Monday, March 29, 2010

Author of “Admission” to Speak at Bernardsville Library

Jean Hanff Korelitz, the author of Admission: A Novel, will appear at Bernardsville Public Library to speak about and sign copies of her book on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 pm.

A few years ago, Ms. Korelitz asked the Dean of Admissions at Princeton University, where her husband is a professor, if she could have a job as an outside reader of applications, explaining that she was interested in admissions as the backdrop for a novel. She ended up working there for two years—reading hundreds of applications and learning the landscape of the college admission process. Her novel Admission is a product of that time and is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return to shake the protagonist’s life to its core. A wonderful story, it also provides a glimpse into the rarefied world of high-end academia.

Ms. Korelitz, who lives in Princeton, writes on her website that many things fascinated her about the admissions process: “There’s the fact that it is constantly changing, shifting to meet the shifting demands of a shifting society. There’s the fraught, problematic concept of fairness, and how institutions struggle with that. There’s the inescapable challenge of the fact that when you work as an admissions officer at a highly competitive college, virtually everyone you meet is angry at you. And there’s the intellectual hurdle of working in a field where so many of our cultural obsessions (immigration and assimilation, notions of ‘success’, tradition, diversity, even that supposed oxymoron ‘American class’) are jostling for attention.”

Books will be available for purchase and signing at the library event. There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at and follow the link under Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

[This program was rescheduled from February when it was postponed due to inclement weather.]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Splendid Life Meditation is Back!

Basking Ridge resident Fauzia Burke will again offer monthly guided meditation sessions at Bernardsville Public Library starting on Friday, April 9 at 10:00 am. Ms. Burke’s style of meditation incorporates many cultural traditions and uses the power of word and imagery to facilitate a meditative experience; there is no right or wrong way, no particular way to sit, or words to say. Each experience is honored as unique and can help reduce stress, generate creativity, and create positive energy.

“Our intention for these gatherings is to find peace and serenity through a practice of regular meditations, and to develop a community for support and friendship,” says Ms. Burke. She has been meditating for 12 years and leading meditation groups for eight years. By day, she is the President and Founder of FSB Associates, an Internet marketing firm that promotes books and authors on the Web. She lives in Basking Ridge with her husband and two daughters, and volunteers to lead the Splendid Life meditations in an effort to help others achieve the peace of mind and inspiration that she has found through mediation.

There is no charge to attend the program, and no sign-up is required. No experience in meditation is necessary. Bring a journal and pen, and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. For further information, call the library at 908-766-0118.

Accentuate the Positve

Inspirational speaker Andrea Mastrobattista will lead a session of her new monthly group, “Accentuate the Positive,” at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 31 at Bernardsville Public Library.

This discussion group is about leaving our troubles at the doorstep and spending an hour talking about all the good things that are in our lives...a reminder of the positives. It means taking a step back from working on a specific goal or goals, which may indeed be too much for people at this point with the state of our world and the economy. When times are tough, our tendency is to dwell on the bad rather than think about all the wonderful things in our lives. This group aims to reverse that tendency.

There is no charge to attend the library workshop, but advance registration is requested. Register online at, and follow the link under Programs/Activities, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Permaculture: Permanent Agriculture & Permanent Culture

Come to Bernardsville Library on Wednesday, March 24 at 7:00 pm to learn inspiring and practical information on how to design and regenerate New Jersey landscapes and communities using permaculture principles. Wanda Knapik, co-founder of the Permaculture Network of New Jersey and owner of My Local Garden, will share her experiences and insights on how first to observe nature; then design agriculturally productive ecosystems; and then create cooperative and economically just social systems that form the resilient foundation for stability in our culture. She will review twelve design principles, bringing them alive with photos and examples from nature. She will also discuss soil stewardship and our role in protecting the "skin" of Mother Earth so that we can continue to grow food and sustain plant and animal life on this planet.

Ms. Knapik is a certified Permaculture Design Consultant, currently working on several local projects including an organic farm in Warren where she is helping to create a permaculture demonstration site. She is the co-founder of the Permaculture Network of New Jersey, and has trained with many experts in the field of edible landscapes, organic vegetable, fruit, and nut production.

Ms. Knapik is also President and Founder of My Local Garden. This Bernardsville-based business creates organic vegetable gardens in backyards, schoolyards, and community gardens in suburban and urban settings across New Jersey. Her goal is to build a sustainable local food system and empower state residents to shift from just being consumers to being producers by growing their own food and composting their food waste. An active member of the Bernardsville Green Team and the Sustainable Jersey program, she also belongs to many environmental organizations including the Leonard J. Buck Garden, Bernardsville Garden Club, CommunityGreen and Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NJ). She has lived in Bernardsville for the past nine years.

