It’s been another busy year at Bethlehem Public Library, and we’d like to thank you for all the ways you have supported us in 2015.

The library means so many different things to different people in our community, and we aim to meet those varied needs by offering a wide range of services — from our perennially popular music series and book talks to innovative programs focused on careers and technology. This year, we’ve also grown our collection to include non-traditional items for checkout, such as fishing poles and electronic tablets for kids

Keep watching for more exciting developments in this area in the coming weeks. Further cementing our role as a community hub, we added a permanent outdoor bicycle maintenance station that can be accessed 24 hours a day.

In 2015, we expanded our service beyond our doors by offering WiFi at the Bethlehem town pool — a feature that continues year-round. And you may have seen us at the local farmers markets and community events like the Rail Trail Summer Solstice Festival. We also continued our frequent visits to the Bethlehem schools, often bringing along new technology to share like our 3D printer and 3Doodler pens.

This spring we rolled out a new online catalogue, which presented an updated interface and more intuitive searches. It was a big change for both staffers and patrons, but everyone worked together to make the transition as painless as possible.

In another exciting change at the beginning of the year, we began offering more than 100 titles of downloadable magazines — the list continues to grow. Later in the year, we opened up online registration for programs that require sign up — like our wildly popular sewing programs for adults and teens, which we significantly expanded in 2015.

This year presented us with a development that required patience from staffers and patrons alike — the extended road construction project along Borthwick Avenue. As the town’s contractors worked through the summer and well into fall, we did our best to keep you updated about changes that would affect access to the library, and you responded with grace and good humor despite the inconveniences. Fortunately, a mild winter has allowed the town to finish paving this month, and this is not expected to be an issue in 2016.

As the new year approaches, we continue to explore how to help our community in relevant and engaging ways. We thank all of you for your support, and wish you a safe and happy holiday.

Holiday hours

The library will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 24 and 25, for the Christmas holiday. We’ll close at 3 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 31, and remain closed until 10 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 2. We’re always open online at

Bethlehem Public Library’s annual winter concert series, A Little Sunday Music, continues Dec. 6 with cellist Will Hayes performing Brahms and Mozart with a clarinet quintet.

Hayes is a Cincinnati Conservatory of Music graduate and past student artist at Chautauqua Institution and the Aspen Music Festival. He has appeared in concerts with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy living legend Rod Stewart, Johnny Mathis, Eileen Ivers of Riverdance fame, and has held numerous positions in orchestras across the United States, including the Middletown Symphony in Ohio; Richmond Symphony in Indiana; Lawton Philharmonic and Enid Symphony in Oklahoma; Wyoming Symphony; Las Cruces Symphony in New Mexico; and the Schenectady Symphony. 

After a short break in January, the music series resumes Feb. 7 with The River Trio. A Little Sunday Music concludes March 6 with a flower-themed recital with soprano Bien Baez and returning pianist Michael Clement. All concerts take place on a Sunday at 2 p.m.

A Little Sunday Music is generously underwritten by Friends of Bethlehem Public Library.

Chorus at town hall

December is a musical month. The Bethlehem Senior Chorus presents “Questions in Song” this Friday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m., in the Bethlehem town hall. Directed by Claudia Summers, the chorus is a mixed group of about 60 senior citizens who have enjoyed singing and entertaining folks in the community for almost a decade.

Open to all, the concert is cosponsored by Bethlehem Senior Projects, Inc. Please note that this event does not take place at the library.

Library schedule change

The library will open at 1 p.m., on Friday, Dec. 4, to accommodate a staff development session in the morning. Our bookdrops will be open, but there will be no telephone service in the morning.

Babies and self-soothing

On Friday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m., caregivers and infants can learn how to both soothe an infant and encourage self-soothing to promote good sleeping habits. The snow date is Monday Feb. 8, at 10:30 a.m. Presented by the Capital District Child Care Council.

 Teen SEWcial

On Friday, Dec. 11, from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. boys and girls in grades six through 12 are welcome to join us to make a pair of pajama pants. You need to bring three yards of fabric, and coordinating thread optional. Sign up online or call the library. 

