Last week was National Libraries Week, as I was reminded by a group of young folks that brought us a beautiful sign saying “Altamont Cooperative Preschool Loves Their Library!”

We are lucky, here at the Altamont Free Library, to be in a community that so values its library and to have such a wonderful staff and crew of dedicated volunteers that keep the library running. Many thanks to you all, for continuing to support us in big ways and small year after year.

The Dojo

On Friday, April 28, our old friend Ryan Black will be back to lead our teen gaming program, The Dojo at 6 p.m. From board games to card games to video games, we’ll have something for every high schooler (or near high schooler) to get into.

Earth Day craft

Celebrate Earth Day and the spring season at the library. Join us on Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m., to make a small greenhouse garden called a terrarium.

Please bring a small glass jar with a lid (mustard, pickle or small mason jar-sized) — preferably something that was headed for the recycling bin — a tiny glass or plastic figurine or two that can adorn the garden you create — gnomes and kittens love terrarium living, and your creativity.

Please pre-register to ensure that we have ample garden-making materials for all by calling the library at 861-7239, e-mailing at director@AltamontFreeLibrary.org or stop by the library and sign up in person.

This workshop will be led by Christine Carpenter, who loves exploring the natural world, and has been making terrariums and other tiny habitats since she was a very young girl.

Jamaican potluck

This is exciting! This month’s ever-popular Eat Around the World Potluck will focus on the food and drinks of sunny Jamaica. Please join us at 6 p.m., on Monday, April 27, for this always fun event and please bring a dish to share. If you don’t have any Jamaican recipes in your recipe box, we’ve got a few Caribbean cookbooks you can check out.

Book and garage sale

On Saturday, May 2, the library will hold our annual book sale in conjunction with the PTA’s village-wide garage sale. In additon, this year, we will hold a garage sale to raise funds for the library. From noon on Wednesday, April 29 until the day of the sale, we will be very grateful to accept your books which will either be added to the library’s collection or sold to raise money for library programs and services.

We will begin accepting donations of garage sale items in good condition (no clothes, please!)  on Thursday, April 30. We will be happy to make up a receipt for you for tax purposes if you like. Please don’t forget to visit us during the sale to find your next favorite book.

The Children Act

The first Monday book group will meet at noon on Monday, May 4, to discuss “The Children Act” by Ian McEwan. This new novel touches on several issues that have been widely debated recently, including the intersection of religious faith and modern medicine and the ability of young adults to make their own health care decisions. Please join us for what will undoubtedly be a fascinating conversation.

— Photo by Ron Ginsburg

The Train Station Quilters and their volunteers came together on April 7 for the Million Pillowcase Challenge, making cases for children in foster care. Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, County Sheriff Craig Apple, Altamont Mayor Jim Gaughan, and other officials were on hand for the event.

All year long, people ask us to take their books off of their hands. It always seems that more than almost any category of household item--more than clothes, more than records, more than furniture--people always want to know that their books have found a good second or third home.

All year long, we have to regretfully decline most offers, since we simply don’t have the space for them. Soon, though, will be your opportunity!

On Saturday, May 2nd, Altamont Free Library will hold our annual book sale in conjunction with the PTA’s village-wide garage sale. From noon on Wednesday, April 29th until the day of the sale, we will very grateful to accept your books which will either be added to the library’s collection or sold to raise money for library programs and services.

We will be happy to make up a receipt for you for tax purposes if you like. Please visit us during the sale to find your next favorite book.

In the meantime, we’ve got a bunch of great things coming up this week.

Encore Orientation

This Thursday, we’ll be holding that an orientation session to our new online catalog called Encore. Whether you’d like to reserve items or check your account from home, use our brand new databases or just browse for your next movie, cd or book, we’ll cover everything that the system can allow you to do.

Please bring your library card (or at least have your card number memorized) and join us at 6pm for this enlightening event.

Animation Workshop Full

Registration for our Saturday, April 18th Video Animation Workshop is full. If you haven’t signed up, fear not! We will be running another session of the workshop this summer, and if you’re left on the waitlist for the April session, you’ll have first crack at registering for the summer session.

“To Kill A Mockingbird”

Over the next few months, our Penultimate Monday book club will be discussing old classics that we first encountered (or wish we had encountered) in high school English classes.

First up, “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee at 7pm on Monday, April 20th. This widely beloved novel tells a story of crime, prejudice and understanding in the South in the 1930’s. Whether this is your first encounter with the book or your tenth, please join us for what is certain to be a great discussion.

The Dojo

On Friday, April 28th, our old friend Ryan Black will be back to lead out teen gaming program, The Dojo at 6pm. From board games to card games to video games, we’ll have something for every high schooler (or near high schooler) to get into.

