Winter disappears when you have your nose in a good book. In Montclair, besides the seemingly endless rows of books of every type free of charge for you to enjoy, there are programs for you and your family. Check out the offerings for January and February 2020.
All children and teen programs are free. Registration begins on December 30 and is required where noted. All are welcome, online registration is available for valid Montclair Public Library cardholders. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult during programs. All others should call the Youth Services Department to be added to the waiting list.
Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton St., Montclair. Visit www.montclairlibrary.org to register.
Branch Storytimes and Programs
Family Storytimes at Bellevue Avenue Branch (Ages birth-5)
Mondays, January 6, 20, February 3, 17, 11 a.m., Kids Place
Share books, stories, fingerplays, rhymes and music with your children. Enjoy a story session that encourages a love of reading and fosters the development of early literacy skills. Children of all abilities welcome. Register for each date separately.
Let’s Play-doh! at Bellevue Avenue Branch (All ages)
Tuesdays, January 14-February 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Classroom
Develop fine-motor skills needed for school such as cutting and holding a pencil using creativity and imagination in a group setting. Register for each date separately.
Chess Club at Bellevue Avenue Branch (All ages)
Tuesdays, January 14-February 18, 4-5:30 p.m., Classroom
Learn the basics of chess or sharpen your existing skills with chess puzzles. Appropriate for beginner to intermediate level players. Younger participants will require parental help. Register for each date separately.
Little Listeners at Bellevue Avenue Branch (Ages birth-2)
Thursdays, January 16-February 20, 11-11:30 a.m., Kids Place
Creating lifelong readers can begin at any age! Listen to short stories and participate in rhymes and fingerplays with age-appropriate books about colors, animals, shapes and more! Register for each date separately.
Little Thinkers at Bellevue Avenue Branch (Ages 1 and up)
Thursdays, January 16-February 20, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Classroom
Get your children solving puzzles, creating, and interacting with their peers in this hands-on program! Register for each date separately.
Friday Gameday at Bellevue Avenue Branch (Ages 8-17)
Fridays, January 17-February 21, 2-4:30 p.m., Classroom
Come play the Nintendo Switch with games such as Smash Brothers Ultimate, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Kirby Star Allies and more! Everyone is invited to bring their own Nintendo Switch to share with others and enhance the program, but remember, everyone is responsible for their own belongings! Register for each date separately.
Early Literacy Programs (ages birth to preschool)
Babies in the Library (Suggested for birth-18 months)
Tuesdays, January 14-February 18, 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m., 3rd floor
Sing nursery rhymes and songs with your little ones. Songs, language activities, and board books will be introduced during each session.
Toddler Tales (Suggested for ages 18 months-3 years)
Wednesdays, January 15-February 19, 10:30 a.m., 3rd floor
Build your child’s early literacy skills through the exploration of language and numbers through stories and songs.
Leaping Learners (Suggested for ages 3-5 years)
Thursdays, January 16-February 20, 4 p.m., 3rd floor
Books, songs, rhymes, and play are the perfect way to get your child ready for school every day. Preschoolers will develop a love of learning in this interactive storytime.
Leap into Science: Family Wind Workshop (Suggested for ages 3-8)
Monday, February 24, 11 a.m., Auditorium
Kick-off National Leap into Science Week with this interactive family workshop that is perfect for preschoolers and homeschoolers. Families will investigate the properties of wind and air as they explore its effects on objects while visiting specially designed activity stations. Registration required.
School-Age Programs (Grades K-5)
Game On: Wii and Board Games (Ages 4-17)
Thursday, January 9, 2-5 p.m., Friday, February 14, 3-5 p.m., 3rd floor
Are ‘Wii board’ yet? Play games that are fun and offer a little bit of friendly competition. We will provide various Wii games including, but not limited to, “Just Dance,” “Super Smash Brothers Brawl,” and more. Additionally, we will offer various traditional board games such as LIFE, Clue, Connect 4, Mancala, and Chess. GAME ON!
Chesstronauts (Ages 8-14)
Fridays, January 10, 24, February 7, 21, 4:15-5:45 p.m., 3rd floor
The Chesstronauts have landed! Kids of all skill levels will receive high-quality and accessible chess instruction for improved strategic thinking, problem-solving and sportsmanship. Topics range from basic piece movements to advanced positional strategy. Along the way, from the honing of analytical abilities through mastery of the game, participants will develop a lifelong love for this ancient game. Chesstronauts is led by five students from Montclair Kimberley Academy who developed a shared passion for chess. The Chesstronauts are here to guide you toward the endless possibilities of your own skills.
Koko: Therapy Dog Visit (Ages 5 and up)
Saturday, February 8, 11 a.m.-Noon, 3rd floor
Meet and greet with therapy dog, Koko the Shiba Inu. Learn about what therapy dogs do and how they help the community.
The History of Black Churches and the Voting Movement (Family Program)
Sunday, February 16, 2-5 p.m., Auditorium
Black churches played a pivotal part in the Civil Rights Movement including their galvanizing role in the enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Celebrate their legacy with performances of spoken word poetry, gospels by the St. Paul Baptist Church Mass Choir of Montclair, spiritual hymns by Jacquelyn Graham, and a handbell performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Eddie Nicholas will emcee this event with special guest speakers, Reverend Dr. Bernadette Glover and Montclair Councilwoman Renee Baskerville, M.D.
