Here at the Library, we try to have something for everyone. That’s why last month we held our first Gaming @ the Library event for high school students grades 9-12. This event, co-run by the Livingston High School Video Game Club and sponsored by the Friends of the Library, provided high school students a safe and fun place to socialize after school. Gaming @ the Library returns this Thursday, Feb. 21, at 3:00 PM for high school students in grades 9-12. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be played on the big screen and Mario Kart will be played on the two smaller side screens. Be on the lookout for more Gaming @ the Library events, including Gaming for Grades 5-8 on Tuesday, April 16 and Family Gaming for all ages on Saturday, May 18 from 2-4 PM. In the meantime get your video game fix by checking out the latest games for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and XBOX ONE, located in the Teen Zone.
The program room was full of genuine excitement, healthy competition and lots of Livingston High School students during the library’s Nintendo Switch gaming showdown on Thursday, January 17. Librarians Anna Coats and Katie Neylan paired up with the LHS Video Game Club to organize the after-school program, where participants played Super Smash Bros., skillfully unlocked characters, devoured snacks and socialized with each other.
Mark you calendars! Both Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart will be available to play in the library’s next gaming session February 21.
Remember, the library now lends video games for Switch, X-Box, and PS4. Look for them in the YA section by the Graphic Novels.
Did you know that Livingston library-card-holders can now borrow Nintendo Switch, PS4, and XBox One video games at Livingston Library?
The video game collection is located in the Young Adult section near the manga and
graphic novel collections. Video game titles in the Livingston Library
collection include “Madden NFL 19”, “Spider-man,” “Super Mario Party”,
“Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” and more.
Video games can be borrowed for 2 weeks and can be renewed once if
there are no other holds on the item. Video games are available to
Livingston resident library-card-holders and paid Livingston
So come on down to the library and check out some video games today!
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!
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.
“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).
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!
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Our award-winning program by children’s librarian, Amanda Winter, came back for two days this week! Led by our tech librarian, Joseph, and Miss Amanda herself, the program started out with a hands-on exercise in which the kindergartners and first graders used pearl-shaped stickers to write their names in braille. After the warm-up, they were taught how to create different codes using on-screen and off-screen activities in which the children used stickers, directional arrows, and colors:
The off-screen activity included creating a code by utilizing colors to represent different actions in the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” The children then rearranged the order of the colors to create a new code and were challenged to sing and act out the song by following the new code. The on-screen activity consisted of the children learning how to use the app ScratchJr in which they used directional arrows to tell a character on the screen how to move.
With the help of the activities, Amanda was ready to introduce everyone to our new Finch bot– a small robot that can be directed to move around by using directional arrows on a computer screen. Working together, Amanda, Joseph, and the children used code to direct the finch bot tell the story “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by having the robot move to pictures on the story mat of the different objects mentioned in the story.
11/7 | YAKETY YAK
Composed of second and third graders led by Miss Amanda, this month’s Yakety Yak group discussed the book The Littles and the Big Storm by John Peterson. The story centered around Littles, creatures that are six inches tall and have tails, and the Biggs, a human family. During the discussion, the children used critical thinking to analyze the pros and cons of being a Little, ultimately coming to a majority decision that it would be difficult to be small and have everything around them be so much bigger than themselves.
At the end of the discussion, the kids got to have fun and recreate a scene in the book where the Littles use a sailboat to cross the flooded basement to fix the sump pump. Using origami to fold boats out of tinfoil and out of wax paper, Miss Amanda and Miss Diane assisted the children create their boats and added a tiny dot of liquid dish soap at the back end of the boats to make them move. The group learned that the water molecules bond with the soap, disrupting the surface tension of the water and causing the boat to move forward.
11/8 | TINY BOOK SHOW and WORKSHOP
The Creativity Caravan returned to teach a room full of eager crafters how to create Tiny Books! The instructors, Amy and Maya, shared their suitcase full of fascinating, colorful miniature books they travel with to raise the excitement in the room. Next, they provided materials and gave detailed, step-by-step instructions for each participant to craft three different styles of tiny books.
The final products were absolutely beautiful! The attendees were thrilled as they discussed the myriad of uses for their adorable little books: Thanksgiving place markers, books of gratitude to gift their children, books of poetry, as vacation mementos, and so much more!
Interested in making your own book? Here is a how-to video from the instructor’s website for you to enjoy!
11/10 | ACT PRACTICE TEST
Hosted and run by Teen librarian, Karen Dewilde, this free, three hour ACT practice test was full of high school students sacrificing their day off to become better prepared for the exam.
Before starting the test, Karen explained how the it would be conducted, how much time the students would have, and gave them advice on specific aspects of the test they should be paying most attention to. One of the most important topics she touched on was time: she encouraged students to mark where they finished the test at the end of the three hours to see if they needed to work on finishing faster.
