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.

— Photo from Bethlehem Public Library volunteers

Catfish Charlie got some help, with washboard accompaniment, from a diminutive Spider-Man when he played songs and told tales about the great outdoors on Monday, Aug. 8, at the Bethlehem Public Library.

When it comes to the free WiFi access at the library, you can take it with you.

Bethlehem Public Library has started loaning out Pocket WiFi hotspots that allow users WiFi access within the Sprint network anywhere in the United States.

Say what you will about our wired world, but there is no denying that internet access opens up new possibilities in education, entertainment, and commerce. By providing “Internet to Go,” the library is making sure that access is available to everyone in our community. As WiFi usage at the library and the library-sponsored signal at the town pool continues to grow, adding portable hotspots to our catalog was the logical next step.

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. You can even take it with you on vacation if you still crave that connection with the outside world.

The devices can be found on our special collections shelf near the information desk, and they are easily portable 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. The hotspots must be returned to the Bethlehem library circulation desk. Check one out today, and get your free library internet to go.

Amazing animal disguises

Did you know that some animals are masters of disguise? Learn how they hide in plain sight at our animal camouflage program for kids and families on Thursday, Aug. 18, from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. You’ll also get a chance to create your own camouflage pattern.

Ready to race

Educators from the Tang Teaching Museum will be dropping by on Wednesday, Aug. 24, for an art activity that ties in with our summer reading theme of “On your mark, get set … READ!” From 2 to 3 p.m. kids in grades one to five are invited to create a colorful felt-on-felt racing flag featuring images related to health and fitness. Sign up online or call to register.


Mark your calendars because we have a busy week coming up, filled with some exciting summer reading programs for kids and families.

On Monday, Aug. 15, our friends from Five Rivers will be at the library for a program about migration. Do you have what it takes to go the distance? Find out when you put yourself in an animal’s “shoes” to learn the many migration hurdles they face on their epic journeys. “Five Rivers Presents: Going the Distance” starts at 2 p.m. and takes place in the library Community Room.

We’ll be keeping you on your toes with a program the following day to harness your inner ninja. Hone your skills in espionage, throwing, meteorology, geology and more at Ninja U on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Be sure to bring a long-sleeved T-shirt to create a ninja disguise. This program is for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Later on in the week, we’ll marvel some more at the animal kingdom as we learn about the ways animals use camouflage to hide from their enemies. We’ll also spend some time making our own “camo” patterns. “Animal Camouflage” takes place Thursday, Aug. 18, from 2:30-3:15 p.m. in the Community Room.

Summer reading is going strong through the end of the month with programming, prizes and more! Don’t forget to report your reading progress.

Take us with you!

How do you improve on a vacation? Bring the library along for the ride!

We’ve got a lot of cool special collection items that can add excitement to your summer adventure. Borrow one of our Orion StarBlast telescopes and get a whole new perspective on the night sky. Or check out one of the metal detectors (we have them for adults and kids) and turn your next beach outing into a treasure hunt.

We’ve also got GoPro cameras and accessories so you can capture your summer YouTube moment, and fishing poles for all ages if you are looking for a more contemplative way to pass the time.

You’ll find these items and more on our Special Collections shelf behind the Information Desk.