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

May Storytimes

For May’s Nursery Rhyme Time, Gina shared stories, songs and sign language to introduce language patterns, body parts, colors, and nature.

In Tiny Toddlers, Anna shared stories and songs based around Early Learning Concepts to hone concentration skills in addition to science concepts to recognize patterns.

For Little Listeners, Amanda shared stories and songs that helped to build math skills and self-confidence.

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A packed house for Tiny Toddlers!

 

5/2 & 5/14 | Intro to Soft Pastels

Under the competent direction of artist and instructor, Sarah Canfield, thirty participants learned to paint using soft pastels.  Sarah began with a thorough overview of  the medium, explaining the varieties/types of pastels, the unique qualities of pastel, and their drawbacks.  

Participants brought an original color photograph: their first step was to sketch out their drawing using pencil or a light pastel.  The group then gathered around a table and Sarah demonstrated how to apply the pastel color, including how to blend and layer color that are unique to the medium.

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Intermittently, Sarah spoke of different tips and tricks , the various papers that can be used, and the challenges of the medium.  She patiently helped participants and answered questions. A few participants tried to copy pictures from their phones or tablets, a few used pictures from books, and one had a pic of her pet dog that she was painstakingly trying to recreate.

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Everyone had a good time, were engaged in their work, and several said this was the first time they tried this medium but were sure to go back to using it again.

Intro to Pastels May 2nd Finished Work

 


 

 5/4 | Teen Mindfulness Afternoon with Miniature Therapy Horse

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Our Teen Librarian organized an afternoon of mindfulness. Teens had a place to write out stressors as they entered, then made squishy stress-relief balls, enjoyed refreshing mindfulness tea with fruit juices, and had a chance to bond with Noble, a mini therapy horse!


 

5/6 | 12 Dependable Perennials

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Horticulture professor and expert, Marc Zukovich gave an excellent presentation on some dependable perennial plants and shrubs that we could plant in our gardens for year round beauty and enjoyment.

Some of the topics Professor Zukovich discussed were: 

Deer resistant plants (A useful title he suggested is called “50 most beautiful deer resistant plants”).

–The criteria for dependability for perennials, which are long blooming, tolerate less than perfect conditions, require low maintenance, are disease and insect resistant, and not invasive.

Marc’s dependable perennial plant list included: Lady’s Mantle, Echinacea, Hosta, Shasta Daisy, Salvia, Stonecrop, Lamb’s Ear, Catmint, and Russian SageHe also included perennial shrubs like Abelia, Barberry, Buddleia, Spirea, and Weigela.

 

One patron remarked that she came expecting the presentation to be boring after a while, but Marc made the session both informative and fun.

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5/8 | X-treme Readers Book Club

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Miss Gina’s 4-5th grade book club read Katherine Applegate’s touching novel, Wishtree. They enjoyed discussing the themes of the book outside in the warm Spring air.

Children wrote their wishes down and hung them on our tree, creating our very own “Wishtree” on the Grace Chen Children’s Terrace!

 


 

5/12 | The Missing Stories with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)

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Samip Mallick, Executive Director of SAADA, explained the work that SAADA does preserving South Asian American history. Mallick explained that 1 in every 100 Americans traces their roots to South Asia, yet South Asian American history is rarely preserved. He went over some stories in the archives, such as Dilip Singh Saund, who became the first Asian American elected official in 1952, and Bhagwan Singh Gyanee, whose name was recorded incorrectly by Congress as “Bhagwarr,” so SAADA had to do investigative work to piece together his identity. All participants were excited to learn about SAADA’s work and asked both for help preserving their families’ histories and also to be added to SAADA’s mailing list.


 

5/17 | Toddler Yoga

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

 



5/17 & 5/19 | Story Coders

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Second and third-graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning about basic coding concepts using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr. For both activities, Amanda and Joseph demonstrated how one character can be used to control another.  Joseph demonstrated how the Finch Bot could be coded to send a message to the character or object on the screen.  A different message was sent depending on how the person held the Finch Bot. 

