Library Closed Indefinitely

Even though Allegheny County has entered the yellow phase, the Library will remain closed until further notice as we sanitize, plan, and prepare to reopen in a manner that is safe for our staff and patrons.

Until we reopen, if you have questions we are happy to help! Just email us at, or send us a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us 412-766-7447 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All Library transactions, including pick-up, return, the book drop, and holds have been suspended.

  • Please keep all items until the Library reopens. No fines will be accessed.
  • Any holds that were on the shelf before we closed are still there and will remain so until we reopen
  • The placing of holds via the Library Catalog has been suspended. You can add items to a Book List and order them later. Learn more.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as they become available. For more information on the virus and how Bellevue Borough is reacting, please click here

When the House is a Character

More than just a backdrop, sometimes houses in fiction take on lives of their own. Here is a list of some of my favorite picks in which the house is a character in the story.

The Dutch House, Ann Patchett
The Dutch House is to be the feather in Cyril Conroy’s cap-the final expression of his wealth and standing. Instead it becomes the talisman of a broken childhood for his children.

The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allen Poe
In this deeply layered short story, the House of Usher is slowly disintegrating, as are its inhabitants.

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Can a house’s curse destroy a family? In the beginning of the this early Gothic novel, it appears to be that way. But the entrance of a new character may yet change the family’s fate.

Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
Manderley is full of reminders of Rebecca. Can the new Mrs. Winters ever be free of her memory?

The Shining, Stephen King
Jack’s new job at the Overlook Hotel seems too good to be true. Time to write, connect with his family, and get paid while doing it–except when things start to go wrong. One of Stephen King’s best novels!

The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
It is 1950 and Buckshaw Estate is crumbling, England is recovering from the War, and her sister’s are awful; but that is all fine with the precocious 11 year old chemist Flavia DeLuce. The man she discovers a man dying in the cucumber patch, may not be though.

The Turner House, Angela Flournoy
The Turner House has raised 13 children, welcomed home grandchildren, survived the loss of the family patriarch, and withstood the ravages of Detroit. Can the Turner children bring themselves to finally say goodbye?

The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
When they arrive at the grand summer house where she is to spend her summer vacation, our narrator is full of hope. But as the summer continues and the walls of her room begin to close in, the situation changes.

Did I miss your favorite? Email us at or comment on social media to let us know!

What is Ted Reading?

We are missing everyone, especially our youngest patrons who brighten our work days with their smiles, stories, and antics at the library. Although our worlds seem much smaller lately, we can look forward to a time when our worlds will open up again. Until then, can you guess what favorite Dr. Seuss book Ted is Reading?

What is Ted Reading?

Did You Guess “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss?

Remember, your library card is a passport to lots of wonderful resources. If there are school aged children at home who love geography, they might enjoy these books on Overdrive.

The Everything Kids’ State Book by Brian Thorton – Explore our 50 States.

This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe – Learn about kids from other lands and cultures.

No Way….Way! USA A Smithsonian Publication – Lots of weird & wacky facts.

Young non-fiction fans should visit TrueFlix – topics include Animals, Geography, Famous People & more. Give it a try.

InfoBits lets kids dive deeper into topics of interest. It’s a great place to find news articles, videos, photos and more, perfect for kids who love to learn about their world.

Wednesday 101–Second Hand Online

Has quarantine made you realize the need to redecorate? Maybe you’ve cleaned out your closet and have a stack of old clothes to sell? Did you start a garden and need additional plants? Whether you are buying or selling there are a number of options for shopping second hand online!

Started way back in 1995 in San Francisco, Craigslist is the classic forum for online sales. It features everything from apartment listings, to personal ads, to sale items and savvy users still swear by it! You’ll need to arrange pick-ups, but many sellers and buyers are using Paypal and Venmo for contactless transactions. Personally, I love it for plants.

If you have a Facebook account, you have access to the Marketplace. Find clothing, kids items, and housewares. Marketplace also remembers your location and prior searches so the more you visit the more it will cater to you interests. And contactless pick-up is common here too!