Make sure to check our calendar for more ACT, as well as SAT, practice test dates.
Run by the Friends of the Library, BookFEST! is our biggest sale of the year. Just like last year, crowds filled the room each day of the event. The program room was arranged with tables full of books, puzzles, toys, video games, dvds, art, and other miscellaneous items. BookFEST! may be centered around books, but there was definitely something for everyone!
Although it was raining, our most popular day was Bag Day on Sunday: customers could buy a Friends bag, fill it up with books instead of purchasing the individual items. Talk about a good deal!
Proceeds from the sale support great library programs for children and adults all year long.
An exceptional program led by LHS female coder volunteers, Codergals started on October 16th, and continues on until November 6th. In this program, girls in grades 3-5 learn new coding techniques each week, such as creating their own emojis, opening their own blogs using WIX, exploring objects & variables in coding with the dancing Yeti project, and this most recent week, in the spirit of Halloween, the group practiced their coding skills with a zombie game. They also began learning about app coding using the bitsbox system.
On the last day of the class, they will present their completed blogs containing all of their work. With the technical field expanding and growing every year, this is a fun opportunity for girls to learn about some of the latest programs, apps, and pages used for coding.
10/31: TRICK OR TREAT AT THE LIBRARY
If you were looking for a fun place to visit on Halloween, the library was it. Our librarians dressed up for the occasion, many donning traditional witch hats to celebrate the day. Hundreds of kids showed up in costume, said the magic words– “trick or treat”– and received candy either at the circulation or the children’s desk. Kids with allergies and food restrictions were given non-sweet treats. Make sure to keep the library in mind when planning your Halloween adventures next year!
11/1: NATURE HEALS WORKSHOP: SEASONAL EATING AND HERBS FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
Run by herbal specialist Jenna Henry Hansen and yoga instructor/nutritional therapist Jenn Dorney, this incredibly informative workshop focused on the ideas of ancient eating, specifically the practices of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Jenna and Jenn went over specific grocery items to purchase based on the season, including sample recipes for everyone to take home with them and sample foods and drinks to try at the event itself. There were also many packets handed out with information on the properties of many foods and herbs with information on how they help strengthen the immune system.
Here is an immune boosting recipe from last night’s program that you may find useful as we head into the colder months. Be sure to let us know if you try it out!
ZESTY IMMUNE-BOOST ELDERBERRY SYRUP Take 1 tsp 3-4x daily at the first sign of a cold.
1 Cup fresh or 1/2 Cup dried elderberries
1/4 Cup rose hips
1 Cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 Whole cloves
Zest of one orange
3 Cups water
1 Cup organic raw honey
1. Place the berries, rose hips, cinnamon, orange zest, clove and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and mash up the mixture.
4. Strain the mixture though a cheesecloth or strainer, making sure to squeeze out all the goodness from the herbs.
5. Stir in honey. Add more or less to taste.
6. Bottle the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
11/2: TEEN ADVISORY BOARD
Did you think that those awesome teen programs happen by themselves? Of course not! That’s why we’re giving you an inside look into a planning meeting of the Teen Advisory Board. They are working to finalize the plans for Night at the Library: National Treasure. The group tested the puzzles, worked on the clues and ensured that the event will be fun for all!
11/2: MARTY SCHNEIT LECTURE – THE BORSCHT BELT
Historian Martin Schneit lectured to a packed house about the Borscht Belt, the nickname for the summer resorts that existed in the Catskill Mountains in parts of Sullivan, Orange and Ulster counties in New York. He displayed many colorful slides of Grossinger’s Hotel, with its grand dining room and indoor swimming pool. Marty shared stories from his time as a busboy at Grossinger’s; displaying a photo of Bess Myerson, the 1st Jewish “Miss America,” being crowned in 1945, sitting at one of the tables. He dazzled the crowd with interesting facts, such as basketball player Wilt Chamberlain worked as a bellhop at Kutsher’s Hotel. The crowd enjoyed musical clips of Eddie Fisher singing “Sunrise, Sunset,” and of Jimmy Durante singing “Make Someone Happy.” Marty had the audience heartily laughing along to jokes originally told by Rodney Dangerfield and George Burns.
Representatives from the New Jersey Division of Taxation, as part of the Taxation University Series, in cooperation with the New Jersey State Library presented Online Business & New Jersey Tax to small business owners.
They explained the NJ Sales and Use Tax, how to properly report and pay taxes, helpful publications and useful contact information. Participants were able to ask questions and both representatives provided useful information.
This is the first in the It’s Your Business Series of business and personal finance programs. Registration is open for the next program in the series, Fundamentals of New Jersey Sales Tax.