Union Country Libraries Explode With Summer Activities For Kids, Teens & Adults

By Roz Giuditta

This summer the libraries of Union County are chock full of the most amazing variety of activities for children, teens and adults. No need to hear, “There’s nothing to do!” Just check out some of what’s happening in the following libraries and be prepared to learn new things and have some fun.

Berkeley Heights: On Friday, July 5 at 7:00 p.m., the Next Stage Ensemble from the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre will present Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” and on Friday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m., they will present “Henry V.”

Clark: Children ages 4 years and older can join the nutty Professor Livingpebble for a “Dino-Hunter Safari” on Monday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. They will get in touch with their inner T-Rex and embody dinos big and small while enjoying comic antics that are anything but fossilized!

Children who are ages 7 years and older can also learn about a mysterious sea monster, theorized by some to be a giant narwhal, in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-Raconteur Radio” on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. This program showcases a display of relevant props and ephemera: diving helmet, futuristic spear-gun, model Nautilus, mariner maps, submarine blueprints, etc., and features a live rendition (and sing-a-long) of the sea shanty “Whale of a Tale,” sung by Kirk Douglas’s Ned Land in the Disney film.

Cranford: The Adult Summer Reading Program kicks off on Thursday, June 13. The program will run for eight weeks and includes a read-a-thon with weekly random drawing for prizes, plus three grand prizes of $75 gift certificates to great Cranford restaurants. Adults 18 years of age and older, including MURAL patrons, should register at the main desk.

Fanwood: Children entering Grades 2 to 5 can be part of a Musical Workshop: “How Does Your Garden Grow?” led by Music Educator Jennifer Perry. The children take part in the workshop for an hour each day July 9 to 11 and July 16 to 18. The children will perform for the community on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Forest Road Park building in Fanwood.

Families can take part in one or both “Family Readers Theatre Nights” as families tell silly, funny and scary tales from scripts with parts for everyone. Join the fun on Wednesdays, July 10 and July 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Forest Road Park Building. All ages are welcome, and families are encouraged to bring a picnic to the park for before or after the program.

Mountainside: “Plays in the Parking Lot” will be brought to life by the Next Stage Ensemble. The shows that are scheduled are “Metamorphoses” by Ovid on Friday, June 28, and “Henry V” by Shakespeare on Friday, July 12, both at 7:00 p.m.

New Providence: Movies for children will run throughout the summer. “Toy Story I” on July 8, “Toy Story II” on July 12 and “Toy Story III” on July 15; “Up” will be shown on July 19; “Finding Nemo” on July 22; “Ice Age” on July 26; “Ice Age Meltdown” on July 29 and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” on August 2 are some of the movies. All movies start at 2:00 p.m. and are free. Kids must be accompanied by an adult who will stay with them.

Free movies for adults will run on Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. in July and include “The Guilt Trip” on July 2; “Playing for Keeps” on July 9; “Jack Reacher” on July 16; “Promised Land” on July 23; and “Oz the Great and Powerful” on July 30.

Plainfield: The Summer Reading program for children will kick-off on June 28 with a Youth Stages performance of “Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock” at 2:00 p.m. The program will run until Friday, August 9 and will include six Special Events with guest performers, weekly movies for children and teens, storytellers, crafts and puppet shows. Some of the other programs are “The Butterfly Guy” on Thursday, July 11 at 3:00 p.m., “Snakes and Scales” on Thursday, July 18 at 3:30 p.m., and “Dig Deep Magic Show” on Thursday, August 8 at 3:30 p.m.

Rahway: Teen events include “Beneath the Surface,” the summer reading program that begins on June 24, and teen movies rated PG-13 throughout July on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. (popcorn included!) “Safe Haven” will be shown on July 8, “Oz the Great and Powerful” on July 15, “Beautiful Creatures” on July 22 and “Jack Reacher” on July 29.

For children, teddy bears will be spending the night at the library at the “Very Special Teddy Bear Sleepover” on Wednesday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. and having a “Teddy Bear Sleepover Breakfast” on Thursday, July 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Roselle Park: “Conversational Spanish” is offered for children ages 3 and up on Monday, June 24 at 11 a.m.; “Pirate Day” takes place on Friday, June 19 at 1:00 p.m.; a “Felt Zombie Craft” for children ages 8 and up will be held on Friday, August 16 at 2:00 p.m.; and “Yoga for Kids” will be conducted at Thursday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m. for children ages 5 years and up.

Scotch Plains: The Program “Geocaching” on Thursday, July 25 at 7:00 p.m. shows teens how to find the treasure they never knew existed….until now! Boy Scouts will demonstrate how teens can make and find their own geocaches.

For adults, the program, “Beneath the Garden State,” takes place on Thursday, August 8 at 7:00 p.m. Herb Segars, a photographer and scuba diver for over 30 years, explores New Jersey’s aquatic life. He has worked along the eastern United States and throughout the Caribbean, and his work has appeared in many publications, including National Geographic.

Springfield: On June 26 at 7:00 p.m., a lecture entitled, “Abraham Lincoln: Separating Fact from Fiction,” will be presented by Rutgers University Professor Louis Masur. “Belle and the Backwoodsman,” a dramatic presentation performed by Bob Gleason and Pat Jorday of the American Historical Theater, will be presented on Wednesday, July 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Both of these programs are part of a six-week exhibition, “Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War,” that will be on display in the Library’s Donald B. Palmer Museum from June 13 through July 26.

Union: The following movies will be shown on Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m.: “Sunset Boulevard” on July 9, “Cinema Paradiso” on July 16, “Get Shorty” on July 23 and “Hugo” on July 30. On Wednesday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a Concert for a Summer’s Evening at 7:00 p.m. A live performance of chamber music, it includes selections by Telemann, Schmelzer, Bach, Vincent and Beethoven and will be performed on Baroque Oboe, English Horn, Soprano and Alto Recorder, Harpsichord, Clarinet and flute.

Westfield: “Pass My Imperfections Lightly By,” a dramatic reading from the play by the same name, will illuminate the library on Wednesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. A docudrama about Mary Todd Lincoln, the play examines a unique personality that history tends to simplify. It will be performed in costume by professional actor and acting teacher Linda Turash.

For children, the summer reading program begins with “They Came From Beneath the Earth” on Thursday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m. Suitable for ages five years and up, it focuses on animals who live underneath the ground and their unique problems, such as how to make or find space, what to eat, how to breathe, and how to deal with a world of danger in the darkness.

The above programs are just a small sampling of what’s available in the libraries listed. If you’d like to learn more about what’s going on at your Union County library this summer, visit the LUCC website at www.luccnj.org and click through to the following libraries’ websites: Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Fanwood, Garwood, Hillside, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, New Providence, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union, Westfield and Union County College.

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