Category Archives: Adults

Where the Big Books Are

Big Books have moved!

Looking for your favorite giant art book? It may have moved to a new location! Our ‘oversized’ books are moving to the display shelves in the magazine area of the Adult Services department. All big books–including sports books, cookbooks, photography books, and others–will be shifted to this location over the next few weeks.

With comfortable seating on the other side of the shelves, this will be a great place to relax and browse through a beautiful (but possibly heavy!) book.

The online catalog will show ‘Oversize Books’ as the shelf location once a book has been moved. Just ask at the Adult Services desk if you have questions about the current location of any book.

“Must See” Thursday Nights

Author Talk on The Ice at the End of the World

If you’re looking for something fun to do on a Thursday night, with a little learning thrown in, we’ve got some great programs lined up for you! Registration is recommended for these programs (unless otherwise noted).

Thursday, October 24 @ 7pm

We welcome back author and diner historian (what a great job title!) Michael Gabriele to share his new book Stories from New Jersey Diners: Monuments to Community. Come listen to his stories, and maybe share one of your own as well. Copies of his book will be available for purchase.

Thursday, November [email protected] 7pm

Greenland has certainly been in the news recently, and we are fortunate to have author Jon Gertner back to share his book, The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future, with us. Find out how scientists have been studying the island’s icy past to get answers about our planet’s future.

Thursday, November [email protected] 7pm

Who would have thought that a “lost” sculpture by Auguste Rodin would be found in Madison, NJ! Mallory Mortillaro, curator of the Hartley Dodge Foundation, will share the amazing story of the bust that was hiding in plain sight with us, and her campaign to have it authenticated.

Thursday, November [email protected] 6:30pm

Leah Zara-Acevedo is back with another Let’s Monet event. She will guide you through the process of recreating a painting in your own style. You do not need to consider yourself an artist to enjoy this creative program. Registration will begin in November. Space is limited; registration for this program is required and limited to Scotch Plains and Fanwood adult cardholders.

Thursday, December 5 @ 7pm

Trivia Night!! We had to reschedule our Summer Reading Trivia Night, so we’re sticking with the Universe of Stories theme but in the winter instead. Join us for trivia about outer space and battle for galactic bragging rights. Registration is required, either as a team or an individual (solo players may choose to team up that night).

Thursday, December 12 @ 7pm

Author Andrew Lewis will be here to bring the climate change conversation closer to home with his book, The Drowning of Money Island: A Forgotten Community’s Fight Against the Rising Seas Forever Changing Coastal America. Learn about how rising seas have impacted New Jersey’s Bayshore region.

Reading Together

The Library has many options for getting together with other readers to talk about books!

  • Have you read a really great book that you want to tell everyone about? Join us monthly for Bagels & Books!
  • Do you want to exchange different perspectives on a shared reading experience? Join one (or both!) of our two Book Clubs–we offer evening and afternoon options.
  • Are you a cookbook enthusiast? We want you for our brand new Cookbook Club!
  • And for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Next Chapter Book Club offers an opportunity to share reading and conversation with friends.

Check out our book club page for details–and join us for any or all of these opportunities to share the reading experience.

Summer Reading: A Universe of Stories

Scotch Plains and Fanwood cardholders age 18+ are invited to explore A Universe of Stories with our expanded summer reading program. Earn points by reading, submitting a review, attending programs, and playing our summer reading bingo. Use those points to enter our raffle, which includes four prize baskets.

Register online at (you can enter any number 18 or higher for your age), and then visit the Reference Desk to spin our wheel for a registration prize.

While most of the adult programs require registration, with priority given to Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents, several are open to the public at large, including families.

Our summer highlights include:
Chasing the Moon – watch a preview clip of this upcoming PBS documentary on Thursday, June 27 at 7pm. Registration is encouraged, and the event is open to the public.
Hamiltunes: An American Singalong – sing along to the original cast recording (parental discretion advised due to language) on Monday, July 8 at 7pm; costumes are welcome. Registration is required and open to the public.
Crafty Mondays and Foodie Fridays – try your hand at some new creative activities. Registration is required, and limited to Scotch Plains and Fanwood adult cardholders, and students entering grade 8 and above who attend with an adult.
Pop Up Art Spot – are you attending the town concerts at Augustine Park this July? Visit our table between 6 and 7pm for a fun craft while you wait for the concert to begin.

