Harry Potter fans were able to celebrate their wizard love at two Livingston Library events.
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.
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.
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!
6/6 | Mindfulness Approach to Stress
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
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.
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.
The third in our series of community health lectures in collaboration with the Summit Medical Group, Dr. Mairanna Shimelfarb, MD, who specializes in Integrative Family Medicine, addressed the epidemic of sleeplessness and enlightened the audience about natural ways to get sound, restorative sleep.
Her talk, which was coincidentally held on the eve of World Sleep Day, discussed why you need to sleep, why you cant get good sleep, why it’s important to do something about it, and how to do it naturally!
Dr. Shimelfarb spoke about the stages of sleep, different types of insomnia, causes of sleep trouble, and the different factors that can help contribute to a good night’s sleep, including a healthy diet, and reducing mind noise (disconnecting from electronic devices).
3/16 | Senior Happening: The Great Lady Songwriters
Fred Miller performed one of his lectures-in-song, “Great Lady Songwriters,” in honor of Women’s History Month. Guests also got in the spirit of wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Miller explained that many women, including four of the most notable ( Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse and Ann Ronnell), were prolific composers and lyricists. Though they never gained as much notoriety as the Gershwin brothers or Irving Berlin, their work was the core of Tin Pan Alley.
As the 1920s brought many changes in American culture, music moved ahead with inventions like the phonograph, radio, and sound movies. Jazz also transformed the music industry. New York City, with its concentration of theaters and publishing houses, became the center of the music world and at the center of the city was a small area called Tin Pan Alley. The musicians of Tin Pan Alley blended ragtime, jazz, and ballads to create a new brand of song that was witty and sophisticated. Fields, who was born in Allenhurst, NJ, brought us “The Way You Look Tonight”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” — just a few of more than 400 songs she wrote for Broadway musicals and films.
Carolyn Leigh teamed with Cy Coleman and other songwriters to write songs for Mary Martin in Peter Pan, including “I’m Flying”and “I Won’t Grow Up.” Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett also sang Leigh tunes, such as “Witchcraft,”“Young at Heart,” and “The Best is Yet to Come.” Leigh also wrote “Hey Look Me Over,” for Lucille Ball in Wildcat.
Miller ended the program with another prolific female songwriter, Peggy Lee. Lee may be better known for her smooth and smoky voice, her career as singer, songwriter, composer, and actress spanned six decades. After leaving the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Lee teamed with her husband to write songs in the 1950s, then worked on her own. She wrote for Disney Studios, and sang some of her own songs in Lady and the Tramp.
Senior Happening is funded by Friends of the Library with a grant awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, administered by the Essex County Department of Cultural and Historic Affairs.
3/20 | The Shannachie of Glendunbun Ballybeg
Part of The Friends of the Library “Think Theatre” series, David Emerson came dressed in traditional Irish garb, with a pipe, cap, green vest, and a cane for props. Playing the character of David McCaffrey, he explained that a Shannachie is a storyteller who shares the wit, wisdom, humor, and humanity of a people through their traditional stories. In tradition of a true Shannachie, Emerson shared a few Celtic tales of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish origin.
Even though it was sleeting, about thirty people attended the program, including one couple who drove all the down from Sussex County.
To start the program, kindergartners, first graders, and parents worked together to solve the tangram challenges. Using the seven shapes, children and parents had to recreate the shapes shown on the challenge sheet.
For the next activity, the children practiced breaking down tasks into smaller steps. Joseph, pretending to be a robot, explained that there was a problem with the code, (directions he used to complete the “get ready for bed” activity) and he needed their help to rewrite it. The children had to use step-by-step directions to tell “Robot Joseph” how to use a brush, read a book, use toothbrush and toothpaste, and drink a glass of water. With guidance from parents, Amanda, and Joseph, the children learned that their directions to a robot needed to be more specific than when they give directions to another person.
The library’s new Code & Go Mouse Bot was also revealed, which was a hit with the kids. Amanda explained that the mouse bot needed to be given directions using different color directional arrows. The mouse bot could be directed to go forward, backward, turn left, and turn right. While reading the story “The Journey” by Arnold Lobel, Amanda helped the kids retell the story by directing the mouse to move from picture to picture in the maze, with each picture representing a different part of the story. The children planned out how the mouse should move using arrow cards for each part of the maze, then Joseph input the commands into the mouse bot. Just like the mouse in the story, the mouse bot navigated the maze to go home and have some cheese!
3/10 | Makers Day
Despite a recent snowstorm and trees down in the parking lot, the library’s third annual Makers Day was a huge success! Approximately 500 people participated in the event, making slime, drawing spin art using LEGO machines, viewing robotics demonstrations, looking through telescopes, and more.
