— Photo by Judy Petrosillo

Ways to learn A: Kids at the Berne Library’s story time on Sept. 17 learned about the letter A and about apples. They tasted three different kinds of apples and then did a painting project.

— Photo by Judy Petrosillo

The core of understanding: Painting paper plates to look like eaten apples, these kids get help sponge painting in red and green during story time at the Berne Library on Tuesday.

September 22 to 28 is Banned Book Week. The American Library Association hopes to draw attention to the harms of censorship by celebrating the freedom to read. Unlike other areas of your life, your privacy is protected at the Berne Public Library. There is no record of the materials you have borrowed from the library once you return them. Take advantage of this uncensored resource.

What books on our shelves were challenged in the United States in the last year? Some examples include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie Sherman, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Looking for Alaska by John Green, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Lego League

Youth in grades 2 through 8 are encouraged to display unlimited creativity at the Lego League program. Meet at the library on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. Use the library’s Legos to make a project to display for the month.

Knit Wits

The Knit Wits meet on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. Share problems, solutions, ideas and conversation while you work on your own project. Adults who knit or crochet are welcome to attend.

Story time

Books are the topic for story time this week as the letter B is explored. Join Kathy on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m. Preschool children and their caregivers will hear stories, participate in activities and make a craft during this weekly program.

Sunday Book Club

Although the next book for the Sunday Book Club has never been challenged, it is interesting. Read We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg for the next meeting on Sunday, Oct. 6. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. and all adults are encouraged to attend. Visit the library to request a copy of the book or request it online. Remember that there is no charge to borrow library materials.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, in Texas v. Johnson, said, “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Your public libraries stand behind this principle.


— Photo from Judy Petrosillo

Girl Scouts together: Annielaura Shafer, center left, and Christina Grippin, center right, were presented with the Girl Scout Silver Award during a ceremony on Sept. 8.  The girls are shown with their leaders Jean Forti, far left, and Maria Shafer, far right.  For their project, the girls designed and built an outdoor reading area for the Berne Library at its new location.

After many years of anticipation, the move to a new location will be occurring soon. Phase 1 of the building renovations are almost complete.

So far, the asbestos flooring has been removed for your safety, insulation has been sprayed in the ceilings and walls to lower future energy costs, and new walls and ceilings have been installed.

The flooring materials should arrive this week.  We will be ready to move a few weeks after the carpet is installed.  Stay tuned because we will definitely need help with the move.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped stain and polyurethane the new bookcases. They look great and are ready to be moved to 1763 Helderberg Trail.

If you have a pickup truck or trailer and are able to lift heavy objects, please sign up with the library staff to help transport the cases.

On tour

In the meantime, programs continue to be held at the current library site. This weekend, the library is participating in the Helderberg Hilltown Association's Farm and Artisan Tour.

Our tour stop is from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.  We will be showcasing local history materials.

Settle into Catan

Sunday, Sept. 15, is Game Night at the library.  Beginning at 7 p.m., play board games such as Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Scrabble with other interested adults.

Investigate A

After gathering more information, it was decided that Story Time should remain at 11 a.m.

Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy Stempel on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to investigate the letter A.  Stories, activities, and crafts this week will focus on apples or amphorae.  You will have to attend the program to find out which one.


Lego League

Children ages 7 to 13 may create projects using the library's Legos on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Meet at 11 a.m. for Lego League fun.  We will display your creation until next month when we reuse the Legos for new projects. 

Sterling character

Kudos to Annielaura Shafer and Christina Grippin for earning their Silver Award from the Girl Scouts.  Their project was designing and building an outdoor reading area for the new library.

Where would the library be without wonderful volunteers of all ages? 

September brings two things to mind: time to go back to school and time to harvest the garden before the first frost. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the first frost for Albany, is October 3.  Of course, the date for the Hilltowns is typically earlier. Despite our short growing season, it is possible to have a local sustainable food economy.  

Sarah Gordon, an enthusiastic believer in sustained living, will be presenting a program on this topic in the meeting room of the Berne town hall.  Gordon founded FarmieMarket and is actively involved in promoting local farmers. The presentation on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., is open to the public.

