April 2024

From the Stacks

Native Gardening at the Library

Make sure you stop by the Bedford Hills Free Library during the Bedford 2030 and Healthy Yards Earth Day Festival on April 21, when the designer of our new native pollinator garden will be on hand to explain how to create a native plant garden - and why it’s so important.


Native gardens are becoming increasingly popular in the landscape world, with homeowners throughout the country seeking to create earth-friendly home gardens that support nature. Landscape designer Andrea Good offers a talk and walks you through the garden at 12:30 and 2:30 pm. She'll have tips to apply in your own back - or front - yard. Learn why we leave stalks up through the winter, and leave the leaves on the ground around the plants; discover why it is important to plant native plants and to avoid the spring and fall “clean-up.”


We’re already seeing signs of spring in our garden, which was planted last November. It will take about three years to reach maturity and for the beds to fill in with flowering perennials.

National Library Week - Reflecting on our Values

April 7-13 is National Library Week and we at Bedford Hills Free Library will be among more than 123,600 public, school, academic and special libraries celebrating around the nation.

“This is also a time to reflect upon the values we share in our local libraries and communities,” said Bedford Hills Free Library executive director Mary Esbjornson, who encourages residents to visit the Library for a brief tour and to learn about the many free resources that are available and how to access them.

“Libraries enrich our lives in so many ways, connecting communities, providing learning opportunities and access to literature and entertainment, and ensuring citizen access to factually correct information,” she said.

Free to Read

To that end, Bedford Hills Free Library, in partnership with Antioch Baptist Church, hosts a Free to Read group reviewing books that have been targeted or restricted in libraries and schools. With a focus on fiction and nonfiction books, Free to Read participants discuss the people, places, and perspectives in the material to better understand and empathize with others.

The meetings have attracted up to 40 people, with the conversation being very “robust,” according to Mitch Horn, chair of the Social Concerns Ministry at Antioch.

“The purpose is to get people to read the books so we are armed with information about what these books are. How can you have an opinion if you haven’t read the book?” he said.

The Free to Read group, which started last fall, meets about every six weeks, reading books selected from the Pen America Banned Books list and other resources. Newcomers are welcome.

Donna Banks, a trustee at Antioch and chair of the Wellness Ministry, was instrumental coordinating efforts. “I am very disturbed when people start controlling what people read. It’s a slippery slope,” she said.

“The world would be less violent, less discriminatory, if we all understood how diverse the world is,” said Ms. Banks.

In past months the group has

discussed Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by Brandy Colbert, and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.

The book discussions reflect varying opinions, Mr. Horn said. “The first two books were predominantly African American history so everyone was on the same page, but had different takes.”

Librarian, Susan Polos with moderators Andrea Rogers and Shagari Hodge.

Next up is King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender, a young adult novel that explores the intersection between race, gender roles, and sexuality. It was included in 86 formal removal requests from Texas parents in 2022. 

“This should make for a really good discussion,” Mr. Horn said, adding that the group is reaching out to LGBTQ groups to invite them to attend, “because this is an issue which concerns them.”


Published in 2020, King and the Dragonflies received the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry, and a 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

The next meeting is April 28 at 12:15 pm at the Antioch Church, 3 Church Street. Register Here Walk-ins are welcome.

Encouraging Growth in Bedford Hills

Bedford Hills Free Library Executive Director Mary Esbjornson recently participated in a well-attended gathering to address the challenges and opportunities for businesses in Bedford Hills.

Also on the panel were Town Supervisor Ellen Calves, Town Board Member Andres Castillo, Katonah Chamber's Casey Carter, and Bedford Village Business Association's Brett Cameron. The discussion focused on forming a Bedford Hills association, similar to those in the other hamlets, and how businesses may work together to attract residents and visitors to downtown Bedford Hills.

The Library has a long history of collaborating with local businesses, including the Halloween Walk, Dive into Reading at the Pool, and Family Movie Night, and is planning more activities in Bedford Hills. “It was exciting to see long-time business owners and to meet new managers who are stepping up to lead a revived hamlet revitalization effort," said Ms. Esbjornson.

Getting Creative with Local Artists

Our Living a Creative Life series, which began in 2022, continues to draw rave reviews, most recently from the Abstract Painting for Everyone workshop with Jason Piken last month.

"Jason's painting workshop was inspiring and fun. He knew how to motivate everybody there,” said the program’s curator, Mindy Yanish. “He inspired us to create without worrying about anything other than having a blast!"

Coming up next is Monoprinting Madness with Leslie Bijoux on April 20. Wear your painting clothes and prepare to create beautiful images, patterns and textures with paint on paper.

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The Living a Creative Life series is presented in partnership with the Creative Alliance Project.

Featured Events in April

Spring Crafts & More

Tuesday-Thursday, April 2-4, from 2-4 pm

Children, Teens, Adults

During the school’s spring break, the Library is a great destination for children of all ages. In the Children’s Room materials are provided for crafts centered around springtime themes. 

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Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse!

Wednesday, April 3, 7 pm

via Zoom

Led by Charles Fulco


The solar eclipse on April 8 will be visible in New York State. Find out why eclipses happen, their roles in history, and how to safely view and record the upcoming celestial event by constructing your own eclipse viewers. 

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with Flor Bromley

Tuesday, April16, 10:30 am


Enjoy stories, music, movement, and puppetry, in both English and Spanish. An entertaining and popular program to engage young families.

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Early literacy events are made possible with support from The Worby Charitable Foundation.

New Library Service

Notary Public

Bedford Hills Free Library now has a notary public on staff. This is a free service. Email or call Patron Services 914.666.6472 to schedule an appointment. Please bring a photo ID, all of your paperwork to the meeting and don't sign anything ahead of time.

Ongoing Programs

Little Folks & Friends

Laptime for Pipsqueaks

Stories & Stretches Yoga

Little Owls

In BeTween Pages

Books & BowWows


Fine Reading Discussion Group


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Bedford Hills Free Library

26 Main Street

Bedford Hills, NY 10507


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Mon/Weds/Thurs:10 AM – 6 PM

Tues: 10 AM – 7 PM

Fri: 10 AM – 5 PM

Sat: 10 AM – 2 PM

Sun: Closed

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