Time Out for Tales

On Saturday, Dec. 12, at 11 a.m., join us for stories and fun for children up to age six and families.

Origami Club

On Saturday, Dec. 12, from 3 to 4:15 p.m., bring your own project or fold something with us. This month we’ll create an evergreen. 

Decorating with greenery

On Sunday, Dec. 13, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., join us for Outside In: Decorating with Greenery.
Learn how to use natural materials to create stunning centerpieces and decorative items for the home with master gardener Denise Maurer.

Tiny Tots

On Monday, Dec. 14, at 9:30 a.m., and then again on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.,  join us for stories, songs and fingerplays. This program is for children up to age 35 months with caregiver. 

Book discussion

On Monday, Dec. 14, at 1:30 p.m., join our DayBook discussion of “The Vacationers” by Emma Straub. Copies of the book are available at the information desk. Audio and downloadable copies may be available. 

Board meets

On Monday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., the library’s board will meet in the library’s board room. All are welcome. 

Family story time

On Wednesday, Dec. 16 and 17, at 9:30 a.m., enjoy stories, songs, and activities. This program is for children up to age six with family. 

Family playtime

On Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m., free play and socialization with toys, blocks, balls, and more. For children up to age six with family. 

Card Game Club

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m., kids in grades six through 12 join us to play cards, from classics like Uno to newer games like Fluxx. There are also snacks.

On My Own

On Thursday, Dec. 17 at 10:15 a.m., join us for stories, songs, and fun for children age three to six while parents wait at our café tables. 

— Bethlehem Public Library staff

A battle of wits took place on Nov. 9 at Bethlehem Public Library for the “Are You Smarter than a Librarian?” challenge, and this year, it appears the challengers were, indeed, smarter.

The Listening Parties music appreciation series continues with a special program on Thursday, Nov. 19, called “Renditions,” where participants will explore the fluid boundaries between jazz and other musical genres. The discussion, which begins at 7 p.m., will close out the series for 2015. More Listening Parties return in 2016, kicking off with Antônio Carlos Jobim, primary creator of bossa nova, on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m.

Listening Parties at the library are a great way to meet up with fellow music lovers and share your personal impressions and memories, rediscover milestones in music history, and talk about the artists that have shaped the musical landscape. Bethlehem librarian, Michael Farley facilitates the discussions.

Drop in for one session or all of them; everyone is welcome. For more information, visit HYPERLINK "" or call 439-9314.

Game on

Swing by the library on Saturday, Nov. 21, between 10 a.m.  and 4:30 p.m. and bring your game face. BPL is joining other libraries across the globe for a celebration of gaming during International Games Day @ Your Library. Board games and more will be available for use in the library, and all ages are encouraged to participate.

In recognition of the library’s changing and dynamic role and the increasing value of gaming to literacy improvement, the American Library Association founded International Games Day in 2009. The event continues to grow, with more than 1,000 libraries around the world joining ours to showcase gaming programs and services. Gaming of all types at the library encourages young patrons to interact with a diverse group of peers, share their expertise with others (including adults), and develop new strategies for learning.

Register online

Don’t forget, you can now sign up online for library programs that require registration. To get started, simply click on the “events” tab on the library’s home page at HYPERLINK "" Browse the calendar and locate the event you would like to attend. Programs that require registration will be underlined. When registration is complete, a screen will pop up letting you know your information has been received. If the program is full, you may be added to a waiting list.

We still accept registration by phone or in person at the information desk or the Children’s Place desk. Give us a call at 439-9314 if you have any questions.

Holiday hours

Thanksgiving is almost here. Just a reminder that the library will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, and remain closed Thursday, Nov. 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The library will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27. Of course, we’re open all the time online at HYPERLINK ""

Time Out for Tales

On Saturday, Nov. 21, at 11 a.m., join us for stories and fun for children up to age 6 and families.