The children took turns using the Finch Bot to control the paddle on the screen to play the game Pog.  Amanda also demonstrated how one character can control another using the ScratchJr App.  She led the children in selecting one character for each direction that they wanted to have the Cat on the screen move.  Amanda explained how to code each character to send a message when tapped to the Cat and have the Cat move in a particular direction.  The children then chose a background, an object to have the Cat move toward, and a story to create their very own game.  To test their logic skills, children and parents worked together on two puzzles from the game Rush Hour Jr.

 

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Highlights of the Week: Night at the Library, Tea and Tai Chi, and Little Listeners

11/18 | NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY: NATIONAL TREASURE

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Seventy-six teens in grades 6-12 had the library to themselves for an after-hours treasure hunt inspired by the popular movie, National Treasure. The movie focuses around a historian searching for the legendary treasure left behind by the Knights Templar and in order find it, he has to follow clues created by the Founding Fathers. 

Much like the movie, teen players had to work in teams in order to find pieces of the Declaration of Independence hidden around the library. Each piece contained a clue written on the back, leading players closer to the elusive treasure.

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To make things more difficult, players also needed to get past the Knights Templar– volunteers from the library’s teen advisory board– who guarded the clues and challenged the teams to duel before they could have access to the pieces.

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After successfully completing the events, participants got to relax and enjoy snacks while they watched the movie National Treasure

 


 

11/19 | TEA AND TAI CHI

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Led by Chuantong Lin, an award-winning Tai Chi master, and presenter Angel Li– both teachers at the Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi school in Warren, NJ– it’s no surprise that this program held a full-house of one-hundred and twenty-eight people. There were people of all ages ranging from pre-teens to a few people who identified themselves as “past 80.”
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Master Chauntong began the program with a few Kung Fu moves before switching over to a recorded presentation with an explanation of  various physical and calming benefits through Tai Chi movements. To better explain his points, he had the audience stand up and go through specific moves.


Some audience members were already experienced in Tai Chi with one woman commenting that “he is a very patient teacher.” Following the Tai Chi demonstration, Angel Li spoke about the history of tea, including the legend of Emperor Shen Nung and the story that he discovered tea over 5,000 years ago when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water.
She performed a traditional tea ceremony, joined by several audience members who got to taste six varieties of Chinese tea: green, black, yellow, oolong, dark tea, and white. The rest of the audience was invited to tastings at the tables set along the side of the room with Master Chauntong serving and talking with people.


Our librarians, Hongmei Liu and John Sitnik, as well as some library assistants at the Circulation Desk, commented that they found the program educational and entertaining. A woman that attended the program even called the next day to add her thanks and tell us that the library is a “real treasure for Livingston.”


*Photos courtesy of Youxian Zhao, husband to Livingston librarian, Hongmei.

 


 

11/20 | LITTLE LISTENERS

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This week’s Little Listeners story-time session was the last of a six-week program for the Fall.  Preschoolers ages two to five years old, along with their caregivers, enjoyed stories told using books, puppets, flannel board, folders, and music.

The Listeners enjoyed new versions of old favorites, such as “The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk” and a folder story called Old MacDonald Buys a Truck.  They also had fun singing along while Joe O’Brien, a member of the Youth Department, played Little Listener favorites, “The More We Read Together” and “The Library is the Place for Me”.  

 

To incorporate education with entertainment, Amanda included both fact and fiction stories, teaching the kids that squirrels have only four teeth and chew branches to keep them clean, and also teaching them how pumpkins are grown through the story One Child One Seed.

The children loved participating as they used rhyming clues to guess the different truck colors in Old MacDonald Buys a Truck and acted out the different parts of The Little Old Lady who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything.  Using finger puppets and flannel board pieces, Amanda helped the children practice their subtraction and addition skills as they counted turkeys, apples, and trucks.  

 

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To end the program, the Listeners learned about all of the different things to be thankful for as they listened to Amanda read Thanks for Thanksgiving and the flannel board story, The Thankful Turkey.  

***The Little Listeners program will return in January.