LetGo is another local pick-up sales site. They recently took over OfferUp and are looking to create a more user-friendly and intuitive online selling experience. Their app is a great addition to the local sales options.

If you love estate sales and auctions, Everything But the House (EBTH) might be for you! Careful, shipping can get pricey, but the low auction prices may make it worth it. You can also usually pick-up for free at the auction site.

ThredUp is a great choice for second hand clothes shoppers. This online consignment store allows you to limit by brand, size, and color and will remember your preferences to help you shop. Items are shipped to your home. Or you can order a Clean Out Kit and ThredUp will help you sell that closet full of clothes that no longer spark joy.

Looking for more clothes? Try Poshmark. Answer some questions about your favorite brands and sizes and get a curated collection of items you might like. If you chose to sell, you’ll need to set-up the listings yourself, but Poshmark’s app makes it easy to do with just a smart phone.

If you have discerning taste and a love of fine home goods, Chairish is your site. Lovingly curated, it is the online equivalent of a high-end antique shop. So although you may not find any hidden treasures, you also won’t have to scroll through pages of Poangs. If you have design classics to sell, this is also a great place to get a fair price.

Looking for outdoor gear? REI offers used clothes, equipment, and more! The company buys items from REI Co-op members and resells them to help keep them in use and out of landfills.

All the sites listed above have COVID-19 policies and procedures in place to help assure your safety.

Got a favorite site for buying or selling second-hand? Share it with us at or tell us in the comments on social media!

Imaginative Play – Postal Workers

For our Imaginative Play post this week we are going old school. Do you love the excitement of receiving a letter or a package in the mail? Let’s set up a pretend post office and pretend to be one of our important community helpers – postal workers.

Public Domain image of post office

Getting started: Check your paper recycling bin for used envelopes, junk mail flyers, and old magazines. If you have some recycled cereal or other small food boxes, these can be wrapped in recycled brown grocery bags and become packages to be delivered. Next, gather crayons, markers, pencils and pens to begin your stack of mail.

Parents, engage your child by asking them to make a list of family and friends who should receive a letter or package. Older children may enjoy copying the names and mailing information from an address book. Encourage younger children to sound out names and practice writing the first letter of the name on the envelopes. Later, see if they can remember the names when they “deliver” the mail. If you have a stash of return address labels, cut off the decorative portion for use as “stamps” or you can use any old stickers you may have. Remember to save some for selling at your post office. Practice fine motor skills by supplying kid- sized scissors and allowing your child to use tape to wrap the packages and seal the envelopes. Explain to your child the difference between the addressee and the return address.

For your post office: Set up a counter with pens, markers, pretend stamps and a stamp and ink pad if available. If you have a pretend cash register set that up as well. Use empty storage or shoe boxes to sort the incoming mail. A toy shopping cart is a great item for delivering the mail. Check the kitchen for a food scale and use that to weigh your mail. Use this “math moment” to introduce the concepts of more/less and light/heavy.

Mail carriers: Check your closet to see if you can create a uniform. Postal workers usually wear a blue uniform, but anything comfortable will work. If you have any blank labels, create a name tag using blue and red colors. Create a mail sack using a recycled brown grocery bag or a lightweight box. If you need more inspiration check our Imaginative Play/Post Office Board on Pinterest.

Delivery: Practice letter/number recognition. Set up different places around the house to deliver the mail. Use post it notes on different doors, marking them with a letter or a number. Have the mail carrier check their sack for the matching piece of mail. You could slide the mail under the door or create a “mailbox” for each.

More fun: Create a “Thank You” sign and leave it near your mailbox to brighten the day of your postal carrier! They are important community helpers! If you’d like to write us a real letter or draw us a picture, we’d love to receive mail from you!

