Archive for September, 2010

Brooklyn Days @ Manchester

“I hope you brought an appetite,” said Tony Muia, “cause we’re going to feed you.”

Muia, who owns Slice of Brooklyn Tours, led the Brooklyn Days celebration at the Manchester branch Saturday (Sept. 25.)    And what did he bring?

Well, for starters Sicilian pizza from Spumoni Gardens.

 “The number 1 Sicilian Pizza in the country,” he said.

“I don’t like pizza,” one woman said.  Uh, oh…wrong line, wrong place.  “Throw da bum out!” a classic refrain from Brooklyn, was the spontaneous  reply from a couple of people.

Second course was canolis and that was followed by cheesecake from Junior’s.

Prior to starting his tours of Brooklyn business in 2005, Muia worked in the health care industry.  Then he had an idea.

“Manhattan gets all the tourists,” he said, “but people from around the world have an interest in Brooklyn.  Let me meet that need.”

He now sees himself as an ambassador sans portfolio for New York City’s most populous borough.

“My tours bring people the history, culture, food and movie locations of Brooklyn,” he said.  He now conducts three different tours of Brooklyn, including the “Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour,” a Christmas tour where visitors view the light displays, and a tour of the lesser known neighborhoods.

He said the tour even adds to the knowledge of people who were born and raised in the borough, exposing them to areas they never got to see before.

“You pretty much stayed in your neighborhood unless you started dating someone from another neighborhood,” he explained.  “Then you started going out and exploring.”

He said his tours are also enriched when people come to visit their old neighborhood.  Their antidotes enrich his narrative.

So what’s the difference between Brooklyn and New Jersey?

“In Jersey they ask, ‘What exit do you live by?’ In Brooklyn they ask, ‘What high school did you go to?’”

Lakewood hosts Fiesta!

So what do you do when you go to the library and a dance lesson breaks out?  You dance!

The Lakewood branch hosted a fiesta in its community room Saturday and Daniel & Carol Asin, members of the Latin American Dance Company in NYC, kicked it off with a salsa dance lesson.

Like a teen dance the boys and the girls were reluctant at first to go out to the dance floor, but a little prompting by Zarita got them out there.  “Expand your horizons,” she said, encouraging them.

It was fun to watch.  At first many of the dancers were shy and tentative but as Danny & Carol led them through more and more difficult steps, the dancers’ confidence grew and grew till by the end of the hour lesson they were spinning and salsa-ing away like professionals.

“I got it!” one cried out, and they would applaud each other with each new move mastered.

There were at up to 24 people on the dance floor at a time.

The lesson was followed up with a musical performance by Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso, featuring their distinctive Salsa Dura style of music, and a sampling of Latino food.

This program sponsored in part by an OceanFirst Foudations Arts and Cultural Grant and the Ocean County Library Foundation.

The photos of the dance lessons can be viewed at

UP: Happy 200th Chopin

The Upper Shores Library hosted a tribute to Fryderyk Chopin in honor of his bicentennial birthday celebration. Heidi Valvano, pianist and Mantoloking Shores native, led the lecture and performed.

Lakewood TAB recruits new members

The Lakewood branch held a TAB Party on Thursday, September 9th to recruit the S.A.I.L. teens into joining TAB.  The response was great!  Five previous TAB members attended and 9 new members joined!  Erin prepared a spaghetti dinner, presented a TAB slideshow, and then had the teens decorate the Teen Zone windows with washable window markers.

U. S. Census thanks Ocean County

The Toms River branch hosted the 2010 Census for the last time today.  The Census marked the end of its data-gathering mission with a recognition celebration and distributed awards of recognition to its Ocean County partners.

Both Freeholder Joseph Vicari and Fernando Armstrong, the director of the US Census Bureau’s Philadelphia Region, spoke on the importance of the Census to the county’s future.

The Evolution Quartet and the Walnut Street Elementary School Census Chorus, comprised of youngsters who were counted for the first time in a census, performed several patriotic-themed songs.

The U.S. Constitution requires a population and housing count every decade.  Census results are the basis for congressional representation as well as the distribution of federal, state and local funds totaling more than $400 billion annually.

Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta held at the Stafford Branch

Food, dance and music were all celebrated at the Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta held at the Stafford Branch on Saturday, September 18th.

Dance instructor  Daniel Asin was wonderful. He worked with a group of enthusiastic students, who stuck with it for an hour and a half! 

Local restaurant El Senor Frog ( ) provided a delicious sampling of Mexican food.

Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso ( ) performed a fantastic two hour concert.

One customer commented on the survey, “This is a very good way to integrate all cultures and ethnicity.”

This program sponsored in part by an OceanFirst Foudations Arts and Cultural Grant and the Ocean County Library Foundation.

2010 Adult Summer Reading winner!

Theresa Fegan, Principal Library Assistant at the Jackson Branch, was the lucky recipient of a gift bag from the Readers’ Services Committee. Theresa participated in the 2010 adult summer reading program and her name was pulled in a random drawing for staff participants. The gift bag included the unabridged audio version of Margo Lanagan’s fantasy novel, “Tender Morsels” and a small box of Jacques Torres’ celebrated chocolates. Rita Oakes, Supervising Librarian, Branch Services and Administrative Liaison to the Readers’ Services Committee, presented the gift bag to Theresa at the Jackson Branch on Thursday, September 16th.

Pirate’s Love the Ocean County Library… aarrrrggghhh

Cathy Lynch and Gigi Hayes of the Barnegat branch participated in the 18th annual Pirates’ Day in downtown Barnegat on Saturday, September 11th.

The library booth was visited by hundreds of would be pirates from across Ocean County and as far away as Ridgewood, NJ.

Over 300 people entered to win a gift basket filled with library goodies. Countless numbers of child pirates in training hoped to win a piece of library booty by playing the library’s spinning wheel, while we answered questions about the library system and upcoming programs at the Barnegat branch.

The pirates & pirate wannabes were treated to a special visit from SPARKS!

pirates in training trying to win some loot at the library table at Barnegat’s Pirate day

BookFest Banner on Washington Street

There is a banner advertising BookFest up across Washington St. located B/W the town hall & Capone’s. Many thanks to Toms River FD #1 for putting up the banner for the library.

Looking west on Washington St (towards Capone's)

Looking east on Washington St (looking towards the library)

Barnegat announces Teen Summer Reading Raffle Winner

Shannon Rainsford, winner of the teen senior reading raffle, receives a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card from Senior Librarian Samantha Gordano Teen Services at the Barnegat branch of the Ocean County Library.

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