Let It Shine: The American Civil Rights Movement (Recommended for Grades 3-12)
Saturday, February 29, 2 p.m., Auditorium
Bright Star Theatre portrays events and heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Learn about pivotal American milestones between the years 1955-1968. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, Brown v. Board of Education, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. come to life through stories and song while demonstrating the price paid by those who fought for equal rights.
Homeschooling Open House (All ages)
Thursdays, January 2, February 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Auditorium
Join the monthly gathering of families that homeschool and make new friends. Youth services librarian Enola Romano displays our collection of parenting books about homeschooling. Bring your favorite board game to share. For more information email Enola Romano at
Language Enrichment Programs
“Era Uma Vez, na Biblioteca”: Portuguese Storytime (Suggested for ages birth-9 years)
Saturday, January 11, 4 p.m., Auditorium
“Era Uma Vez, na Biblioteca” (Once Upon a Time, at the Library) welcomes all families to be part of this experience of storytelling in Portuguese. The stories will be interwoven with little songs and rhymes, all in Portuguese. The storyteller, Ana Cristina Coura, is an educator with a background in psychology who has taught children in Brazil and worked as an art educator.
Cuentitos: Spanish-English Storytime (Ages 3-8)
Mondays, January 13, February 10, 4 p.m., 3rd floor
Enjoy children’s books in Spanish and English along with acoustic guitar and songs in Spanish. Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers welcome! Disfrute de un sesión de cuentos en español y bilingües textos en Inglés y Español.
Hebrew Storytime with Rabbi Ariann (Ages 3-8)
Thursday, January 23, 11 a.m., 3rd floor
Enjoy a bilingual storytime in Hebrew and English and make an easy craft. Hebrew speakers and non-Hebrew speakers are welcome. Rabbi Ariann Weitzman is an Associate Rabbi and the Director of Congregational Learning at the Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue.
“Paukwa Pakawa”: Swahili Storytime (Ages 5-12)
Tuesday, February 25, 4:30 p.m., 3rd floor
“Paukwa Pakawa" means “it came to and it happened” in Swahili - a Bantu language spoken throughout East Africa. Learn words, phrases, and listen to tales in the Swahili language. Storyteller Sabina Wasonga-Gitau is a native Swahili speaker who has taught at Nishuane's Explorer program in Montclair where she lives with her family.
Teen Main Programs
Teen Advisory Board (TAB members)
Wednesdays, January 8,* February 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m., 3rd floor
Join us for our monthly Teen Advisory Board (TAB) meeting! We will discuss teen events for January and February, and begin planning for later this winter and early spring. The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) of the Montclair Public Library meets the first Wednesday of each month, October-May. TAB members receive community service hours for participating. Refreshments will be served; please advise of food allergies.
*Please note: in January TAB meets the second Wednesday of the month rather than the first due to New Year’s Day.
Passport to Flavor (Grades 6-12)
Tuesdays, January 28, February 18, 4:30-5:30 p.m., 3rd floor
January - Fermentation Station
This month we’ll explore the wide world of fermentation! Fermented foods are a major component of most cultures. This month, we’ll experiment with quick-pickled vegetables, yogurt parfaits, and will taste kimchi and sauerkraut. Please advise of food allergies.
February - Japan
Our next culinary journey takes us to Japan. We’ll explore flavors like matcha, soy, and more. We’ll create and sample an assortment of sweet and savory bites to experience some of the diverse food culture found in Japan. Please advise of food allergies.
Registration required for each session.
Monthly Drop-In Teen Volunteer Training (Grades 8 and up)
Thursdays, January 9, February 13, 5:30-6:15 p.m., 3rd floor
Interested in becoming a library volunteer? Join one of our drop-in volunteer trainings to learn all you need to know! Trainings are held the second Thursday of every month. Please bring completed volunteer applications [linked on website listing] to training. Email teen services librarian Kiersten Paine at email@example.com with any questions.
No-Sew Blankets Workshop (Grades 6-12)
Tuesdays, January 14, 21, 28, 5:30-7 p.m.
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Montclair Public Library invites teens to volunteer their time throughout the month of January. Join us as we make no-sew blankets for those who don't have them. We will provide the fleece and instructions for making the blankets.
5 Ingredient Meals (Grades 6-12)
Wednesday, January 29, 4 p.m., 3rd floor
Learn to make a delicious and nutritious meal with just five ingredients. Presented by the ShopRite of West Orange's Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Emily Cooper, RDN. Registration required.
African-American History Month Teen Book Club (Grades 6-12)
Thursdays, February 20, 27, 6:30 p.m., 3rd floor
In observance of African-American History Month, we’ll be reading and discussing “Long Way Down,” by Jason Reynolds over the course of two meetings. Reynolds is a contemporary young adult author, and this title received Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz honors in 2018. Copies of the book will be available in the Youth Services Department starting January 27. Registration required.