Highlights of the Week: Mindfulness Approach to Stress, Toddler Art Time: Pride Crafts & More!

5/24 |  Understanding Hearing Loss

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In collaboration with Summit Medical Group, an educational community lecture on “Understanding Hearing Loss” was presented by Jed A. Kwartler, MD, Director of Summit Medical Group, Otology/Neurotology, and Audiologist Mary-Kate Vaughn. Recognized as a leading ear surgeon in the New York metropolitan area, Dr. Kwartler performed New Jersey’s first cochlear implant in a child in 1993. His talk focused on basic ear anatomy, disorders of the outer ear, external ear care, functions of the middle ear, common disorders and diseases of the ear.

Audiologist Marykate Vaughn spoke of the importance of hearing tests, signs of hearing loss, types of hearing aids, and advances in hearing assistance technology,
communication strategies for those affected by hearing loss, and ways to protect your hearing.

The audience received a good deal of authoritative and well presented information on this critical topic of hearing loss– one that can have far reaching impact on the lives of those affected and those around them –and a closed caption service company was employed to transcribe the speakers words onto a screen to aid any hearing impaired members in the audience.


 

6/5 | Toddler Art Time: Pride Crafts

Pre-schoolers ages 2-5 created colorful rainbow crafts in celebration of Pride month!

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6/6 | Mindfulness Approach to Stress

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The Library’s presentation on “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction,” in collaboration with the Summit Medical Group, attracted a lot of interest and brought in over 100 attendees. The presenter, Nicole Swain LPC, NCC, ACS, ACT, is a Diplomat of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and provides Ccognitive Bbehavioral Ttherapy (CBT) services to individuals and couples for a variety of disorders.  In addition, she has specialized training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to help patients dealing with chronic stress.

Nicole started with a general overview of MBSR, which was conceived by Jon Kabat – Zinn, PhD, and is based on the principle in Eastern Philosophy of “paying attention with purpose”. Three decades of research, Nicole said, “demonstrates clinically relevant reductions in both physical symptoms and psychological distress for those who have training in mindfulness and  MBSR”. Cultivating awareness of the mind and body in the here, and now and being non – judgmental, are two of the important premises of the method.

She addressed that MBSR has two forms of practice: Formal (this includes various meditation practices including concentration and insight meditation), and Informal (bringing mindful awareness to daily activities such as eating, chores, exercising, and so on).

At the end of her talk, Nicole had the audience participate in a 15-minute mindful breathing meditation that was very calming.  

 


6/12 | Play ‘N’ Learn

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Toddlers had a fun and educational time with their parents and caregivers as they strengthened their pre-reading skills playing with homemade toys made from everyday objects.  The toys were constructed from paper towel tubes, cardboard, tissue boxes, and cereal boxes. As they played, parents and caregivers added to their toddlers’ vocabulary by talking about the bright colors and different textures of the pompoms that the toddlers dropped down the paper towel tubes. They counted ducks and named animals whose photos were taped to the cereal box blocks and built towers with the blocks.

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Miniature Therapy Horse, Taking Control of Your Retirement, Dependable Perennials & More!

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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.

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A packed house for Tiny Toddlers!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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 5/4 | Teen Mindfulness Afternoon with Miniature Therapy Horse

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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

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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 SageHe 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.

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5/8 | X-treme Readers Book Club

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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)

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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

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Sarah Elbell of Smarty ‘Kins led a full house of Sensorimotor, Art & Yoga for toddlers!

 



5/17 & 5/19 | Story Coders

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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.

 

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Highlights of the Week: NJ’s Changing Climate, Mediumship Demonstration, Get Your Woman On & More!

4/18 | NJ’s Changing Climate 

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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:

 

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4/25 | Little Bookworms – Grades K-1

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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

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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

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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.”

 

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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.
  • Go dancing
  • 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

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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!

 


 

5/2 | Little Bookworms – Grades K-1

Miss Gina shared stories about sunflowers, including the gorgeously illustrated Sunflower House by Eve Bunting, the cumulative rhyming tale that takes you through the life of a sunflower, day & night, This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer, and the warmhearted, humorous story, South African tale, Gift of the Sun: A Tale From South Africa written by Dianne Stewart.

The group enjoyed making beautiful sunflower paintings. They used recycled paper towel tubes dipped in yellow paint to create the flower petals and added their creativity to make the art their own.

***This was the final Little Bookworms class of the Spring. Look for another six-week session this Fall!

 

Highlights of the Week: Little Bookworms, Raw Food Workshop, & More!

4/11 | Little Bookworms: Grades K-1

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.  

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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.

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4/12 | Raw Food Workshop

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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.

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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

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10 Rules of Photography: Rule of Thirds, Framing, Symmetry & Patterns, Balancing Elements, Cropping, Depth, Background, Leading Lines, View Point, and Experimentation

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.

