Life is busy. After a full day of working or running errands, cooking dinner, and getting everything settled for the evening, who really feels like coming back out at night for a mid-week book club? But what if there was a book club during the day, where you could stop in on your lunch break?
Adult Services Librarians Jessica and Katie are excited to announce the Livingston Public Library’s first Read It & Eat book club! An offsite book club that meets at a local restaurant during the afternoon. Perfect timing for those on their lunch break, those out and about running errands, and/or those waiting to pick up their children from school. After all, you have to eat lunch anyway, right? Why not spend it eating and discussing a great book!
The first Read It & Eat! book club meeting will take place at Livingston Bagel located at 37 E Northfield Rd., on Monday, February 11. We will meet at 12pm and the discussion will begin at 12:15pm. By now you’re probably wondering “But if I’m so busy, will I have time to read a book?” & “What are these library folk reading, anyway?”
The first book will be Look Alive Out There by Solane Crosley. It’s a collection of short essays Glamour raves about. Seriously, they’re quoted for saying “Whether she’s spying on a neighbor’s kid, crashing a shiva, or freezing her eggs, Crosley toggles effortlessly between hilarity and heartbreak.” Doesn’t that just sound wonderful?
So whether you have time to commit to reading the book cover to cover, or only end up reading a few essays out of the collection, pick up a copy at the Livingston Library’s Patron Services desk. beginning January 7, and join us!
*The Livingston Library staff provides the book and the discussion, the attendees are responsible for their own food and drink.*
–Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian & Katie Neylan, Head of Adult Services
December may be a busy (and chilly) time of the year, but the library is still active with numerous Adult Programs.
This month we had a bunch of exciting programs! On December 3, we enjoyed a lecture Paul Cezzane: The Father of Modern Art. We learned about the ways that he used form, color, and structure in his artwork, as well as how he paved the way for 20th Century Modernism.
Our team of librarians also answered your technology questions at our Tech-Help Drop In. Are you having trouble downloading that e-book from Hoopla or Libby? We’re here to help!
Health is also important! This month we learned about a Blueprint For Men’s Health and basic medical issues as presented by Dr. Rowland Chavez, MD and Dr. David Gallinson, DO of Summit Medical Group.
And for those worried about sending their child to college, our 529 Plan lecture on December 8 put worries to rest by presenting a wealth of valuable information for prospective college parents.
Our inner artists came out at our Adult Paint Night where we painted a “Nighttime Owl Landscape” with artists from the Art Kids Academy. The results were absolutely stunning.
But this isn’t all! We also met up for our Adult Coloring Group, hosted numerous Book Clubs, our monthly Senior Happening, and so much more!
Stay tuned for more programs coming up in 2019 and don’t forget to check out our website to see what’s coming up. We can’t wait to see you!
Have you ever had dreams of running your own book club but ended up overwhelmed instead? The Livingston Public Library is here to help! We offer a Book Club in a Bag service that is here to end your book club frustrations once and for all. Book Club in a Bag contains everything you need.. In each bag there are 8 copies of a single title, an author bio and discussion questions. Current titles include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project (to name a few). Explore the full selection on our website at https://www.livingstonlibrary.org/book-club-in-a-bag. Just add some friends and get ready to host the book club of your dreams. This service is available to Livingston cardholders, and the bags can be checked out for 28 days.
Check out what the Livingston Public Library librarians are reading on our new book talk Instagram series, LiviLit! In the latest episode of LiviLit, librarians Jessica and Gina discuss this month’s Get Lit book club choice Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, a memoir about growing up as an immigrant in America. To find out more about the library’s book clubs, check out our website here.
Be sure to follow our Instagram @LivingstonLibrary to be the first to see new LiviLit videos and other fun things that are going on in the library!
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.
Breath in…hold…breath out. Miss Gina shared stories about mindfulness in this week’s Little Bookworms Elementary Enrichment class. Gina shared the enchanting story, Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver and the inspiring tale, What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada.
To help children relax and calm their minds, Gina taught the children how to make “Mindful Jars.” She used recycled water bottles, clear glue, water, food coloring, and some glitter to create beautiful jars for the children to use to help them relax before bedtime, or whenever they need to take a mindful minute.
