Gardening Without A Garden: A Container Gardening Workshop presented by The Bedford Area Master Gardeners Association

Get Creative With Your Gardening This Spring!

Join us for this hands-on workshop where you will learn how to grow a variety of plants in containers…
Big and Small
Traditional or Out-Of-The-Box

Indoors or Outdoors

Specific Topics That Will Be Discussed…

  • The benefits vs. the downfalls of planting in a container.
  • What type of soil you should use for different types of plants.
  • How much space you need to grow vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. 
  • What plants can share a container and the benefits of companion planting.
  • Ideas for non-traditional containers. 

All participants will have the opportunity to pot their own plant to take home with them during the hands-on portion of the workshop.  The Master Gardeners will also be giving a packet of seeds to any one who attends.  A variety of different types of containers will be made available for people to choose from.

All of the plants will be  provided by Wipledale Farm Greenhouse Inc. (

Workshop Dates

  • Bedford Central Library: Saturday, May 8th at 11:00 AM
  • Big Island Library: Tuesday, May 11th at 3:00 PM
  • Moneta/SML Library: Saturday, May 15th at 11:00 AM
  • Stewartsville Library: Tuesday, May 18th at 3:00 PM
  • Forest Library: Saturday, May 22nd at 11:00 AM
  • Montvale Library: Saturday, May 29th at 11:00 AM

Registration is required and space is limited.

Sign up online @!

Please be aware that at least a portion of these events will be held outside weather permitting.  Social distancing will be observed and masks are required.


“All the World Loves a Penguin” Our 2021 Community Read

The Bedford Public Library System Presents…

“All the World Loves a Penguin”

Our 2021 Community Read

March 1st – April 30th

“I find Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in the world so sympathetically ridiculous; one can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin.” — John Ruskin, 1860

The book selections for this year’s Community Read all tell stories that explore special relationships between humans and one of the world’s most beloved animals…the PENGUIN!  
We hope you will enjoy reading and learning more about these amazing creatures with us.

No holds copies of this year’s selections will be on display and available for you to borrow at all 6 of our locations starting March 1st.
If you stop by your location and the no holds copy is checked out please do consider placing a hold on either the print or digital copies so you can read them once a copy becomes available.  Follow the links listed below the book covers to see these titles in our catalog.
In addition to this year’s book selections you will find information about related library programming and links to other fun penguin activities and videos at the bottom of this page.  New content will be added to this section throughout this year’s Read.     


For The Adults

Our adult fiction selection this year is…
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior.
Summary: “A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it’s never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker. Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit-and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open. Her grandson, Patrick, follows Veronica to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about.”
Author Website

This year we also selected an Adult Non-Fiction book…
The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned From a Remarkable Bird
by Tom Michell

Summary: In 1975, twenty-three-year-old Englishman Tom Michell follows his wanderlust to Argentina, where he becomes assistant master at a prestigious boarding school. But Michell’s adventures really begin when, on a weekend in Uruguay, he rescues a penguin covered in oil from an ocean spill, cleans the bird up, and attempts to return him to the sea. The penguin refuses to leave his rescuer’s side. “That was the moment at which he became my penguin, and whatever the future held, we’d face it together,” says Michell in this charming memoir.  Michell names the penguin Juan Salvador (“John Saved”), but Juan Salvador, as it turns out, is the one who saves Michell.

After Michell smuggles the bird back to Argentina and into his campus apartment, word spreads about the young Englishman’s unusual roommate. Juan Salvador is suddenly the center of attention–as the mascot of the rugby team, confidant to the dorm housekeeper, co-host of Michell’s parties, and an unprecedented swimming coach to a shy boy. Even through the collapse of the Perónist government and amid the country’s economic and political strife,
Juan Salvador brings joy to everyone around him–especially Michell, who considers the affectionate animal a compadre and kindred spirit.

Witty and heartwarming, The Penguin Lessons is a classic in the making, a story that is both absurd and wonderful, exactly like Juan Salvador.

Author Interview

For The Kids

Our picture book selection for this year is…
The Old Man and the Penguin by Julie Abery.

Summary: The heartwarming true tale of the friendship between and a man and the penguin he saved. João finds a penguin, soaked in oil, on the shore. Barely moving on the sand, too tired to swim, too weak to stand … João must save this little guy. Without his help, he’ll surely die. João takes the penguin home. He cleans him, feeds him, and nurses him back to health – and the pair develop an unlikely bond. When the penguin is fully recovered, João knows it’s time to return him to the wild where he belongs. But the penguin has other ideas … When the heart is open, friendship can happen anywhere.