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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

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“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.

If this sounds like a book club you’d enjoy, pick up a copy of next month’s book, Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, register for our May 15th meeting, and join us!

 


 

4/18 | Little Bookworms: Grades K-1

Giggles from the full class were heard coming from the Program Room as Librarian Gina Vaccaro read some of her favorite silly stories, such as Monster Mess by Margery Cuyler, the fun modern twist of the classic fairy tale, Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, Monster Needs One More by Natalie Marshall. and The Good For Nothing Button by Charise Mericile Harper (an Elephant & Piggie-like reading book).

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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

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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.

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Highlights of the Week: Sleeping Better Naturally, Senior Happening, and St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

3/15 | Sleeping Better, Naturally

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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).
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Along with other ways to relax, Dr. Shimelfarb did a video demonstration of two effective relaxation methods , including a 4:7:8 breathing exercise pioneered by Dr Andrew Weill, and an introduction to the Pranayama breathing technique as shown by Yogi Nora.
Dr. Shimelfarb’s presentation, Sleep Better, Naturally, can be viewed in it’s entirety.

 


 

3/16 | Senior Happening: The Great Lady Songwriters

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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.

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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

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Even though it was sleeting, about thirty people attended the program, including one couple who drove all the down from Sussex County.

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Selling Your Home in 2018, Lunar New Year, Paper Mill Playhouse Jr. & More!

2/10 | Paper Mill Playhouse Children’s Theatre on Tour: Alice in Wonderland

The Paper Mill Playhouse Children’s Theatre on Tour returned to the Library to perform Alice in Wonderland, Jr to a full house!
To experience some of the show time magic, enjoy a short clip from the show.

 


 

2/11 | Selling Your Home in 2018

Realtor Suzy Minken spent a good two hours sharing the elements of a “winning strategy” for achieving the highest price when selling your home.

Using a Power Point presentation, Ms. Minken discussed competitive market trends, evaluating a home’s worth relative to other homes on the market, the importance of
“right pricing” home staging and maintenance, and so much more. She even included a series of “before and after” photos of design changes that optimize the value of your home.
Here’s an example of the knowledge she shared:

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2/13  | Lunar New Year Celebration 

 

Children and adults were greeted to a festively decorated room for the Library’s first Lunar New Year Tri-lingual Story Time.  

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In celebration of the Year of the Dog, the excited audience listened as Children’s Librarian Amanda Winter read a story in English about a dog who is a loyal friend.  The children also heard a colorful story in Chinese and English about a silly dog who needed a bath.  Librarian Hongmei Liu told the story in Chinese, while Amanda simultaneously told the story in English.  Children and parents loved acting out the songs “The Three Bears” and “Cuteness” as Youth Services Assistant Diane Choi sang the words in Korean.  Attendees learned about some of the different decorations and preparations people make to celebrate while listening to the story, “Bringing in the New Year,” which was told in Chinese and English.  

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Hongmei and Diane each talked a little about how the holiday is celebrated in China and South Korea.  Hongmei brought in a lantern decoration and a qi pao dress to show the children.  Diane shared pictures of foods and activities associated with the holiday in South Korea while dressed in a traditional dress, han bok.

In addition to learning about the holiday, participants learned the Korean words for ‘cuteness’ (gwi gomi) and ‘bear’ (gom) and the Chinese words for ‘dog’ (gou) and the color ‘red’ (hong.)

After the stories and songs, children colored and decorated dragon masks.

 


 

2/13  | Get Lit Casual Book Club 

Our fun, lively group discussed Sherman Alexie’s brilliant, brutally honest, occasionally hilarious memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.  YouDon'tHaveToLoveMeCover
Alexie’s gifted storytelling allowed readers an intimate look into his childhood on and off the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, in addition to the relationships with his family, particularly his mother.  Group members thoroughly enjoyed sharing Alexie’s sorrows, joys, and life stories and comparing his experiences to their own families.  All group members learned many new things about the Indian culture.
As a special treat, one of our steady book discussion members shared big, fluffy, chocolate brownies with our group in addition to the cookies usually served.

For more on Sherman Alexie, listen to his 6/20/2017 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

 


 

2/13  | Living a Heart Healthy Life

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Cardiologist Dr. Liliana Cohen gave an informative presentation on “Living a Heart Healthy Life” in collaboration with the Summit Medical Group.

Some of the topics she she covered include: an overview of Cardiovascular Disease and its prevalence, symptoms of heart disease and the different symptoms experienced by men and women, risk factors, how to eat healthy , importance of physical activity and weight management, blood pressure, hypertension, and how to lower heart disease risk.

