Category Archives: Adult

No-Sew T-Shirt Bag

Have a huge collection of unwanted t-shirts that you’re not ready to part with? Check out this upcycle activity that you can do with your t-shirts using only a pair of scissors (and a marker) – 10 easy steps!

Materials Needed:

  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 pair of scissors (need to be sharp enough to cut through cloth)
  • 1 market (optional)
  • 1 medium/large sized dish or bowl (optional)

TIP – If using a t-shirt with a logo on it, you’ll want it to be towards the middle of the t-shirt.


  • Step 1 – Lay your t-shirt down on the floor or any flat surface.
  • Step 2 – Take a look at your t-shirt and decide visually where your cut marks will go. If you have a logo, you may need to adjust where you cut.
  • Sept 3 – Turn your t-shirt inside out and lay it back down on your flat surface. Flatten it out (does not need to be ironed).
  • Step 4 – Using your scissors, cut off your sleeves (you want to cut just past the the thread marks). It is important that you only cut off the sleeves at this point.
  • Step 5 – Using your dish, place your dish on top of the neck hole. Move it down so you have a half of a circle on your t-shirt and the other half on your surface. Using your marker, draw the half circle. You can also eyeball this part as well if you’d like.
  • Step 6 – Measure 3 inches from the bottom of your t-shirt (or half of your hand). Mark with your marker where this is.
  • Step 7 – Cut out 1.5 to 2 inch strips from the bottom of your t-shirt up to your indicator line. Make sure you cut your end pieces so that the front and back are separated.
  • Step 8 – Make sure the strips are laying flat (you may need to re-smooth out your t-shirt).
  • Step 9 See how each strip has a strip underneath it? Tie those together. Do this all the way across and then double knot each one.
  • Step 10 – Fold your bag inside right – and you’re done!

We Want To Hear From You!

Scotch Plains Public Library mission: to welcome and support our entire community with resources and services that enhance lifelong learning.

While the library building is closed to the public, we are still working hard to fulfill our mission. The Adult Services Department wants to make sure that we are providing programs and services that you can use, even without access to physical materials and space. We invite you to respond to our survey and let us know how we might best meet your needs during this time.

More Ways to Find Your Next Great Read

We recently wrote about how you can find reading suggestions from the library’s book clubs. Here are some additional resources to inspire you.

LibraryReads – We know you love to get recommendations from our library staff when you visit our building, and we love to share great titles with you. Each month, LibraryReads lists the 10 upcoming titles that have been most enjoyed by people who work in public libraries across the country. You can find May’s list here, but if you visit the Archive page, you can explore library favorites going back to 2013. (Are you playing Bingo with us? Checking out LibraryReads is an easy square to get.)

NoveList Plus – If you haven’t discovered the NoveList Plus database yet, grab your library card and explore! You can search for a title, author, or subject, or you can browse their lists of suggested titles based on your favorite genre, your current mood, or even a favorite TV show. Click on a title that intrigues you, and you’ll find read-alike suggestions based on the title or the author. You’ll also find professional reviews to help you decide if you should give a book a try. NoveList Plus includes books for all ages, so parents can also use this to help them find a “just right” book for their children.

Bestseller lists – Have you been missing the weekly bestseller lists we kept in a binder in the New Book section? Until our building reopens, you can find the Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestseller lists online.

Of course, we still enjoy helping you find a great book to read. We’ve got great ideas about new ways to keep doing that, so stay tuned!

Virtual Live Music Events

Where: YouTube

Listening Together–at Home!

While it’s great that we can stream music 24/7 on Freegal, and watch an amazing selection of past concerts on Stingray Qello, we’re all missing the feeling of connection that only a live event can provide.

Musicians are reaching out to us with live performances online, as well as offering live streams of past concerts that we can experience together.

Like a real show, these events require that you make a plan to show up at a specific time. But you can keep your lazy clothes on!

A few tips:

  • Monitor the social media accounts and YouTube channels of your favorite musicians–many have started streaming live performances from their homes on an occasional or regular basis.
  • Instagram LIVE videos can only be viewed on a mobile device, but there’s a workaround if you want to watch on your computer. Watch or read how to do this by adding a browser extension!
  • Make sure to translate times to EDT so you don’t miss a west coast or European show–all times below have been converted where needed.

Free free to contact us with questions about using any of these social media platforms!

Instagram Live, previously a place for celebrities to offer the public slick glimpses into their worlds, has been repurposed as a cabaret, abuzz with performing artists doing what they can for us from their living rooms.

Here is a list of some shared listening opportunities to check out. Let us know if you have others to recommend!

