You could make the case that summer was a richer, busier, more closely compacted time than winter. More goes on. There are more choices. More opportunities.

The Altamont Free Library bears this out. There will be so much to do in the coming summer days and evenings.

Walk the Walk

Pictures of long ago Egyptians carved on their terms make it look like they’re walking in a special way all their own. Part of it might be the headdresses. On Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 10:30 a.m., kids of all ages will be making their own versions of these headdresses. The makers will then show off their products, and stroll in style: Egyptian style.

Neck and neck

The jewelry we choose helps to show who we are. It’s unique, and most often carefully picked out. Kids 10 and older are invited to a special event at the library on Friday, Aug. 9, at 3:30 p.m.  We’ll be making glass pendant necklaces. We hope they turn out as special and one of a kind as the people that make them.

Dig this place

On Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 3:30 p.m., library goers will be checking out the sort of fun that can be had with a metal detector.  We’ll see what we can find. And we’ll ask and speculate about what our findings tell us about Altamont, perhaps, if we’re lucky, an earlier Altamont.

Garden tour

Enjoy a few of the more interesting, more colorful, more experimental summer gardens in the village.  The date is Tuesday, Aug. 20.  Meet at the library at 7 p.m.

Reading celebration

Local kids have been enjoying books for many weeks, participating with fervor in the annual summer reading program.  Now it’s prize and pay-off time.  Jackie the Magician will host a grand party, doing a fabulous mix of magic, stand-up comedy, ventriloquism and juggling.  That’s on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 3:30 p.m., at the village offices on Main Street.  It’s bound to be fun, almost as fun as reading itself.

Lyme disease

The news seems to be getting worse. All the more reason to learn all you can about this summertime sickness; how it’s transmitted, where you might be exposed to ticks, and how to properly remove one, and more.  The program is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22, starting at 7 p.m.  Call the library at 861-7239 to sign up.  A minimum of 8 sign-ups are necessary.



— Picture by Brendan Testa.

Hands down, teens make great art. Last Friday’s project at the Altamont Free Library was this trompe l’oeil hand, created in rainbow colors by Brendan Testa. This Friday, kids 10 and up will be making scratch-off tickets at the library.

The Altamont Free Library’s summer staff continues to provide exciting and interesting programs for the young people of the village and beyond.

Upcoming events

Two upcoming events are devoted to worms. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 10:30 a.m. participants will be making worms (not real ones) and racing worms (real ones).  Take note, kids will not race against worms.  It’s worm against worm, as it should be.

The next day, Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 3:30 p.m., elementary school age kids will be building worm habitats. Come empty handed and we’ll send you home with a worm colony.  Library treasurer and Knox farm girl Betty Ketcham will show the way.

Finally, for kids 10 and over, visit us on Friday, Aug. 2 at 3:30 p.m.  We’ll be making our own scratch-off lotto tickets. You can’t win if you don’t play. That’s not our motto, but it’s still true.


The last concert of the summer series is this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. Scott Hopkins is back, this time with Bear Trap, a country band.

Remember the farmer’s market

Along with the library, another institution occupies the beautifully rebuilt and refurbished former Delaware and Hudson Train Station. We’re referring, of course, to the farmer’s market, and here is a brief review:  The sweet corn is very, very good.

— Photo by John Elberfeld

Remembering the Civil War: Jean McLean gestures to a display assembled by her husband, John Elberfeld, now at the Altamont Free Library, featuring Lt. Michael Henry Barckley, a Knox man who recruited 21 volunteers to join his Civil War Company in the Union Army.

Archeologists are fascinated by the physical remains of past human lives and activities. They find things, and then they figure them out. Finding and figuring out. It begins to sound something like a game.

Local kids between ages 6 and 12 years old are welcome to join the staff from the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, on Monday, July 29, at 3:30 p.m., at the library. Learn something about the archeology game; what they look for, how they find it, how they fit what they find into a past world of past lives.

Dig your town

On Tuesday, July 30, at 10:30 a.m., kids of all ages are invited to go on a scavenger hunt around Altamont. You will be looking for odd things in strange places and learning a bit about the village as you hunt. Melanie Shatynski will be leading the hunt.

