— 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.


"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul," said religious leader Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  The library is one of the community spaces that encourages creativity in persons of all ages.

Children ages 1 to 5 will be exploring pizza and its toppings on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Join Ms. Kathy at 10:30 a.m. for Storytime.  This early literacy program include stories, activities, and a craft.  Your child does not need to be picture perfect to attend!

When a photograph evokes emotion in the observer, it crosses over from a simple picture to a work of art.  The "Taking a Dynamic Photo" program, rescheduled from last week, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29.  Art teacher Tom Gagnan and participants will examine photographs to determine what makes a creative piece.  

The second photography program takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6 with Agnes Zellin and Paul Tick.  This program will focus on using photography as a documentary tool.  Both programs are open to ages 13 and up and are designed to inspire you to enter the 2nd Annual Photography Contest in January.  Rules and entry forms are available at the library or from our website www.bernepubliclibrary.org.

Design and assemble your own evergreen wreath at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30.  Sue Pezzolla from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service will guide you through the process. Registration is required for the Wreath Making program and there is a $7 material fee.  Sign up with the library staff by Monday, November 28 by calling 872-1246 or emailing .

Critic Roger Ebert said, "Every great film should seem new every time you see it."  The animated film for Movie Night is newly released on DVD and rated PG.  The movie is projected on a large screen in the community room at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2.  Admission is free and refreshments are provided.  This combination makes a great night out for families.  Check the library's website for the title and synopsis.

Every picture tells a story but sometimes reading the story is more enjoyable.  The Sunday Book Club is currently reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce. The discussion takes place at 7:00 p.m. on December 4.  Request a book to read before the program.  All adults who enjoy conversations about books are welcome.

A creative person should be able to think of a use for our old book return.   It is a locked steel drop box without an inside cart.  Recycling is great but reusing is even better so contact the library if you are interested.

Just a reminder that the Friends of the Town of Berne Library, Inc. are registered with the Amazon Smile Foundation.  As you make your on-line purchases, every order through Amazon Smile results in a donation to the Friends at no additional cost to you. There is an icon on the right side of the library website that links to the foundation.

In case you don't get the picture, let me spell it out.  The library is a superb place to get your creative juices flowing.

When the Native Americans and Pilgrims sat down for their Thanksgiving feast, journals indicate that venison was on the table. Fowl is also listed by Edward Winslow although turkey is not specifically mentioned. No hunting licenses were needed by the Pilgrims for harvesting deer or turkey in 1621.  Regulations did not occur until the 1900s.    

The first Federal law protecting game was the Lacey Act in 1900. Present day hunting regulations are designed to keep the wildlife population under control. Regular deer season for this area opens on Saturday, Nov. 19 and ends Dec. 11. Since rifles are now allowed for hunting in the southern zone, please be careful in the woods.


Teens will need to control themselves on Friday, Nov. 18 in order to accomplish the task of flipping water bottles. TAG meets at 6:30 p.m. with a short physics lesson before performing some experiments.  Bring your instruments for jamming after the program. All teens are welcome.


Hunters are known for their stories of the one that got away. Telling a good story is definitely a skill possessed by the members of the Story Circle. Celebrate storytelling at Tellebration on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. "It Ain't Necessarily So" includes stories celebrating the human spirit and takes place at the GE Theater of Proctors.

Knit Wits

Warm hats are a requirement when spending time outdoors in late November. Hunters need to dress warmly and so do children waiting for the bus. The Knit Wits are currently collecting hats for the Toys for Tots train. Anyone may drop off hats at the library for this project. The deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30. The Knit Wits meet on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. for knitting or crocheting personal projects in addition to hats. Share problems, solutions, and conversations with other adults.

If you missed the deadline for the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Coats for Kids drive, you may still donate coats, hats, and mittens at the library. Kiwanis is collecting winter gear until Nov. 30. Items will be donated to the Hilltown Community Resource Center.  

Story time

Children ages 1 to 5 will be talking turkey at storytime on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Join Ms. Kathy at 10:30 a.m. for stories, activities, and a craft. Tom the Turkey, a puppet, will make a special appearance.

Holiday closing

The library will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 24 in observance of Thanksgiving Day. Please plan accordingly.

Make A wreath

An evergreen wreath brings a part of the great outdoors to our home. This year you can make your own wreath at the library. Susan Pezzolla from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service will guide you through the process at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30. For a $7 material fee, you will have a wreath to take home. Registration is required for this event. Please notify the library staff by Monday, Nov. 28 by calling 872-1246 or emailing .

The Three Sisters of the Iroquois Legend are corn, beans, and squash. The Sister Spirits were believed to protect the well-being of these special crops. The plants are grown in the same mound in gardens because corn provides a ladder for the bean vine. Those two plants give shade to the squash plant which traps moisture for all three crops. Gardeners know there are many benefits to this type of companion planting.  


Providing a place for interacting and supporting others is a function of libraries. Teens are given a monthly evening at the library when it is closed to the general public. Due to Veterans Day, the original TAG meeting scheduled for Nov. 11 has been switched to Friday, Nov. 18.  Join Ms. Kathy at 6:30 p.m. for a teen program followed by some musical jamming.  

Corn is an annual plant of the grass family and is the largest of the cereals. This Native American plant is also known as maize. For human consumption, the husk is shucked and discarded while the kernels are eaten. Have you thought of cleaning and drying the husks for future use? They are used for making tamales or wrapping foods for steaming. There is some current research on making them into fabric.  The husks are also used in fall crafts.

Story time

Storytime is the pre-literacy program held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. On Nov. 15, children ages 1 to 5 and their caregivers will be making corn husk dolls with Ms. Kathy. Stories and activities on corn are also a part of this program.

Photo discussions

"A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine," wrote Anne Bronte, a British novelist. Would your photograph of a corn field express this laughter or just be a corny picture? Tom Gagnon will discuss creative ways to photograph objects and people. The "Taking Dynamic Photos"  program occurs at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 and is open to ages 13 to 100.  

There is a program about journalistic photography at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Both these programs are meant to educate and inspire you to enter the 2nd annual photography contest sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Entries are not due until Jan. 31, 2017 but it is never too early to start clicking. The four categories are "Joy of Reading", "Reflections & Shadows". "Hilltowners", and "Down on the Farm".  

Wreath making

Now that Halloween is over, it is time to think about the next few holidays. The library will be closed on Thursday, November 24 for Thanksgiving.  A wreath making class will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30. Sue Pezzolla from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service is leading the class.  For a $7 material fee, you will go home with a beautiful evergreen wreath for your door. Registration is required so please sign up with the library staff by emailing , calling 872-1246, or stopping by the library during hours.