Visit our Events page for details on these and many more programs. When you’re in the Adult Room, be sure to look for summer reading bingo sheets and displays that might help you find your next great read.

What Do You Want to Learn?


…wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

Albert Einstein


Where are you on your lifelong learning journey? No matter what stage you are at, the Library has the online learning resources you need.  We’ll take you from homework help,  to college entrance prep, to graduate and occupational exam prep, through job search skills all the way to workplace skills and technology.  You can also learn almost any language, enrich your hobbies and follow your personal interests—at any age!

Here’s an overview of the lifelong learning resources you can access online with your Scotch Plains Public Library card.  Please feel free to call us with any questions! Video is our latest addition and our most extensive source of video courses, all taught by industry experts.  You can choose a specific course that meets your current needs or interests—or If you want to go deeper, you can follow a specially designed Learning Path that can help you master a skill or prepare for an exam.  Here are some of the  Learning Paths, organized by category:

  • Business: Become a Craft Business Owner; Become an Agile Project Manager
  • Audio + Music: Play the Guitar; Produce Audio for Film and Video Projects
  • CAD: Stay Ahead in Sustainability in Green Building; Become a Civil Engineering CAD Technician
  • Design: Design a Comic Book; Become a Digital Illustrator
  • Developer: Become a JAVA Programmer; Become a DEVOPS Engineer
  • IT:  Become an IT Support Technician; Prepare for the MCSA Windows 10 Certification
  • Marketing:  Become a Social Media Advertising Specialist
  • Photography: Become a Product Photographer
  • Video: Become a Video Editor; Master After Effects
  • Web: Become a Full Stack Web Developer; Master Photoshop for Web Design

Courses can be downloaded for offline use, and with the app, you can learn anywhere, anytime.  (To login on the app, select:  Already a member?; from the top of the screen select: Organization;  under Web Portal type: and click on Log in; enter your library card number and PIN and click on Log in.

You can also watch videos on your smart TV using Roku and Apple TV.

The Great Courses

Great Courses

Are you out of school, but wished you had learned more about science, history, math, or philosophy?  Would you like to improve your skills in a hobby like photography or cooking? The Great Courses (available from RBDigital) has what you’re looking for!

See a list of available courses  organized by topic; highlights include:

  • Food & Wine: The Everyday Gourmet: Making Great Meals in Less Time
  • Health, Fitness & Nutrition:  How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy
  • Hobby & Leisure: Discovering Your Roots: An Introduction to Genealogy
  • History: History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective
  • Literature & Language: How to Read and Understand Shakespeare
  • Mathematics: The Secrets of Mental Math
  • Music & Fine Art: The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works
  • Philosophy, Religion & Intellectual History:  The Big Questions of Philosophy
  • Professional: Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You
  • Science: The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries (taught by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D.)
  • Travel: The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe
Each course consists of 30 minute video lectures, and many have accompanying Guidebooks that cover the content and can be downloaded and saved or printed.

Learning Express Library

Learning Express Learning Express Library can take you from middle school through college and on to achieving success in your best career.  It offers more than 1,000 tutorials, practice exams, and eBooks offering basic skills mastery, academic success, job preparation, and career advancement, and preparation for citizenship.

Learning Express is grouped into these categories:

  • School Center: Skill-building resources for classroom and homework success in most subjects for middle school through high school.
  • High School Equivalency Center:  prepare for the GED® Test and the GED® en Español.
  • College Test Preparation:  tutorials and practice tests (including complete simulated practice tests) including ACT, SAT, PSAT, TOEFL and more.
  • College Students: skills review and preparation for graduate school tests including GMAT, GRE, LSAT,  MAT, and MCAT.
  • Career Preparation: Start a new career or advance in your current field; prepare for entrance exams for Nursing, Health Occupations, and ASVAB, or for occupation exams in numerous fields, including Postal Worker, Teaching, Law Enforcement, and EMT.
  • Job Search and Workplace Skills:  learn to create your best resume and get interview tips.
  • Adult Core Skills:  review math, reading and writing skills, and prepare to become a U.S. citizen.

