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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More Good Movies You Might Have Missed...

by Jill Eisner
Sr. Librarian
Information Services

Hi Everyone,

It's miserable out; it's a good day to stay home, snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie (or two). Here are some new interesting titles that we've recently added to the collection:


Broadchurch (2013) Poster
Starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant.
This highly acclaimed British crime drama brings together two compassionate detectives to solve the murder of an eleven year-old boy in a small coastal town. Under the glare of the media spotlight, the two race to find the killer. 2013, not rated.  Drama. Season 

All is Lost

All Is Lost (2013) PosterStarring Robert Redford.  After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face.  2013, rated PG-13. Drama.


Starring Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and Eloise Laurence. The summer holidays have just begun and young Skunk's afternoons are full of daydreams and curious wanderings, with the exception that she must regularly give herself injections for her type-one diabetes. When, one day, Skunk discovers her bitter and angry older neighbor, Mr. Oswald, savagely beating Rick, a psychologically troubled boy from the neighborhood who has been callously and fictitiously accused of rape, Skunk's innocence begins to vanish. 2012, not rated. Drama.

Don't forget to check out the movie showings at the library!



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Food 52 Cookbook + VB6 = #awesomedeliciousness

Food 52 Cookbook + VB6 =  #awesomedeliciousness

French onion soup - something that sounds so appealing on a menu, but no, how could you possibly eat that plus an entree if you've had all that cheesy goodness to start?  Way better to make it at home.  And I have the perfect recipe for you - from the Food 52 Cookbook  Then have a salad after and you can still feel virtuous.

What's even better is that this French onion soup is dead easy to make with a store bought stock, but it becomes totally transformed into the best restaurant quality when you make your own.  Don't be scared off - if you can turn on your oven and roast some veg, you've got it in the bag.  And the stock is totally vegan, if you care, or even if you just want to eat more vegetables.

When I was in my twenties, I served French onion soup to two vegetarians, not realizing that the beef stock I used was not ok!  They loved the soup, and then confessed that they were sick later.  Oops!  I wouldn't make that mistake today...Here's how to make a great all veggie stock according to Mark Bittman's cookbook VB6:

Fast and Flavorful Vegetable Stock , Slower Variation
adapted from Mark Bittman's The VB6 Cookbook

2 medium or 1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, cut into large pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into large pieces
1 pound button mushrooms, washed but left whole
4 - 8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled but crushed
1 bunch fresh parley, including stems
4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Roast the veggies - onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic on a half sheet pan or roasting pan lined with foil (no clean up!), for 30 - 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Put the roasted veggies and everything except for the final salt and pepper in a stockpot with 3 quarts of water.  Boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  (The longer it simmers, the deeper the flavor.)

Remove from heat and strain out the vegetables.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Keeps for a week in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.  (Use for everything and anything  calling for stock!)

Now on to the French Onion soup of your culinary dreams:

French Onion Soup
adapted from the Food 52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Marrill Stubbs

3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 - 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 lbs. onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade (or beef stock)
2 cups red wine, or beer
To serve:  2 slices crusty bread for each person
Cheese - can be sliced deli provolone, or better:  1/2 cup each gouda, gruyere, and parmesan mixed together OR see vegan variation below.

In a large stockpot, melt the butter and olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook slowly for 5 - 10 minutes until caramelized.  Add the onions, large pinch of salt, a few grindings of pepper, the thyme and bay leaf and stir. 
Cook over medium/low heat until the onions are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Pour in the stock and wine or beer, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered for 1 - 3 hours.  Taste and add more stock and/or salt and pepper as needed along the way.

To serve, put one slice of bread in the bottom of a deep bowl.  Add a ladleful of soup.  Then take one additional slice of bread for each person, and top with cheese.  Toast that bread in a toaster oven until melted.  Place the cheesy bread on top of the soup.

Be transported to a happy place.

(For a vegan variation with no apologies, sprinkle the second piece of bread with panko, salt, LOTS of freshly ground black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Toast as above, and drop into the soup.)

Find these cookbooks and more in our own Library, or our member libraries.  Did you know you can use your South Brunswick card at any of our member libraries, which are almost all the libraries in Middlesex County? What's more, you can have books brought directly to our library from those libraries instead.  You can do this online, or call us at the Reference Desk at732-329-4000 extension 7286.

