Flowers have long been a symbol of commemoration — a means of reminding ourselves of something that matters to us. Something like the village of Altamont’s commitment to a library. It’s been strong and steady since 1917, a total of 96 years.

A group of Altamont Free Library flower people are hoping to come up with 96 donated daffodil bulbs, to put some spring bling in our front garden. Tulip bulbs or other spring blooming bulbs are also welcomed – any variety is fine. The actual collection process will take place between the Oct.7 through 18. There will be a basket for donated bulbs inside our building.

Each year hereafter another bulb will be added to keep the sweet, spring symbolism up to date.

Sunday hours

Labor Day has come and gone. This means the library is now on its winter schedule. So we’re open on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. for all your DVD, book, magazine, newspaper and other reading material needs. To complete the picture the rest of the schedule is Monday – Thursday, from 9 am to 8 pm; Friday, 9 am to 5 pm; and Saturday 10 am to 1 pm.

Bouncy, bouncy

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m., might be a good time for your school aged children (and/or grandchildren) to roll into the library. They’ll be invited to make their own bouncy balls. And to keep them, bring them home, and play with them.  These days everyone is interested in keeping kids more active, and more on the move; everyone includes the Altamont Free Library.  Please sign up for the event.

Migratory bird walk

Our annual fall bird watching program is set to go. The day is Friday, Sept. 20, beginning at 9 a.m. Lots of birds who went north for the summer are now on their way south for the winter. They’re likely to be passing through, and bird walk watchers can expect experienced advice and identifications from walk leaders Christine and Dan Capuano and Judith Wines.

For those who’d like an early start on an upcoming book discussion group, come into the Altamont Free Library and pick up a copy of Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt.  The group will talk over this work on Monday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m.

The author Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, will be the topic on Monday, Oct. 7, at noon.  This is something new,  a daytime book group meeting.  We have high hopes.

All ages story time

With school starting soon it’s a good time for a reminder of a neat activity for your preschoolers.  It’s called story time. It takes place every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.  It includes a dynamic, exciting story, music, playing with others, a simple craft, and it’s all fun.

Board meets

The next regularly scheduled library board meeting is at 7 p.m., on Monday, Sept. 9.  The meetings are open and everyone is welcome to attend.

Genuine heroism

This month’s wall display in the library meeting room features the experiences of a young Knox resident in the Civil War.  He took part in the Battle of Cold Harbor, in Virginia, in 1854.  He was wounded in the leg and wrote a letter from the hospital home to his father.

The actual letter is part of the current display, and deserves to be read.  It displays more real courage, more valor, more true concern for others over self, than all the block buster movies opening in all the malls, during all the Labor Day weekends, ever.

It’s soon to be a new season, and a new school year.  It’s something the Altamont Free Library is used to — we almost always have something new going on.

For instance, there’s a new book display whereby a staff member tells, through a most esoteric procedure involving something resembling what local kids used to call a cootie-catcher, your fortune; and then suggests an appropriate book, or method for finding one on your own.

Wondrous rocks

We also have a new showing of intriguing, and beautiful, rocks and minerals collected and displayed by a local hobbyist.

Come in and see for yourselves geodes, fossilized sea life, petrified wood, black tourmaline, worm trails leading somewhere 300 million years ago, Herkimer diamonds, and much more.

Classic Cowley

And newly gracing our trackside wall, wew have a good long look at a newly hung painting by Altamont artist Ed Cowley.  The work portrays the intersection of Main and Maple and is classic Cowley.  It is on loan from the collection of Tom Sands.           

Here we go; here we stay. This month’s Eat Around the World Pot Luck at the Altamont Free Library is going on “staycation.” We’re not going anywhere, no exotic, spicy destinations. We’re staying here; staying in Altamont, or Knox, or Guilderland Center.  Bring a dish made with ingredients grown or otherwise created as locally as possible.  It’ll be fun.

The date is Monday evening, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. The menu, thus far, includes blackberry pie, and deviled eggs laid very close to our library home.

Probing question

Library patrons start asking when they think perhaps we’ve gone too long without one — without an adult trivia night.

And we always respond positively and graciously.

The next adult trivia event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. Make up your own teams of four, or show up on your own, and we’ll match you with a team.

The cost, part of which goes to the winning team, is $5 per person. 

If you’re interested in that sort of thing, by all means BYOB.

Probing books

Two adult fiction book discussion groups will be meeting in September.  One meets on Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m., to share views of Tenth of December, by George Saunders.  The date for the second is Monday, Sept. 23, also at 7 p.m., and the book in question is Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.

— Photo by Kelly Abbruzzese

Ready to serve: Leah Abbruzzese, 6, felt entrepreneurial so she set up a lemonade stand to benefit the Altamont Free Library.

From the beginning libraries have been a source of important information for people who need it.  If you enjoy hiking in the woods, being in the outdoors, the Altamont Free Library will soon be offering information you need.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Lyme disease is widespread in the Capital region, so it is important to understand prevention techniques to reduce your risk of infection. 

On Thursday, Aug. 22,, at 7 p.m., a local expert will explain how the disease is transmitted, where you can be exposed to ticks, and how to properly remove a tick.  Questions from the audience will also be welcomed.

Call 861-7239 to sign up.  A minimum of 8 people are necessary for the program to take place.

Summer reading

A good children’s book is magical.  It is quick witted.  It can often be very funny.  Characters say things you don’t expect.  Authors juggle adventures, scary moments, heroines, excitement, mystery, and the joy of mysteries solved.

So it makes sense that this year’s summer reading celebration will be m.c.’d  (Mistress of Ceremonies) by Jackie the Magician.  Jackie does magic tricks, she is a stand-up comedian, and a ventriloquist and a juggler.

And even more fun is promised.  The winning summer reading bingo tickets will be drawn, and all the fabulous prizes will be handed out.  How can so much fun be packed into one afternoon?  Come and see. The date is Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 3:30 p.m.  The place is the Altamont village office on Main Street.

Book buddies

Kids 7 and younger are invited to come to the library on Monday afternoons to read with older book buddies, then go ride skate boards, or just run around in the park.


Everyone is invited to visit a number of Altamont’s best vegetable gardens. Harvest some new ideas, and some inspiration, for the garden of your dreams – next year’s version. We’ll meet at the library at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Aug. 20.