Friday, March 30, 2012

Saturday Samplers Book Group to Meet

Bernardsville Library’s book discussion group, Saturday Samplers, will meet on Saturday, April 14 at 3:30 pm to discuss Cleopatra (2010) by Stacy Schiff. [The author will not be present.]

The New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, wrote of Cleopatra, “Captivating…A cinematic portrait far more complex and compelling than any fictional creation, and a wide, panning, panoramic picture of Cleopatra’s world.” Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Ms. Schiff boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order.

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Ambassador Book Award. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. The recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in New York City.

Led by Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers is a book discussion group dedicated to sampling various kinds of literature, including short stories, nonfiction, new and old novels, and even teen fiction. Its goal is to search out interesting, noteworthy, and sometimes overlooked books. Readers can find information about the group and about the books and authors on the reading list at No sign-up is needed to join the discussion. Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sixty Years of Photos from the Somerset Hills YMCA

Celebrating its 60th year serving the Somerset Hills community, the YMCA commissioned a local professional photographer and YMCA volunteer, Filip Everaert of Liberty Corner, to repair, enhance, print and frame images from the past and present. The result is an exhibition of photographs, Serving Many Needs, Creating One Community for 60 Years: Somerset Hills YMCA 1951-2011, which will be on view at Bernardsville Public Library during the month of April. All members of the community are invited to attend the opening reception at the Library on Sunday, April 1 from 2:00 to 4:00pm in the library’s Community Room. Refreshments will be served.

The black and white photographic display depicts the Y’s journey over the years, a journey sustained by the commitment, faith and dedication of exceptional individuals who truly believed in the important role of a Y in the community. Photographs feature the Y’s founders and leaders who forged ahead even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges so that those in the Somerset Hills might benefit from all that a Y can offer, and portray the Y’s focus on youth development, social responsibility and healthy living.

The show will be on view in the library’s Community Room during regular library hours unless a meeting is in progress. For further information, please call the library at 908-766-0118.

Photo: From Camp Olcott Day Camp, 1960s

Thursday, March 22, 2012

“From Our Farms”

Children and their families will learn about the importance of good nutrition, the value of local agriculture and the role farms play in enriching our communities and the environment during a program presented by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County at Bernardsville Public Library on Friday, March 30 at 10:30 am. The program is geared toward children aged two to six and their caregivers.

“From Our Farms” focuses on vegetables, fruits and dairy cows. Educational messages will emphasize how foods are grown or produced, local farms that grow/raise these foods, their nutritional value and the role each plays in a healthful diet, where to find them, and how to select and prepare them.

All messages are kid-focused, but tidbits on agriculture and nutrition will be included for parents or caregivers. “From Our Farms” is designed to be a fun-filled way to introduce kids to food, nutrition and the farm--making them more familiar with and more likely to try fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. They'll even learn which fruits and vegetables are grown locally and throughout New Jersey.

There is no charge to attend the program, but advance sign-up is required. Register online at and follow the link from Kid Stuff on the home page, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The University of "Can-Do"

The next session of "The University of Can-Do,” led by inspirational speaker Andrea Mastrobattista, will meet on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00 pm. "Do you have a goal that you think you can't make happen?" asks Ms. Mastrobattista, "Well, you can, because you have what it takes to accomplish it."

This workshop will run through the year, and each month participants will discover how to cultivate and maintain the "can-do" determination to make a dream come true. On March 28, they will discuss how to overcome challenges they face in making their dream or vision become a reality and work on updating a personal “vision” board.

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Met Museum Lecture on “The Steins Collect”

The next Metropolitan Museum lecture at Bernardsville Library—Tuesday, March 27 at 7:00 pm--will focus on the current exhibition, “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avante-Garde.” Vivian Gordon from the museum’s Education Department will give listeners a “tour” of highlights of the show.

Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife Sarah were important patrons of modern art in Paris during the first decades of the twentieth century. This exhibition unites some two hundred works of art to demonstrate the significant impact the Steins' patronage had on the artists of their day and the way in which the family disseminated a new standard of taste for modern art. The Steins' Saturday evening salons introduced a generation of visitors to recent developments in art, particularly the work of their close friends Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, long before it was on view in museums.

