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

— 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; 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

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

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.

— Photos by Kristen Roberts

Adult newcomers to computers can learn the basics one-on-one with a library-trained volunteer by signing up for Computer Partners at the Bethlehem Public Library. Call the library at (518) 439-9314 for more information.

The library’s 2016-17 season of A Little Sunday Music continues on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. with a concert by the Helderberg Madrigal Singers performing music that was first heard centuries ago in the castles, cathedrals, synagogues, drawing rooms and village greens of medieval and Renaissance Europe.

The group is composed of sopranos Martha Bond and Sarah Johnson Popiel, altos Dawn Dana and Beth Gurzler, tenor Dick Dana, and basses David Metz and Tim Smith. When the music calls for accompaniment, members’ talents on the recorder, krumhorn, viola da gamba, oboe, guitar and percussion are employed.

Founded in 1978 by a group of Capital District singers who relished the challenge and rewards of a cappella music, the ensemble’s repertoire has grown to more than 400 works. The Helderberg Madrigal Singers are all Capital District residents with experience in other groups, including Albany Pro Musica, Glimmerglass Opera, Octavo Singers and more.

Frequently performed composers include Thomas Morley, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Guillaume de Machaut, Heinrich Isaac, among many others.

A Little Sunday Music is generously underwritten by Friends of Bethlehem Public Library. The library is located at 451 Delaware Avenue in Delmar.

Senior chorus

December is a musical month. The Bethlehem Senior Chorus presents “As Evening Comes” Friday, Dec. 2, 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 more than a decade.

Open to all, the concert is co-sponsored by Bethlehem Senior Projects, Inc. Please note that this event does not take place at the library. Bethlehem town hall is located at 445 Delaware Ave., in Delmar.

Closing reminder

The library will be closed Friday, Dec. 2, to accommodate a staff development training session. Our bookdrops will be open, but there will be no telephone service. We’re always open online at

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.

Upcoming events

Drop by the evening of Monday, Dec. 5, for “Fun and Games for Grownups,” an adults-only gathering where you can play games, color and socialize. It all takes place from  6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Snacks will be served.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, from 7 to 8 p.m., longtime teacher Christopher Conway will share some Spanish-language basics and useful vocabulary for traveling in “Spanish for Beginners.” Sign up online or call.


— Photo by Kristen Roberts

Supreme Ultimate Boxing: Participants in the Bethlehem Public Library’s Tai Chi program marked World Diabetes Day on Monday, Nov. 14, with the Tai Chi for Diabetes form.

Providing free and equal access to computers and the Internet has been an important part of the library’s mission for a long time, and the popularity of our public access computers is a testament to that – there are many times when every station is spoken for.

Beginning this month, we are able to get more computers in front of the people who need them by offering laptops that can be checked out and used anywhere on site until the library closes. We’ve got more than a dozen Chromebooks, which are suitable for browsing the web, online research, accessing Gmail and more. Also available are four Microsoft Office-enabled laptops, perfect for word-processing or resume-writing.

To borrow a laptop, all you need is a valid library card. They can be used anywhere on library property, including the comfy chairs in our hallway and – when the weather eventually warms – our grounds outside. Our super-fast WiFi makes it easy to search the web or stream video. Laptops are available for one-day use and must be returned at least 15 minutes before closing.

Tech tools

If you want to raise your comfort level with the electronic devices and media out there, you can get one-on-one coaching at the library by scheduling a half-hour appointment. A librarian or volunteer can help you with your smartphone, tablet, or eReader. You can also learn how to setup and manage an email account, get started on Microsoft Word, or navigate Facebook and Twitter.

Make an appointment at least a week in advance by visiting the information desk or calling the library at 439-9314, ext. 3009.

We’d also like to remind you that the library has a number of tech tools available for the public to use, including Makerbot 3D printers, a VHS-to-DVD conversion deck and a flatbed scanner that will scan photos, slides and negatives. There’s also a large-format scanner and color printer, as well as Adobe programs for photo and video editing. Visit and click on “tech tools” to learn more.

Thanksgiving hours

The library is closed Thursday, Nov. 24, for the Thanksgiving holiday and will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.

Also, the library will be closed Friday, Dec. 2, to accommodate a staff development training session.

STEM programs

On Friday, Nov. 25, from 2 to 3 p.m., we’ll be holding a LittleBits Workshop for kids in grade two to five. They’ll learn how to make electric circuits that control lights, sounds, movements and more with LittleBits magnetic building blocks. Sign up online or call.

Teens in grades six to 12 can learn how to program and control the Ozobot, a tiny robot, using only paper and markers at the Ozobot Robotics program on Monday, Nov. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m. Registration is required.

— Photo from Sonny and Perley

Sonny and Perley — the husband-and-wife duo of pianist Sonny Daye, left, and vocalist Perley Rousseau — will perform at the Bethlehem Public Library Friday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. The concert will feature selections from the Great American Songbook and more.

Our Coffee and Conversation series is wrapping up its 2016 season this Friday with a page from the Great American Songbook and more featuring local legends Sonny and Perley.

The  husband-and-wife duo of vocalist Perley Rousseau and pianist Sonny Daye will present a mixed concert that introduces listeners to the material they regularly draw from, including the Great American Songbook (the Golden Age of popular songs from the 1920s through ’50s), post Golden Age material from 1960-1980, international cabaret, and bossa nova.

Sonny and Perley have spent the last several years developing and perfecting their unique repertoire and have performed extensively throughout the region and abroad.

The hourlong concert begins at 1 p.m. and is followed by a coffee hour featuring beverages and light refreshments. Coffee and Conversation is co-sponsored by Bethlehem Senior Projects, Inc.

Emergency prep

Join us Saturday, Nov. 19, for “In Case of Emergency,” a program that will give you the tools and resources you’ll need to prepare for, and recover from, any type of disaster. Attendees receive an emergency prep starter kit.

The program is free and open to everyone, but you must register with Citizen Preparedness Corps at Trainings are led by the New York National Guard, working with experts from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Holiday hours

The library will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, and remain closed Thursday, Nov. 24, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The library will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.

The sky’s the limit

Don’t forget, the library now has Orion StarBlast 4.5” telescopes for loan. When you borrow one, you get everything you need to start stargazing – the telescope itself, a carrying bag, lens brush, Celestron flashlight, guides to the night sky, and an easy-to-follow user manual. Telescopes are available to borrow for one week at a time.

Free job coaching

Bethlehem Public Library offers free one-on-one job coaching for adults seeking to enter or re-enter the job market. Find out how to craft effective resumés and cover letters; learn the finer points of written and online applications, LinkedIn accounts, and interview protocol. Call 439-9314, ext. 3009 for an appointment.