Friday, June 28, 2013

Attention Local History Buffs!

Discover the treasures of Bernardsville Public Library’s Edwin S. Spinning Local History Room on Saturday, July 13, from 10:00 am to 12 noon.  Join us for an overview of the history of Bernardsville illustrated with photographs, maps and newspapers from the library’s collection.  Listen to stories about the early days of our town and residents, and ask questions you may have about the history of your home or former residents.  The program, which begins at 10:00 am, will be followed by small group tours of the Spinning Collection.  Children aged ten and up are also welcome to attend.

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. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saturday Samplers Book Group to Meet

Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Saturday Samplers, will meet on Saturday, July 13 at 3:30 pm to discuss “The Hare with Amber Eyes” (2010) by Edmund de Waal. [The author will not be present.]

A bestselling memoir, "The Hare with Amber Eyes," was shortlisted for numerous prizes and won the Costa Biography Award and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. It describes the story of a beautiful collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, which the author inherited.  In this extraordinarily moving detective story, he researches and discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations.  A 19th century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich as the Rothschilds, yet by the end of World War II, this collection of netsuke was all that remained of their vast empire.  A reviewer for The New Yorker called the book "A family memoir written with a grace and modesty that almost belie the sweep of its contents: Proust, Rilke, Japanese art, the rue de Monceau, Vienna during the Second World War. The most enchanting history lesson imaginable."

Author Edmund de Waal is a world famous ceramicist whose porcelain has been displayed in many museum collections around the world.  He has recently made an installation for the dome of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  He was apprenticed as a potter, studied in Japan, and studied English at Cambridge.  He is Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster and lives in London with his family.

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.

Meet Joan Cusack Handler, author of “Confessions of Joan the Tall,” at Bernardsville Public Library on Thursday, June 27 at 7:00 pm. A coming of age memoir, the book chronicles one year in her life—a working class twelve-year-old from the Bronx who wrestles with her height (six feet), her religious convictions (Catholic), her family and classmates, and her adolescent angst. 

Books will be available for purchase and signing. Free. Advance sign-up is requested.

The University of "Can-Do" Master's Program

The next session of the "University of Can-Do Master's Program" will meet on Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm at Bernardsville Public Library. "Do you have a goal that you think you can't make happen?" asks Andrea Mastrobattista who leads the group, "Well, you can, because you have what it takes to accomplish it."

This workshop runs throughout the year, and each month participants discover more skills for cultivating and maintaining the "can-do" determination to make a dream come true.  This month’s session is “Mastering the Art of Self-Esteem.”  It is usually easier to believe the bad things about ourselves than the good.  Come to this workshop and discover how to see the good in yourself. 

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.

Memoirs & Coffee Book Group to Meet

The next meeting of Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Memoirs and Coffee, will be held on Tuesday, June 25 at 10:30 am in the library’s Community Room.  Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Manager for the library, will lead the discussion of “My First Coup d’Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa” (2012) by John Dramani Mahama. [The author will not be present.]

“My First Coup D'Etat” chronicles the coming-of-age of John Dramani Mahama in Ghana during the dismal post-independence "lost decades" of Africa.  He was seven years old when rumors of a coup reached his boarding school in Accra.  His father, a minister of state, was imprisoned for more than a year.  “My First Coup D'Etat” offers an intimate look at the country that has long been considered Africa's success story.  The author’s is a rare literary voice from a political leader—he has been President of Ghana since July 2012—and his personal stories work on many levels: as history, as cultural and political analysis, as fables, and, of course, as the memoir of a young man who, would grow up to be president of his nation.  

A reviewer for the Washington Post described the book as “A graceful memoir and striking literary debut…A collection of remarkable vignettes that blend a historian’s sensibility with a novelist’s prose, Mahama captures the evolution of that consciousness and, with it, glimpses of a nation’s recovered soul.”

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bernardsville Library Summer Reading Kicks Off

This summer's reading theme is Dig Into Reading! and with summer quickly approaching, children will soon be out of school and on to the pool, the beach, and vacation.  Students can move backward academically during the summer if reading and learning are not continued and reading achievement declines as well.  But if students read just six books over the summer, they can maintain their current reading level, and, if they read between ten and twenty books of their own choosing, they can actually increase reading achievement.

As always, Bernardsville Library’s Youth Services Department is offering reading programs throughout the summer for children through twelfth grade.  In addition to reading and prizes, the Library will host a number of programs, all with free admission, to highlight this summer's theme.  From "Make a Fossil" craft programs to story times about worms and dinosaurs, the summer will be filled with activities for all ages.  Middle and high schoolers will be able to earn community service hours in a book buddy reading program.

Online sign-ups for Summer Reading begin Monday, June 17, and there will be a kick-off program, “Little Al Dinosaur” presented by the Pearl Observatory, on Monday, June 24 at 6:30 pm.  Children aged three and up will be paleontologists for the day!  They will touch a real dinosaur egg, teeth and bones, and help rebuild 'Little Al," the Allosaurus.

Plan to drop in to the many craft programs and story times that will be offered in the coming months (no sign-up is needed for these).   In addition, on Friday, July 19, Mad Science will present "Sea Life" and "Earthworks," and on Tuesday, July 30 at 6:30 pm, Kathy Miller, nature photographer and author of the popular Chippy Chipmunk series will speak about writing her books.  Check the library website,, and the upcoming newsletter for more program details in July and August.

Registration for Summer Reading can be accessed online from the library website.  Young readers will keep a log of their reading online.   [Accommodations will be made for anyone without access to a computer.]  There is no charge to attend the programs, but advance sign-up is sometimes required.  Register online at and follow the link under Kids, or call the library at 908-766-0118 to sign up.