Seventh Virtual Installment of Meet a Tree from Bayne Park

Kousa Dogwood – Cornus kousa​

While it might be one of the smaller trees in Bayne Park, the Kousa Dogwood stands out beautifully against the contrasting red-brick building with its vase-shape and horizontal branches filled with a generous bounty of green leaves.

Kousa Dogwood typically flowers mid-May through June. What appears to be pointed flower petals are actually modified leaves called bracts. The four bracts surround the cluster of tiny green inconspicious flowers. Another example of bracts that you may be familiar with are the red modified leaves (bracts) that surround the tiny yellow flowers on a poinsettia.

The flowers and surrounding bracts occur atop tall upward-facing stems which raise them above the foliage giving the Kousa Dogwood tree the appearance of having been delicately decorated with frosting. These stems are most easily viewed from below.

It is interesting to note that the leaf veins curve parallel to the shape of the leaf edges. The leaf edges are smooth and each leaf tapers to a point.

Look closely beneath a leaf and you will surprisingly see yellowish tufts and longer dark strands that resemble hair. These hair-like structures are botanically known as trichomes. They can insulate the leaves to help keep frost away from delicate plant cells, they can help reduce evaporation by shielding the leaves from heat and wind, and they can provide protection from some herbivorous insects.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program for a Dad Joke:  What tree has the most bark? (Based on the theme of this post I think you can discern the answer!) As the tree ages the bark develops an exfoliating character, revealing multi-hued mosaic-like patterns.

Reddish fruits appear on long stems in late summer through early autumn resembling raspberries. The spherical fleshy fruit, ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter, is believed to have evolved to appeal to monkeys living in China and Japan. Fortunately there are many species of birds that will feast upon them, and squirrels eat the fruits as well. Fruits landing on the ground may ferment and attract yellow jackets.

The Kousa Dogwood tree is a nectar source for the American Snout Butterfly shown in the beautiful image above by Renee Grayson. They camouflage themselves by perching on a branch while holding their antennae and prominent elongated mouthparts called palps downward like a stem. This posture allows them to blend in and evade predators by appearing to be a dead leaf. Imagine looking at what you thought was a dead leaf, only to see it fly away as a butterfly. Nature is full of surprises!

What do you see in the branches of our Kousa Dogwood tree? With an abundance of leaves that provide shade, wind protection, and cover from rain, the Kousa Dogwood provides a highly attractive nesting site for songbirds. I watched as a Robin flew into the nest presumably to incubate several blue eggs.

The three robin’s eggs shown above are from a nest in my yard in 2018. Eventually there should be some fledgling robins hopping around Bayne Park learning to fly!

Kousa Dogwood differs from the Eastern North American Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) which has rounded rather than pointed bracts, and blooms on leafless branches weeks prior to the Kousa Dogwood’s blooms which appear on branches full of leaves. The green leaves create a beautiful backdrop to the elevated blooms of the Kousa Dogwood.

Small but mighty, the Kousa Dogwood contributes to the beauty of the landscape of Bayne Park year-round.  In spring, the profusion of star-like blooms dazzles the eye.  In summer, shade is provided by the layered branches covered in vibrant green leaves. Autumn coincides with the showy spectacle of bright red fruit and rich maroon foliage.  Winter showcases the patterned bark which stands out beautifully against pristine white snow.

Book Recommendations:

It is the perfect time of year to consult Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning to learn what, when, and where to prune for a more beautiful garden.

On the topic of bird nests, Egg & Nest features photography by Rosamond Purcell. This delightful book is brimming with images that capture the intricacy of nests and the nuances of bird eggs.

Thank you for joining us and virtually meeting our Kousa Dogwood tree at Bayne Park today. We hope this virtual experience helps you to feel connected to the trees. Once Bayne Park reopens, we encourage you to visit the trees in person.

Check back every Treesday Tuesday for the next virtual installment of Meet a Tree from Bayne Park!