Tutor.comDon’t struggle with homework! offers one-on-one help in 40 subjects including math, science, essay writing, foreign languages, social studies, test prep, and more with live qualified tutors. Improve your research papers, resumes, and test scores. You can even submit your essays for overnight feedback.  Homework help operates from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m., 7 days a week also offers the Princeton Review test prep resources for preparing for the SAT, ACT and AP exams, including timed full-length practice tests, detailed score reports, video lessons and practice drills.

You can also get help and study on the go with mobile apps for

Language Learning

Mango Languages    Rosetta Stone

Do you want to brush up on your high school French, learn English, Urdu or Spanish, or one of dozens of other languages?  Try one or both of our online language learning resources!

Mango Languages offers instruction in 71 languages (including ‘Pirate!)  English language learners can choose a course tailored for one of 21 native languages.

Mango also offers:

  • Short specialized courses for specific needs or just for fun.  You can learn the vocabulary for Job Seeking in English,  order wine and cheese in French, or toss out some German at an Oktoberfest or some Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Fully interactive feature films you can watch in ‘Engage Mode’ for insight into the dialog, grammar and culture.

Rosetta Stoneis a language resource provided by the NJ State Library that includes 30 different languages.  Features include:

  • 50 hours of foundational instruction
  • Core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills
  • Focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and more
  • A mobile app that enable learners to reinforce language on the go

Dog at a computer
I’m learning how to animate a running dog in the course, 2D Animation: Animal Walk Cycles!



Please let us know how these resources are helping you learn!

New from RBDigital: Acorn TV, IndieFlix and The Great Courses!

Acorn TV

Scotch Plains residents with adult or young adult library cards can now stream Acorn TV, Indieflix, The Great Courses Library Collection, and Pongalo (Spanish-language content) – free of charge on their web-connected devices through RBdigital.

Those who already use the RBdigital app for ebooks and audiobooks will see this new content right away. Those who are new to RBdigital can set up an account on the library’s website and then download the app onto their devices.  You can stream on the RBDigital app or online in a browser.

Acorn TV “the best in British TV and film” features:

  • Thousands of hours of world-class mysteries, dramas, and comedies.
  • 80+ exclusive shows, including A Place to Call Home, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime and more.
  • Latest seasons of favorites such as Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, and Murdoch Mysteries.
  • Acorn TV originals including Loch Ness, Striking Out, Agatha Raisin and more.
  • You can browse the selections here before you set up your account.
  • Also available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV.

The Great Courses Library Collection:

  • Over 150 of the most popular courses taught by the world’s top professors.
  • Topics include science, history, culinary arts, literature and more.
  • See a list of available courses (pdf)


  • Stream over 7,000 high-quality shorts, features, documentaries, classic TV shows and Web series from 85 countries.
  • Film-festival hits: View films from major festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, and more!
  • Also available on Roku, Xbox, and Apple TV.


  • Largest collection (over 10,000 episodes) of favorite telenovelas and TV series.
  • Favorite Spanish-language content from more than 10 countries.

Resident cardholders get 2 logins per week to be used in Acorn, Great Courses, Indieflix or Pongalo, and each login is good for 7 days.

Scotch Plains residents with adult or young adult library cards also have access to a new Comics collection, the StingRay Qello concerts, and the RBdigital ebook and audiobook collections that have proven to be popular and continue to expand.


Coming Soon—Streaming Video

The Library will soon be offering popular free streaming video services from RBDigital and Kanopy   Here’s a look at what’s coming to entertain, educate and enlighten you!  Watch for upcoming information on starting dates and access procedures.