Author Website

This year’s chapter book selection is…
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.
Summary: How many penguins in the house are too many? Mr. Popper is a humble house painter living in Stillwater who dreams of faraway places like the South Pole. When an explorer responds to his letter by sending him a penguin named Captain Cook, Mr. Popper and his family’s lives change forever. Soon one penguin becomes twelve, and the Poppers must set out on their own adventure to preserve their home.   First published in 1938, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a classic tale that has enchanted young readers for generations.

The Big Island Library Presents…
Disneynature’s Penguins
Friday, April 9th at 2:00 PM
Saturday, April 10th at 10:00 AM
Meet Steve, the Penguin, as he battles natural enemies, looks for a mate, and becomes a father.  This beautiful cinematic creation will introduce you to the habits and habitat of the Adélie Penguin, the bird being studied in our Community Read book, How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior.  Learn and laugh as Steve grows up and takes on adult penguin responsibilities while maintaining his youthful spirit of fun.
Registration is required – click on the date/time above to sign up on our events calendar.

The Wild World of Virginia Wildlife presented by the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke: a BPLS 2021 Community Read Event
At the Bedford Central Library
Saturday, April 24th at 11:00 AM

Please join us when the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke visits to talk about wildlife rescue and conservation in Virginia!  They will be bringing one or two wild animal ambassadors and sharing each native species’ history and personal stories, as well as discussing issues facing wild animals in Virginia.

Click the link above to learn more about this event and to register.

Family Fun Night: Cute As A Button Penguin Art Edition
At the Moneta/SML Library
Thursday, April 29th at 6:00 PM
Create your own adorable penguin work of art (similar to the one pictured above) using buttons!  Space is limited.
Click on the red link above to visit our registration page.  

Penguin Videos

Documentary Film: South Georgia – Penguin Paradise of the South Atlantic
Run Time: 48 Minutes, 51 Seconds

In the middle of the Antarctic Ocean, an entire mountain range arises from the water: South Georgia, the nursery of the Antarctic. Hundreds of thousands of penguins, elephant seals, fur seals, and their young overcrowd the beaches. The rough weather and the extremely difficult access to the island cause filmmaking to be an endeavor requiring much of the film crew around Roland Gockel and Rosie Koch and the state-of-the-art cameras. A lot of patience and sensitivity over a period spanning some five years now offers unknown and poignant insights into the life of the King Penguins on South Georgia Island.


ChangingSeasTV Full Episode – Peru’s Desert Penguins

Run Time: 26 Minutes, 42 Seconds

Along Peru’s barren coastline seabirds reign. Among them is the adorable Humboldt penguin, which builds its nests in the guano of other birds. Scientists monitor local penguin populations and study the animals’ interactions with fisheries.

Penguin Watch
Penguin populations in Antarctica could be under threat from human impacts, including fishing and climate change. But scientists don’t know how many penguins are really out on the ice or how they spend their time. Using nearly 100 cameras, teams of scientists have amassed photos from across Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Now they need you–the citizen scientists–to help them count adult penguins, chicks, eggs, and other species present at each site throughout the year.  If you can click, you can tag a penguin!
It’s that #simple.

Cartoon penguin Reading

More Penguin Reading

Penguin Crafts
Crochet Penguin Patterns
Pattern Option 1
Pattern Option 2
Pattern Option 3

Harry Potter Take & Makes…and Virtual Escape Room

 Do you love Harry Potter?  WE DO!

 If you love Harry Potter as much as we do then you should consider registering for one of our Take and Make Kits filled with magical coloring sheets, puzzles, activities, and a wand craft that even muggles will enjoy making!  Kits will be available to pick up during library hours starting February 4th at our

Bedford Central Library and Stewartsville Library.   

 A limited supply of kits will be available so be sure to sign up early!  

 Want even more Harry Potter fun?

Here is the link to the

Virtual Harry Potter Escape Room

 We hope you try it out!


Valentines For Vets

We invite you to participate again this year in our annual Valentine’s For Vets Program! 
Show your support and appreciation for the men and women who have served in our armed forces by creating a homemade Valentine’s Day card for one of the military veterans who are currently being treated at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Drop by any Bedford Public Library System location to pick up a “Take and Make” Valentine kit with your supplies.
Please drop off your card(s) no later than Monday, February 8th to ensure they arrive on time!



Virtual Parade of Trees

Virtual Parade of Trees
Photo Contest
Sponsored by the
Friends of the
Big Island Library

The Big Island Library, in light of what is happening around the world with increased COVID cases, has decided to offer our traditional Parade of Trees as a virtual program in 2020.  If you decorate early and want to show off your creativity, take a photo of your Christmas Tree and send it to Dawn Fisher at  We ask that all photos be in by December 4th so that a poster will be ready to display during the Library (Outside) Open House on December 8th. 
You can vote anytime between December 8th and 30th. 
Voting can be done in person at the Big Island Library or on our online poll on our website. 
The winner will be announced on our Facebook page on January 4th

1st Place Prize

2nd Place Prize