"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all," said Laura Ingalls Wilder. The added bonus is that these simple things require very little money.

That is also true of the public library so please take advantage of your wonderful community resource.  Ours hours have expanded for 2017. We are now open from noon until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Movie night

There is nothing pleasant about the superheroes in the film being shown during Movie Night on Friday, Jan. 6. The movie is rated PG-13 and runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments are provided. Visit our website, www.bernepubliclibrary.org for the title.

Book discussion

The Sunday Book Club meets at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8. The group will be discussing “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio. The conversation will center on the acceptance of those who are different. The author does not sugar coat the challenges of a disfigured child entering fifth grade in a public school system. Anyone interested in this topic is welcome to join the discussion.

Story time

Story time on Tuesday, Jan. 10 is No Sugar Day. The focus is on healthy eating without simple carbohydrates. Preschool children ages 1 to 5  and their caregivers are invited to join Ms. Kathy at 10:30 a.m. for stories, activities, and a craft.

Board meets

The library board meets each month to discuss library business. The organizational meeting to elect officers is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12. The regular monthly meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.  These are open meetings and the community is encouraged to attend and offer suggestions.


Sometimes it takes a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Rather than focusing on negative happenings in the world, the summer reading program is working on building a better world. Teens meet with Ms. Kathy at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 to produce a video that demonstrates this concept. The Teen Action Group is at the library while it is closed to the public so don't worry about the noise level of this program.

Knit Wits

Whether you are crocheting a blanket for a sweet baby or knitting a sweater for an adult, you should attend Knit Wits.  The group works on individual projects while sharing problems, solutions, ideas, and conversations.  If you have never knitted or crocheted, someone in the group will instruct you.  They meet at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Photography contest

Wanted:  photographs that show the joy of reading, or capture the essence of Hilltowners, or demonstrate life on a farm, or just have reflections and shadows. Enter your 8-by-10-inch photos on 11-by-14 mats at the library by Tuesday, Jan. 31. Rules and entry forms for the second annual Photography Contest are available at the library or from our website. This year includes some sweet prizes for the junior and adult divisions.

Computer help

Did you receive a new e-tablet or smart phone and need one-on-one help?  Do you want to learn how to set up e-mail or an excel sheet on a computer? Schedule an appointment with Judy by calling 872-1246.  Individual instruction allows you to nicely start from where you are and move forward.   

Remember that the library offers all these programs and opportunities while also keeping traditional library services. "The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, /And all the sweet serenity of books," as written in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


— Photo from Judy Petrosillo 
Kids learn coding at the Berne Library on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The best thing about the year coming to an end is the ability to change in the new year. As author James R. Sherman said, “You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending.” Making resolutions is easy but it does take determination to keep them.

Additional hours

One of the 2016 goals of the library board was to increase the hours that the library is open.  Thank you to the towns of Berne and Knox for supplying the necessary funding for four additional hours each week. The doors open on Wednesdays at noon instead of 4 p.m. beginning Jan. 4.  

Story time

Parents wish for well-behaved children. That could include not jumping on the bed. Ms. Kathy is reading about five monkeys who misbehave during Story time on Tuesday, Jan. 3.  Children ages 1 to 5 and their caregivers are invited to attend this pre-literacy program that includes stories, activities, and a craft.  The fun begins at 10:30 a.m.

Friends meet

Perhaps you would like to increase your community involvement in 2017. Working with the Friends of the Berne Library is a great way to support the library and interact with really nice people. The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.  Join them on Jan. 4 to discuss the upcoming photography contest, book sale, and bowls for books.

Photo contest

This year might be your year to win a prize at a photography contest. Submit your 8-by-10-inch photos in 11-by-14-inch mats by Tuesday, Jan. 31. The categories are "The Joy of Reading", “Hilltowners,” “Down on the Farm” and "Reflections & Shadows.” Rules and entry forms are available at the library or from our website www.bernepubliclibrary.org.

Museum passes

If you resolve to investigate museums in the area this year, look for museum passes at the library. The Friends of the Berne Library recently purchased two MiSci passes for your use. There are many interactive displays at this museum of innovation and science in Schenectady. Each pass provides free entrance for an entire family into the museum and planetarium. All you need is a free library card to check out the pass.

Movie nights

Spend less money this year by using the library. There is no admission fee for movie nights and refreshments are provided. An adventure film recently released on DVD will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6.  Check our website for the title of the movie which is rated PG-13.

Book discussion

Because of the New Year holiday, the first book club of the year will be on Sunday, Jan. 8.  The conversation will center on the junior novel “Wonder” by R.A. Palacio. The discussion on being different and being accepted starts at 6:30 p.m. Any interested adult may attend.

Learn a language

Put learning a new language on your list of resolutions. Mango Languages is a learning resource available online with your library card. Access the program from the right-hand column of the library's website. It is available from your home computer, hand-held device, or a library computer.  

As we approach the beginning of a new year, consider following the advice of Benjamin Franklin, "Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man" (or woman).


In about a month, the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner will be announced.  This award is given to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children published in the United States during 2016.  Chris Van Allsburg won this award in 1982 for Jumanji and again in 1986 for The Polar Express.

The Polar Express was published in 1985, released as a movie in 2004, and has become a Christmas classic.  As the story goes, a young boy is lying in bed on Christmas Eve awaiting Santa's arrival when he hears the sound of a train outside his home. He is invited by the conductor to come aboard the Polar Express which is heading to the North Pole.  The young boy is picked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas and he chooses a simple, silver bell from Santa's sleigh.

If you have silver bells to add to mittens or scarves, the Knit Wits group is meeting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18.  Bring your own projects to knit or crochet while enjoying conversations with other adults. This will be your last chance to finish 2016 holiday gifts.

