When the weather gets chilly, any excuse for an outing is welcome, but a good excuse is even better. In the coming months, the Bethlehem Public Library is giving you several good excuses with two cinema series featuring popular films fresh from the theater. There’s mystery, drama, sci-fi adventure, comedy, and more.

The free matinees take place monthly from now until April at 2 p.m., on Friday and Sunday afternoons and feature PG and PG-13 titles geared toward adult audiences.

The series kicks off this Friday, Jan. 22, with “Mr. Holmes” rated PG and running for 104 minutes. On Sunday, Jan. 31, we will show “Love and Mercy”rated PG-13 and running for 121 minutes. Pick up a flyer at the information desk or check online for more information about upcoming titles.

Study hall at the library

Are you ready for Regents? The library has set aside dedicated group study space for Regents test prep through Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Most study halls will take place in our community room, unless otherwise noted. Students and their tutors are welcome to drop in and stay as long as needed during scheduled hours. The full schedule is available at the library and online at www.bplteens.org.

Tax filing help available

We are still 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.

Get a charged up

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.

Weekly Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art that enormously benefits health and wellness. Tai Chi for Health meets at the library on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. The program offers instruction in the basic movements of the arthritis Tai Chi form and provide a solid foundation in Tai Chi for people of any age.

The sessions are led by librarian Cathy Brenner, who has studied Tai Chi for a number of years and is certified by the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

The program is open to people of all ages and abilities. No prior Tai Chi experience is needed. Wear loose clothing and smooth-soled shoes.

— Photo by Kristen Roberts

A sunbeam warms the Children’s Place in the Bethlehem Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 5, as a young patron proudly displays his alphabet skills.

For more than 30 years, the Bethlehem Public Library’s public access television network, BCN-TV, has provided an island of independent, local programming in a sea of corporate TV influences.

The station recently received funding through the cable franchise agreement with the town of Bethlehem, allowing it to upgrade its aging audio-visual equipment. The changes provide enhanced user and viewer experiences and have brought the station into the modern, digital age.

BCN-TV can now run as many programs as there are time slots, whereas before, programming was limited to the 15 “decks” available. Because of this, viewers can enjoy a fuller schedule over the weekend and holidays. In another change, the station can accept digital video files in addition to DVDs.

So where does all the great content on BCN-TV come from? Community organizations, religious groups, and advocacy coalitions, for starters. The station also broadcasts important municipal events like town, planning and school board meetings, as well as political forums. But most importantly, BCN-TV programming can come from you — you are the “public” in public access television.

Anyone is welcome to submit non-commercial programming for the station, as long as it falls within the rules outlined in the user agreement. Beginning in February, BCN-TV staff will be available to provide training and production expertise for programs intended for presentation on its channel.

BCN-TV airs on Time Warner channels 17 and 116.2, and Verizon FiOS channel 28. Find out more at HYPERLINK "http://www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org/"www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org (click on the quick link for public access TV). A monthly program guide is available in the library and online.

Study hall at the library

This month, we are once again offering dedicated group study space for Regents test prep. From Monday, Jan. 18, through Wednesday, Jan. 27, students individually, with tutors, or in small groups can spend some time at the library getting ready for their upcoming exams with minimal distractions.

Most study halls will take place in our community room, unless otherwise noted, and students are welcome to drop in and stay as long as needed during scheduled hours. The full schedule is available at the library and online at HYPERLINK "http://www.bplteens.org/"www.bplteens.org. Another study hall series will be offered later in the school year.

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.

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. 

Pages