banana-fact-logoFamilies from Bethlehem and beyond can enjoy a fun-filled educational experience deigned to promote visual literacy as the Bethlehem Area Public Library and ArtsQuest partner on a weekly Toddler Storytime at the Banana Factory Arts Center, 25 W. Third St., Bethlehem, starting Sept. 15.  The free program, set for Thursdays, 10-10:45 a.m., will take place in the art center’s Crayola Gallery, where children and their families will be surrounded by vibrant works of art created by artists from throughout the region.

beth-libraryGeared toward families with children ages 18 months to 6-years old, the Storytime sessions are led by Bethlehem Area Public Library librarians and ArtsQuest staff members. During each program, families can look, listen, sing and have fun with picture books, with each week focusing on a different artistic or literary theme. Following Storytime, families are encouraged to explore the Banana Factory galleries and art studios to further experience the arts, with opportunities to tie elements of the stories together with aspects of the artwork.

“Storytime is designed to provide an engaging and highly visual experience for families that promotes reading, as well as an appreciation for the arts,” says ArtsQuest Director of Education Lisa Harms, who spent 13 years as a librarian at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. “This new program is easily accessible to hundreds of families living on Bethlehem’s SouthSide and allows us to continue to expand our early childhood development programming for our community.  We thank the Bethlehem Area Public Library for its support and we look forward to growing our partnership in the future.”

The first Storytime Sept. 15 features readings by Harms and Bethlehem Area Public Library Executive Director Josh Berk. During the morning, families will enjoy five highly engaging stories focused on the theme “Shape” including:

Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong; illustrated by John Parra
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh (shapes)
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Other themes to be explored in the coming weeks include Color and Color Theory, Amazing Animals, Artistic Mediums and Lines.

“It’s always great any time the library can bring books into the community and I’m especially excited to partner with ArtsQuest, one of my favorite organizations in the city,” says Berk. “Storytime in the Banana Factory art gallery is a fabulous match, a perfect way to bring literacy and art together. Kids are going to love it!”

For more information on Storytime at the Banana Factory, visit or