There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at and follow the link under Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Memoirs & Coffee Book Discussion Group to Meet

The next meeting of Bernardsville Library’s book discussion group, Memoirs and Coffee, will be held at 10:30 am on Tuesday, March 23 in the library’s Community Room. Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Coordinator for the library, will lead the discussion of The Occupied Garden: A Family Memoir of War-Torn Holland (2009) by sisters Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski. [The authors will not be present.]

The book is about the experiences and struggle to survive of the two sisters’ grandparents who were living in Holland when the Nazis invaded in 1940. Den Hartog and Kasaboski began piecing the story together after their grandparents died, combing through Dutch archives, family lore, and a neighbor’s wartime diary. The reviewer for the Montreal Gazette said of the book: “Moving and lyrical . . . If this book were less carefully crafted and not as well written, it would be mere family history. Instead, it’s also the history of a country—and of the people who lived in it during a terrible time.”

There is no charge to attend the book discussion, and no sign-up is needed. For further information, call the library at 908-766-0118.

Craft Group to Meet @ Bernardsville Library

Saturday Crafters, a monthly craft group organized by Bernardsville Public Library, will meet on Saturday, March 20 at 3:00 pm. Individuals are invited to bring their own handwork projects to the Library and work together in a comfortable, communal setting while enjoying the benefits of shared tips and conversation. The next meeting of the group will be on Saturday, April 17 at 3:00 pm.

Readers’ Services Assistant Evelyn Fischel will showcase different project ideas and books at each meeting. A long-time crafter, Ms. Fischel will encourage such interests as knitting, crocheting, paper arts, hand sewing, embroidery and other needlework, as well as any other craft the group wishes to cover.

There is no charge to attend the meeting, and no sign-up is needed. For more information, call the library at 908-766-0118.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bernardsville’s Path to a Sustainable Future

If you are interested in the future of Bernardsville and also in enhancing the quality of life in our town, come to Bernardsville Public Library on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30 pm to learn about sustainable living and how everyone can cut costs by going “green.” Donna Drewes, Community Planner at the Municipal Land Use Center at The College of New Jersey and one of the lead architects of Sustainable New Jersey, will provide a powerful presentation with an eye toward the future.

Sustainable living provides many benefits to individuals, families and communities. In addition to protecting the fresh water, clean air, and clean soil of our planet Earth, it makes good economic sense. Sustainable habits, from recycling to saving energy, save money in personal budgets and government budgets alike. The ripple effect of controlling costs through sustainable living habits helps us all.

This program will help attendees begin to realize that even the smallest steps toward “going green” can have a powerful and positive effect on all our lives. At the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to identify steps, both large and small, that they can take toward their own sustainable styles of living. To demonstrate activities in which community members are already involved or in which they can become involved, various tables will be set up around the room. One will display the activities of the Green Club at the local school district; a second will cover our proposed Community Garden, composting, and home vegetable gardens; the third will have information about natural resources, storm water issues, and watershed protection; and the last will cover energy conservation. The tables will be staffed by members of the Bernardsville Green Team and information sheets will be available to take home. Each attendee will also receive a re-usable shopping bag with hand-outs inside. Refreshments will be served with the beverages served in biodegradable cups.

Speaker Donna Drewes is a professional planner with nearly 29 years of experience in community and natural resource planning in New Jersey. She has worked as a professional planning consultant in the private sector and for both public agencies and non-governmental organizations. Her experience includes extensive work in the development of master plan and conservation plan elements, background reports and ordinance drafting with an emphasis on rural and environmental resource management issues. Ms. Drewes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil Science and a Masters’ degree in City and Regional Planning, both from Rutgers University. Since 2004, Ms. Drewes has been a Community Planner with the Municipal Land Use Center (MLUC) at The College of New Jersey. Her work at the MLUC with municipalities in central New Jersey focuses on sustainability, livable communities, and transportation issues.

There is no charge to attend the program. Advance sign-up is requested at or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Learn The Art of Interviewing @ Bernardsville Library

It’s almost a truism that “the resume gets you an interview, and the interview gets you the job.” As part of its series of workshops to help job seekers in the toughest job market in decades, Bernardsville Public Library is hosting a program on the art of interviewing—the skill that improves your chance of standing out from the crowd. Career counselor Mona Witman will speak on the topic at the library on Thursday, March 4 at 10:00 am. Ms. Witman is a Career Counselor with The Women’s Center at the County College of Morris and works with college students, displaced homemakers and the general community. She has been giving career and job search advice for over 30 years.

During the program, Ms. Witman will cover the do’s and don’t of the interview process. Other topics will include how to prepare for an interview, the different types of interviews, examples of frequently asked questions, and responses and questions that the interviewee should ask during the meeting. Resources and handouts on training programs, resume writing and interviewing skills will be distributed.

Ms. Witman received her master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College, New York. She was formerly the director of the Roxbury Career Counseling Center in Succasunna and has lectured extensively throughout New Jersey on career issues.

There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is requested. Register online at and follow the link under Adult Programs, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.