4/12| Raw Food Workshop
With the assistance of raw food nutrition author, coach and chef Karen Ranzi, M.A, thirty-five eager attendees learned how they could incorporate the raw foods lifestyle into their routines and eat their way to healthier, energetic, and more vibrant selves.
Karen Ranzi is an award winning author, internationally renowned speaker, raw food coach, certified raw food chef, speech and feeding therapist, and the creator of SuperHealthyChildren.com and the NJ Raw Food Support Network. She became a passionate advocate for the raw food lifestyle when she saw that a plant based diet helped heal her family members from life threatening-illnesses.
During the workshop, Karen spoke about the general poor health that afflicts our families, including problems caused by processed and refined foods (with the consumption of acrylamide ), as well as nutrient loss. Karen explained that a whole plant nutrition is beneficial due to healthy protein sources, drinking more water, and fiber-rich foods that are dense in various nutrients and minerals. According to Karen, fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables offer many health advantages such as increased energy, stamina, resistance to illness, increased attention span, improved digestion, better sleep patterns, preventing diseases, feeling younger, and more.
4/14| Cell Phone Photography Workshop
The two hour session led by Heidi Sussman, an exhibiting photographer, instructor and mixed media artist who combines natural and digital media with her images, began with a slide presentation covering the cell phone as a photographic tool.
Discussing the elements that constitute a strong photo, Heidi explained that “Your cell phone is just another tool to create photos; you need to understand the rules of photography to create good images.” To help with this process, she went over the basic elements of a good photo, such as lighting, composition, contrast, and a focal point.
Heidi shared some important guidelines for taking better cell phone pics including keeping its simple, showing depth, shooting from a low or high angle, aligning subjects on a diagonal, and capturing close up detail. The second half of the workshop covered apps that can be use for the photo editing process to enhance images, or for creative and artistic results. Utilizing one of her favorite apps, Heidi ended with a hands-on session with the app Snapseed.
4/17| Get Lit Adult Book Club
“What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “mud?””
That’s how Librarian Karen deWilde kicked off our compelling Get Lit book discussion of Hillary Jordan’s Bellwether Prize winning debut novel, Mudbound.
Organic Granny Smith apples, organic sunflower seed butter, and sunflower seeds were used to create silly edible creepy creatures. Teen volunteers washed and cut the apples while Gina was reading, then the children used their imaginations to put their creepy creatures together. Various candies attached with the sunflower seed butter helped decorate and give the creatures some character. The children enjoyed eating their masterpieces and parents were happy it was (mostly) healthy.
4/18| Senior Happening: The Stephen Fuller Quartet
Over 120 attendees were treated to an afternoon of entertainment when the talented Stephan Fuller Quartet performed crowd favorites, such as Love is Here to Stay and Send In The Clowns. Composed of Nick Scheuble on drums (Rockaway, NJ), Belden Bullock on bass guitar, and Tomoko Ohno on piano, the quartet was a hit, with people remarking how wonderfully talented they all were. One woman reminisced with tears in her eyes as the band played Stardust, explaining that it had been her wedding song many years ago.
Enjoy a short clip from the performance, as the quartet plays their version of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon.
***Senior Happening is made possible in part by Funds from the NJ State Council of the Arts/Department of State, a Partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.
4/22| DIY Earth Day Terrariums
Teens had a wonderful time making terrariums with recycled jars, living plants, and cute animal figures. It was a beautiful spring day, so Teen librarian, Karen Dewilde, took the group outside to gather suitable plants. Karen used her knowledge of gardening to talk about the precautions necessary when gathering plants from nature. Each participant chose their plants and added layers to the terrarium to create a unique little world.
To do something different this month, the Yakety Yak members were asked to read and bring their favorite book to discuss at the book club meeting. Most of the second and third graders chose fiction stories, but one child brought his favorite book, a non-fiction book about the history of flight. To begin the discussion, youth librarian Amanda asked the children to share why the book they brought was their favorite. During the discussion, children rolled a giant dice that had questions printed on each side. They then had a chance to answer questions about their fiction book’s setting, genre, and their favorite character. For non-fiction books, the questions included what the child’s favorite fact from the book was and whether or not this book was a good book about the topic.
