— Photo by Kristen Roberts

Reading in a sunbeam: The Children’s Place at the Bethlehem Public Library was a sunny spot to spend some time reading on a recent chilly day.

Our winter concert series “A Little Sunday Music” continues its 2016-17 season Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. with soprano Rose Hargrave performing a selection of French art songs in program titled, “Tour de France.”

Hargrave is a member and past president of the Monday Musical Club of Albany. She has studied voice with Karen Ranung and coaches with Michael Clement. She performs music from oratorio and opera to jazz and Broadway and has sung extensively with St. Margaret Mary’s Church, All Saints Catholic Church and The New York Catholic Chorale.

She is a featured vocalist on the CD “Mis Suenos de Tango” with Spiral Ensemble, and a more recent recording, “Armenian Genocide Centennial Memorial Concert,” with Andrew Krystopolski on piano. Past musical engagements have included The Mendelssohn Club, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Proctors Theater, Caffe Lena, the Albany Tulip Festival ,70 Beekman Street Art Gallery, Mohonk Mountain House Resort, the Hyde Collection and Saratoga Racetrack. She also performs benefit concerts throughout the Capital District.

A Little Sunday Music closes the season with a March 5 performance by cellist Will Hayes, who will be playing music by Bartók, Grieg and Brahms, accompanied by piano.

A Little Sunday Music is generously underwritten by Friends of Bethlehem Public Library.

What’s new?

Our special collection, sometimes known as a “library of things,” continues to grow. On the heels of the virtual reality headsets, we have added portable karaoke machines and binoculars that can be borrowed with a library card.

Got a song in your heart? Sing it loud and proud — with friends or by yourself — when you check out one of our new karaoke machines. Nothing livens up a gathering or a teen’s slumber party more than some good-natured, off-key warbling. The portable devices are stand-alone, but they do come with cables if you want to hook one up to your television. They can be checked out for a week at a time and include two microphones, four karaoke CDs, a remote control and a user guide.

You can also check out one of our binoculars, and get a closer look at the world around you. The Celestron Nature DX 8x42 adult binoculars strikes the perfect balance between performance and ease of use.

Both the karaoke machines and binoculars, as well as the VR headsets, telescopes, GoPro cameras and more, are available on our special collections shelf behind the Information Desk on a first-come basis. Look for the white cases with the corresponding images.

— Photo by Kristen Roberts

Reading in a sunbeam: The Children’s Place at the Bethlehem Public Library was a sunny spot to spend some time reading on a recent chilly day.

Our winter concert series “A Little Sunday Music” continues its 2016-17 season Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. with soprano Rose Hargrave performing a selection of French art songs in program titled, “Tour de France.”

Hargrave is a member and past president of the Monday Musical Club of Albany. She has studied voice with Karen Ranung and coaches with Michael Clement. She performs music from oratorio and opera to jazz and Broadway and has sung extensively with St. Margaret Mary’s Church, All Saints Catholic Church and The New York Catholic Chorale.

She is a featured vocalist on the CD “Mis Suenos de Tango” with Spiral Ensemble, and a more recent recording, “Armenian Genocide Centennial Memorial Concert,” with Andrew Krystopolski on piano. Past musical engagements have included The Mendelssohn Club, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Proctors Theater, Caffe Lena, the Albany Tulip Festival ,70 Beekman Street Art Gallery, Mohonk Mountain House Resort, the Hyde Collection and Saratoga Racetrack. She also performs benefit concerts throughout the Capital District.

A Little Sunday Music closes the season with a March 5 performance by cellist Will Hayes, who will be playing music by Bartók, Grieg and Brahms, accompanied by piano.

A Little Sunday Music is generously underwritten by Friends of Bethlehem Public Library.

What’s new?

Our special collection, sometimes known as a “library of things,” continues to grow. On the heels of the virtual reality headsets, we have added portable karaoke machines and binoculars that can be borrowed with a library card.

Got a song in your heart? Sing it loud and proud — with friends or by yourself — when you check out one of our new karaoke machines. Nothing livens up a gathering or a teen’s slumber party more than some good-natured, off-key warbling. The portable devices are stand-alone, but they do come with cables if you want to hook one up to your television. They can be checked out for a week at a time and include two microphones, four karaoke CDs, a remote control and a user guide.

You can also check out one of our binoculars, and get a closer look at the world around you. The Celestron Nature DX 8x42 adult binoculars strikes the perfect balance between performance and ease of use.

Both the karaoke machines and binoculars, as well as the VR headsets, telescopes, GoPro cameras and more, are available on our special collections shelf behind the Information Desk on a first-come basis. Look for the white cases with the corresponding images.

It may be winter, but here at the Bethlehem Public Library, it’s Mango season. Bethlehem, along with the rest of the libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System, now offers Mango Languages, a fun and easy-to-use, self-paced language learning program with more than 70 language courses.

It’s easy to get started, just head to our website at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org and click on the Mango Languages icon on the home page. You’ll be asked to create an account using your email address, and then you’ll be ready to say “bonjour” to your new language.

Available courses include widely spoken languages, like Italian and Chinese, as well as less commonly used languages, such as Biblical Hebrew and Scottish Gaelic. There are also 17 English as a Second Language courses available. There are even some fun mini-courses like Pirate, Medical Spanish and romance courses.