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Audience members had many questions about diet and medications, all of which Dr. Cohen patiently answered. At the end of the program, everyone was given a heart shaped ice pack and an article by Dr. Cohen herself.

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For anyone who wants more information or wasn’t able to attend, Dr. Cohen recommended visiting  the website Life’s Simple 7 to start making seven simple changes to improve heart health.

 

Highlights of the Week: Valentine’s Pop Up Event, Exquisite Corpse Collage & More!

2/5 | Valentine’s Pop Up Event

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Love was in the air at the Library!
Eighty children, teens, and adults stopped in during the two hour Valentine’s Pop-Up event to make Valentine’s cards.  Our theme was “we provide the hearts and glue; the rest is up to you!” which allowed participants to add their own creative flair to their Valentine’s cards.
There were many wonderful designs, including pop-up and 3D designs. One mom who had previously attended the library’s miniature book making workshop made miniature Valentine books for her son’s classmates.

 

2/6  | Yakety Yak 

 

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This month’s Yakety Yak Book Discussion Group, made up of second and third graders, got together to talk about Douglas Evans’, The Elevator Family.  Amanda started the discussion by asking whether or not the author’s choice of having most of the action take place in an elevator was a good one. Some children loved that the author had chosen such an unusual setting and suggested other unusual locations at which the family should stay next. Others in the group felt that the setting made the story seem to move more slowly.  When asked what they would bring on vacation if they were staying in an elevator, the children’s ideas included: yarn, a giant couch, books, paintings to hang inside the elevator, and snacks.

After the discussion, everyone was split into groups to make an elevator craft.  Using paper tubes, string, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and scotch tape, the kids had fun working in groups as they chose which materials to use and how best to put them together to create their elevator.  

Next month’s book will be Birdbrain Amos by Michael Delaney.                   

 


 

2/6  | Exquisite Corpse Collage

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Amy Tingle and Maya Stein of The Creativity Caravan led a group of fifteen adults in a fun, creative, and collaborative collage workshop based on the “Exquisite Corpse” method. Exquisite corpse (from the original French term Cadavre Exquis) is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled, with each collaborator adding to a composition in sequence.
The participants were each given two 11×17 inches of thick drawing paper, and asked to paint whatever they wanted in free form using the supplies on the table, including acrylic paints, crayons, markers, and colored pencils.

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After painting, everyone’s pieces were mixed up in order for each person to then pick two pieces at random. They then drew and cut out shapes and patterns inspired from nature, which served in creating collaborative collages in groups of two.
Comments from participants included:  It was a lot of fun! it was relaxing to put paint on paper and assemble the collage.” One person said the best part was not knowing what the collage would look like at the end since it was created from mixed up pieces created by others.

 

2/8  | Play With Your Food Day

Elle Bernardo, the Registered Dietitian at ShopRite of Livingston returned to the library to talk about healthy eating, teach us about sugar, and create fun, Valentine’s Day treats!


Children (and their parents!) were surprised to learn that the daily recommended serving of sugar is less than 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons. Elle introduced a game to see if the children could guess how much sugar a serving of various food had, such as Ginger Ale (52 grams), Raisin Bran (18 grams), and Cocoa Puffs (13 grams). Next, the children made Valentine’s Day treats using strawberries dipped in almond yogurt and chocolate, topped with sprinkles and granola. Yum!

 

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Highlights of the Week: Dynamic Drawing, X-Treme Readers Book Club, The Ballantine Mansion, & more!

12/4 | THE BALLANTINE MANSION AT THE NEWARK MUSEUM 

Ballantine House for Ariel & Steffi

Sue Smith, chairwoman of the Newark Museum’s Speaker’s Bureau, gave an informative presentation on the Ballantine mansion to a room of fifty-two people.
She started off by telling the story of how the house came to be a museum, having been built by Louis Bamberger, which eventually became a National Landmark in 1985. The Museum originally occupied the upper floors of the Newark Public Library, but John Cotton Dana felt that the Museum should be part of a community, so it was moved to its present location of 49 Washington Street in Newark.
The mansion itself was built in 1885 and the Ballantine family lived there until 1919. It once contained a whopping twenty-five rooms and sixteen fireplaces! In addition to the latest in hot air/central air conditioning and five bathrooms, the house had parquet floors, ornamental plaster-work ceilings and stained glass windows. The mansion was then sold to an insurance company for office space, which surprised many people during the presentation.
Sue showed slides of each room, making sure to point out specific details, such as a fireplace in one of the rooms with English pink tiles , or that it contained a stained glass window done by Tiffany that cost $450 (a small fortune back then). One of the more unusual slides was a scene of eight headless figures, dressed in period clothes, seated around an elaborately set dining room table.
For those interested in visiting the mansion, Sue Smith finished off the presentation by mentioning that in January 2018, the lobby will be completely remodeled with floor to ceiling windows.

