Category Archives: Adults

NJ Makers Day: “Try This” Display

The statewide celebration of NJ Makers Day officially starts tomorrow, but we’ve enjoyed celebrating it all week. To help keep your creative energy going, we’ve put up a display of books that are full of activities you might want to try. Stop by the Adult Room to check out the display. We’d love to hear about your creative interests and how we can help fuel them!


On March 21 we hosted a virtual talk by lichenologists Jessica Allen, Phd and James Lendemer, Phd. If you missed it, or want to revisit it, the recording is provided here from our YouTube channel.

Some further resources can be found below. Let me know if you find additional information of interest to lichen enthusiasts!



Urban Lichens: A Field Guide for Northeastern North America, by Jessica Allen and James Lendemer: this is a great introduction to the world of lichens and the varieties that can be found in our area. Pick it up and you’ll soon be identifying the major types and most familiar species of lichen.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake – while primarily about fungi, this vividly written and entertaining book includes a chapter on lichens. (“The closer we get to lichens, the stranger they seem.”)

Articles & Papers

lichens photo by Margaret Roach

“Your Garden Isn’t Winding Down: It’s Still Lichen Season”: this New York Times article by Margaret Roach is a nice profile of Jessica and James and a good overview of lichens. If the website shows a paywall, you can read the text here.

Lichen Checklist

An Annotated Checklist of Lichens Reported from New York City Since 1968“: this is a paper published by Jessica Allen in the Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Society (2020).

Gardens and Societies

  • Philadelphia Botanical Club – sponsors field trips to wild areas and gardens in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware and workshops on botanical topics.
  • Torrey Botanical Society – the oldest botanical society in the U.S. holds Zoom lectures for plant lovers and botanists.

Citizen Science

iNaturalist is an easy-to-use app that lets you upload a picture of any wild plant, animal–or lichen!. Your contributions can create research quality data for scientists who are working to better understand and protect nature. Every observation becomes part of a growing record of Earth’s biodiversity.

You can also view what others have seen in your area! Wondering if Smokey-eyed Boulder Lichen (Porpidia albocaerulescens) has been spotted in our area? Use the Explore option to find out! (Yes, it has!)

Here’s a great introduction to getting started with iNaturalist.

See our previous Citizen Science post for more projects!

NJ Makers Day: Plarn

What is plarn? It’s plastic yarn, often made from plastic bags, and it can be used in lots of ways. If you knit or crochet, you can make pot scrubbers, coasters, or reusable tote bags. Some people collect enough plarn to make sleeping mats for the homeless since they’re easy to clean and don’t get soggy. But you can also make decorations like pompoms, garlands, or flowers; and you can even braid plarn to make a jump rope.

At the Library, we receive several newspapers every day, each in their own plastic bags, but we don’t want those bags to end up in a landfill. They come in a variety of colors, and we’ve been saving them for plarn activities. You’re welcome to stop by the Adult Services desk and take some bags to try plarn out for yourself.

Making plarn is pretty simple to do. We’ve put together instructions on how to make it from newspaper bags, but if you have a collection of plastic shopping bags at home, you can find a great tutorial on our online resource Creativebug called Make Plarn for Earth Day.

NJ Makers Day: Visit to the Community Garden

Meet us at the Scotch Plains Community Garden on Saturday, March 26 at 10:30am for an in-person Makers Day event. Master Gardener Margaret Chowdhury will introduce us to what happens at the Community Garden, and then discuss the importance of pollinators, how to prepare the garden bed for planting and how to properly plant a seedling.

The Garden is located at 1451 Raritan Road (at the corner of Raritan and Terrill Roads). Registration for this program is recommended.

NJ Makers Day (Week) Peeps Diorama Challenge

Our celebration of New Jersey Makers Day (Week) is here! Window Star kits are at the Adult Services desk if you’d like to pick one up. There are a few displayed in the library as well for inspiration.

Another featured activity this week is the Bookish Peeps Diorama Challenge – recreate a scene from a book, but include at least one marshmallow Peep in your design. This is an all-ages challenge, but if you’d like a kit (Peeps and some craft supplies included), register here and pick it up at the Youth Services Desk.

Return your diorama by Saturday, March 26 – we can’t see what you’ll come up with!

Welcome to Makers Day (Week)!

Our first Makers Day project is this “Take & Make” Window Star

Make this beautiful transparent window star to celebrate the longer daylight hours!

Pick up your take-and-make kit at the Adult Services desk beginning on Monday, March 21 (while supplies last). The kits contain paper for making one star and the instructions for the star shown above. See below for some other variations you could try! All you need to supply is a glue stick.

Check our blog daily during the week of March 21-25 for more Maker fun and ideas!

These window stars are made with special transparent paper, often called ‘kite paper.’ If you have your own paper, here are the instructions included in our kits. You’ll need 8 squares–the one’s we’re supplying are six inches, but different sizes can work.

Take one square.
Fold it in half.

Fold it in half again.
Unfold it–now you have creases to guide you.
Fold each corner into the center.
Keep it positioned this side up as a diamond shape.
Fold one side into the center.
Apply a bit of glue to hold it there.
Do the same with the other side. Repeat these steps with the remaining 7 squares.

Start gluing the pieces together, one on top of the other–here the yellow is glued on top of the red.
Continue with the remaining pieces, making sure to have the folds facing up.
Tuck the final side under the first piece to complete the star.

Attach your star to a sunny window with small pieces of transparent tape, and enjoy!

Window Star Variations

These are almost endless ways to make window stars–here are a few you can try. Each also uses 8 squares.

Summer Reading Bingo: Read a Graphic Novel

Graphic novels call for a whole different reading approach. The text is accompanied by illustrations that provide visual cues to enhance the story. You can find graphic novels that explore history (March, They Called Us Enemies), retell the classics (The Odyssey, Frankenstein), or share personal stories (Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant). If you haven’t added graphic novels to your reading repertoire, why not give one a try this summer?

Summer Reading Bingo: Family Tales

The library has several ways for you to learn more about the past. You can research your family history with Ancestry Library Edition or HeritageQuest. These databases are usually only accessible inside the library building, but for now we’re able to make them available to library cardholders at home.

Whether your family is from here or you just want to research New Jersey history, all you need is your library card to search Historical Newspapers: New Jersey Collection, with articles going back as far as 1891. You can also explore the Culmen yearbooks and several books about Scotch Plains and Fanwood history in our Joint Digital Archives.

Summer Reading Bingo: Freegal

If you’re a music lover who hasn’t tried Freegal yet, your ears are in for a treat. All you need is your library card to unlock 24/7 streaming music. You can stream one of their many curated playlists or create your own (we’d love it if you shared your playlist with us). You can also download 3 songs each week to your personal account, which is what keeps it free and legal. If you decide to take a walk while you listen, you can check off a second bingo square!

Summer Reading Bingo: Share a book review with us

We’ve kept the adult summer reading program simple. Read a book, fill out an online form. At the end of the summer, we’ll select 7 random entries for our prize giveaway. Including a review on the online form is optional, but if you choose to share your thoughts with us, you’ll get to cross off this bingo square. We love to talk about books, but we also really enjoy hearing what you think of the books you’re reading.