Archive for March, 2014

OCL prom project provides more than 800 dresses to teens

You know spring is in the air when thoughts of prom season are well underway.

Staff members of OCL’s 21 branches were doing more than just thinking about prom season when they collected more than 800 fancy dresses through a program involving the Teen Services Department. The dresses will be given away to teenage girls preparing for spring formals, junior and senior proms and graduations.

Teen Services Coordinator Pham Condello showed off some of the dresses along with Sawyer Marshock, 14, of Beachwood and Manchester Teen Services Librarian Elaine Menken on March 7 at the Toms River Branch.

OCL began collecting new and gently used dresses of varied lengths, colors and styles five years ago. The dresses were at first distributed at the Lakewood Branch but the program quickly expanded to include Jackson, Barnegat and Toms River according to Condello.

Condello said the collection also included accessories such as shoes, bags, wraps, gloves and jewelry. The collection will end on April 5 and the first free distributions of the season took place in Jackson on March 10 and 11.

“This is such a cool program because everyone who is a part of it feels good,’’ Menken said.

“It is such a great feeling to see a girl try on a dress she loves. They are so happy when they come out of the dressing room knowing they can take the dress home,’’ Condello said.

The process of shopping at the dress giveaways is similar to going to a dress store. Each branch converts a full room into a boutique for the event. Four rolling racks of dresses are carefully arranged in order of size and two dressing rooms and a full length mirror are set up to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

Tables are set up near the room’s perimeter that includes arrangements of handbags, jewelry, shoes, shawls, wraps and other items.

The girls’ privacy is maintained and they are not required to identify themselves or demonstrate need. “They simply come and shop,’’ Condello said.

The cost of prom dresses in general can range to as high as $500 and not everyone can afford such a purchase.

Sawyer, who modeled some of the dresses, said she felt like the princess from the film “Frozen” when she donned a blue gown. Sawyer is a freshman acting major at The Performing Arts Academy.

Dress giveaways are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Lakewood Branch; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday March 29, at the Toms River Branch and 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday April 8, and Sunday April 9, at the Barnegat Branch.

For information, visit or call 732-349-6200.

Russian performers present some “Irish Air” on St. Patrick’s Day

Flutist Inna Gilmore and pianist Elizaveta Kopelman perform some Irish music favorites on St. Patrick’s Day during a concert at Mancini Hall, Toms River Branch.

Flutist Inna Gilmore and pianist Elizaveta Kopelman perform some Irish music favorites on St. Patrick’s Day during a concert at Mancini Hall, Toms River Branch.

Russian performers present some “Irish Air”

on Saint Patrick’s Day

TOMS RIVER – More than just Irish eyes were smiling on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, during a musical program by flutist Inna Gilmore and pianist Elizaveta Kopelman at Ocean County Library headquarters.

The two award-winning Russian performers presented a concert called “Irish Air” that evening that featured some popular Irish tunes.

Gilmore’s professional debut as a concerto soloist took place in Moscow at Tchaikovsky Philharmonic Hall at the Moscow Autumn Music Festival in 1995, which was broadcast on National TV.

As an orchestral player she worked as a member of the Concert Orchestra of Radio and Television in Moscow. She is a recipient of the Artists International Special Presentation Award. She gave her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2008.

Her other awards included prizes in the Haynes International Flute Competition in Boston, the Classical Heritage International Competition in Moscow and the Russian National Competition of Woodwinds in St. Petersburg.

She has been performing actively as a solo recitalist with her husband, pianist Brian Gilmore. She is a Haynes flute artist.

She continued her professional flute studies in America with Loren Lind of the Philadelphia Orchestra and later had additional study with Paula Robison at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Elizaveta Kopelman was born into a musical family in Moscow.  She started her studies at the Central Music School with Dina Parachina.

She continued her studies with Arnaldo Cohen after moving to England and attended the Royal Northern College in Manchester. She won numerous and awards, including the Young Concert Artists Trust Competition in London.

She has appeared as a soloist throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, the U.S. and South America, with appearances at the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Bridgewater Hall.

Kopelman has performed with such orchestras as the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the New York Chamber Symphony. She recently appeared at the Carnegie/Weill Hall, Salle Cortot in Paris, the Dubai Arts Centre and the Geneva Conservatoire.

While some audience members may have expected an Irish brogue from the performers, no one was disappointed in their rendition of such Irish favorites as “Danny Boy.”

