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.
“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).