Earth Day Craft

Celebrate Earth Day and the spring season at the library! Join us on Saturday April 25th at 11am to make a small greenhouse garden called a terrarium.

Please bring a small glass jar with a lid (mustard, pickle or small mason jar-sized) — preferably something that was headed for the recycling bin! — a tiny glass or plastic figurine or two that can adorn the garden you create — gnomes and kittens love terrarium living! — and your creativity.

Please pre-register to ensure that we have ample garden-making materials for all by calling the library at (518) 861-7239, emailing at director@AltamontFreeLibrary.org or stop by the library and sign up in person.

This workshop will be led by Christine Carpenter, who loves exploring the natural world and has been making terrariums and other tiny habitats since she was a very young girl.

Happy April! I hope that, with the coming of the new month, we can begin to put this long cold winter behind us and enjoy the springtime. This week, we’ve got a ton of neat stuff coming up at the Altamont Free Library.

Please note that the library will be closed for Easter on Sunday April 5.

Easter baskets

Speaking of Easter, we’ll be holding a kids crafting event at 3 p.m. this Friday, April 3. Please join us to make your very own Easter basket out of recycled materials. Call the library at 861-7239 to register in advance so that we can be sure we have enough materials.

Book discussion

The first Monday book discussion group will be meeting on Monday, April 6, at noon to discuss “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain. This fantastic novel revolves around a young veteran of the Iraq war coming to terms with his sudden fame and the meaning and consequences of modern war. There will be much to talk about, so please pick up a copy of this acclaimed novel at the library and join us.

Million Pillowcase Project

Here’s a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday during school break: Come down to village hall on April 7, and help the Train Station Quilters achieve their goal of making pillowcases for children in foster care as part of a nationwide effort called the Million Pillowcase Project. If you need fabric, there’ll be plenty of extra fabric available at the event. No prior experience in quilting or sewing is necessary. Please call the library at 861-7239 to register in advance.

Bird walk

We tried to do this in February, but you know what? It’s cold in February. Way too cold to get up early and walk around outside for an hour. But now it’s spring and time to go bird watching.  Break out your binoculars (we’ll have extras if you need them), and join us at the library at 9 a.m., on Thursday, April 9, for a one-hour walk around Altamont to see what birds there are to see.

Our expedition will be led by Dan Capuano. Since school’s out that week, please feel free to bring any junior ornithologists you might know. First timers are very much welcome.

Editing workshop

Lights! Camera! Action! Local filmmakers Frank and Zach Appio will be conducting a video editing class at the library on Saturday, April 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., for aspiring photographers and filmmakers ages seven to 14. This free event will demonstrate the technique of stop motion animation using Legos, smartphone cameras and the Lego Movie Maker app. All necessary materials will be provided. Seats in the workshop are limited, so to register, please e-mail the Appios at youthanimationworkshop@gmail.com to register.

— Photo by Joe Burke

Feeding their fine feathered friends: Forty people participated in Saturday's Build a Birdfeeder workshop at the Altamont Free Library.

As you’ve seen from the libraries’ collective announcement, this is a big week for us as we get ready for the first major overhaul of our catalogue in 12 years. However, we’ve still got a ton of neat stuff going on here at Altamont Free Library.

The Dojo

On Friday, March 27, our old friend Ryan Black will be back to lead our teen gaming program, The Dojo at 6 p.m. From board games to card games to video games, we’ll have something for every high schooler (or near high schooler) to get into.

Eat Around the World

Next Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m., we will hold the latest in our ever popular series of Eat Around the World Potlucks, this time featuring the cuisine of the South American nation of Peru. If you love Peruvian food, or if you’ve never tried it and just want to hang out with some nice folks and enjoy a meal, please join us, and bring a dish to share.

Book discussion

The first Monday book discussion group will be meeting on Monday, April 6, at noon to discuss Billy Lynn’s “Long Halftime Walk By Ben Fountain.” This fantastic novel revolves around a young veteran of the Iraq war coming to terms with his sudden fame and the meaning and consequences of modern war.

There will be much to talk about, so please pick up a copy of this acclaimed novel at the library and join us.

Million Pillowcase Project

A bit further down the road, we have a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday during school break. Come down to village hall on April 7, and help the Train Station Quilters achieve their goal of making pillowcases for children in foster care as part of a nationwide effort called the Million Pillowcase Project.

Here’s what you’ll need: One yard of fabric in one pattern, plus 10.5 inches of fabric in a different pattern for the trim. If you need fabric, there’ll be a limited amount of extra fabric available at the event. No prior experience in quilting or sewing is necessary. Please call the library at 861-7239 to register in advance.

