Archive for March, 2011

Award-winning movie to screen in TR library branch

 Ocean County Library joins the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and other libraries throughout the state by presenting “Face to Face: Community Conversations on Environmental Justice” beginning with a screening of “Crude: The Real Price of Oil” in the Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m.

  “Crude: The Real Price of Oil” tells of one of the largest and most controversial legal and environmental cases in the world. The plaintiffs claim that oil company, Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, spent three decades contaminating the Lago Agrio area in Amazonian Ecuador, one of the earth’s most bio-diverse regions, and is responsible for cleanup of the area.

The plaintiffs, residents from the Lago Agrio area, further allege the oil company created a “death zone” the size of Rhode Island, resulting in increased rates of cancer and birth defects and their operations contributed to the destruction of indigenous peoples.

The plaintiffs also say Texaco dumped billions of liters of polluted water in the jungle for more than two decades before the company left Ecuador in the early 1990s.

Chevron is fighting the claims.  They have also filed a civil lawsuit against the trial lawyers and consultants for the plaintiffs under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) Feb. 1, 2011 before the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.

While the area is clearly polluted because of chemical contamination, Chevron said on its Web site the problem was the result of procedures used by later owners, including Petroecuador, Ecuador’s state-owned oil company. 

Prior to 1992 Petroecuador owned 62% of the consortium with Texaco.  After 1992, and the completion of a remediation project that the government certified was complete, Petroecuador became sole operator of the oil company.

“If you’re seeing fresh oil today … how can that be the responsibility of a company that stopped operating in 1990?” asked Kent Robertson in an interview published by Reuters (Sept. 9, 2009.)  Robertson is a spokesman for Chevron based in San Ramon, California.

New York Times film critic A. O Scott reviewed the film Sept. 9, 2009 and wrote that while the film does not pretend neutrality, he added it presented an even handed and balanced treatment of the subject matter, including rebuttals from the company’s executives and in-house environmental scientists.

The film, by Joe Berlinger, documents the 17-year court battle between the indigenous people of the Lago Agrio region in Ecuador and the oil company. 

It has received more than 20 awards, including being named one of the Top Five Documentaries of the Year by the National Board of Review, and receiving the award for Best International Green Film at Berlin’s Cinema for Peace festival.

The film has also been shown in more than 80 festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, and a special screening for members of the U. S. Congress.

Since the film was first screened, the Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbios in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, ruled Feb. 7, 2011 that Chevron was responsible for the environmental impact on the area and fined the company at total of more than $18 billion.

Chevron has filed an appeal with the government in Ecuador as well as with entities outside that country, including the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

A discussion of this highly-charged topic will follow the screening of the film.  The discussion will be led by Brookdale Community College professor Tom Cioppa. 

Cioppa will also lead two follow-up programs June 16 and July 14 to discuss selected reading about environmental issues.  The readings will be taken from American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau” and “So Glorious a Landscape: Nature and the Environment in American History and Culture.”   Both discussions will be held at the Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., and will begin at 7 p.m.

These programs are free and open to the public.  Register on the library Web site or by telephone (732) 349-6200 or (609) 971-0514.

Information about the movie and Chevron’s defense can be found at and

Flutist to present music by the women of Jazz

Nationally known Jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq will present an interactive musical program highlighting the contributions of women in jazz Sunday April 10 at 2 p.m. in the Toms River branch of Ocean County Library (101 Washington St.)

He will discuss the five pillars of jazz: melody, harmony, rhythm, syncopation and improvisation, and give a demonstration of how each of these elements influences jazz.

Galen Abdur-Razzaq is a talented and extraordinary flutist, who has performed both domestically and internationally for over thirty years. He is a former student of the Berklee College of Music, Boston, and a graduate of Rutgers University. He holds a master’s degree in fine arts and education and is an arranger, composer, director, educator, and writer.

He has performed and recorded with some of the world’s greatest recording artists. Among them are pianist Billy Taylor, Sonny Phillips, Gwen Guthrie, Eddie Gladden, Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Heath, Clifford Adams, Curtis Boyd, John Patton, Melba Moore, Freda Payne, Sun Ra.

This program is free and open to the public.  For more information, or to register for the program, contact the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library at (732) 349-6200 or (609) 971-0514 or visit .

Mark Twain’s Wonderful Words

Point Pleasant Borough Branch of the Ocean County Library will present the program “Mark Twain’s Wonderful Words” on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:00 pm.

Celebrate National Library Week with the great American humorist and novelist Mark Twain. Three professional actors from the Traveling Literary Theater will bring his words to life through dramatic readings from celebrated works such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and much more. Sit back and enjoy tales from 100 years ago that just as germane today.

April 21 marks the 101st anniversary of his death (1910.)