The Library benefited from partnerships with the high school robotics team, Livingston Robotics Club, Morris Museum Astronomical Society, Montclair Learning Center, and Bricks 4 Kidz to make this the best attended Makers Day at Livingston.
3/11 | Eco Friendly Lawn Care
This was the second installment in our “Know Your Garden” series with presenter, Marc Zukovich, a professor of horticulture at County College of Morris and a storehouse of knowledge on all gardening and botanical matters.
He began by saying that the lawn is America’s contribution to landscape architecture and is a $40 billion industry in the USA. Marc’s talk focused on the cultural practices associated with lawn care and gave many useful tips on conscientious lawn care and maintenance.
Mowing, aeration, seeding and over seeding, watering, topdressing, dethatching and soil texture analysis, which are different elements in lawn care, were highlighted. Marc spoke of the importance of soil testing and advised all lawn owners to use the services of the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory. The lab will analyse the nutrients and PH levels of a sample of soil from your yard, which is extremely beneficial when creating your lawn care regimen.
The importance of nitrogen to plants, how to read fertilizer labels (numbers like 5-10-5), types of fertilizers (organic vs inorganic), and when and how to fertilize was discussed. Marc also recommended environmental friendly organic products, such as Epsoma fertilizers and using corn gluten as a weed killer. He spoke of the environmental dangers of using synthetic fertilizers, especially “weed and feed” brands.
Read more about lawn care in a Rodale’s Organic Life article that was distributed, titled The Dark Side of Lawns.
3/12 & 3/13 | Stuffed Animal Story Time & Craft
Children, ages two-years-old to seven-years-old, along with their stuffed animal friends, enjoyed a special Story Time with Miss Amanda. They listened to stories about a girl who learns to love a pink, stuffed armadillo that her grandmother knitted, and a story about a rescued dog who can’t sleep without her collection of stuffed toys. The children counted teddy bears that fell out of bed as Miss Amanda sang the song “Rollover” and named the colors of a teddy bear’s clothing as he got dressed.
For the craft, the children chose the colors they wanted to use. With help, they put together the bear ears and paper strips to construct their teddy bear headband. Teen volunteer Lizzi Tesoriero helped the children with the craft.
3/14 | Creativity Blooms: Making Book Page Blossoms
Artist and instructor Donna Drew led a workshop using sustainable design concepts and showed the audience how to turn discarded book pages into pretty paper flowers. Using pages from recycled books, a flower template, and materials like a thin wire hook, glue, brushes and pens, she instructed the eager participants in cutting, folding, gluing and shaping the pages into petaled blooms.
Thought parts of the craft were challenging, everyone had an enjoyable experience, appeared engaged in the process, and each one took home a pretty paper flower. One participant commented that “this library has such great programs, offers a lot, and I love it!”
Some audience members admired the jewelry made and worn by Donna and asked about having her back for a jewelry class. You can view more of Donna’s art on her Triangle Designs Facebook Page.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. Exquisitecorpse (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.
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!
1/28 | How-to: Houseplants (Know Your Garden Series)
The first program in our planned “Know Your Garden” series was a success! We had a very interested audience of forty people who peppered the presenter, Mr. Marc Zukovich, with questions right from the start.
Marc shared his vast knowledge in an engaging and interactive full two hour session. He gave a lot of handy tips and recommendations on indoor plant care, both of the flowering and non flowering kind. Topics covered included watering, fertilization, re-potting, lighting and temperature control, and so on.
Marc brought handouts (we had to make more copies!), patiently answered all questions, and even distributed some candy. At the end of the program, he gave out his number and said he would be more than happy to give gardening-related advice to anyone with more questions.
Members of the audience found the program to be very educational, stating that it would help them take better care of their indoor plants. One participant mentioned that this session with the colorful slides had “rekindled [her] interest in having plants inside the house again.”
The Library welcomed Livingston High School teacher Dr. Michael Sunga’s Public Speech & Debate class on Monday morning. Dr. Sunga assigned students the task of selecting a picture book to read out loud with a Kindergarten ESL ‘book buddy.’ Youth Services Librarian Gina Vaccaro gave the students a tour of the Children’s section of the library, guided the students to the picture book section, and helped the class find fun, age appropriate books to read aloud.
1/29 | Mocktails – Non-Alcoholic Mixology
Vanessa Young, founder of the Thirsty Radish, talked about how to spice up non-alcoholic drinks. She encouraged attendees to explore their own family history and traditions with food. She also pointed out certain ingredients to be creative with when experimenting with mocktails in order to keep them fresh and festive.
The inter-generational Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech was the group’s topic for discussion this month. The X-Treme readers talked about friendships and conflict resolution, food, cooking with family, and what foods they suggest eating as comfort foods (chocolate ice cream was a favorite).
For our snack, the group enjoyed one of Miss Gina’s favorite winter comfort foods, her homemade vegetable soup with pastina!