A Rube Goldberg machine performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. Mousetrap, a board game from 1963, is an example. Teens will spark a reaction at their next teen advisory group meeting on Friday, Jan, 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Berne Public Library.  Design and create a video incorporating the ideas of a Rube Goldberg contraption during this fun program.

Board games

Adults will be playing board games on Sunday, Jan. 12.  Game night at the library begins at 7 p.m., and usually involves Settlers of Catan, A Ticket to Ride, or Scrabble. Any interested adult may join this group.

Holiday tradition

The result of a hammer coming down on peppermint candy is broken pieces.  Did anyone receive a peppermint pig as a gift during the holiday season?  This sweet hard candy has been a yuletide tradition in Saratoga Springs for many years.  The pink pig comes in a pouch with a little hammer.  After the holiday dinner, the pig is passed around with each person breaking off a piece by giving the pouch a firm tap.  A tale of the past year’s good fortune is told with hopes of prosperity for the coming year.

Story time

The letter P will be the focus of story time on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to meet with Kathy at 11 a.m. for stories, activities, and a craft involving pigs and the color pink.   

Lego League

Could a Rube Goldberg device be made out of Legos?  Try it at the next Lego League program on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 11 a.m.  This program is designed for grades two through eight.    

You have the good fortune to live within a library system that networks among twenty-nine libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties.  It is a simple task to request a book from any of these libraries and pick it up at your home library.  This well-oiled machine is not complex and there is no charge to use it.  Perfect.  

Happy New Year!  According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, families in the Philippines eat round fruits and wear clothing with polka dots on New Year’s Eve for good luck.  The circular shapes symbolize wealth and prosperity in the New Year. 

Movie night

The first Family Movie Night for 2014 is on Friday, Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. This month’s film is a newly released, animated movie rated PG.  During the action comedy, yellow minions with circular glasses fight a super villain. Wealth is not needed for any library program.  Like most of our programs, this one has free admission with refreshments included.    

Book club

Being prosperous does not always lead to a happy life.  Lost December by Richard Paul Evans is the novel being discussed during book club on Sunday, Jan. 5.  Begin the new year with a conversation about riches to rags to redemption.  Adults meet at 7 p.m., in the community room of the library and new members are always welcome.  

Story time

Story time for Tuesday, Jan. 7, investigates the letter O.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy at 11 a.m., to explore a round fruit and the color orange.  This is a fun way to develop early literacy skills.  Stories, activities, and a craft are included in the program.

Friends meet

Money and volunteer work made our new library what it is.  The Friends of the Berne Library meet on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m., to discuss ways to continue supporting the library.  More help is always appreciated.

Trustees meet

The library board of trustees meets Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m.  This is a monthly, open meeting to discuss library business.  Community members are encouraged to attend. 


Due to great foresight, many of the oak bookcases at our new location were purchased at an incredible discount from Borders when their Wolf Road store closed in 2008. This made it possible to leave behind the narrower pine bookshelves. Those shelves have been declared surplus by the town of Berne and are now on sale to any interested person. Stop by the town hall during clerk hours to stake a claim.  All proceeds will go toward purchases for the new library.

Expanded hours

The library has the good fortune of being able to expand its hours in 2014 to better serve the community.  The new hours are as follows:  Monday 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Put more library visits on your list of New Year resolutions.


As 2014 rapidly approaches, many reflect on the past year and look forward to the future. Consider following the advice of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson:  "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."  

Holiday hours

In observance of New Year's Day, the Berne Public Library will close early at 3 p.m., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, and will be closed for the day on Wednesday, Jan. 1.  However, there are many programs during the week to help prevent boredom during the school break.

Photo art

The Teen Photo Art program continues with session 2 on Saturday, Dec. 28, at 10 a.m. Your digital pictures will be reviewed and decisions will be made.  Your choices will be printed before session 3 on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 6:30 p.m.  During the last session, teens will arrange the pictures into an art display.

Maker Space program

On Monday, Dec. 30, youth ages 8 to 16 are invited to the library for destruction and construction. Join Kathy from 2 to 4 p.m. for our first Maker Space program. Take apart small appliances to see what makes them work.  Try to put them back together or create something new with the pieces.  

Story time

Our last story time for 2013 is on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m.  Preschool children and their caregivers are invited to join Kathy for a New Year's party investigating the letter N.  Noisemakers will definitely be involved.  

Movie night

Our first movie night for 2014 is on Friday, Jan. 3, at 6:30 p.m. A newly released, PG-rated, animated comedy with little yellow creatures will be shown.  Refreshments are included with free admission for this family event.


The Friends of the Berne Library group is keeping patrons informed about upcoming events with an e-newsletter.  If you see Berne Library in your promotion e-mails, click on it to see our latest programs and events.  Let us know if you would like to be added to the e-mail list.

Expanded hours

The staff at the library is looking forward to 2014.  Due to increased funding from the town of Knox, the library will be open more hours per week. The following new hours start Jan. 2:  4 to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.  

Include visits to the library during the best days of the new year.



— 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.