The pair also performed a touching musical number from the soundtrack of the 1983 TV mini-series “The Thorn Birds.” The mini-series was a popular Australian based drama starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Barbara Stanwyck.

Shazia Zaman, who serves as a senior librarian, in the OCL Adult Programming Information Services Department said the program had a registration of around 135 people. She said despite the morning snow storm, Mancini Hall was packed that evening with people waiting to enjoy some traditional Irish music that night.

Patrons were able to purchase CDs by the musicians following their concert.

Elizaveta Kopelman

Elizaveta Kopelman

Inna Gilmore

Inna Gilmore

Manchester Teen Advisory Board meeting April 7

MANCHESTER – Teens in grades 7 through 12 are invited to the monthly meeting of the Manchester branch’s Teen Advisory Board (TAB) 6 p.m. Monday, April 7.

Participants can earn community service while volunteering at the library! Help plan future teen activities at the library, decorate the Teen Zone, and assist the library staff with projects as needed.

Register for this free teen program! Telephone 732-657-7600 or go online to

The Manchester branch is located at 21 Colonial Drive.

Manchester branch to offer tips on using seasonal produce

MANCHESTER –  Jennifer Klein will discuss the best fruits and vegetable choices for spring and demonstrate creative ways to prepare quick and tasty meals using the season’s best produce 2 p.m. Tuesday April 8 at the Manchester branch. She is a registered dietician employed by ShopRite of Manchester.

The program is part of the library’s “Chapters of Health” series and is open to the adult public, free of charge. Please register online at or call 732-657-7600.

The Manchester branch is located at 21 Colonial Drive.

Manchester to offer diet & health seminar

MANCHESTER –  Dianne Tam will give a one-hour presentation at the Manchester branch, “Your Health is Your Wealth: Harnessing the Power of Nutrition,” 2 p.m. Monday April 7.

 She will discuss the need to take vitamins and other supplements when overall diet, the manner in which food is processed, stress and other environmental factors are considered.

The program is part of the library’s “Chapters of Health” series and is open to the adult public, free of charge. Please register online at or call 732-657-7600.

The Manchester branch is located at 21 Colonial Drive.

English conversationgroup starts up in Manchester

MANCHESTER  –  Adults learning English as a second language can practice speaking their new language in a small group setting at the Manchester branch Tuesday evenings from 7 pm to 8 p.m. The English Conversation Group discusses current events and other topics of popular interest.

This program is open to adults, free of charge. For more information or to register call Maria Colon or Maryann Lennon 732-657-7600.  People can also register online at

The Manchester branch is located at 21 Colonial Drive.

Sparks welcomes spring 2014

sm-Sparks flowers

Thursday March 20 is the first day of Spring. OCL’s mascot Sparks is seen holding up flowers to celebrate! The Beachwood branch will observe the occasion with a children’s program, “First Day of Spring,” at 3:30 pm  March 20. The program includes nature inspired crafts. Register at 732-244-4573 or the library’s website .

Sparks receives a special “thank you” card

sm-Head Start card

OCL’s mascot, Sparks, received a very special thank-you card for visiting Ocean Inc. Head Start on Tuesday, March 18th.  This visit was one of a series of preschool outreaches to our partner. Other outreaches have included our very own OCL Puppet Players.

Superheroes invade Toms River


Over a dozen superheroes took over the Toms River branch today, displaying their super powers as they scaled buildings in a single bound…  Well, not quite.  But they did ride a pint-sized motorcycle, bowl over blocks and fly around Mancini Hall with Miss Bernie. Then they learned of other super feats as she read a story to spark their imagination.


US Citizenship prep classes @ Berkeley

The Berkeley branch of the Ocean County Library, 30 Station Rd., will offer a series of eight-weekly classes for eligible immigrants seeking United States citizenship.

Classes will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. beginning Tuesday April 15 and are for adults ages 18 and above. The test itself is not administered as part of the class.  The test for U.S. citizenship is only administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

To be eligible for U.S. Citizenship students must possess a permanent residence card (commonly called a ‘green card’) for five years (3 yrs. if married to a U.S. citizen) and be able to speak English, as well as meet other qualifications.

Subjects to be covered in the class include “Introduction to the Naturalization Process,” “U.S. History,”  “Reading and Writing Readiness,” and help with the “Application for Naturalization.”

More information about the class and registration can be found at the library’s website or by telephone at 732-269-2144. Registration is required because of the limited class size. 

This program is supported by the Ocean County Library’s Diversity Committee.

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