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: Video Game Design, Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics, Yakety Yak & More!

4/3 | Yakety Yak Grade 2-3 Book Discussion

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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.  

Next month, the group will be reading Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence and will be making mochi to taste.    


 

4/3 | Video Game Design: Ages 9-14

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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.

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4/4 | Little Bookworms: Grades K-1

The theme for the second session of Little Bookworms was “You!”. Miss Gina shared Paige Britt’s thoughtful picture book, Why Am I Me?, Todd Parr’s empowering Be Who You Are, and one of Gina’s all time favorite Dr. Seuss books, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

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The class enjoys Miss Gina’s stories!

To celebrate uniqueness, Miss Gina taught the children how to create salt painting name art.

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4/5 | Springsteen and His Layered Lyrics

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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.”