 

 


 

12/5 | X-TREME READERS BOOK CLUB | Grades 4-5

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The X-Treme Readers Book Club met to discuss the winner of both the 2011 National Book Award and the 2012 Newbery Medal, Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again. The book takes place in 1975 and details a year in the life of 10 year old Vietnamese refugee, Hà and her family’s journey from their home in Vietnam, to refugee camps in Guam and Florida until settling in Alabama.

To help set the story, Gina showed pictures of Vietnam and the natural beauty it possesses.  To help the children understand the journey that Vietnam refugees traveled, the group used Google Maps to chart the expedition across the ocean, from the river in Saigon where the family in the story escaped across the Pacific Ocean to the refugee camps, to Alabama.

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In the discussion, Gina became aware that over half of the group had learned English as a second language and the majority of the group actively speak another language at home.  In all seriousness, the children asked, “Why didn’t  use Google Translate?” It is hard for them to understand a world without the technology that they are growing up with.

As the group enjoyed a snack, Gina played a YouTube video of  author Thanhha Lai reading her book at the National Book Awards Finalists Reading.  The young readers enjoyed the book, however, hearing the author read her written words in her own voice really helped to bring the powerful story to life.

In January, the X-treme Readers Book Club is discussing Sharon Creech’s beloved Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.


12/5 & 12/6 | SEASONAL PRINTING 
Teen Librarian Karen deWilde and Head of Youth Services Anna Coats held three Seasonal Printing workshops this week.  Children in grades K-2, 3-5 & 6-8, created colorful, layered beautiful festive designs using Gel Printing Plates.

 

12/7 | DYNAMIC DRAWING: FUN WITH COMPOSITION

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Fine artist, Sarah Canfield (www.sarahcanfield.com) led this fun workshop where she helped the twenty-five participants understand the creative process that happens before a painting or drawing is started. She discussed the essential lines in a composition that create a basic structure for drawing or painting. One of these ideas was explored through sketching compositions using smartphone photography.

According to Sarah, “photography is a straightforward and spontaneous way to record ideas for your art in addition to preparatory sketches.  When used thoughtfully, it can be a useful tool to incorporate into your repertoire and can save valuable time in the planning process.”
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After covering the fundamentals of composition using images of paintings from her iPad, Sarah had everyone take pictures with their phones of the three still-life arrangements she had put up on the center of the work tables.  She then asked them to pick an image or two, crop or edit them as needed, and use the image to start composing a sketch of the still life using the newsprint sheets, compressed charcoal sticks, and soft graphite pencils provided.
Participants appeared very involved in their sketching and produced some great drawings/sketches, which were shared at the end in a critique session. Many attendees mentioned that they hadn’t sketched or drawn in years, and this workshop made them realize how much fun it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of the Week: Get Lit Casual Book Club & Understanding Your Thyroid

 

11/28 | GET LIT CASUAL BOOK CLUB

What gives life purpose?  What brings meaning to one’s existence? How does one go from being a doctor healing the sick to becoming a patient overnight? How can one live fully knowing that death is right around the corner?  These are a few of the questions the group tackled as they discussed Paul Kalanithi’s incredibly moving, thought provoking memoir, When Breath Becomes Air.  

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Paul spent years studying to become a neurosurgeon, followed by years of tending to patients before he, at the age of 36, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  He continued to live his life to the fullest and had to decide what makes life worth living in the face of his own imminent death. Ultimately, he came to the realization that living fully means accepting suffering. Get Lit group members were so touched by Paul’s courage that they felt comfortable enough to share their own personal trials and lessons learned.  As the group’s moderator, librarian Gina Vaccaro states, “There were tissues on the table, but group members handled the serious, somber topic with humor and grace, making this discussion one that will not be forgotten soon.”


The Get Lit Book Club is discussing Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for their December meeting.


 

11/30 | COMMUNITY HEALTH LECTURE: UNDERSTANDING YOUR THYROID

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Met by a full house, Dr. Tess Jacob from Summit Medical Group gave a talk on thyroid health in which she used a slide presentation to examine all the implications of the thyroid on our physiology, deeper looks into thyroid problems, hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules, how problems are diagnosed through blood tests, and finally, common courses of treatment.

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Tess Jacob, MD is a member of Summit Medical Group’s Endocrinology team. Dr. Jacob treats patients with endocrine disorders and has particular interest in thyroid, pituitary, diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. She is specially trained to perform in-office fine needle aspiration biopsies of thyroid nodules and also performs thyroid ultrasounds.

 

Register for the second community health lecture, Sleeping Better, Naturally, on December 14th.  Dr. Marianna Shimelfarb will explore natural ways to promote healthy, sound, restorative sleep.

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.