nutrients and minerals. According to Karen, fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables offer many health advantages such as increased energy, stamina, resistance to illness, increased attention span, improved digestion, better sleep patterns, preventing diseases, feeling younger, and more.
4/14| Cell Phone Photography Workshop
The two hour session led by Heidi Sussman, an exhibiting photographer, instructor and mixed media artist who combines natural and digital media with her images, began with a slide presentation covering the cell phone as a photographic tool.
Discussing the elements that constitute a strong photo, Heidi explained that “Your cell phone is just another tool to create photos; you need to understand the rules of photography to create good images.” To help with this process, she went over the basic elements of a good photo, such as lighting, composition, contrast, and a focal point.
Heidi shared some important guidelines for taking better cell phone pics including keeping its simple, showing depth, shooting from a low or high angle, aligning subjects on a diagonal, and capturing close up detail. The second half of the workshop covered apps that can be use for the photo editing process to enhance images, or for creative and artistic results. Utilizing one of her favorite apps, Heidi ended with a hands-on session with the app Snapseed.
4/17| Get Lit Adult Book Club
“What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “mud?””
That’s how Librarian Karen deWilde kicked off our compelling Get Lit book discussion of Hillary Jordan’s Bellwether Prize winning debut novel, Mudbound.
Organic Granny Smith apples, organic sunflower seed butter, and sunflower seeds were used to create silly edible creepy creatures. Teen volunteers washed and cut the apples while Gina was reading, then the children used their imaginations to put their creepy creatures together. Various candies attached with the sunflower seed butter helped decorate and give the creatures some character. The children enjoyed eating their masterpieces and parents were happy it was (mostly) healthy.
4/18| Senior Happening: The Stephen Fuller Quartet
Over 120 attendees were treated to an afternoon of entertainment when the talented Stephan Fuller Quartet performed crowd favorites, such as Love is Here to Stay and Send In The Clowns. Composed of Nick Scheuble on drums (Rockaway, NJ), Belden Bullock on bass guitar, and Tomoko Ohno on piano, the quartet was a hit, with people remarking how wonderfully talented they all were. One woman reminisced with tears in her eyes as the band played Stardust, explaining that it had been her wedding song many years ago.
Enjoy a short clip from the performance, as the quartet plays their version of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon.
***Senior Happening is made possible in part by Funds from the NJ State Council of the Arts/Department of State, a Partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.
4/22| DIY Earth Day Terrariums
Teens had a wonderful time making terrariums with recycled jars, living plants, and cute animal figures. It was a beautiful spring day, so Teen librarian, Karen Dewilde, took the group outside to gather suitable plants. Karen used her knowledge of gardening to talk about the precautions necessary when gathering plants from nature. Each participant chose their plants and added layers to the terrarium to create a unique little world.
To do something different this month, the Yakety Yak members were asked to read and bring their favorite book to discuss at the book club meeting. Most of the second and third graders chose fiction stories, but one child brought his favorite book, a non-fiction book about the history of flight. To begin the discussion, youth librarian Amanda asked the children to share why the book they brought was their favorite. During the discussion, children rolled a giant dice that had questions printed on each side. They then had a chance to answer questions about their fiction book’s setting, genre, and their favorite character. For non-fiction books, the questions included what the child’s favorite fact from the book was and whether or not this book was a good book about the topic.
The Video Game Design program kicked off its first session with a great group of kids (ages 9-14) and some teen volunteers. These kids will meet every week through April and May to learn about computer programming while creating their own video games. During the first session, the kids created a simple animation as an introduction to the coding platform, Scratch. Next week, they will be making a racing game.
4/3 | Xtreme Readers Book Group: Grades 4-5
The group read Tim Federle’s hilarious and heartwarming Better Nate than Ever, a story about a Broadway musical-loving eighth grade boy who is sure his stardom awaits if he could just leave his unfulfilling small Pennsylvania town and dysfunctional family behind, and head to NYC. The group enjoyed the book and are eager to read the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Youth librarian Gina discussed topics such as families and siblings, best friends, bullying, musicals, and New York City. She also presented the author’s biography for a look into his own experience in Broadway. Readers enjoyed watching Federle promote Better Nate Than Ever in his interview with the president & producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher as they ate their snacks.
To celebrate uniqueness, Miss Gina taught the children how to create salt painting name art.
