— Photo from Judy Petrosillo

He knows if you’ve been reading: Santa Claus visited the kids at the Berne Library’s story time on Tuesday.

— Photo by Ron Barnell

Hilltown History at Your Fingertips: Jane McLean, third from left, and John Elberfeld, far right, the husband-and-wife team who wrote Helderberg Hilltowns recently presented a program at the new Berne Library on researching Helderberg families, homes, and communities. They emphasized both print and online genealogy sources as well as collections from the various libraries and historical societies of the Hilltowns. A book just published by Berne native Harold Miller, Berne and Knox — Our German Heritage, was on display, as well as a collection of books and maps by several Hilltown authors. Also contributing to the presentation were, from left, Ralph Miller, Berne town historian and Hal Miller’s brother; Will Osterhout, author of local history books; McLean; Kathy Stempel, library staffer; Sandra Kisselback, with the Berne Historical Society; and Elberfeld.

According to Merriam- Webster, one definition of the verb “create” is to produce something new by using your talents and imagination.  School may be closed for the holidays, but your creativity can shine at the Berne Public Library.


Lego League is this Saturday, Dec. 20, from 11 a.m. to noon.  Children ages 7 to 13 are invited to make a holiday creation with the library’s Legos.  The projects will be on display at the library until the next monthly program.

Teen art

A teen art program is also being held over the school vacation. Learn how to take photographs and turn them into a piece of artwork.  Meet with artist and teacher Laura Provo-Parker for three sessions at the library. The first session is Monday, Dec. 23, at 6:30 p.m., when teens will learn about lighting and composition while taking digital pictures. Bring a smart phone or digital camera.

The second session is Saturday, Dec. 28, at 10 a.m.  Pictures taken by teens will be chosen for the art composition and we will print them before the third session. The third session is Thursday, Jan. 2, at 6:30 p.m., when selected pictures will be arranged as an art display. This is a great opportunity for teens to develop their artistic talents.  

New program

Maker Space programs are a new trend at libraries. The library is trying out its first program on Monday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m., for ages 8 to 16.  Find out how small appliances are put together by taking them apart.  Then try to put them back together or exchange parts and create something new.

Community resource

All library programs are free and open to the public unless stated otherwise.  Take advantage of this community resource.

Story time

There is no story time on Tuesday, Dec. 24.  The library will be closing early at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and will reopen at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26.  We wish all our Christian friends a very Merry Christmas.

If you are looking for a last minute gift for the library lover who has everything, consider purchasing a leaf for our giving tree in their honor.  Make out a check to the Friends of the Berne Library and mail it to P.O. Box 42, Berne, NY.  Proceeds go toward purchases and programs for the library.


Comet or Cupid? Holding a banner for the Berne Library, a young patron sporting reindeer antlers marches along the Helderberg Trail in Berne last Sunday with other children from the library as part of the annual Christmas Parade.

What’s on your bucket list?  According to Merriam-Webster, a “bucket list” is a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying. The phrase was popularized by the 2007 film with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. On my list is seeing a live moose in its natural environment. Of course, traveling to those locations will be the fun part.  

If you have not yet visited the Berne Public Library at its new site, please put this on your list. In addition to many books, you will find movies on DVDs, audiobooks, and music CDs.  New library cards with the library logo are being given to residents of Berne or Knox at no cost.  

Movie night

Flying solo could be on the list. The film for movie night at the library is about a person who can fly with his own super powers. The movie is being shown on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. There is no admission fee to this PG-13 rated movie. Refreshments will be served.  

Story time

Story time is on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to manipulate the letter M.  A merry moose will meet you at the library for stories, activities, and a craft. There will be no story time on Dec. 24 or 31.  Story time will resume on Jan. 7.


There are a few leftovers from the move in October.  If you loaned us a plastic bin to move books, please pick it up at the library during hours. 

Quilt winner

At the grand opening, Terri Osterhout was chosen as the new owner of the children’s author quilt.  Congratulations to Terri and thanks to Peg Hoagland, Phyllis Johnson, and Karen Schimmer for their work on the quilt.

Farewell to trustees

It is with regret that we say goodbye to Mary Kinnaird and Joan Mullen as library trustees.  Both women were instrumental in the library’s move to a new building. Their community service as trustees will be missed. We thank them for their work and wish them the best in their future endeavors. 

Trustees needed

If you are a Berne resident and your bucket list includes being on the board of a library, this is your opportunity. Contact the town clerk by e-mail at townclerk@berneny.org.

Many ways to model a hat: Kids decked out caps with red and green trim during story time this week at the Berne Library. They will wear the festive toppers to the annual Holiday Parade on Sunday, Dec. 8, starting at 2 p.m.