The Video Game Design program kicked off its first session with a great group of kids (ages 9-14) and some teen volunteers. These kids will meet every week through April and May to learn about computer programming while creating their own video games. During the first session, the kids created a simple animation as an introduction to the coding platform, Scratch. Next week, they will be making a racing game.
4/3 | Xtreme Readers Book Group: Grades 4-5
The group read Tim Federle’s hilarious and heartwarming Better Nate than Ever, a story about a Broadway musical-loving eighth grade boy who is sure his stardom awaits if he could just leave his unfulfilling small Pennsylvania town and dysfunctional family behind, and head to NYC. The group enjoyed the book and are eager to read the sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Youth librarian Gina discussed topics such as families and siblings, best friends, bullying, musicals, and New York City. She also presented the author’s biography for a look into his own experience in Broadway. Readers enjoyed watching Federle promote Better Nate Than Ever in his interview with the president & producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, Thomas Schumacher as they ate their snacks.
To celebrate uniqueness, Miss Gina taught the children how to create salt painting name art.
4/5| Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics
Facing a crowd of Bruce Springsteen fans, Professor Prudence Jones from Montclair University presented a lecture on Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen’s music, focusing on the lyrics and the folk songs his own music stems from.
Some examples Professor Jones presented were: Blind Alfred Reed’s song “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” was about the hard times of the Depression, but Springsteen borrowed the last refrain from that song and used it in the context of Hurricane Katrina; Springsteen borrowed from Irish immigrant Patrick Glimore’s song, “When Johnny comes Marching Home” ; and other artists that influenced Springsteen were Woody Guthrie, Curtis Mayfield, Hank Williams Jr, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Clarence Clemons, and Bob Dylan.
Another interesting fact Professor Jones pointed out was Springsteen’s use of Appalachian English in his lyrics, with words such as “we’uns,” “you’uns,” “y’all,” “them’s,” “young’uns,” and “hain’t.”
This was the very last meeting of Coffee & Crime, our popular, long-running mystery book club due to our reference librarian, Ariel Zeitlin, venturing out of the library to pursue other goals.
To wrap up the book club, Coffee & Crime talked about a St. Patrick’s Day selection, Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville: an emotionally charged story of an IRA hit man being haunted by the ghosts of twelve innocent people who want him to avenge their murders. It was a customarily lively, sometimes impassioned discussion of a truly compelling book (though not for the faint of heart.) Longtime participant Helen Farber brought oatmeal cookies and the group all agreed to pretend they were Irish scones.
At the end, the members talked about their favorite selections over the years, including Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Still Life by Louise Penny, and Malice by Keigo Higashino. It was a bittersweet, but satisfying end to a great run. We wish the best of luck to Ariel in her new position and recommend our three other adult book clubs, Get Lit, Let’s Talk About Books, and The Cookbook Club.
3/26 | Tween Spring Holiday Origami: Gr 4-6
After finding out that her 4-6th graders had little to no experience with origami, Youth Librarian Anna guided the tweens through a fun experience of making origami frogs and rabbits, and gave them instructions to make an origami hydrangea at home. Several parents requested that more origami programs be held and said their children had a wonderful time.
3/28 | Little Bookworms: Gr K-1
In our successful first session of the Spring, Youth Librarian Gina Vaccaro shared some of her favorite picture books featuring birds, including the brand new, thoughtful, yet silly Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer, the sweet tale of friendship, Bird, Balloon, Bear ,written and illustrated by Il Sung Na, and Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.
Children used their math skills to measure out bird seed, and with help from Teen Volunteers, stirred in corn syrup, flour, and water. The children spooned the feed mixture into small paper cups that were prepared with string attached. Once the mixture dries overnight, the feeders can be hung up outside to feed our feathered friends!
The group had a wonderful time– children and parents thanked Gina for such a fun, educational program.
“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).
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.