Living Room Live Classical Music

Living Room Live is a platform where classical musicians stream live recitals from their living rooms into yours. Check their website for the schedule of performances, taking place daily at 1pm.

Phish’s “Dinner and a Movie”

The jam band is streaming a full recorded show every Tuesday beginning at 8:30 pm at Phish will also provide fans with recommended in-home recipes so they can cook along and enjoy dinner while watching the show!

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge invites you to join her these next couple of weeks on Facebook Live daily at 6pm for 15 minute sing-along get-togethers. Invite your friends and family! 

Drew Holcomb

Drew Holcomb of the Americana band The Neighbors is streaming his “Kitchen Covers” series every evening at 9:00 pm via Instagram and Facebook. Artists he’s covered include Tom Petty, U2, and Kenny Rogers.

Daniel Hope

British violinist Daniel Hope, one of the world’s most prolific classical recording artists, is offering a series of daily concerts live at 12 noon from his living room. The concerts will be live streamed daily on Deutsche Grammophon’s Deutsche Grammophon and Arte Concert YouTube channels.

Feinstein’s 54 Below

The Manhattan club known as “Broadway’s Living Room” is now a virtual living room where at-home audiences can enjoy performances, comment, and chat with each other. They will be streaming live shows and past performances as one-time only events on their YouTube channel, most evenings at 6:30pm. Upcoming performers include Lorna Luft and Ben Vereen.

Marie’s Crisis Café

Marie’s Crisis is a “West Village is a dive bar that epitomizes a deep love for show tune music, community, and fun.” Join their Facebook group (currently accepting all applicants) and sing along every night as their pianists live-stream sets of Broadway tunes to audiences at home. They’re on-duty from roughly 4pm to 9:30pm on weekdays, and a little later on Saturdays. They’ll take requests!

Royal Irish Academy of Music

The Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin is livestreaming concerts on Facebook every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 2pm, offering live music from the living rooms of RIAM’s staff, students, and special guests.


The drummer for The Roots is DJing live sets of R&B tunes and deep cuts on YouTube and Instagram nightly at 10pm.

Verizon’s #PayItForward LIVE

Verizon is offering is weekly livestream concerts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm. Watch popular performers live from their living rooms via Verizon’s Twitter account and Yahoo Entertainment.

As we all polish off our self-isolation snacks and try to do something other than binge Netflix, musicians are doing their best to replicate the effects of traditional gigs online as best they can.

Adult Library Bingo Challenge

Just for fun, we’ve created an Adult Library Bingo Challenge card. We hope that it will help you find new and interesting activities to keep you busy while you’re safe at home. The library’s mission is “to welcome and support our entire community with resources and services that enhance lifelong learning”, and that doesn’t stop just because the building is closed.

We encourage you to explore our many resources with activities such as borrowing digital books and magazines, watching streaming videos, and listening to music (did you know you can create and share your own playlist with us on Freegal?). You might even find something you never knew the library offered.

There’s a link at the bottom of this post to a printable version of the Bingo card. While we’re not requiring you to report back to us when you get a BINGO, if you want you could post a picture of your Bingo card, or how you earned a particular square, and tag us on Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to hear how you’re using the library at home.

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.

The Fiddler Phenomenon

Who could have predicted that a Yiddish writer’s tales of an impoverished Jewish milkman in czarist Russia, reborn as a smash Broadway hit, would become a cultural touchstone of lasting popularity and global recognition into the 21st century?

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, Scotch Plains Public Library will examine the phenomenon of Fiddler on the Roof from a variety of vantage points. We invite the community to join us for the following programs throughout the month of May. Registration is not required for these events.

Film Screening: Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
Thursday, May 2 at 7 pm

We will screen Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, a riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. This film tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it.

Ed Goldberg and the Odessa Klezmer Band
Sunday, May 5 at 2 pm

Ed Goldberg and the Odessa Klezmer Band will bring the joyous dance music of the Klezmorim (Jewish folk musicians) to the library. They have been playing since 1984, celebrating the heritage of Eastern Europe, Ladino, and Middle Eastern music.

The Legacy of Fiddler on the Roof with John Kenrick
Thursday, May 16 at 7 pm
Theater historian John Kenrick will present “The Legacy of Fiddler on the Roof,” digging deep into Aleichem’s short stories about a Jewish milkman in a Russian shtetl (small town) and how they became a lasting worldwide hit.

Fiddler on the Roof Sing-A-Long
Sunday, May 19 at 12:30 pm
Tim White—author, historian, performer, professor, and one of our library’s all-time favorites—will return to the library with Jessica Katz to lead a rousing group sing-a-long while viewing the 1971 hit film, Fiddler on the Roof.  Patrons are encouraged to come in costume and join in the fun!