Stories and play

On Monday, Nov. 23, at 9:30 a.m., and again on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9:30 a.m., stories and songs in the community room, followed by free play for children up to age 6 with family and friends. 


On Monday, Nov. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. come to the library and learn the basics of sewing on a machine, and try out our sewing machines and serger, or just drop by to use one for your own project. This program is for adults and teens in grade 6 and up. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 9:30 a.m. stories and songs in the community room, followed by free play for children up to age 6 with family and friends. 

Watch and build

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. enjoy “The Lego Movie” rated PG and 101 minutes long, and you can build as you watch. This program is for kids and families. 

We all know librarians are good at finding the answers, but how do they measure up when they don’t have their reference materials at hand? Find out Monday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m. when the Bethlehem Public Library hosts “Are You Smarter Than a Librarian?” a trivia tournament that will test the random knowledge of BPL’s best.

Come on down and match wits with our team of librarians. Put together your own team of three to five people, or sign up solo and be placed on a team. They’re up for the challenge … are you?

Refreshments will be served, and prizes will be awarded. Sign up online or give us a call at 439-9314. We hope to see you there.

Mountain ranges near and far

Author and outdoorsman Alan Via has been a familiar face at the library in recent years, entertaining audiences with stories and snapshots from his many outdoor adventures. He returns Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. for a brand-new slide show titled “The Mountains are Beautiful —Everywhere.”

Via will take guests on a virtual tour of mountain ranges near and far, from the Adirondacks and the Catskills to the Dolomites and Alps. The spectacular photography will be accompanied by his stories and observations.

This is Via’s fourth presentation at the library. Past programs have included last year’s “Off the Beaten Path: A Celebration of the Catskill ‘Hidden Peaks’ in Four Seasons,” “Hiking in Utah” in 2012, and “Climbing the Catskill Peaks” in 2011. On more than one of those occasions, a canine companion has joined Alan for his talk.

He is a Slingerlands resident, winter 46er and author of the hiking guide
“The Catskill 67: A Hiker’s Guide to the Catskill 100 Highest Peaks Under 3,000 Feet.” He has hiked extensively throughout the United States and Canada.

This program is free and open to the public.

The write stuff

NaNoWriMo may be a silly word, but the goal of National Novel Writing Month is serious – create the first draft of a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. The library is here to encourage that creative endeavor by offering writing and collaboration space in our board room for adults taking up the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Join other would-be authors in this exciting literary pursuit on Fridays, Nov. 6 to 20, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 28, from noon to 4 p.m. Drop in for one or more sessions at your convenience; instruction is not provided. Visit for more details and tips for getting started.

Time Out for Tales

On Saturday, Oct. 31. at 11 a.m. join us for stories and fun for children up to age 6 and families.

Tiny Tots

On Monday, Nov. 2 at 9:30 a.m., and on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., the library will have stories, songs, and fingerplays. This program is for children up to age 35 months with caregiver. 


Book Buddies

On Monday, Nov. 2 at two sessions, 6:30 and 7 p.m. children from kindergarten to grade 5 are matched with a teen volunteer to practice reading skills and build confidence. Bring a book or choose one at the library.  Sign up online or call. 

Tabletop gaming

On Monday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. we provide Dominion, Munchkin, and Ticket to Ride with its USA 1910 Expansion Pack. Bring your own favorites. Snacks will be served. For adults and teens age 16 and older. 

Family story time

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, and Thursday, Nov.5, at 9:30 a.m. join us for stories, songs and activities. This program is for children up to age 6 with family.  

Family playtime

On Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. free play and socialization with toys, blocks, balls, and more. This program is for children up to age 6 with family.

Lego Technic

On Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. kids in grades 3 to 5 will work with partners to explore some of the projects in the Lego Technic series. Sign up online or call. 

On My Own

On Thursday, Nov. 5 at 10:15 a.m. join us for stories, songs and fun for children age 3 to 6 while parents wait at our café tables. 

Paws to Read

On Thursday, Nov. 5 from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. children in grades 1 to 5 bring a book and read to a gentle dog who loves stories. 

