America used to be called the Great Melting Pot, hoping that immigrants from many cultures would blend their customs and traditions to create an American culture.   Today’s metaphor is the Great Salad Bowl, because people want to keep the uniqueness of their own traditions.  They combine together to create a unified salad, but the elements are still distinct. To help you get to know the lettuce beside you, the library is embarking on a new series of presentations called “How does your neighbor celebrate?”  It will explore different traditions for marking life cycle events, and look at some of the holidays other cultures celebrate.

The first tradition we will explore is Judaism. You’ve heard about Shabbat and bar mitzvahs, but what do they really mean? What’s a Jewish wedding like? Why is Hanukkah not the Jewish Christmas? Come to the library Thursday, November 7, at 7:00 pm to find out. The presentation is free. Registration would be appreciated but is not required.  Food is very important in the Jewish tradition; there are rumors that there will be refreshments served and I want to know how much to make.

And if the food metaphors are making you hungry, don’t forget that the library has a large collection of cookbooks to help you prepare food from many different cuisines!

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Get ready for the Eyes of the Wild Travelling Zoo Show! It’s coming Wednesday, November 13 at 6:30 pm to the South Plainfield Senior Center. Eyes of the Wild presents animals that will amaze you in this educational & entertaining program. We'll learn about animals from around the world--their behavior, habitats, personalities, and more.  The program is for children ages 3 and up; they must be able to sit still so the animals will behave. There is no fee or registration required for this program, but unopened, non-perishable food will be collected for the Middlesex County Community Food Drive. 

The Friends of the Library are presenting a special program this month.  On November 14th at 6:30 pm, learn to make a beautiful and sweet-smelling holiday decoration using cinnamon sticks. Nancy Leary, who has done silk scarf and creative gift wrapping programs, will be teaching us how to create these gorgeous arrangements. If you’d like to see one, there’s one on display at the library now.  Space at the workshop is limited; please sign up in advance.  There is a $7 materials fee.  It’s another way the library will enhance your life!

Crafty kids will be creating on the same night.  Thursday, November 14, at 6:30 is the Thanksgiving Kidcraft program.  Children ages 3 and up will paint an adorable Thanksgiving decoration.  Paints are washable, but please dress accordingly.  Be sure to register you children in advance, when you can also pay the $1 materials fee.

Read up for this month’s book discussions.  Copies of all the books are available at the reference desk in the library. The afternoon book club is reading The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak, and they will be meeting Tuesday, November 19 at 4:00 pm.  Mystery lovers can discuss And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander on Wednesday, November 20 at 4:00 pm.  At 7:00 on Thursday, November 21, the evening book club will be discussing Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. You can also borrow books for the Senior Center Book Discussion Group.

Monday night is reserved for the showing of a recently released DVD.  Call or come by the library to find out what’s playing this week.  Showtime is 6:30.

Children love being read to, and they will enjoy the regular lineup of storytimes this week.  Children 3 and over will gather for stories, songs, and crafts on Tuesday at 10:30 am, Wednesday at 6:30 pm, and Thursday at 1:15 pm.  Toddler Time is for children 2 and 3 years old on Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 am.  A lapsit program for babies up to 2 years old, full of fingerplays and songs, is Friday at 10:30 am.  Kids between 7 and 10 mustn’t forget Friday Fun from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

The library will be closed Sunday November 10, and Monday, November 11 in honor of Veterans’ Day.