Altamont Library Notes for Thursday, March 26, 2020


The lions that guard the main branch of the New York Public Library were named Patience and Fortitude by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia during the Great Depression. Joe Burke, director of the Altamont Free Library, says those are qualities we need now.

Outside the entrance of the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street, there are two statues of lions, one on either side of the stairs leading to the library. For many years after the construction of the building, the lions did not have names.

During the long years of the Great Depression in the 1930s, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia finally gave those two lions the names they’ve had ever since. He named them after the two main virtues that New Yorkers would have to demonstrate in order to get through the tough times. He named one lion Patience and the other Fortitude.

Patience and fortitude are what we’re going to need once again in order to make it through the challenges of our own time. Patience will help us remember to be kind to ourselves and to others as we all work our way through this pandemic. Fortitude will help us do the hard work and make the difficult choices that will keep our community safe and healthy.

The Altamont Free Library remains closed indefinitely. I can’t tell you how much the staff and I miss being able to see you and serve you every day, but we are buoyed by our knowledge that being closed is the best way we can keep our community healthy right now. We don’t know when we’ll be able to safely resume regular hours, but as soon as we are able to, we will.

In the meantime, there are dozens of resources, including ebooks, audiobooks, databases, language classes, genealogy tools, and much more that you can access from the comfort and safety of your own home. For a comprehensive list of all the tools that you can access right now, check out our website at You can also like us on Facebook for video story times, updates, and links to helpful resources.

With patience, fortitude, kindness, and generosity, we’ll get through this. If any community can do it, Altamont can.