"No, he's not heavy; he's my brother": These girls, wearing caps they decorated at the Berne Library, are ready to march down Route 443 from the school to the Masonic Lodge on Sunday when the Holiday Parade hits town.

‘Tis the season to be jolly with lots of fun at the Berne Public Library.  Joy for teens begins on Friday, Dec. 6. The TAG (teen advisory group) meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Plans include blackout poetry and video gaming. No laggards allowed but do bring your friends.  

Board games

Adults will also be playing games this week but these are more traditional board games requiring lucid and logical minds.  Take the lead on Sunday, Dec. 8, starting at 7 p.m.  

Story time 

Lions will be in the library during story time on Tuesday, Dec. 10.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy at 11 a.m. for levity with the letter L. Develop literacy skills at a lively location.

Board meets

The library’s board of trustees holds its monthly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m.  This is an open meeting to discuss library business.

Movie night

Last, but not least, is Movie Night at the library on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m.  This month's film is rated PG-13 and is an adventure movie about a super man and some loathsome characters. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

No matter what your age, enjoy leisure activities at the library where there is always loads of laughter.


Happy Thanksgiving.  The first Thanksgiving meal is attributed to the Native Americans and the Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims consisted of English Protestants who wanted to break away from the Church of England. Their pursuit of religious liberty lead them to New England.  

This year as Thanksgiving ends, Hanukkah begins. The Festival of Lights celebrates a time when Israel regained religious freedom taken away by the Syrians.  The fight for freedoms has always been an important part of history.     

Book club

If you find yourself quarreling with your children to do their homework, you may pick up some pointers during the Berne Book Club meeting on Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Berne Public Library.  The group will be discussing The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  The meeting begins at 7 p.m. for a lively and perhaps contentious conversation.

Holiday gifts

Both Hanukkah and Christmas have gift giving traditions.  If you are a tween or teen who enjoys making your gifts, the beading program on Monday, Dec. 2, from 6:45 to 8 p.m. is for you.  Liz LaPorte, a local beader, will demonstrate methods and ideas for making beaded gifts. Laporte and the library will supply the materials needed to make your first take-home project.  Don’t miss this free, hands-on fun designed for ages 11 to 18 years old.   

Story time

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, story time is sponsored by the letter K for karate. Karate, a Japanese art involving hand and foot techniques, is used for self-defense.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy at 11 a.m. for stories and a karate demonstration.  The craft activity this week will be making hats to wear in the town of Berne holiday parade.  The parade from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school to the Berne Masonic Lodge takes place on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m.

Meeting canceled

The Friends of the Berne Library will not be meeting in December.  The next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m.  

Historical program

Our local history is ripe with stories of fighting for our rights.  Where do you go to find information on local families and past events?  Attend the program, Hilltown History At Your Fingertips, on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m.  Historians, authors, and librarians will gather at the library to share their best local resources, including Harold Miller’s new book Berne and Knox:  Our German Heritage.  If you are looking for gift ideas, many of these resources will be for sale after the program.

Teens meet

Teens are invited to the library on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Enjoy the freedom of using the building when the library is closed.  Compete with other teens in video games, try creating black out poetry, discuss ways that the library can serve your needs, and enjoy free refreshments. Bring a friend.

As we reflect on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, remember and honor all those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor and fought for our freedoms in WWII.

We are jumping for joy.  After years of raising money, writing grants, finding the perfect location, and designing the building, the new library is finally a reality.  The grand opening of the new Berne Public Library is this Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m.  Join us for the ribbon cutting ceremony followed by refreshments.  We are now located at 1763 Helderberg Trail in Berne.

Board openings

What did one book say to the other one?  I just wanted to see if we are on the same page. If you are a Berne resident who supports the library's goals and has visions for its future, you are on the same page as a trustee. There are two openings on the library board that begin on Jan. 1, 2014.  Apply for this volunteer position by contacting Pat Favreau at bernenyclerk@gmail.com or Mary Kinnaird at mmkinnaird@aol.com by November 18.

Lego creations

The library has the space and the Legos.  All we need are children in grades 2 through 8 who are interested in making Lego creations.  Jump on the bandwagon and become a member of the Lego League.  The group meets this Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m., for an hour of hands-on fun. 

Nit Wits

Many who knit or crochet would leap at the opportunity to share their ideas and talents with others.  The monthly meeting of the Knit Wits is Sunday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Bring your own project to work on in the community room of the library.

Story time

Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to jump into story time with both feet.  Join Kathy on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 11 a.m., for a jovial exploration of the letter J. Expect to hear a lot of jokes, jump around, and make a craft during this early literacy program.

New books

How come the librarian slipped and fell in the library? Because she strayed into the non-friction section. Some newly purchased non-fiction books include The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown, Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Come browse with us.

If you jumped to the conclusion that the library staff is proud of our new library, you would be correct.  Come in and see why.