November 5, 2018

Snow Over Bethlehem

This season, BAPL is again selling some beautiful Snow Over Bethlehem holiday cards. These may be purchased at the front desk at the Main Library or online here.  They are $15 in person and $20 online (includes shipping). Made in partnership with the Moravian Historical Society, these limited-edition holiday cards feature the illustrations from the beloved 1945 children’s Snow […]

BAPL News, Local History
October 29, 2018

Library Locations!

We recently received an interesting question about the history of BAPL’s locations from one of our patrons on Facebook and we thought we’d share some information! Since its inception in 1901, the Main Library has been housed in four buildings: The first library and reading room was located in rooms of the Leinbach and Doster […]

Local History
August 30, 2018

Help Bring a Portrait of Hilda Doolittle to BAPL!

In 2017, we honored Bethlehem’s most renowned literary citizen, the great early 20th century poet Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle, by having the site of her childhood home recognized as a Literary Landmark. Her childhood home just happens to be the same piece of land where the Bethlehem Area Public Library now stands. We’re not done with the […]

Local History
August 27, 2018

Happy First Day of School!

Happy #firstdayofschool! Enjoy this article from 1922 about the then-brand new Liberty High School from BAPL archives. It’s great to read about the excitement of a first day of school nearly 100 years ago! “So anxious were some of the pupils to resume their studies that long before the peals of the first bell were […]

Local History
August 14, 2018

Shoeless Joe, The Babe, & The Steel:  The Highly Unlikely 1918 Bethlehem Steel League

In 1918, Bethlehem Steel didn’t just produce iron and steel—it ran a baseball league. Six factories were represented; the rosters included some of the greatest star players from the Major Leagues. The Bethlehem Area Public Library is proud to present Shoeless Joe, The Babe, & The Steel: The Highly Unlikely 1918 Bethlehem Steel League, Geoff Gehman’s talk on […]

Local History, Programs at BAPL
July 19, 2018

On this date in Bethlehem History (July 19, 1742)

July 19, 1742 is recorded as the date that a Moravian boys’ school was first established in Bethlehem. The school was held in several locations including the Brethren’s House and as a boy’s “institute” in 1755 at the newly built Familienhaus. The Brethern’s House (99 West Church Street) pictured below is just down the street […]

Local History
July 3, 2018

New Local History Articles: Lehigh Valley Railroad

We’ve been working building a rich local history timeline on the library’s website, adding all sorts of interesting information about Bethlehem going back to its founding. There is interesting information about the surrounding areas as well. It can be found at Check it out! There are articles going back to 1741. One of the […]

Local History
May 21, 2018

Marquis de Lafayette in Bethlehem

We are working on our interactive timeline of Bethlehem’s history and just added some info on the time Marquis de La Lafayette came to visit (in 1777). Check  this page for more information on Lafayette’s stay in Bethlehem and here for the full timeline (in progress).        

Local History
April 3, 2018

Washington Slept Here!

The Revolutionary War often seems a distant memory for many Americans. Residents of Bethlehem might share this faraway concept of such distant historical events.  Our city, however, played host to many important figures during the Revolutionary War, including the commander of the Continental Army himself, General George Washington. According to a recent article from 69 […]

Local History
March 27, 2018

“Men of Bethlehem”

Have you ever wondered who lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania over one hundred years ago? Have you ever wondered who walked these very streets that you walk on today? After all, Bethlehem played host to some of the greatest people in American history. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton are just a few of the […]

Local History
March 16, 2018

“The Symbol of Progress”

Symbol of Progress The first thing most visitors to the main branch of the Bethlehem Area Public Library notice is the sculpture in the middle of the plaza. It’s not hard to see why–it’s huge! Sixty feet high to be exact. But what is it? What does it mean? Is it a stalk of celery? […]

Local History
March 12, 2018

Check out the historical maps on

Historic Maps of Bethlehem The Bethlehem Area Public Library is a great source for old artifacts on the historic town of Bethlehem, PA. Some of the most interesting artifacts that the library has (which anyone can access for study and/or leisure) are maps of the town of Bethlehem from the bygone years of 1873, 1886, […]

Local History
December 6, 2017

“The War is Still With Us”

There is a new exhibit up on the first floor at the Main Library — it’s a collection of photos from our collaboration with PBS39 on the Vietnam War. The exhibit includes personal photos contributed by local residents and features images of people who served in the war, protested the war, lived in Vietnam at […]

Local History
November 28, 2017

Snow Over Bethlehem Holiday Cards

The Bethlehem Area Public Library and the Moravian Historical Society are pleased to offer for sale limited-edition holiday cards featuring the illustrations from the beloved 1945 children’s book Snow Over Bethlehem, the charming fictional story of a Moravian Christmas in Bethlehem in 1755. In the early 1950s, the author of the book, Katherine Milhous, donated 11 of the […]

Local History