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: Makers Day, Eco Friendly Lawn Care, Stuffed Animal Story Time & More!

3/1 & 3/3 | Story Coders Grades K-1

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.

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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

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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.

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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 

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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. 

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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

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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!”

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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.

 

Highlights of the Week: How-to Houseplants, Non-Alcoholic Mixology & More!

1/28 | How-to: Houseplants (Know Your Garden Series)

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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.

 

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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.” 

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Marc’s next program is scheduled for March 11th on Eco-friendly Lawn Care.

 


1/29 |  Dr. Michael Sunga’s LHS’s Class Visit

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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

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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 audience was treated to delicious samples of Vanessa’s Vanilla Cider Punch and Candied Orange Margarita mocktails.


1/30  | X-Treme Readers Book Club for grades 4-5

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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!