Mango teaches practical vocabulary with pronunciation demonstrated by professional native speakers of the language you wish to learn. You can hear words in any language offered both at a conversational speed and at a slowed-down, easier-to-understand speed.

So if learning a foreign language is on your list of things to do in the new year, or if it’s something you need for business, travel or professional development, Mango Languages is a great way to broaden your vocabulary.

Open sewing

The library has a number of sewing machines that are used for sewing and quilting programs for all ages. We also make these machines available for independent use during our Open Sewing sessions, the next of which takes place Monday, Jan. 9. Sign up for a two-hour block of time, and bring your own project and supplies. Volunteers may be available to assist you. Open Sewing takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. with more sessions scheduled for Jan. 23 and Feb. 27. Questions? Give us a call at 439-9314.

Holiday hours

The library will close at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and remain closed until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3. We’re always open online at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

Storm warning

Please remember that in the event of inclement weather, the library’s telephone system will provide information on a closing or delayed opening. Call ahead.

Another exciting year at the Bethlehem Public Library is coming to a close and, as we look back, we are reminded of all the different ways our patrons use our services to enrich their lives and connect with the community.

In 2016, we greatly expanded our special collection items with support from the Friends of the Library. Our special collection, also sometimes called the “Library of Things,” now includes telescopes and metal detectors, as well as slide scanners and GoPro cameras.

As part of our mission to provide access and information to our community, we boosted our free WiFi signal at the town park and began circulating mobile WiFi hotspots that can be checked out and used anywhere within the Sprint network.

Earlier in the year, we were visited by a pair of luminaries in the children’s literature world. In February, storyteller and author Joseph Bruchac entertained a hardy group of patrons who ventured out on one of the chilliest days of the year. They were not disappointed, as Bruchac shared tales of the native peoples of the Northeastern woodlands.

Bruce Coville, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children, dropped by in April to talk about his life and work. Author visits are just one of the ways we work to promote early literacy.

Duffers and pros of all ages got a kick out of our indoor miniature golf day held at the beginning of summer. Thousands dropped by to enjoy a round inside the library.

Our music programs continue to draw some lively crowds, whether to hear the bluegrass stylings of Bob and Tom or chamber music performed by artists at the top of their game. We’ve hosted wacky family entertainer Andy Morse, as well as jazz saxophonist Brian Patneaude. It is no exaggeration to say that our concerts have something for everybody.

We couldn’t do any of this without the support of our community. You are the reason we strive to build on the services we provide year after year.

Other highlights from 2016:

— Our “Coffee and Conversation” series in partnership with senior services touched on a broad range of topics — history, science, music and more;

— Beloved book characters Frog and Toad and Bad Kitty dropped by for a visit;

— It was a magical morning as our preschoolers celebrated the end of spring storytimes with a preschool prom;

— We bid farewell to longtime board of trustee treasurer Tamra Wright and welcomed new member Paula Rice; and

— Our summer reading program kicked off with two energetic performances by Jester Jim. Our teen volunteers kept everything running smoothly all summer, and adults  joined in the fun by participating in their very own summer reading challenge.

Holiday hours

The library will be closed Saturday through Monday, Dec. 24 to 26, for the Christmas holiday. We’ll close at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and remain closed until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3. We’re always open online at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

— Photo by Kristen Roberts

Pensive puppeteer: The free-standing puppet theater in the Children’s Place at Bethlehem Public Library was recently the scene of a battle between a superhero and a knight. It ended in a draw.

Winter is the perfect time to start planning that trip of a lifetime. If your dream getaway has you leaving the country — and your comfort zone — for the first time, then you’ll want to hear what experienced world travelers and educators Donna and Patrick Keegan have to say at their “Travel Abroad Safely” program on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

The Keegans have traveled all over the world and have led multiple student trips and exchanges abroad. They will share their insight on what and how to pack, how to successfully carry and exchange money, how to safely navigate a foreign country, and how to maximize your vacation — however long it may be.

What Friends are for

Have you met our Friends? If you were on the Friends-sponsored bus to New York City last week or enjoyed some ice cream during Andy the Music Man’s performance at our Evenings on the Green summer concert series then you probably have. If you’ve ever borrowed a museum pass or checked out a special collection item like a telescope or a GoPro camera, then you have our Friends to thank as well.

Friends of Bethlehem Public Library is an advocacy and support group dedicated to increasing public awareness of the library, and their generosity has supported many important library programs and services.

The Friends underwrite our popular winter concert series, A Little Sunday Music, which brings quality classical music performances to brighten the short days of winter.

Because of the Friends’ support, the library has been able to expand our special collection shelf, offering GoPro video cameras and accessories, as well as high-power telescopes and metal detectors for young and old.

Our museum pass program is also underwritten by the Friends and allows us to offer free passes to Mass MoCA, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Albany Institute of History and Art, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Schenectady Museum and Planetarium, and more; you’ll find the complete listing at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org; click on the “museum passes” quick link.

In addition, the Friends run annual trips to Glimmerglass Opera in the summer and New York City in December.

Think you’d like to be a Friend too? Memberships start at $10. Business memberships are also available. For more information, visit friends.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

Holiday hours

The library will be closed Saturday through Monday, Dec. 24 through 26, for the Christmas holiday. We’ll close at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and remain closed until 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3. We’re always open online at www.bethlehempubliclibrary.org.

Storm warning

Please remember that in the event of inclement weather, the library’s telephone system will provide information on a closing or delayed opening. Call ahead.

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