— Photo from Betsy Buchardt

Do it yourself: Cornell Cooperative Extension volunteers Ronnie Siegel and Virginia Dorwaldt show young Altamont Free Library patrons how to plant their own vegetables so that they can grow their own homemade salsa.

June is nearly upon us, and, by the time you read this, the Altamont Free Library’s June newsletter will be out. We’ve got a few really cool programs coming up in June that you should have on your calendar.

Concert

First up, we’ve got a concert by Indian Music Caravan on Monday, June 15. Indian Music Caravan is a nationally renowned mother-son duo who perform classical and folk music of India on sitar and tablas. We’re very excited to be able to host them and we hope that you’ll join us for this free event.

Tai Chi classes

Second, we’ll be holding free Tai Chi classes in Orsini Park starting Wednesday, June 17. Led by Kyoshi Joe Mansfield, these classes will demonstrate the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi which is known for its meditative and therapeutic nature. No experience is necessary and beginners and experienced practitioners are encouraged to attend!

Chicken barbecue

The third thing to know about in June is our famous annual chicken barbecue fund-raiser on Friday, June 19. This highly anticipated event offers library trustees and volunteers the opportunity to play Top Chef for you all. We’ll also be breaking out the library’s chicken costume for the occasion. We’ve already had a ton of people in at the library asking for tickets, which will be available starting this week or early next week.

In the nearer term, here are a few neat things happening this week.

The Dojo

On Friday, May 29, our old friend Ryan Black will be back 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.

Book discussion

Did you know that New York wasn’t always New York? It’s true: Before the British came along and took control of the colony, much of New York State, including the entire Capital District was New Netherland.

The First Monday book discussion group will meet at noon on June 1st to discuss “The Island at the Center of the World” by Russell Shorto. This history of the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam on the island of Manhattan puts into new perspective the early history of the most important city on Earth. Based on research done by local scholar Charles Gehring, this book should provoke a fascinating conversation. Please join us.

Australian potluck

We usually hold our Eat Around the World Potluck on the last Monday of the month, but since that was Memorial Day, the May potluck is being held on June 1 at 6 p.m. This month we’ll be sampling the cuisine of Australia.

There don’t seem to be many Australian cookbooks in the library system, so you might have to reach out to your favorite Aussie to learn their recipes. Join us, won’t you? Bring a dish to share.

 

To judge by last week’s temperatures, we’ve skipped from a long winter right into an early summer. The calendar assures me, however, that it’s still the springtime, and what better to do in the springtime than a little bit of gardening? The Altamont Free Library has a great event coming up soon that will allow children ages four to eight to do just that.

Grow your own salsa

Have you ever made food from your own freshly grown vegetables? Every wanted to try it? Next week, here at the library, you can. We’ll have two great volunteers from the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Virginia Dorwaldt and Ronnie Siegel, leading a program based on the book “Chicks and Salsa” by Aaron Reynolds where participants will learn all about growing the vegetables that go into making our food!

Then, you’ll pick vegetables that Virgina and Ronnie have grown and turn them into a delicious homemade (or, actually, library-made) salsa. We’ll be running the program two times: First on Monday, May 18, from 10 to 11 a.m., and then again on Thursday, May 21, from 4 to 5 p.m. Each session will be limited to seven children, so please call the library at 861-7239 to sign up for either session. Better yet, sign up in person and check out a copy of “Chicks and Salsa” while you’re here.

Encore orientation

We’ve heard a lot of frustration with the library’s new online system, which, believe me, the library staff very much shares. On Thursday May 14, at 6 p.m., we’ll be holding an orientation 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 for this enlightening event.

Book discussion

On Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m., the Penultimate Monday Book Group will be meeting to discuss “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. This classic, which has been called “the greatest war novel of all time,” is another in our series of books that many of us read in high school or were supposed to read in high school but didn’t that we’re revisiting as mature readers.

With the 100th anniversary of the events described in the book upon us, it seems to be as good a time as any to tackle it. Please join us for what will no doubt be a great conversation.

Australian Potluck

We usually hold our Eat Around the World Potluck on the last Monday of the month, but since that would be Memorial Day, the May potluck will be held on June 1, at 6 p.m. This month we’ll be sampling the cuisine of Australia.

We’ve already heard a lot of jokes and stories about eating kangaroo. I don’t know if anyone will be making kangaroo, but I do know that we’re probably the only library in America whose director has to wonder whether or not that will happen in his library.

Join us, won’t you? Bring a dish to share. 

— Photo by Joe Burke

Tiny world: For Earth Day, a recycled jar became a terrarium at the Altamont Free Library.

— Photo by Joe Burke

Fun at the library: Altamont library trustee Christine Capuano enjoys helping kids make terrariums; the craft project was led by Christine Carpenter.

 

In some ways, a library is like a garden and, just as every good garden requires care and maintenance, so does a library. One of the most important aspects of maintaining a library, also like a garden, is weeding, which is what we call it when we remove items that no longer are in heavy demand from our collection.

The difference between weeding a garden and a library is that you wouldn’t want to keep weeds in your garden under any circumstances. On the other hand, if we had an infinite amount of shelf space, we’d have no reason to remove books from our collection whether there was interest in those titles or not.

But we don’t have infinite space or anything remotely close to it. Once a year, therefore, the Altamont Free Library identifies items that haven’t been checked out in the past three years and we remove many of them from the collection.

So, our shelves may look a bit more bare for a little while, but rest assured that we’ll be bringing in new titles to fill those shelves up again.

The good news is that you’ll have an opportunity to peruse the titles that we’re letting go of at our annual book sale this Saturday. We’re also gladly accepting donations of good condition books, audio books, CDs, and DVDs for the sale.

If we can add them to our collection, we surely will. If not, we’ll sell them to raise money for the library.

We will also be holding a garage sale in conjunction with the book sale and will be glad to accept donations of any household items in good condition that you might be willing to part with for a good cause. We could also use a few volunteers to help us run the book and garage sales on Saturday. We hope to see you all on Saturday.

Book discussion

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.

Spring bird walk take 2

On Thursday, May 7, our own Dan Capuano will once again lead a bird watching expedition along Brandle Road. Our April excursion was a hoot, but a bit on the chilly side.

We hope that the weather will be nicer for our next outing, when Dan tells us that the orioles will be back from their winter down south. Please join us as we meet up at the library at 9 a.m. for this fun and educational hour-long walk.

Art and collections

Over the next few weeks, the library will be unveiling a new art display system in our community room. The new system will allow us to professionally and securely display art and we’d love to display yours.

If you are an artist and would like to display your work at the library, please get in touch with Joe Burke at 861-7239 to discuss scheduling a showing. Likewise, if you’ve got a cool collection you’d like to show off, please consider letting us show it in our display case. Thanks!

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.

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