This program is free and open to the public. Please register online at or call 732-295-1555. The Point Pleasant Borough Branch is located at 834 Beaver Dam Road, Point Pleasant.

2 Australian cookbook authors want you to save time & money!

When two Australian mothers wrote a cookbook to save themselves time and money, and get them OUT of the kitchen, they had no idea that it would make them international bestsellers.

Cookbook authors Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham will be at the Barnegat branch on
Thursday April 7 at 7 discuss and share samples from their cookbook, “4 INGREDIENTS.”

Outselling Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and Gordon Ramsey “4 INGREDIENTS” has sold over two million copies and consistently sits near the top of the bestsellers lists in both Australia and the UK.

McCosker and Bermingham believe their cookbook has been such a huge success (even outselling J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series in 2008) because people can relate to the “4 INGREDIENTS” concept. It helps people get great food on the table fast, without compromising on taste and it uses ingredients that are already found in most kitchen cabinets or refrigerators.

The pair spent hours gathering recipes and then spent even more time preparing them. The result is a cookbook that uses the following simple and highly effective guidelines:

  • Reduce the number of ingredients required to make something taste delicious.
  • Reduce the number of utensils required to make the meals
  • Reduce the amount of money spent on food each week.
  • Create more time to spend doing what you love to do.

“4 INGREDIENTS” contains more than 400 recipes that range from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, and everything in between. From Antipasto Tarts, to Carrot & Coriander soup, to Apricot Chicken, to Tandoori Lamb, and Orange & Almond Cake, each recipe is delicious and most importantly, simple!

McCosker and Bermingham are the first to admit that they are not professional chefs but everyday people, career women, mothers, and wives, who try to be the best they can be for the people they love in their lives.  They are busy people who want simple solutions in the kitchen. Whether you are a parent who is always running around, on a tight budget, or simply don’t have time to shop for groceries, “4 INGREDIENTS” is the book for you.

For more information, or to register for this program, contact the Barnegat branch of the Ocean County Library at (609) 698-3331 or visit .

Friends of the Beachwood Library hold birthday party for local group home

The Friends of the Beachwood Library held a fun filled birthday party for the men of a local group home. The party included all the festive trimmings and decorations, cake and a party with crafts and gifts.

Man2Man/The Law & You

The Lakewood branch held the second installment of “Man to Man: Face 2 Face/The Law & You” this past Monday, March 21st.  We had about 25 people attend.  The first speaker was Juanita Cherry, who is a Senior Parole Officer for the NJ State Parole Board. The second speaker was Ronni Bright, an attorney at Hendrickson & Edelstein.

A slideshow of five photos from the event can be viewed at

Special honor to OCL: ALA President-elect to discuss future of libraries

The New Jersey Spectrum Scholarship Committee and the Ocean County Library will team up to present a fund-raising event at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library, 101 Washington St., Sunday April 3 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The fundraiser will benefit the American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarship Program and provide people an opportunity to speak with national figures about policies that will shape the future of libraries.

The event will feature Molly Raphael, the ALA’s President-elect, who will speak about the issues facing American libraries.  People attending the event will have the opportunity to ask her questions during a reception prior to her formal presentation.

Ocean County Library is one of only six East Coast stops she will make in 2011.

Raphael’s platform as President of ALA is “Libraries: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life” and focuses on advocacy in support of libraries, and diversity and inclusiveness in the library profession. At the ALA, her resources include the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) and the ALA Spectrum Scholarship program.  

Raphael served as Director of Libraries in Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon (2003-2009), It is Oregon’s largest public library system serving 700,000 residents with a budget of $60 million and 500 employees.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world. It is headquartered in Chicago.

The Spectrum Scholarship Program, established in 1997, is the ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession.  It also develops a representative workforce that reflects the communities served by all libraries. 

Spectrum has provided more than 680 scholarships to qualified applicants enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an AASL-approved school library education program.

Past ALA President Betty Turock, and directors Miguel A. Figueroa and Gwendolyn E. Prellwitz will also be on hand to answer questions.

There is a suggested donation of $30 payable at the door by check or credit card to the American Library Association-Spectrum Presidential Initiative. Refreshments will be provided.

Reservations are not required but can be made with Harry Applegate at (732) 349-6200, ext. 5407.

Ocean County students and residents who are interested in learning more about a career as a librarian or in pursuing the master degree in library and information science are encouraged to attend.

Past ALA President Dr. Betty J. Turock (1995-1996) is founder and chair of ALA’s Spectrum initiative and Professor Emerita of the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. She has also served as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of Education.

Miguel A. Figueroa is Director of the ALA’s Office for Diversity & Spectrum.

Gwendolyn E. Prellwitz is the Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity and Administrator of the Spectrum Scholarship Program.

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