Meow mummies

This is your chance to learn about Egyptian art. Egyptians loved cats, at least the kings and queens did. They also enjoyed mummifying each other. Modern day Altamont kids will be making cat mummies on Wednesday afternoon, July 31, at 3:30 p.m. This, of course, is a craft, and no animals will be harmed, invited to attend, or otherwise bothered.

Rock that plant

Kids 10 and older are urged to be here on Friday, July 26, at 3:30 p.m. They will learn to convert a used CD case into a see-through plant lab. Seed instead of CD. Get it?


Next Tuesday’s, July 30, Concert in the Park will begin with a unique downbeat. Former Altamont resident, Leon Rothenburg, the recent winner of a Tony Award for sound design, will be recognized and applauded. He, in turn, will recall the many hometown teachers, musicians, and career guides who taught, influenced, and supported him.

Be sure to get there early. The Band of the Week is Thirteen Feet of Bluegrass. Chances are they will have a mandolin player, and somebody who can sing tenor to a dog whistle. 

The Altamont Free Library’s  Potluck Around the World’s destination for the month of July is Hungary.

            Recently a library visitor saw a notice for this event and she lit up.  Her mother had escaped from Hungary at the time of the 1956 revolution and had come to America.

            The patron’s feelings for the culture and cuisine of her mother’s first home were powerful.  She began reciting a list of all the special foods she hoped to create for her fellow potluck travelers.  It was a heart-felt moment.

Home Town Writers

          The Library is the proud possessor of three new “local color” books, all written with support from Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

            The three books, all authored by dedicated library supporters, are Dorothy Hawes Armstrong’s   89 Years: One Day at a Time,   Sara Elizabeth Killen’s  A Little Bit Country, and Stewart  Linendoll’s  Grandpa’s Hiking Trip           

     All three will open a reader’s eyes, and expand a reader’s heart.  They can be found and read at the library, but they are not circulation items.

Reading and Eating

    The Farmers’ Market is back.  There haven’t been a great many obvious signs of summer’s return, and it’s good to have one right under our overhang, afforded the same protection as was once provided to the outgoing mail and a passenger’s suitcase.

            The market is open every day except Wednesday; the hours are 11 a.m to 6 p.m.,during the week, and 10 to 2 on the weekends.  Cukes are 75 cents apiece; Delaware corn will cost you 75 cents an ear.

The Altamont Free Library’s connection with barbecued chicken is unbreakable, nearly metaphysical – like Squanto’s to the first Thanksgiving.

So many purposes are met: it raises money, brings people together, provides a memorable meal, it’s a party, it celebrates the arrival of summer.

This year’s feast is taking place on Friday evening, June 14. There will be two servings, the first at 5 p.m., the second at 6 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance, at the library, are $9. Those who wait till the day of the event will pay $10. The meal includes a half chicken dinner with potato, roll, coleslaw, brownie and beverage. No quarter size orders this year.

So please come on in. Pick up your tics for chicks. Do it soon. A dollar is a terrible thing to waste.

South African visitor

Buyelwa Cecilia Xayiya is a South African. She will be in Altamont on Thursday, June 13, hoping to talk about her native land with interested listeners. Last week’s announcement urged readers to come with our “questions and vuvuzelas.” A vuvuzela is a long, horn with a squawky sort of sound. They are popular in South Africa. Come meet Ms. Xayiya at 7 p.m.

New art

The east wall of the library’s meeting room is intended to display the work of local visual artists. This month Altamont photographer, Connie Rue is featured. Rue’s photos focus on nearby sights and subjects. They are clear and precise: they don’t need “figuring out;” they are instantly pleasurable.

She has been a serious picture taker for two years, and photography is her first artistic passion. The discipline allows her to be alone, she explains, without being lonely; and she enjoys sharing her visions with others.

Got change for an eggplant

It’s a perfect Saturday morning event, a seedling exchange. Come to the library on Saturday, June 8, between 10 a.m. and noon. Bring your leftover seedlings and trade with another gardener for something new. It’s a new Altamont idea. We’re doing all we can to make it work.

Lava lamps

They’re a symbol of long ago – a simpler time. There was no texting back then. Come to the library on Wednesday, June 26, at 3 p.m., and make a beautiful lava lamp of your very own. Watch the shifting shapes rise and fall seemingly with thoughts and dreams all their own, blow your mind, kiss the sky.