The focus of Storytime on Tuesday, Dec. 20 is The Polar Express.  Children ages 1 to 5 and their caregivers are invited to join Ms. Kathy at 10:30 a.m. for stories, activities, and a craft.  In keeping with the story, refreshments will be served.  Perhaps Santa will be there to give a gift!

Polar Express train rides have become wildly popular events in December.  The ride usually features a telling of the magical story complete with hot chocolate and cookies, just like in the book.  In our area, the Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad often have a sold out schedule for these events.  

Are your plans for the holiday complete or do you need some last minute cards?  Creative Hands will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 to make cards and tags.  Registration is requested so there are adequate supplies but it is not required.  Contact the library staff  by calling 872-1246 or emailing .  We will be discussing potential art projects for next year so please come with ideas to share.    

For your planning pleasure, note that the library will be open Saturday, Dec. 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again on Monday, Dec. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m.  A Vacation Makerspace for ages 5 to 12 is planned for Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m.  All aboard for fun events at the library.

— Photo from Judy Petrosillo
As unique as the women who made them: Marion Burghart, Donna Gwin, and Emilie Wright display the wreaths they made at the Berne Library under the tutelage of Sue Pezzolla from the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

It is December and that usually means snow and low temperatures. Despite the cold weather in Stockholm, Sweden, there will be a warm glow on Dec. 10 as 10 Nobel Prize Laureates receive recognition. The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on the same day in Oslo, Norway.

These prizes were established in the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel. In addition to the prestige of winning the prize, the recipients receive an 18-karat gold medal and a check for nearly $1 million.  

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”  Dylan is joining the impressive list of past American winners:  Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, Pearl Buck, Eugene O'Neill, and Sinclair Lewis.  This is the first time the award has gone to a musician.  


Bob Dylan has compared his songs to mystery plays, the kind Shakespeare saw when he was growing up.  Ms. Kathy has a murder mystery play in store for teens on Friday, Dec. 9. Join her at 6:30 p.m when the library is closed to everyone but the teen action group. All teens are welcome so bring a friend.  

Story time

Seventy-five year old Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Minnesota, a snowy area of the country. Snow is the focus for storytime on Tuesday, Dec. 13.  Children ages 1 to 5 and their caregivers are invited to the library at 10:30 a.m. for stories, activities, a craft, and some music.

Knit Wits

Knitted scarves help keep us warm in the winter. Knit or crochet your own project during Knit Wits at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18. This is the perfect opportunity to finish a holiday gift while sharing delightful conversations with other adults.

Story walks

For the Story Walks, the Friends of the Berne Library did not pick novels by Nobel Prize authors.  Instead, they choose books perfect for young families. At the Knox town park enjoy “Woolly Bear Winter:  How North Wood Creatures Weather the Cold” by Cam Sato and Abbie Bowker. Take a brisk walk and try to figure out the riddles in the story. At the Berne town park is another book of riddles, “Whose Tracks Are These?: A Clue Book of Familiar Forest Animals” by James Nail. Visit both locations before the snow gets too deep.

If you have questions about the Nobel prizes, visit their official website www.NobelPrize.org.  For books on Dylan, CDs of his music, and documentaries on DVDs, visit your public library. The answers, my friend, are blowin' in the wind.

American author Bryant McGill issued the following invitation: "Join me in my quest for a greater understanding of our existence. Join me in my desire for a greater self. Join me as I seek the humility to love and understand my fellow man."  There are resources and programs at the Berne library that can help in your search.

Movie night

By observing others on a mission, you learn something about yourself. Family Movie Night at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 features a film with a character on an ominous quest. Enjoy this Japanese animated adventure film that is rated PG. Admission is free and refreshments are provided. More information about the movie is available on the website www.bernepubliclibrary.org.

Book discussion

A journey inspired by one reason often results in unexpected findings. That is the theme for the Sunday Book Club on Dec. 4. The group  will discuss the novel, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” by Rachel Joyce. Adults are invited to participate in the conversation beginning at 7 p.m.  

Read to a dog

Ariel, our tail waggin' tutor, has hiked all of the Adirondack High Peaks. Although she is unable to share her adventures, she is willing to listen to your tales and stories. Ariel, and her handler Amber, will be at the library from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5. Children improve their literacy skills by reading aloud to our non-judgmental furry friend.  

Story time

If you travel in pursuit of seeing a penguin and a polar bear in the same area, go to a zoo. Polar bears live in the northern arctic regions while penguins are found only in the Southern Hemisphere. Penguins will be the focus of story time on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Children ages 1 to 5 are invited to join Ms. Kathy at 10:30 a.m. for stories, activities, and a craft about this bird that cannot fly.  


On their quest to document New York City in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Paul Tick and Agnes Zellin used their cameras. Tick’s approach was to get to know his subjects and capture them in beautiful portraits paired with their own matter-of-fact utterances. Zellin’s pictures are of everyday activities that speak of a time and place when people knew their neighbors like family.  During the Street Photography program at 7 p.m.on Tuesday, Dec. 6, the couple will share their photographs and techniques. It is not quite journalism, not quite art; rather, a form of personal documentary work.

Photo contest

Perhaps your mission is to capture the essence of the hill towns in your photographs. Although the Friends of the Berne Library are not meeting in December, plans are being made for the 2nd Annual Photography Contest. Rules and entry forms are available at the library or from our website. Pictures are to be submitted after the first of the year and before Jan, 31. The four categories are "Joy of Reading", "Reflections & Shadows", "Down on the Farm", and "Hilltowners". You may enter a photo in each category.