4/5| Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics
Facing a crowd of Bruce Springsteen fans, Professor Prudence Jones from Montclair University presented a lecture on Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen’s music, focusing on the lyrics and the folk songs his own music stems from.
Some examples Professor Jones presented were: Blind Alfred Reed’s song “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” was about the hard times of the Depression, but Springsteen borrowed the last refrain from that song and used it in the context of Hurricane Katrina; Springsteen borrowed from Irish immigrant Patrick Glimore’s song, “When Johnny comes Marching Home” ; and other artists that influenced Springsteen were Woody Guthrie, Curtis Mayfield, Hank Williams Jr, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Clarence Clemons, and Bob Dylan.
Another interesting fact Professor Jones pointed out was Springsteen’s use of Appalachian English in his lyrics, with words such as “we’uns,” “you’uns,” “y’all,” “them’s,” “young’uns,” and “hain’t.”
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.
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).
Every Fall, a list of nominated books (published three years before the award) is created by a committee that is part of NJLA’s Children Services Section. According to the GSCBA’s page, members of the committee select these books based on their “literary merit and appeal to readers.” The four award categories for author and illustrator are: “Easy to Read”, “Fiction Series”, “Fiction”, and “Nonfiction.”
The winning books are announced at the NJLA conference in late spring where children then have an opportunity to vote at the Livingston Library– or at their public school in Livingston– for their favorite nominated book. Children who vote at the library are entered into a random drawing for a prize, with this Fall’s winner being Samay Malde!
The Livingston votes have been counted! Here are the top three titles for each category:
Second and third graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning some coding basics using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr. The well-attended program was divided into three parts and the children and parents played tic-tac-toe as an icebreaker activity.
After introductions, Amanda and Joseph invited the group onto the story mat for the Finch Bot activity. The story mat was set up for the story If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff. The Finch Bot acted as the mouse in the story and the children had to direct the “mouse” from picture to picture following the sequence of the story. For this activity, the Finch Bot was only capable of moving straight.
Joseph explained that sensors on the front of the bot acted as the bot’s eyes. The children could direct the bot to turn left or right by placing special cards in front of the bot. Children took turns figuring out how many space the bot should move straight and which direction it needed to turn in order to reach the next picture.
For the second activity, Joseph demonstrated how to make a simple story following the If You Give a Mouse a Brownie pattern. The children and parents worked on creating their own versions of the story while Amanda and Joseph answered questions as needed. At the end of the class, the children had an opportunity to share their stories.
1/8 | Charcoal Sketch Workshop
A cold, snowy day didn’t discourage this group of eager artists to show up for our Charcoal Sketch Workshop led by Livingston Art Teacher extraordinaire, Christine Wittlinger.
Many of the students were using charcoal for the first time; they followed the teacher’s detailed instructions on how to hold the charcoal, where to draw the lines, how dark to make each line, and how to use the blending tool to create the desired effect.
1/9 | Yakety Yak
The well-attended book club for second and third graders discussed Asia Citro’s Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows. One of the reasons the children gave for liking the story was that it mixed fantasy and science. They liked that the story was both fun and educational.
During the story, Zoey made and tested hypotheses to figure out what the dragon liked to eat and how to make him better. For the activity, children used modeling clay to create their own dragon eggs and decorated them using food dye and beads.
1/11|Story Time with Live Guitar Music
Guitar Joe sang songs and told musically-based stories, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and a small bongo-like drum. Anna helped by showing picture books & puppets based on some of the songs.
The kids were encouraged to participate, such as helping with the distribution of maracas during the reading of “Drum Dream Girl,” which describes different forms of percussion, and encouraging the children to match the various rhythms in the story. The children responded enthusiastically (though, thankfully, not too rambunctiously) to both the music and the stories, all while receiving lessons in subjects like counting, spelling, and gender equality.
Three separate crafts were available in the Children’s Room for our Toddler Winter Art Craft program designed for ages 2-5. Youth Librarian Gina Vaccaro, along with Library Assistant Diane and Teen Volunteer Matt, happily welcomed droves of children to our program. They directed the children to create a snow scene with a snow family with craft supplies found on the tables.
Snowflakes were created with q-tips dipped in white paint, a fun hot chocolate mug face was topped big, fluffy marshmallows made of cotton balls, and a snowman in a baggie sensory toy was the final touch. As can be seen in the photos, the kids had a blast!