All Together Now: Summer Learning Challenge 2023 Youth Wrap-up

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Write down 3 things you love about yourself. Create art from recycled materials.  Read for 30 minutes.  Create a Family Kindness Jar.  These are some of the activities that Livingston youth completed during the Summer Learning Challenge game at the Livingston Public Library.  The theme of the summer was All Together Now, with an emphasis on kindness.  In addition to reading, children completed kindness challenges as part of a bingo board game. Prizes were earned when a child completed bingo, when the child covered the entire bingo board and grand prize packages were raffled off to participants.    Our favorite part of the summer was hearing how families enjoyed completing the challenges together.  One parent had her entire family sign up to volunteer at a local organization to complete the Community Kindness Challenge.  Another parent reported that as part of the Family/Friend Kindness Challenge, their child spent lots of time reading with her grandmother, who was visiting from out of the country; their reading time together helped create a meaningful bond and beautiful memories for the family to cherish. The kids themselves mentioned how much fun they were having reading and being kind.      Our program participation exceeded our expectations, with over 500 children (grade 5 and under) and 158 teens (grades 6-12) registered. Collectively, participants read for a total of 244,669 minutes and completed 5,679 Self, Family/Friend, Community and World Kindness challenges.  Teen volunteers were a vital part of our summer success; as 67 teens volunteered for 368 shifts totaling 562.25 hours!  Teens helped register young patrons and distribute prizes for the grade 5 and under  Summer Learning Program, shelved books, assisted Librarians in programs, and more. Congratulations to all who participated in the Library’s Summer Learning Challenge; your kindness rippled throughout Livingston and beyond. You are all winners! Of course, our entire Summer Learning Challenge is  made possible due to the generosity and support of the Friends of the Livingston Public Library. Thank you, Friends! ~Gina Vaccaro, Head of Youth Services

50 Years of Hip-Hop

50 years of hip hop

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of Hip-Hop, which has become not just one of America’s most popular musical genres, but a global phenomenon as well. In commemoration of this milestone, Hoopla has curated a collection of classic Hip-Hop albums that you can stream for free with your Livingston Library card. Or if you’d like to learn more about the history and culture surrounding Hip-Hop music, here are some exceptional books and films you could check out. (Descriptions taken from the publishers) Books The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams The music that we would later know as hip-hop was born at a party in the Bronx in the summer of 1973. Now, fifty years later, it’s the most popular genre in America and its electric impact on contemporary music is likened to that of jazz on the first half of the twentieth century. And yet, despite its tremendous influence, the voices of many of hip-hop’s pioneers have never been thoroughly catalogued-and some are at risk of being lost forever. Now, in The Come Up, Jonathan Abrams offers the most comprehensive account so far of hip-hop’s rise, told in the voices of the people who made it happen. Hip-Hop (And Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano Hip-Hop (And Other Things) is about, as it were, rap, but also some other things. It spends the entirety of its time celebrating what has become the most dominant form of music these past two and a half decades. Tupac is in there. Jay Z is in there. Missy Elliott is in there. Drake is in there. Pretty much all of the big names are in there, as are a bunch of the smaller names, too. There’s art from illustrator Arturo Torres, there are infographics and footnotes; there’s all kinds of stuff in there. Some of the chapters are serious, and some of the chapters are silly, and some of the chapters are a combination of both things. All of them, though, are treated with the care and respect that they deserve What’s Good: Notes on Rap & Language by Daniel Levin Becker A work of passionate lyrical analysis, a set of freewheeling liner notes, and a love letter to the most vital American art form of the last half century. Over a series of short chapters, each centered on a different lyric, Daniel Levin Becker considers how rap’s use of language operates and evolves at levels ranging from the local (slang, rhyme) to the analytical (quotation, transcription) to the philosophical (morality, criticism, irony), celebrating the pleasures and perils of any attempt to decipher its meaning-making technologies. Ranging from Sugarhill Gang to UGK to Young M.A, Rakim to Rick Ross to Rae Sremmurd, Jay-Z to Drake to Snoop Dogg, What’s Good reads with the momentum of a deftly curated mixtape, drawing you into the conversation and teaching you to read it as it goes. A book for committed hip-hop heads, curious neophytes, armchair linguists, and everyone in between. God Save the Queens: The Essential History of Women in Hip-Hop by Kathy Iandoli For far too long, women in hip-hop have been relegated to the shadows, viewed as the designated “First Lady” thrown a contract, a pawn in some beef, or even worse. But as Kathy Iandoli makes clear, the reality is very different. Today, hip-hop is dominated by successful women such as Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, yet there are scores of female artists whose influence continues to resonate. God Save the Queens pays tribute to the women of hip-hop–from the early work of Roxanne Shante, to hitmakers like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot, to the superstars of today. Exploring issues of gender, money, sexuality, violence, body image, feuds, objectification and more, God Save the Queens is an important and monumental work of music journalism that at last gives these influential female artists the respect they have long deserved. Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar by Miles Marshall Lewis Widely known for his incredible lyrics and powerful music, Kendrick Lamar is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Promise That You Will Sing About Me explores his life, his roots, his music, his lyrics, and how he has shaped the musical landscape of this generation. With incredible graphic design, quotes, lyrics and commentary from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alicia Garza and more, this book provides an in-depth look at how Kendrick came to be who he is today, his world, how he creates his lyrics and music, and how he revolutionizes the music industry from the inside. It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him by Justin Tinsley The Notorious B.I.G. was one of the most charismatic and talented artists of the 1990s. Born Christopher Wallace and raised in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Biggie lived an almost archetypal rap life: young trouble, drug dealing, guns, prison, a giant hit record, the wealth and international superstardom that came with it, then an early violent death. Biggie released his first record, Ready to Die, in 1994, when he was only 22. Less than three years later, he was killed just days before the planned release of his second record, Life After Death. Journalist Justin Tinsley’s It Was All a Dream is a fresh, insightful telling of the life beyond the legend. It places Biggie’s life in context, both within the history of rap but also the wider cultural and political forces that shaped him, including Caribbean immigration, the Reagan era disinvestment in public education, street life, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the booming, creative, and influential 1990s music industry. Jay-Z: Made In America by Michael Eric Dyson The author wrestles with the biggest themes of Jay-Z’s career, including hustling, and recognizes the way that he’s always woven politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth, and social injustice. Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and