Smart Cookie – Update

To all of our readers who signed up for the Be A Smart Cookie program, you can return your reading logs directly to Good L’oven Cookie Shop in Bellevue to claim your sweet reward. We realize that because of our continued closure, many of you are re-reading the books you have checked out, books from your own shelves and e-books. These all count! The important thing is that you are reading! We miss seeing each of you and congratulating you on reaching your goal, but the staff of Good L’oven is excited to see you too! (Please check their website for their modified schedule.)

Our sincerest thanks to Good L’oven Cookie Shop for their generosity in sponsoring this program for the last five years!

Got Legos?

Got Legos?

We’re missing our weekly Lego sessions at the library. If you’ve got Legos at home, we thought you might want some inspiration. Overdrive has a great selection of Lego themed books available. There are building guides, picture books, easy readers and books that explore the history and art form of Legos.

Hoopla, available with your library card, also has a great selection of Lego themed movies and books for your enjoyment.

Have you ever wondered about the history of Legos and how it all began? This short animated YouTube video tells the story of Lego inventor, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish carpenter turned toymaker. He had many obstacles to overcome before Legos (from a Danish phrase which means “play well”) became a success. From its beginnings in the 1950’s to the year 2000 when it was named “Toy of the Century” by Fortune magazine, Lego has become a staple of childhood. It has often been called “the ideal toy” because of its endless creative possibilities.

How many Legos do you have? Visit the Guinness Book of World Records site and find out about a man in Australia who has 1.2 million Lego bricks and 8,000 mini figures! If you don’t have that many, visit our Lego Pinterest board for some ideas to inspire you! Share what you’re building with us on social media – we’d love to see!

Missing You – Week 9

Bonjour! Welcome to week nine in the continuing saga of What is Ted Reading?

Ted loves this classic tale of little Madeline’s adventures in Paris! Click here for a fun read aloud of this book. If you would like to learn a little bit of the French language, try Little Pim, an online language learning tool for kids. Your library card number is your passport to a whole world of resources. If you’re really a Madeline fan, Hoopla has a great selection of the Madeline television series for viewing.

Kids and armchair travelers of all ages may enjoy exploring France and other countries on the National Geographic Kids website. It contains beautiful photographs of each country as well as maps and descriptions of the people and wildlife of each country.

Looking for some Madeline crafts? Visit our Pinterest Children’s Book Craft board to find a hat you can create to look “magnifique” just like Ted.

Au revoir, until we meet again.

Wednesday 101 – Meditation

Meditation can be simple, and there are so many different ways to try it.

The most common way to meditate is by finding a quiet space to sit while focusing on your breath and relaxing your mind.  Realizing that a quiet space can be difficult to find, here are some other options.

Creative Meditation: Monday Mandala has free Mandala coloring pages that include intricate lines, swirls, and curves of both abstract and nature-based designs. You can also immerse yourself in the creation of flowing digital art using Color Push without printing or using any materials.

Meditative Making: Knit, crochet, or create anything repetitive using your hands while focusing on your breath and feeling the joy that flows from you as you create. Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning contains ten projects complemented by a meditation exercise.

Relaxing Nature Sounds: The Relaxing Sounds of Ocean Waves by Greg Cetus will create a calming atmosphere to encourage your mind to rest.

Walking Meditation on a Local Labyrinth: This type of meditation is perfect for people who don’t like to sit still. You don’t need to think as you walk a labyrinth because there is only one path to the center, and you follow the same path back out to the begining.  Unlike a maze, there are no wrong turns, you simply follow the path.  

While walking the labyrinth focus on the three R’s – Release-Receive-Reflect.  While slowly walking along the path to the center focus on releasing any tension or stress, once in the center pause to receive good energy, and while you are tracing your steps back to the beginning reflect on your experience in the labyrinth.

The Labyrinth at Kearns Spirituality Center was designed and constructed in 2003.  The center features a petrified stone which has been etched with a labyrinth design.

