50,000 words in one month!

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NaNoWriMo_logoThat’s the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. So, the Main Library is providing a comfortable place every Saturday in November to write and be encouraged by other writers.

Bring your laptop or paper and pen an be inspired! More here

Writing Workshop for teens…

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iStock_000020658968XLargeGrades 6-12. Get ready for National Novel Writing Month in November with a writing workshop at the Main Library! Kick start your novel or short story with lively imagination stretchers and story-starters. Sometimes all you need is an idea and the first line! Saturday, October 29 at 2pm.

More here

Film series: Does art imitate life?

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dreamstime_xs_11195398Watch the Academy-award winning film, The Best Man, with a fictitious plot derived from the controversial Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign, at the Main Library on Saturday, October 29 at 1:30 pm.  Appropriate to today’s contentious political environment, the film is directed by Franklin Schaffner who also directed Papillon, Patton, and The Boys from Brazil. Free popcorn! Register today!

Japanese class cancelled today (10/26)

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Japanese class for today (10/26) has been cancelled. We will pick up again next week.

Halloween is happening here!

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zombiescastlewebBethlehem Area Public Library invites the public to celebrate the spookiness of the season with a choice of four programs. On Tuesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm both the Main Library, 11 W. Church Street, and the South Side Branch, 400 Webster Street, will host family Halloween parties. Come in costume for stories, crafts, and games. Registration is required at the South Side Branch, only.

Author Katherine Ramsland brings tales of the macabre at Who’s Out There: The Menace of Ghosts, Rippers and Serial Creepers on Tuesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm at the Main Library. The program will include discussion of the prolific writer’s  latest books, Confession of a Serial Killer and The Ripper Letter. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Students in grades 6 to 12 are encouraged to compete in the Teen Fear Factor on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:30 pm at the Main Library. Dress in costume for the disgusting challenges. Prizes will be awarded to top competitors. No registration.

True or False: Violence and the Qur’an

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dreamstime_xs_34715679Perceptions of Islam in the modern western imagination categorize it as a faith that advocates violence. Whether this is a true statement will be explored at the Main Library on Monday, October 24 from 6:30 to 8 pm. Akbar Keshodkar, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of History and Sociology; Director of the Africana Studies program at Moravian College, will present a program on the Fallacy of Violence in the Qur’an.  Explore verses in the Qur’an and evaluate how violence is discussed. Also, there will be a conversation about which groups of Muslims advocate violence in the name of Islam today. Register now!

Interview with author Katherine Ramsland (meet her at BAPL on 10/25!)

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The Bethlehem Area Public Library is thrilled to host author Katherine Ramsland on October 25 (6:30pm, Main Library). Dr. Ramsland has published 58 books (with more in the works) as well as countless articles on topics such as serial killers, criminal psychology, and the paranormal. At BAPL she will be signing and discussing a new non-fiction book about Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer (Confessions of a Serial Killer) as well as her new novel The Ripper Letter: Book One of The Hearts of Darkness Series. Library Director Josh Berk interviewed Dr. Ramsland about these new books and her fascinating career. Read their interview below and make plans to see Dr. Ramland’s event at the library, “Who’s Out There: The Menace of Ghosts, Rippers, and Serial Creepers” on 10/25.

JB: Thank you for joining me! You have written many works of non-fiction but your newest book is a novel. Is The Hearts of Darkness Series your first foray into fictionTheRipperLetter300? What accounted for your desire to write a novel?

KR: Actually, I wrote two vampire novels some time ago (The Heat Seekers and The Blood Hunters), so it’s not my first, but I had an idea based on a significant missing letter from the crime scene items associated with Jack the Ripper, so I created a supernatural world and a series of crime investigations for explaining its disappearance. It involved a lot of medieval codes. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to make it a series. For The Ripper Letter, I went to London, and for Book 2, Track the Ripper, I’ll go to Paris. My agent had urged me to write a romance, but it turned into a crime thriller instead — with some romance. And some great settings and Ripper lore.

JB: Why do you think that Jack the Ripper continues to be so fascinating over 125 years after those murders?

KR: It presents a puzzle, it’s about a “fiend” who got away, and it evokes an era of foggy bleakness that gives us delicious chills. The Ripper murders are like a good horror movie that has more than one interpretation. The murders were brutal and mostly quick, and the killer seemed to melt away on the streets of a bad part of London as if by supernatural means. So, it’s a challenging set of crimes. If it ever really gets solved, the solution will probably be disappointing compared with the current intrigue.

JB: Thinking back to the beginning of your career, what do you think originally sparked your interest to write about crime and other “dark” subjects?

KR: I’m fairly sure that my mother had a hand in it, since she gave me my first ghost stories to read and introduced me to Dracula, etc. But the crime aspect probably derives from a serial killer at work in my town when I was growing up. Dark subjects call to me and I particularly like the psychological aspects. But I don’t try to solve my own mystery, because that’s an energy leak. I prefer to just keep exploring and writing.

Ramsland_ConfessionSerialKillerJB: What was the research like in working on Confession of a Serial Killer? Did you spend much time with Dennis Rader? 

KR: I spent 5 years working with the “BTK” serial killer, Dennis Rader, who wanted to tell the story of his “dark journey” while also trying to understand it. So, it is a guided autobiography, with me using what I know from forensic psychology to help guide him in thinking about the influences in his trajectory toward violence. I had 10 years’ worth of letters from him, many drawings, and well over a year of regular phone calls with him, working out the whole thing through codes. That was challenging but also interesting, and now we have a rare book that is 80% his words, but structured in a way to provide benefits to criminology, psychology, and law enforcement.  Also, the victims’ families will receive most of the proceeds. For me, it was a professional accomplishment.

JB: So what scares you? 

KR: As mentioned, I don’t solve my own mysteries. But I do hate clowns and mimes.

JB: Same.

Register now for “Who’s Out There: The Menace of Ghosts, Rippers, and Serial Creepers” on 10/25 at BAPL




Delayed opening this Saturday

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Because of the Runners World 5K and 10K races, the Main Library will open at noon on Saturday, October 15. (Book drops will be open, but the streets surrounding the library will be blocked off).