Scare up some fun.

Do you know a child who has a talent for telling terrifying tales? We’re looking for storytellers in grades 1 to 6 who can spin a yarn that is both creative and creepy to enter the library’s online Spooky Stories contest. Beginning Oct. 1, interested young writers can go to, click on the link, and enter their original scary stories of 500 words or less.

Need a little help getting started? Come to our “Spooky Stories: Good Beginnings” writing program on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. to get your creative juices flowing. We’ll listen to some successful scary stories and brainstorm ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

The winning story will be posted online and transformed into a library storywalk display. You’ll find more details at Last day to enter: Oct. 31.

A welcome place

The library has always been a place where people of all abilities are welcome. That’s why we support the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ Welcome campaign to promote community inclusion. You can too by submitting your own welcome message on social media using hashtags #nysopwdd #welcome.

Alzheimer’s programs

This October, the library is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York to offer a pair of programs targeted to those who care for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 6 to 7 p.m. Maura Fleming, a presenter with the Alzheimer’s Association, will discuss “The Basics,” an overview of what you need to know about memory loss and the difference between age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Fleming returns Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 7 p.m. for “Communication Strategies,” where she will talk about ways to understand the verbal and behavioral messages of someone with Alzheimer’s and identify strategies that may help caregivers connect and communicate.

The programs are free, but registration is required.

WiFi at playground

We’ve boosted the library WiFi signal at the town park to include areas around the tennis court, the parks and rec building, and the brand-new playground area, which is located behind the pool complex. We’re looking at other public areas where we can provide free WiFi to residents in the future, so stay tuned to find out where we’re going next.

Drink up

The newly installed replacement water fountain near our parking lot entrance has a very special feature — a sensor-activated bottle filler. A counter near the top righthand side of the fountain shows how many water bottles are saved from the landfill with each use. A refreshing and eco-friendly addition to the library.

Bestselling author Ann Leary, whose writing credits include “An Innocent, A Broad,” “The Good House,” and “Outtakes From a Marriage,” will be stopping by the library on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m. to discuss her creative process and her latest book, “The Children.”

Leary’s novels have always had a certain New England sensibility to them, and “The Children” continues that tradition with the story of a wealthy but unconventional Connecticut family.

Leary’s work has been translated into 18 languages, and she has written for “The New York Times,” “Ploughshares,” “National Public Radio,” “Redbook” and “Real Simple” among other publications. “The Good House” is currently in development for a feature film. She and her husband, Denis, live on a small farm in northwestern Connecticut.

Copies of her books will be available for purchase at the event through I Love Books. The author will also be signing copies following her talk. Because space is limited, this free event is first-come, first-admitted, and doors will open at 1:45 p.m. Leary’s talk is a Writers and Friends program underwritten by Friends of Bethlehem Public Library.

Clear out clutter at book donation event

The library is once again partnering with Grassroot Givers, a local nonprofit, to collect books for donation to local organizations and individuals in need. Collection day is Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library garage.

Donations to the Book Project must fit the following criteria: current adult paperback fiction and nonfiction; current adult hardcover fiction and nonfiction; current children’s board books; current children’s hardcover and softcover picture books; current elementary and middle school chapter books; current adult biography, self-help, cookbooks, history books.

Grassroot Givers will not accept books older than 10 years; torn or moldy books; encyclopedias; videos, tapes or CDs; magazines; computer books older than three years; test prep books older than the current year; textbooks of any kind, including law and medical books.

Donations that do not meet these criteria, and donations brought before 10 a.m. or after 1 p.m., will not be accepted.

Sewing volunteers

Are you handy with a sewing machine and willing to share your knowledge with others? Experienced sewers are needed to help patrons with their projects on library machines. An ongoing commitment is preferred. Call the library at 439-9314 to find out more.

Stamp sampler

In our display cases in the library hallway this month we highlight selections from the stamp collection of Richard Covuoto of Bethlehem. Over approximately three decades, Mr. Covuoto amassed a robust collection that was representative of important milestones in American history. On display is just a small part of it, but every stamp has a story to tell. Check them out from now until the end of September.


Bethlehem Public Library’s annual report for fiscal year 2015-16 is now available online at In it, you’ll find an easy-to-read summary of the programs and services the library offered in the past fiscal year.  Printed copies are available as a brochure in the literature rack at the information desk.

A card with cache

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and we’re celebrating all month with a fun scavenger hunt, a Bad Kitty themed creation station and a visit from Bad Kitty herself on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

If you don’t already have a library card, sign up for one today. With your library card, you can borrow passes to regional museums; check out fishing poles, telescopes, metal detectors and more; request and renew items online; download audiobooks and eBooks; use a public computer; and access library-purchased online reference tools and training tutorials.

You also have access to materials at the 28 other libraries within the Upper Hudson Library System.

Show your gratitude

Every year, Operation Gratitude sends more than 250,000 care packages to deployed troops, wounded heroes, veterans, and new recruits. They include letters in each of these packages so they need a lot of them, and they could use your help.

