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. 

— Photo by Joe Burke

Fun for all ages: Christine Carpenter leads a yoga class for kids and adults at the Altamont Free Library on Take Your Child to the Library Day, Saturday, Feb. 7.

Another amazing “I Love My Library! Gala” is in the books and a wonderful time was had by all. I’d like to wholeheartedly thank everyone who came out last Saturday evening to support their library.

Special thanks are due to Amy Martin and Erika McFarlane, the principal organizers of the gala, our honorees for the evening; Pat Spohr and Tony Kossmann, our trustees; and all of the volunteers who helped out keeping the show running smoothly. We were honored by the presence of Congressman Paul Tonko, State Senator George Amedore, Albany County Legislator Travis Stevens, and Altamont Mayor James Gaughan, among many other Altamont luminaries.

I have said it and I’ll say it again: I have never, anywhere, seen a library so warmly embraced by its community as the Altamont Free Library is. It is the community’s support that makes the Altamont Free Library the special place that it is and allows us to continue hosting all of the story times, potlucks, book clubs, craft nights, and summer reading programs we all enjoy so much. Thank you.

After all of last week’s excitement, we have yet another busy and exciting week to look forward to. The young folks will be out of school, so please bring them on down to the library to keep them learning and growing over the break.

Valentine’s crafting

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This year, instead of the usual Hallmark card, make a card by hand at the library! It’ll mean so much more to your loved ones.

This Friday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m., we’ll be holding a card-crafting session for people of all ages. We’d love it if you’d join us.

Oscar Movie Sunday

There are only two Sundays left until the Oscars! This Sunday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m., we will be showing the Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Best Animated Feature nominee is a family-friendly tale of heroism, bravery, and, above all, dragons! We’ll make the popcorn.

Second-Grade Book Club

If you are in (or around) second grade, you’re probably not reading this. But if you know someone who is, and who would like to join our young folks book discussion group led by Erika Peterson, please send them our way.

This month, the group will be meeting on Sunday, Feb. 15, from 2 to 3 p.m. to discuss The Magic Tree House #2: Knights at Dawn. Should be a great time.

Book Club madness!

We have two different book clubs discussing two different books this coming Monday, Feb. 16.

First up at noon will be our snow-delayed discussion of Geraldine Brooks’s Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague. This widely hailed 2001 historical fiction novel is set amid an outbreak of the plague in 17th-Century England.

Next up, at 7 p.m., is our discussion of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.  This novel examines the causes and consequences of a school shooting and should provoke a fascinating conversation. Please join us.

Bird walk

Break out your long underwear and dust off your binoculars (we’ll bring extras), because it’s time for winter bird watching. Led by our resident birder Dan Capuano, this much-beloved event is sure to make you chirp with joy.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, the group will leave from the library at 9 a.m. for a one-hour trek around the village to see what birds there are to be seen. The kids will be home from school, so, if there are any junior members of the Audubon Society out there, bring them along. First-timers are welcome.

Teen Trivia

Are you in grade 6 or older? Don’t let your brain cells get weak over winter break.

Come strain your brain at Teen Trivia, hosted by our very own Mary Beth Mulligan, on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. We’ll provide the snacks and the questions; you bring your friends.

It is going to be a big week here at Altamont Free Library with two of our favorite events of the year.

Take Your Child

to the Library Day

For many children, the library is their first window to a larger world and their first educational experience outside the home. Saturday, Feb. 7, is Take Your Child to the Library Day. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring your kiddos to the library, especially if it is their first time.

We will have all kinds of neat things going on from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. First, we will have a special kid/adult yoga class led by the fabulous Christine Carpenter. Then we will have a special story time with stories and songs all about libraries.

After that, make your own cool necklace or stretch bracelet out of book beads. It will be a lot of fun, so please join us.

The I Love My Library!

Gala

Also on Saturday, Feb. 7, our biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up. The I Love My Library! Gala will take place at the Altamont Community Room at Village Hall from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will feature a fantastic dinner and dessert, entertainment, neighborly camaraderie, and live and silent auctions.

This year’s honorees are two of AFL’s guiding lights, Pat Spohr and Tony Kossmann. You will get to hobnob with friends, neighbors, and friendly, neighborly elected officials. Our community's involvement is what makes AFL unique among libraries, so please come on down to support your library. See you there.

Oscar Movie Sundays:

The Boxtrolls

Every Sunday in February, join us for a viewing of a family-friendly Oscar nominated movie. This coming Sunday, Feb. 8, we will be showing The Boxtrolls, a stop-motion animated movie from the makers of Coraline.

The Boxtrolls was nominated for Best Animated Feature, so it must be pretty good. We will make the popcorn.

 

YA Book Discussion Group Postponed

Our Young Adult Book Club discussion of The Circle by Dave Eggers has been postponed. Please join us on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. for a discussion of this widely lauded novel about technology, privacy, and the role of social media in our lives. 

Story time

As always, we will be holding story times on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. for preschoolers and on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. for toddlers. Come on by and check out the nifty new shadow puppet theater we made.

Program Guide

Our February Program Guide is out. You can pick a copy up at the library or find it on our website at AltamontFreeLibrary.org to check out all the neat events we have coming up this month. 

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