Bethlehem Library Notes for Thursday, March 26, 2020

We know the closure of the Bethlehem Public Library in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 came as a surprise to many of you. Although we had prepared a tiered plan to address the growing concern about public gathering spaces, the speed with which we reached the closing phase was a surprise to us too.

First and foremost, please know that we miss you, and we are looking forward to seeing you once again when we open our doors. A major part of what we do is personally interacting and connecting with our community — and that is a loss that is deeply felt among all of us.

For the time being, the library is scheduled to be closed through the end of the month, but as we have seen these past weeks, these things can change very quickly, so we ask that you continue to check our website for updates.

And because the last thing we want in these uncertain times is for you to worry about fines and due dates, we have extended the due dates on all materials checked out until the library reopens. Our return bins are closed, so please hold onto your library items for now.

To make it easier for everyone to access our digital materials and services, those who sign up for a library card online at will have an extended grace period to use the temporary login. Library cards will also not expire at this time, so there is no need to worry about when or how to renew while the library is closed.

In the meantime, our staffers are working hard to create ways for all of us to connect online, through website scavenger hunts and virtual book discussions, as well as tips and resources for our community during these stay-at-home times.

We’d also like to remind you of the many online resources available to Bethlehem cardholders without even stepping foot in the library — resources that we are stepping up and devoting additional spending to in order to keep wait times and access to e-materials reasonable. You can:

— Download e-books, audiobooks and e-magazines through OverDrive. More e-magazines are available through Flipster, and this week added almost a dozen new titles, including Do It Yourself, Elle Décor, Antique Trader, Simply Gluten Free, Paleo Magazine and more.  Click on the eContent graphic on the library’s home page at to see what’s available;

— Stream movies, high-quality children’s programming or explore one of The Great Courses through Kanopy. The digital content can be streamed from any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku. To get started, or visit;

— Use our wifi. We offer “Free Library WiFi” 24/7 at the following locations: The library parking lot and outside our building, Elm Avenue Park, Five Rivers; and Colonial Acres in Glenmont; and

— Browse our Research page for access to local history resources, newspaper archives, encyclopedias, Consumer Reports and more. Just this week announced it would temporarily be available to use offsite with an Upper Hudson library card, so you can use your free time to climb that family tree.

We are also available to answer your questions by email via or you can leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you all for your understanding and patience as we navigate this strange and uncertain time. We are all in this together!