Beginning with the art that Leo Stein collected when he arrived in Paris in 1903—including paintings and prints by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, and Auguste Renoir—the exhibition traces the evolution of the Steins' taste and examines the close relationships formed between individual members of the family and their artist friends. While focusing on works by Matisse and Picasso, the exhibition also includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Manguin, André Masson, Elie Nadelman, Francis Picabia, and others.

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

Memoirs & Coffee Book Group to Meet

The next meeting of Bernardsville Library’s book discussion group, Memoirs and Coffee, will be held on Tuesday, March 27 at 10:30 am in the library’s Community Room. Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Manager for the library, will lead the discussion of “Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom” (2011) by Yangzom Brauen. [The author will not be present.]

The book is a powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao’s Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom.

Born in 1980 to a Swiss father and Tibetan mother, the author is an actress, model, and political activist. She lives in both Los Angeles and Berlin and has appeared in a number of German and American films. She is also very active in the Free Tibet movement, making regular radio broadcasts about Tibet and organizing public demonstrations against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

There is no charge and no sign-up is needed to join the discussion. Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tea and Conversation with Author Molly Birnbaum

Join us for tea and conversation as Julie Maloney, Director of Women Reading Aloud, conducts an up-close and personal interview with author Molly Birnbaum at Bernardsville Public Library on Sunday, March 25 at 2:00 pm. Ms. Birnbaum’s book, Season to Taste, tells the story of her journey back to recovering her sense of smell after a being hit by a car while jogging. Audience members will have a rare opportunity to ask the author questions about her work and her writing process. A short reading as well as a book signing will follow the interview.

As Ms. Birnbaum recounts in her book, head trauma from the accident led to nerve damage which caused her loss of the sense of smell and consequently the sense of taste.  Besides this devastation, she was only weeks away from enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America, pursuant to her dream of becoming a chef. No longer able to detect flavor in food, she moved to New York City and began to write. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, ARTnews magazine, the New York Post, USA Today, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She was awarded the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for Arts and Culture from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2008. Today, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and works as an associate editor at America's Test Kitchen. She can smell almost everything again.

Reviewer Kate Tuttle of the Boston Globe wrote of the book: “In this thoughtful, expansive memoir, Birnbaum explores both her singular anguish following her injury, and the wide-ranging importance and meaning of smell. She investigates smell and memory, smell and sexuality, smell and emotion, smell and art, and meets with physicians, food-flavoring experts, [and] perfumers…After reading Birnbaum’s smart, lovely book, readers will be reminded to savor their next meal, each fragrant bite.”

Interviewer Julie Maloney has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life. She is a poet and writer, photographer and teacher who has taught writing on both the high school and college levels. She is founder and director of Women Reading Aloud (WRA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes women writers in New Jersey and beyond. WRA holds special events, weekend writing retreats, conferences and on-going writing workshops in spring and fall during which women writers of all genres hone their work in a salon type setting. She recently led a writer's retreat in Greece and will return in June 2012 to lead another.

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

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Age for Justice

On Thursday, March 22 at 10:30 am at Bernardsville Public Library, Laurie Rowe, MS, Eldercare Educator for the Somerset County Office on Aging, will introduce a short documentary video confronting elder abuse in America and address the common and complex challenges seniors can experience.

Every year elder abuse leads millions to live in fear. The intimate 16-minute documentary An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America brings the viewer into the homes of courageous American elders to hear their poignant and real stories about abuse, neglect or abandonment they have experienced. The film unites the voices of abused elders, family members and experts from across our nation to help bring the issue of elder abuse out of the shadows. A discussion will follow of how seniors can empower themselves and protect others from abuse.

As the Eldercare Educator for the Somerset County Office on Aging, Ms. Rowe addresses the common and complex challenges seniors experience through education, intervention and knowledge of available resources. She is committed to finding solutions for problems using a fresh perspective, creative problem solving and humor. With a Master’s degree in Studies in Aging from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University, she has served in many capacities in the field including case management, counseling, training, research and assessment.

Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services is the local agency which plans and coordinates services for older adults (60+), persons living with disabilities and their caregivers. Its mission is to promote independence, health, dignity and choice and to provide support for individuals and their caregivers.

This program is part of the library’s CARES (Community Assistance Resource & Educational Services) series, a locally administered umbrella program that delivers informational sessions pertaining to local, county, state and federal programs. Its objective is to inform and educate local residents and support the goal of healthy, fulfilling and happy lifestyles. All CARES events will be presented by subject matter experts who will be able to answer all questions pertaining to their topics.

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.