Wouldn’t it be great if we could know what babies were thinking? Teaching sign language to infants and toddlers can facilitate this early communication by allowing them to relay basic needs and thoughts to their caregivers using signs.

The Bethlehem Public Library is pleased to be offering a Signing for Babies and Toddlers series that will take place every Friday, from Jan. 15 until Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. Over the course of the program, presenter Rebecca Demarest will show parents how to use American Sign Language with their children, which is credited with fostering spoken language development.

Bring your baby or toddler to the library and get ready to play, sing, and sign. Registration is required, and you can sign up online at bethlehempubliclibrary.org or by calling the library at 439-9314. Please plan on attending all of the sessions in the series.

Demarest is a speech language pathologist and Signing Smart instructor in the Capital District. She began signing with her own daughter, who was able to use about 25 signs regularly by her first birthday. She now instructs other parents in age-appropriate ASL vocabulary.

A show of force

Do you make it your business to know all there is to know about the Star Wars universe? Can you recite key passages from every one of the movies, including the one just released? Are you a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Start Wars trivia? If so, your presence is requested at our Star Wars Trivia Night on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Parents and kids can team up to cover all of their bases. Register online at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org or call the library at 439-9314.

Tax filing help

We are now making appointments for tax filing assistance with staffers from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. If your household income is under $62,000, you can get free help filing your state and federal returns. Returns must be e-filed. Time slots are available at the library on Tuesdays from Jan. 26 to April 12, and appointments must be made in person at the information desk, at which time you will be provided with a list of items you will need to bring.

Charge ahead

Don’t forget, the library’s new charging kiosk provides free, secure charging for most mobile devices. Each locker has three universally compatible charging cables –MicroUSB, iPhone 3/4/4S, and iPhone 5/5C/5S cords. Users simply need to key in a four-digit code to secure the locker and use the same code to retrieve their devices.


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 www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

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 "http://www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org/"www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org 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 "http://www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org/"www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org. 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 "http://www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org/"www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

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 nanowrimo.org 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.