— 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

On March 31, the Upper Hudson Library System, covering all of the public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties including Altamont Free Library, will unveil a new circulation system and a new online catalogue called Encore.

If you use the catalogue from your home computer, the new system will look different, but all of the same functions that you use now will still be available through this new system. You'll still be able to search the catalogue and reserve and renew items from your computer or smart devices.

In addition, the new catalog will give you the option of searching for newspapers, reference books, 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 10 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; and

— If you use the "My List" feature of the current catalogue 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 Altamont library staff will be available by phone at 861-7239 and email 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 catalogue 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, we’ve got some neat events coming up this week.

eReaders 101

Flummoxed by your Nook? Curious about the Kindle? Ready to throw your iPad across a room? Let us help.

Bring whatever eReader you’ve got (or take a gander at one of ours before you buy one yourself) on Monday, March 16, from 6 to 8 p.m., and we’ll help you download books to it and troubleshoot any basic problems you might be having.

Adult trivia

Adult Trivia Night is back. Hosted by our very own Mary Beth Mulligan, bring a team and BYOB to this brain twisting trivia contest on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. Entrance is $5 and the winning team takes half of the door.

Birdfeeder for kids

Celebrate the first day of spring on Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m., by building your very own birdfeeder. We’ll have supplies for several different types of birdfeeders, so there’ll be something for a kid of any age to do.

Second Grade 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”.

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 ten-year-old girl and her struggling caretaker, set against the backdrop of the anxious final months of World War II.

 

— From Grimm Biz Seminars & Coaching

Staff appreciated: The new director of the Altamont Free Library, Joe Burke, far left, speaks with library supporters Kelly Pickering, second from left, and Meg Seinberg-Hughes, right, along with part-time library employee Albert Rusch at the March 1 open house, held to show appreciation for the library staff.

Happy Seuss Week!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to children of all ages as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Every year, schools and libraries all over the United States and across the world celebrate his birthday.

One of the great joys of being a Altamont Free Library worker is that we get to share books that we enjoyed as children to new generations of readers. Earlier this week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit two classes at Altamont Elementary School to read some of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved stories.

I would encourage all of you to take this opportunity to revisit some of Dr. Seuss’s books. Perhaps you will find meanings and metaphors in some of his books that you might have missed as a younger reader.

Consider, also, the historical and biographical context in which the stories were written. “The Sneeches,” for one example, was published in 1961 in the midst of the American civil rights movement, and its central message — “Sneeches are Sneeches and no kind of Sneech is the best on the beaches” — speaks to the superficiality of differences between people.

Seuss was out in front of the environmental movement, publishing “The Lorax,” a warning about the consequences of not respecting our natural resources, in 1971. Examples of his forward thinking abound.

On top of which, Seuss is just plain fun to read especially aloud. His tongue twisters and nonsense words and driving, rhythmic meter make his books an instant hit with kids of every age. So, come by the library and save some room in your tote bag for a few of Dr. Seuss’s greatest hits.

Felting

Originally scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25, our Pinterest Craft Night will now be held on Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. Jan Hornbach will demonstrate and assist us in the very cool technique of felting. Please join us.

eReaders 101

Flummoxed by your Nook? Curious about the Kindle? Ready to throw your iPad across a room? Let us help. Bring whatever eReader you’ve got (or take a gander at one of ours before you buy one yourself) and we’ll help you download books to it and help troubleshoot any basic problems you might be having.

Adult trivia

Adult Trivia Night is back. Hosted by our very own Mary Beth Mulligan, bring a team and BYOB to this brain twisting trivia contest on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. Entrance is $5 and the winning team takes half of the door.

Build a birdfeeder

Celebrate the first day of spring on Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m., by building your very own birdfeeder. We’ll have supplies for several different types of birdfeeders, so there’ll be something for a kid of any age to do.

As the absolutely ridiculous weather of this past month continues unabated, it is, maybe, some consolation that, over the past week or two, we here at the Altamont Free Library have started thinking ahead to planning our Summer Reading Program. Some might say that planning so far in advance is a kind of coping mechanism, to help us focus on warm thoughts to get us through this cold spell.

I, on the other hand, think that we are just super enthused by the theme of the Summer Reading Program: Every Hero Has a Story. I invite you to start thinking about it, too.

Who are your heroes? What makes a person a hero? Do you have a story of heroism to tell? Which would you choose: flight, invisibility, or weather control?

If you’d like to be involved in our Summer Reading Program, please get in touch to let us know what your super library power is.

Until then, we’ve got some great programs and events coming up at the library.

T(w)een Night

On Friday, Feb. 27, we’ve got a double header of events for teens and tweens. First up, our old friend Ryan Black will be in to lead out 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.

After that, Erika Peterson will be leading our teen book discussion group in a dialog about Dave Egger’s The Circle at 8 p.m. Come on in and bring a friend.

Staff Appreciation Day

Here’s a note from my bosses: On Sunday, March 1, the library board of trustees will host a staff appreciation reception from 2 to 4 p.m.  Everyone in our community is invited to join us at the library on that afternoon to visit with our staff and thank them for all they do to help make the library such a vibrant and welcoming place.

Refreshments will be served. We look forward to spending time with you on March 1.

Well that’s very nice, isn’t it? To add my own thanks to the trustees’, I’d just like to say that the staff here at the library is the best I’ve ever worked with. Deserving special praise is Mary Beth Mulligan, our wonderful assistant director. I hope to see you all there.

Book discussion

At noon on Monday, March 2nd, the library will host a discussion of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. This beloved 1997 novel tells the story of Dinah, portrayed as an almost insignificantly minor figure in the Old Testament, but whose story is expanded and brought vividly to life along with the stories of many other women who appear at the periphery of famous Bible stories.

Our noon book discussion group always has an interesting spin on the books we read, so even if you’ve read The Red Tent already, you’ll be sure to leave with a new perspective on an old story. 

Felting

Originally scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 25, our Pinterest Craft Night will now be held on Wednesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. Jan Hornbach will demonstrate and assist us in the very cool technique of felting. Please join us. 

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