The Homestead Labyrinth at the Pump House is situated just across the Monongahela River from the Carrie Blast Furnaces along the Great Allegheny Passage, the Pump House was once part of the U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works. Created by artist Lorraine Vullo in 2009, the labyrinth features more than 250 triangular stones, labeled with the names of steel mills, foundies, and blast furnaces from our region.

Book Recommendation: The Best Meditations on the Planet – 100 Techniques to Beat Stress, Improve Health, and Create Happiness in Just Minutes a Day by Dr. Martin Heart and Skye Alexander.

The most important thing is finding a way to meditate that feels right for you. Do you have any resources that help you to meditate? Share with us on social media or email us

Sixth Virtual Installment of Meet a Tree from Bayne Park

Japanese Zelkova Tree – Zelkova serrata

If you have ever enjoyed listening to a concert being performed on the porch of Bayne Library you may have been sitting beneath our Japanese Zelkova tree with its spreading branches and delicate pendulous foliage framing the view. The photograph above features Ridgemont High‘s performance in June of 2019.

Japanese Zelkova, which also goes by the common name Keaki, is native to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria. It was introduced to America in 1862 prior to when our library building was first built as the home of James Madison Balph and Amanda Balph (formerly Bayne) in 1875.

There is a lot to love about the Japanese Zelkova tree as it provides an abundance of shade and has a graceful romantic form. In addition to being known for its hardiness as it is tolerant of drought, heat, wind, and urban conditions, Japanese Zelkova has been promoted as a substitute for the American Elm tree due to its resistance to Dutch Elm disease. The only drawback is that it does not attract or support much wildlife as it is not native to our region.

The Zelkova tree is Monoecious, which means the tree has male flowers and female flowers in separate structures on the same tree. The above photograph by Kenpei shows the tiny inconspicuous flowers. They are difficult to notice as they are yellow-green and occur in tight groups along new stems. The female flowers give rise to small wingless drupes that ripen in late summer to autumn eventually maturing to brown.

Leaves are simple and alternate with sharply serrated margins. Zelkova leaves can differ in size on the same tree depending on the type of twig and its position in the crown. Fruiting shoots tend to produce smaller leaves with shallow indentions at the serrated edges while vegetative shoots tend to have larger leaves with coarser indentions.

The mature brown drupes often fall attached to the entire twig, with the leaves functioning as a parachute to carry the drupes containing the seeds away from the tree.

Autumn coloration varies, it can range from subtle golden hues to attractive shades of yellow-orange to reddish-brown. 

The bark is typically grayish-brown to grayish-white with numerous lenticels which are small pores through the protective outer bark that allow gas exchange between the living tissue of the inner bark and the surrounding air. The young bark remains smooth for many years but eventually with age it exfoliates into patches revealing the orange inner bark.

Japanese Zelkova wood is valued in Japan and used often used to create Tansu which is traditional mobile storage cabinetry. The wood is renowned for its beautifully dynamic wavy grain and bright yet calming color.

Japanese Zelkova wood is also considered ideal for the creation of taiko drums (like the one shown above photographed by Steve Evans) due to the wood’s hardness and density which gives the drum its particular tone.

Japanese Zelkova tree trunks are hollowed out and carefully chiseled into the shape of a drum. Once the wood has been aged and the exterior has been thinned down to refine the shape using hand-tools, the inner shell is finally carved with precise patterns that are incredibly ornate.  

These beautiful patterns effect the resonance and timbre of the drum. Learn more and take a look at the intricate patterns concealed within taiko drums.  ​

In addition, Japanese Zelkova trees are also popular as bonsai specimens.

Book Recommendation:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees – Eastern Region by Elbert L. Little contains color images of bark and leaves in addition to copious information about each tree type in regards to description, habitat, and range.

Thank you for joining us and virtually meeting our Zelkova tree at Bayne Park today. We hope this virtual experience helps you to feel connected to the trees and we encourage you to visit the trees in person once Bayne Park reopens.

Check back every Treesday Tuesday for the next virtual installment of Meet a Tree from Bayne Park!

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