Bethlehem Public Library is working in collaboration with the Guilderland Public Library in order to help them reach their goal of 250 letters. You are invited to drop by our activity station near the information desk to write a letter or draw a picture to thank our troops and veterans. We will collect them through Tuesday, Sept.13.


— The free WiFi at the Elm Avenue pool complex offered through a partnership with the library and the town is available year-round, not just when the pool is open. This summer, our IT department has expanded the signal so it includes the areas around the tennis courts and at the parks and rec building. The signal will appear on electronic devices as “Free Library WiFi” and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week;

— Got books? The library is once again partnering with Grassroot Givers, a local nonprofit, to collect books for donation to local organizations and individuals in need. Collection day is Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library garage. Grassroot Givers will only accept books that are in good shape and are dropped off during the designated collection time;

— Regular Sunday hours resume this Sunday, Sept. 11. The library is open from noon until 5 p.m.; and

— Coffee and Conversation kicks off this season on Friday, Sept. 9, with To Life! a celebration of the songs of optimism and hope from popular Broadway musical scores by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and more. Richard Feldman is the presenter. The hourlong program starts at 1 p.m., with a coffee and social hour following.


There’s no need to be wistful as you bid farewell to summer. At the library, fall marks the return of some of your favorite series, along with some new and exciting programs.

Coffee & Conversation

Our Coffee & Conversation series continues to expand due to popular demand. It kicks off this season on Friday, Sept. 9, with To Life! a celebration of the songs of optimism and hope from popular Broadway musical scores.

The Coffee & Conversation format features an hourlong program starting at 1 p.m. with a coffee and social hour following. A strong lineup continues through fall with topics that touch on music, history, culture and more.

Book discussions

After the summer hiatus, our book discussions begin anew in early September. DayBooks meets at 1:30 p.m. monthly on a Monday. Featured this fall are “The Good House” by Ann Leary (who will be speaking at the library on Sept. 18) and “Mycroft Holmes” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse.

Two evening book discussions — AfterDinner Books on Wednesdays and AfterDinner Too on Tuesdays — meet at 7 p.m. on alternate months. Those discussions will delve into “Euphoria” by Lily King in September and “The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens in October. New members are always welcome, and copies of the books are available at the information desk. Audio and downloadable copies may also be available.

Listening parties

Our popular monthly listening parties with Bethlehem librarian Michael Farley are also back. This is a great chance for you to join fellow music lovers and share your opinions about the artists that have shaped the musical landscape.  Up first is Art Pepper on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. This alto sax player was one of the great leaders of West Coast cool. Join us for one or many; everyone is welcome.

Tai Chi

Regular Tai Chi instruction returns at a new day and time, beginning Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. and continuing on Mondays through the fall. The program focuses on the core movements of the Tai Chi for diabetes form. These movements build on skills week to week and provide a solid foundation in Tai Chi for people of any age.

Cinema series

Our cinema series will continue through the fall with 2 p.m. showtimes on select Thursdays and Sundays. We’ll be watching critically acclaimed films such as “Joy” and “Me Before You,” among others.

More information about all of these programs can be found in the latest edition of “Footnotes,” mailed to every home in the Bethlehem Central School District and online at


The library will be closed this Saturday through Monday, Sept. 3 to 5, for the Labor Day weekend. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 9 a.m. Sunday hours, noon to 5 p.m., begin on Sept. 11.

You can always find the library catalog and lots of information, links and services for all ages at


— Photo by Kristen Roberts

Pour it on! Jodie Fitz brought Kids Cooking Club program to Bethlehem Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Participants got to make Sun's Up Smoothies and Pinkalicious Pancakes.

The birds are back. Wildlife rehabilitator Joyce Perry of Whispering Willow Wild Care returns to Bethlehem Public Library at 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, joined by some of her rescued raptor “ambassadors.” See live owls, ravens and falcons up close and learn more about these magnificent birds.

Whispering Willow Wild Care rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife and releases the animals back into the wild when they are able to survive on their own. Many birds of prey sustain injuries that prohibit them from returning to the wild, and some of those birds become ambassadors, teaching people how important they are to our environment and what can be done to help these species survive.

This program is for all ages.

Reference only a mouse click away

Our Gale Virtual Reference Library database has recently added a number of additional test prep materials and study guides, just in time for back to school. The GVRL e-books are available 24-7 with no wait and can be browsed, searched, and downloaded anytime from any Internet-connected device. Other topics include financial literacy, job readiness, computer literacy, do-it-yourself projects, and cooking. They are also integrated into the library’s online catalog, so they will show up if they match any of your searches.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library e-books can also be browsed by going online to and clicking on “databases” in the Quick Links section.

Internet to go

The Pocket WiFi hotspots that we’ve been loaning out since the beginning of the month allow users WiFi access within the Sprint network anywhere in the United States. Use the device to stream music or your favorite show or do some online research on your own time and in your own space. There are no restrictions as long as Sprint service is available.

The devices can be found on our Special Collections shelf near the information desk, and can be borrowed for two weeks at a time. Bethlehem library cardholders may request the WiFi devices, but anyone in the Upper Hudson Library System can check out the ones on the shelves on a first-come basis.