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.

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.