Diane Whitman
Homemade stock convert
Reference Librarian
South Brunswick Public Library

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fundraiser Dinner for SBP Library Foundation on Saturday, April 26

Tickets are Still Available for Library's All-You-Can-Eat (Not Just) Beef Steak Dinner 

The South Brunswick Public Library Foundation's 10th Annual All-You-Can-Eat (Not Just) Beef Steak Dinner fundraiser will be held this Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. in the South Brunswick Senior Center.  Tickets are still available for $50 each and can be purchased online or at the Library. 

It's true. You can help your Library by simply buying a ticket to eat as much steak and/or pasta as you like while consuming as much beer and/or soda as you like! Not a bad deal!

The evenings' menu includes: cold antipasto, sliced beef tenderloin dipped in sweet butter and served on fresh sliced French bread, penne pasta in a tomato basil sauce, golden French fried potatoes,  and a surprise dessert! The catering is being done once again by The Brownstone, of the Housewives of New Jersey fame!  Beer and soda are being generously donated again by High Grade Beverage.

Tickets are $50 per person in advance at the Library and also online at:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bookmobile Needs New Driver – Bids Farewell to Mr. Mike

Bookmobile Needs New Driver – Bids Farewell to Mr. Mike

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 is National Bookmobile Day and on this occasion the South Brunswick Public Library is happy to share some big news about our Bookmobile service. 

While the SBPL bookmobile has been off-road since March it is hoped that it will be back in action by early May. A replacement engine and repairs are needed and the costs will be significant.

Meanwhile, the library’s longtime bookmobile driver Mike Birnberg will be retiring June 1 after more than 25 years of service. Rain, sun, sleet and snow, Mike has become as familiar as a next door neighbor to thousands of South Brunswick citizens, big and small.
It will take a special kind of person to drive the Library’s Bookmobile,” says Library Director Chris Carbone, adding that he will be seeking to fill Mike’s position.

As bookmobile operator, “Mr. Mike” has checked out items for patrons from all parts of the Township.  Idling the converted 44-foot-long bus at neighborhood cross streets, preschools, swim clubs, senior housing, and other various parking lots around town, he has helped students find books for school assignments, senior citizens get the new mystery novel they’ve wanted, teens and adults choose a popular movie or CD. 

The bookmobile serves residents throughout the Township at 49 unique stops throughout the year.  This includes 11 nursery schools, the Senior Center, low-income or subsidized housing developments and general neighborhoods.  The service has been a staple for 37 years.

While the Library has changed dramatically since bookmobile service began, key factors remain the same.  The Township is quite large at 41 square miles.  There is no means of public transportation to the Library.  Additionally, the population has grown significantly, including the number of children, seniors and others without transportation.
The SBPL Foundation has pledged $5,000 towards the cost of the repairs.  The Noor-Ul-Iman school, part of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, has pledged an additional $2,000 towards repair costs.  Additional donations are being sought and the Trustees will pay the balance. 

Anyone in the community interested in making a donation to support the Bookmobile Outreach Service, please contact Library Director Chris Carbone at 732-329-4000, ext. 7287.

The Library is currently seeking a part-time bookmobile driver. For more information, visit


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

National Library Week at SBPL - April 13- 19

National Library Week at SBPL - April 13- 19

This week libraries across the country are celebrating National Library Week. The Week recognizes the important services provided by these community institutions and how they strive to improve the quality of life for all.

South Brunswick Public Library would like Township residents to take time this week to learn all it has to offer to them.  Please visit us. We welcome old and new friends to take a little time this week to discover our resources and enjoy our charms.

One such charm we want to show off is the Ellen Gambatese Room, named for a tireless library advocate and community supporter. During National Library Week, the room is being finished with painted panels featuring butterfly bushes lining its octagonal walls.  The permanent butterfly “garden” panels and entrance mural were all painted by local resident and artist Nesrin Avci.

Among other special attractions not to be missed are the SMART Lab, a recently dedicated digital learning space, and a free showing of the award-winning film Philomena on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.  Be sure to also view the reading display for GRIT, the community-wide reading program from SBPL and the South Brunswick School District. GRIT stands for Gumption, Resilience, Inner Strength, and Tenacity.

“95% agree library materials and resources play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed,” according to the Pew Research Center.

National Library Week is a time for libraries to show off a little and for residents to take notice. You may be missing resources for: employment, children’s literacy, digital learning, entertainment, ESL, special needs, and more. According to  Pew, “81 percent of Americans say libraries provide valuable services people would struggle to find elsewhere.”

While SBPL celebrates National Library Week each year with a little something extra special, promoting literacy is its daily mission.  The Library offers hundreds of programs for all ages and interests. For more information about what SBPL has for you, please visit