Bethlehem Public Library lending out so much more than books

January 06, 2017 06:17 PM

BETHLEHEM - The library used to be the place you headed to learn about the stars or research virtual reality. Now, it’s a place where you can actually see the stars or personally experience virtual reality.

At first glance, the Bethlehem Public Library looks like any other library.  You'll find patrons quietly reading or working at a computer station.

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"The library has always been a place where you can share materials, share ideas and share experiences and learning about things," pointed out Catherine Stollar Peters with Bethlehem Public Library.

However, those materials, ideas and experiences are changing. Now you can check out Kindles and Chromebooks.  WiFi hotspots, Go-Pro cameras and even a telescope.  The newest piece of technology, not yet in circulation, is a virtual reality headset.

"We want people to be able to take these things home and practice," explained Peters.

Sometimes the "special collection" items are borrowed so people can give them a test run before buying them. Others, however, like a film converter or the metal detector are only needed once in a while so community sharing makes the most sense. There's no one age group that borrows these items more than another.

"It's people who don't fit one particular demographic. It’s everybody." noted Peters. "That’s one nice thing about the library is that we make these available to everybody."

Everything that gets checked out comes with a printed user guide plus a link to the electronic version. A staff member can do a quick run through before you take something home but you can also book a tech help appointment with a librarian for items in circulation or any electronic you may have at home.

"We definitely think it's important to stay current with technology and new ways of sharing and accessing information," affirmed Peters.

Anyone who is a member of the Upper Hudson Library System can check out these items. You don't have to be a member of the Bethlehem Public Library.

Soon, you will even be able to check out karaoke machines.


WNYT Staff

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