Kanopy is a streaming site where you can watch over 30,000 films, including:

  • Classic and contemporary films from around the world, including The Criterion Collection (films of Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Jim Jarmusch, Agnes Varda and many more.)
  • Documentaries on virtually every topic imaginable – from PBS and independent filmmakers
  • The Great Courses, offering in-depth learning experiences in science, history, culinary arts, literature and more.

Users can access Kanopy through a variety of devices and platforms, including Roku, Apple TV, iOS and Android, as well as computers.  Wi-Fi access is necessary to view movies, which are available to stream but not to download.

Acorn TV

RBDigital’s Acorn TV

You know RBDigital as our provider of great e-books and e-audiobooks—but they also offer a number of streaming video services.   Coming soon, the Library will be offering RBDigital’s Acorn TV“the best in British TV and film.” It features:

  • Thousands of hours of world-class mysteries, dramas and comedies.
  • 80+ exclusive shows, including A Place to Call Home, The Brokenwood Mysteries, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime and more.
  • Latest seasons of favorites such as Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, and Murdoch Mysteries.
  • Acorn TV originals including Loch Ness, Striking Out, Agatha Raisin and more.

Watch through RBDigital mobile apps, or online in your browser.

Look for upcoming information soon on more video offerings from RBDigital!

Libraries Rock!

You’ve probably heard about our summer reading programs for kids and teens, but did you know we’ve got plenty going on at the library that will appeal to adults as well? We can’t let the kids have all the fun! This summer’s theme, Libraries Rock, will allow the community to explore, discover, participate in, and contribute to a variety of programs. We’ll prepare for the Downtown Race to Summer with Fueling for Running and a Runners Book Discussion, learn about Fluorescent Minerals and Gourmet Salt, gain insight into Bruce Springsteen & His Layered Lyrics, use telescopes to view The Night Sky, put our music knowledge to the test with a fun Trivia Night, talk about what we’re reading at Bagels & Books, get artistic when we Make a Mosaic and create Jewelry Projects, and watch Movies You Can Sing Along With and Films with Oscar Worthy Scores. Please note that registration is required for most programs and opens on Friday, June 1.  Register here! We can’t wait to see you at the library!


The Great American Read: 100 Books, One Winner

The votes have been cast, and the top Great American Reads are:

  • #1 To Kill a Mockingbird
  • #2 Outlander
  • #3 Harry Potter
  • #4 Pride and Prejudice
  • #5 Lord of the Rings

Click here to see the full list of results.

We are still celebrating The Great American Read!

    • Books and printed copies of the list are available at the library, and we have many of the books on display. Titles are also available as ebooks and eaudiobooks using Libby or RBdigital.
    • Share your thoughts about The Great American Read on our post-it display behind the circulation desk.
    • How are your book smarts? Play by yourself or bring a team to The Great American Read Trivia Night on Monday, November 5 at 7pm.
    • We close our TGAR series with How We See Ourselves in What We Read on Wednesday, November 28 at 6:30pm. Dr. Laura Nicosia of Montclair State University will discuss how exposure to diverse books impacts the development of critical thinking skills and empathy. This program is also funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Scotch Plains Public Library is one of 50 libraries nationwide to receive a grant from the American Library Association (ALA) and PBS to host special programs this summer and fall around the new interactive series from PBS: The Great American Read.

See the Parade magazine feature on the Great American Read!

Programming for The Great American Read is offered as part of a grant from the American Library Association and PBS.

Getting Started with Genealogy

Learn how to get started with the fascinating and rewarding activity of finding your roots! Join us for Getting Started with Genealogy on Saturday, May 5 at 2 pm. Jane Thoner, Genealogy Librarian at Plainfield Public Library, will introduce us to the basic principles and cover how to best use our library’s genealogy resources (Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, and the local Joint Digital Archives). Participants will also be able to start their own family tree chart. Registration is required.

If you are interested in tracing your roots but can’t attend our program, check out a book from our genealogy display in the adult room to help you get started at home.