Teen writing workshop

On Nov. 5, 12, and 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. learn creative writing techniques and participate in a peer review group. Just bring paper and pen. Presented by Matt Galletta for kids in grade 8 to 12. Sign up online or call. 



A group of dancers dropped by for the Bethlehem Public Library’s Just Dance Wii program on Wednesday, Oct. 7. The ample floor space and big screen in the community room make it easy to get a groove on. Similar programs are held at various times throughout the year.


By Kristen Roberts

We’ve got more treats than tricks for you this year as we gear up for some super Halloween fun at the Bethlehem Public Library.

There’s still time to take part in our costume swap this Saturday from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop off your gently used costumes from now until Friday and receive a ticket to pick out one that’s new to you on the day of the swap. It’s a great way to recycle and repurpose those outgrown get-ups and save some money while you’re at it. We are accepting costumes in all sizes — from infant to adult.

Pumpkin fun

What makes a pumpkin great? Your very own artistic touch. On Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. kids 3 and up and their families are invited to the library to watch an animated Halloween classic and decorate a pumpkin. It’s BYOP — bring your own pumpkin — but we’ll provide the decoupage supplies.

Halloween parade

Our Halloween festivities culminate with one of our most popular events of the year — the Halloween Parade through the library for children up to age 6 and their families. The parade is so popular, in fact, that we have scheduled two of them, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. Festivities will kick off with some seasonal movie shorts and a craft before trick-or-treaters make their way through the library. Costumes are optional.

Roadwork update

The library has been informed by the town’s contractors handling the roadwork along Borthwick Ave. that paving of the road will likely take place sometime in the coming weeks. When this happens, the lack of access and parking means the library will be forced to close on that day. We do not yet know when paving will occur, but we hope to have enough warning to allow us and our patrons time to reschedule any activities or events that were to take place at the library that day. We understand the inconvenience this causes, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we accommodate the detours, delays, and closings related to this road construction project.

As always, we will do our best to keep you informed about last-minute changes that affect access to the library. Check Facebook and Twitter (which also appears on our website’s home page) for the latest, or give us a call at 439-9314. We’d also like to remind you that you can always search our catalog, make requests, renew items and access our databases 24 hours a day at HYPERLINK ""

Antiques appraisals

Tickets are still available for the Friends of Bethlehem Public Library Antiques Appraisal on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to1 p.m. This year, appraisals will take place in the Tawasentha Room at the Normanside Country Club. Moving the venue outside of the library means that appraisers may now offer a purchase price for some items. Get your timed tickets at the library information desk for $5 per item.

Sew together

On Friday, Oct. 16 with sessions at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. kids and parents will work together to make a stuffed toy. Basic sewing machine experience recommended for the parent. This program is for kids ages 3 to 6 with a caregiver. Sign up for one session by calling 439-9314. 

Personal digital archives

On Friday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. learn how to preserve digital photos, e-mails, documents, or videos. Sign-up is required by calling 439-9314.

Teen SEWcial

On Friday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. kids in grades 6 thorugh 12 make a tri-pocket tote with room for all of your stuff. Basic sewing machine knowledge is recommended. Bring one-and-a-half yards of fabric with coordinating thread optional. Sign-up is required by calling 439-9314. 



Friends meet

On Monday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. the Friends of the library will meet. New members always are  welcome. 

3D Printer demonstration

On Monday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to noon join us for a demonstration of the library’s  MakerBot 3D printer. These demos will demystify the cutting-edge technology. Learn how the printer works and what can be created with it. Sign-up is required, call 439-9314. 


STEM Night: Engineering a Bright Future

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 7 to 8 p.m. learn more about the jobs of the future and what Bethlehem Central School District is doing to help prepare students for these lucrative careers. 

Card game club

On Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. join us to play cards, from classics like Uno to newer games like Fluxx. This program is for kinds in grades 6 to 12. 

Fuse bead art

On Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. let your imagination take shape with fuse bead art to make and take. This program is for school-age kids with a caregiver.