Editing workshop

Another very cool event a bit down the road, local filmmakers Frank and Zach Appio will be conducting a video editing class at the library on Saturday, April 18, from 1to 4 p.m., for aspiring photographers and filmmakers ages seven to 14.

This free event will demonstrate the technique of stop motion animation using Legos, smartphone cameras, and the Lego Movie Maker app. Seats in the workshop are limited, so to register, please email the Appios at youthanimationworkshop@gmail.com.

“To Kill A Mockingbird”

With the recent announcement of the upcoming publication of a long-lost second novel by Harper Lee, much attention has been turned to Lee’s masterpiece, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” This classic novel about race and crime in the 1930s’ American South will be the focus of our penultimate Monday book discussion group on Monday, April 20, at 7 p.m.

Weather you’ve read it ten times, you haven’t read it since high school, or if this will be your first time, please join us.

Spring is nearly here and the time for new things is at hand. I’m speaking, of course, about the library’s new online catalog, which Altamont Free Library, as well as every other public library in Albany and Rensselaer Counties, will be rolling out on March 31.

As a reminder (or a primer, if you missed last weeks’ column), there is no cause for alarm: Everything that you love about the library will still be available when we switch systems. You'll still be able to search the catalog, reserve and renew items from your computer or smart devices. In addition, the new catalog will give you the option of searching for newspaper, reference book and scholarly articles from a number of databases that will soon be available to you.

Leading up to the implementation of the new systems, however, there are a few things you should know:

— For ten days before the new system goes live, you will be able to place requests, but we will not be able to fill them until after the new system is up and running;

— If you have suspended holds--requests for items that you have asked not to be filled until after a certain date--those holds will all be filled as soon as the new system goes live or very soon afterwards. To bypass this, the trick will be to delete your hold before March 30, and place it again as a suspended hold after the new system becomes available;

— If you use the "My List" feature of the current catalog to keep track of books you want to read or have read, that list will not be transferred over to the new system. You may email the list to yourself in order to keep that information and start a new list in the new system.

— As with any major technological change, there are bound to be unforeseen hiccups.  For this reason, the AFL staff will be available by phone  at 861-7239 and e-mail at director@altamontfreelibrary.org to assist with any problems that may arise with your account. Furthermore, we will be lenient in applying overdue fines for the week after the new system goes into effect. Please keep an eye on our website, AltamontFreeLibrary.org for news and information about the new catalog system. We will update this site with news as it becomes available.

Thank you for your support and patience through these changes.

In the meantime, there’s some neat stuff coming up this week at the library and two very cool events a bit further out in April.

Bird feeders

To celebrate the springtime, bring your favorite young folks down to the library this coming Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. We’ll be building birdfeeders to welcome our feathered friends back from their migrations. We’ll have a bunch of different types to make, so there will be something to make for every skill level.

Book club

Do you have a second grader in your life who’s crazy about reading? Bring them to our Second Grade Book Club on Sunday, March 22, at 2:30 p.m. Erika Peterson will be leading a discussion of “The Magic Tree House vol. 2: The Knight at Dawn.” The following Sunday, March 29, at 2:30 p.m., we’ll meet again to discuss the third book in that beloved series, “Mummies in the Morning.”

Adult book club

Our Penultimate Monday Book Club will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 23, to discuss “Flora” by Gail Godwin. This acclaimed novel tells the story of a precocious 10-year-old girl and her struggling caretaker, set against the backdrop of the anxious final months of World War II.

Dojo

On Friday, March 27, at 6 p.m., our old friend Ryan Black will be in to lead out teen gaming program, the Dojo. We’ll have something for every high schooler (or near high schooler) to get into, from board games to card games to video games.

Million Pillowcase Project

A bit further down the road, we have a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday during school break. Come down to village hall on April 7, and help the Train Station Quilters achieve their goal of making pillowcases for children in foster care as part of a nationwide effort called the Million Pillowcase Project. Here’s what you’ll need: One yard of fabric in one pattern, plus 10.5-inches of fabric in a different pattern for the trim. If you need fabric, there’ll be a limited amount of extra fabric available at the event. No prior experience in quilting or sewing is necessary. Please call the library at 861-7239 to register in advance.

Video editing workshop

Another very cool event a bit down the road, local filmmakers Frank and Zach Appio will be conducting a video editing class at the library on Saturday, April 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., for aspiring photographers and filmmakers ages seven to 14. This free event will demonstrate the technique of stop motion animation using Legos, smartphone cameras, and the “Lego Movie Maker” app. Seats in the workshop are limited, so to register, please e-mail the Appios at youthanimationworkshop@gmail.com

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