Prior to Ms. Gordon's presentation, there will be a potluck dinner at 6 p.m.  We are celebrating the closing of the adult summer reading program and the resuming of the monthly Sunday Book Club at the Berne Public Library.  

The library staff will supply the drinks and place settings.  Participants are asked to bring a dish made with local foods. Please respond at 872-1246 or e-mail the director@bernepubliclibrary.org and indicate the dish you will be bringing. With a little planning, it should be a balanced and delicious meal.

Story time

There is a new time for story time starting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, beginning at 10:30 a.m.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy for stories, activities, and a craft.  This week the group will be playing school and taking turns being the teacher. What is the best way to prepare children for school?  Make sure they have a library card.

Volunteers needed

Work bees to apply polyurethane to new bookcases are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon, and 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 and on Monday, Sept. 9.  Any interested adult with paintbrush skills is invited to help with this community project. Please meet at the Hilltown Senior Center, 1360 Helderberg Trail, in Berne. We hope to move the shelving into the new library by the end of the month.

Board meets

The library’s board of trustees will be discussing library business on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m.  This meeting is open to the public.

September is the perfect time to visit the library. There are new issues of magazines from 21 different subscriptions. If you would rather read a nonfiction book, try The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: an encyclopedia for independent living by Nicole Faire. Remember, there is no charge for a library card or for taking out items. Why buy when you can borrow? 


Labor Day is a national holiday for recognizing the economic and social contributions of workers.  The Berne Public Library will be closed on Saturday, Aug. 31 and Monday, Sept. 2 in observance of this holiday weekend. 

School opens

Labor Day weekend is also the symbolic end of summer and the beginning of the school year.  For Berne-Knox-Westerlo students, school begins Thursday, Sept. 5 and school buses will once again be on the roads. Remember that if the red lights of a bus are flashing, you must stop. According to the Safe NY website, this includes buses that are on the opposite sides of divided highways, on multiple lane roadways, in parking lots, and on school grounds.  

Story time

This week story time will focus on school buses. Preschool children and their caregivers should attend this fun program which helps develop literacy skills. Join Kathy on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 11 a.m., for stories, activities, and a craft.  The wheels of the bus do go round and round.

Thank you

Thanks to all who contributed to the Friends of the Berne Library during the summer festival. It was a wonderful day ending with spectacular fireworks. Proceeds from the food booth, pie contest, and quilt drawing will go toward furnishings and equipment for the new library.  The Friends will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 4, in the town of Berne meeting room at 7:30 p.m.  All interested adults are invited to attend.

 Adult read

The end of the adult summer reading program is also the return of the monthly book club.  A potluck supper will be held on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m., for both groups. Please RSVP to the library staff at 872-1246.  At 7 p.m. Sarah Gordon will be presenting a program on sustainable food economy. This program is free and open to the public.    

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."  Thanks to all workers who do their jobs well, especially bus drivers. 

Where did the summer go? With the last week of summer vacation approaching, it is time for children and young adults to finish their assigned summer reading for school. The Berne Public Library has many of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo schools required reading books so stop by soon before someone else checks them out.

Family fun day

To celebrate the summer, the town of Berne is sponsoring a family fun day at the town park on Saturday, Aug. 24. Summerfest runs from 10 a.m. to dark, and concludes with fireworks.  Hope to see you there.   

Eye checkups

While preparing for going back to school, don't forget about your children's eyes.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. If you notice that your child has a disinterest in reading, this may be the reason.

Story time

August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month.  We are investigating this topic on Tuesday, Aug. 27, during story time.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Judy at 11 a.m. to explore the human eye.  Stories, activities, and a craft are always a part of this fun program.

Thank you

Thanks to all who participated in the youth summer reading program.  Hope you had as much fun as we did.  Forty-four children read 39,132 minutes.

Adult read

The summer reading program for adults concludes on Sunday, Sept. 8.  Please save the date for our potluck supper using local foods and our program on sustainable living.