The Altamont Free Library is planning to make a genuine, first-class, no-holds-barred fund-raising effort in conjunction with the annual village-wide garage sale on May 3.

Ours of course will be a garage and book sale. We’ll be offering many recently culled books, and asking our community supporters to donate books of their own, along with garage sale items.  We’ll be accepting all donations on Thursday and Friday afternoons, May 1 and 2.


Our annual spring bird walk is scheduled for Wednesday, May 7.  Spring is probably the most exciting, most rewarding season for birders. So meet at the library at 9 a.m., and we’ll migrate via carpool to Brandle Road. Dan and Christine Capuano will again be our sharp-eyed leaders and experienced identifiers.

Story time

We probably don’t give story time enough press.  That’s too bad. It deserves more.  Kids love it.  So do their moms, dads, and other caregivers. It’s full of music and movement, kids in the spotlight, kids making friends. Kids being shy, kids getting braver. Simple crafts and finger plays. And at the center a wonderful, well-told story.

Give story time a try.  Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.  All ages are welcome. More than welcome.

Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?  The question can only mean one thing: Adult Trivia is on its way to your Altamont Free Library.

The date is Tuesday, April 29, starting at 7 p.m. The rules remain the same. Come with your team already established and organized with respect to area of expertise. Come by yourself and we’ll find a team for you. The event is for players 21 and over. Players can BYOB. The entry fee is $5 and the winning team gets half the night’s take.

The event is always a fun one. They’re no sooner over than someone starts asking about the next one. The mistress of ceremonies is Mary Beth Mulligan, also always a fun one.

As to the residents of Grant’s Tomb – the correct answer is General and Mrs. Grant. If you answered that Grant rested alone, you were half right.

Dinner far from home

Monday, April 28, is the date of this month’s Pot Luck Around the World. Morocco is the landing site. The sign-up sheet has already passed the 10 mark. One culinary traveler has promised to bring “something with black sesame seeds.” As always the library has collected an armful of appropriate cookbooks for those in need of inspiration and or instruction. Ignorance is not an allowable plea. Come, bring something to share, and eat.

In front of the future

The Altamont Free Library is looking for help and ideas toward imagining our future; seeking input from members of the community about what the library means to them, and how it can best serve all of us, now and into the “new now” that is forever approaching.

Please plan on joining us for either of two hour-long community conversations – Thursday, April 24, from 7 to 8 p.m., or Saturday, April 26, from 9 to 10 a.m. – and sharing your thoughts and ideas about what our library means to you. All interested members of the community, whether they currently use the library or not, are encouraged to attend

An arguably wise man once said that he had seen the future and it was just like the present, only longer. We’d like to think we can do better.

Home on the library range

A quick reminder – Open mic concerts are now a full time deal in Altamont.  Here in the library on the final Friday of every month. Hear music, enjoy smart alecky jokes, anything an entertainment centered mind can come up with, it’s all happening here, it’s free, and it just might be good for you.


The snow is melting, the skies are clearing, and small glaciers are beginning to slide around under their own power in shadier areas, like cold, sleepy vampires that melt in a hurry when they finally meet with Mr. Sun. It’s the perfect time of year to bounce out the door, stretch your legs, and then bounce right the heck back in again because, let’s face it, it’s still pretty nippy out there.

A slideshow of strides

As the snow melts, the mountains begin to seem like a more inviting prospect. Still, some of us may need some “oomph” to get up those mountains, and a slideshow at the Altamont Free Library  by author Alan Via might be just the thing.

Via, a winter 46er (the Adirondack 46 High Peaks), a 35er (of the Catskill 35 peaks above the 3,500-foot mark), a NE111 (the Northeast’s 111 mountains higher than 4,000 feet), and one of those few-and-far-between hikers who has hiked, bushwhacked, or slogged all of the Adirondack and Catskill’s hundred highest peaks.

Right now, he’s working on the NEHH (New England Hundred Highest), VT100’s, Catskill 200 Highest, and NYS 300 lists, laughing all the way that these lists will surely outlive him. The slideshow is on Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m. No actual mountain climbing will be required on the part of the audience.

Read to a Dog

On the Saturdays, of April 12 and April 26, a lab-golden therapy dog named Frankie will be at the library between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Kids are invited to come read with her, in a relaxed, safe, and comfortable environment – and besides, who wouldn’t want a reading buddy who runs to come see you?

Muppet puppets

On April 16, at 3 p.m., the release of the newest Muppet film will be celebrated with something for school-aged kids. Our make-your-own-Muppet program lets them make their own unique goofy puppets with their own teeth, eyes, noses, horns, hair, etc. Afterwards, a rousing chorus of “Mah Na Mah Na” will be in order, so make sure they bring their singing voices!

The future

On a somewhat more somber note, the library is currently seeking input from members of the community about what the library means to them, and how it can best serve everyone — not only right now, but in the future, as well.

This means that we will be hosting two different hour-long community conversations. The first is on Thursday, April 24, from 7 to 8 p.m., and the second on Saturday, April 26, from 9 to 10 a.m. Please come share your thoughts and ideas about what our library means to you.

All interested members of the community are encouraged to attend, whether they use the library or not. RSVP at 861-7239.

There’s nearly a roomful of adventuresome food fanciers already signed up for the Altamont Free Library’s upcoming stop in Japan. Things get underway at 6 p.m., on Monday, March 31.

As always, we’ve gathered together a collection of appropriate cookbooks for those who need ideas or instruction.  If you’d like to join in, sign up at the circulation desk.

Music and more

Looking for something Friday night-ish? The library will host its second Open Mic Night of the season on Friday evening, March 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Performers should be here by 7 p.m.

A couple of quirks should be noted. The night is free — for performers and audience members. The event is also unplugged. Our size and acoustics make sound amplification unnecessary. And we hope it makes for a pleasant change of pace.  If you have questions call us at 861-7239.

Our first show back in February was a mix of acoustic guitar-accompanied singers and stand-up comedians. We expect more of the same. We also expect the unexpected.

Peace, brothers and sisters

Anyone who feels the need for a small jolt of optimism should visit the library and spend some time with the peace flag display. A mixed group of people — patrons, children, staff, and library board members created Tibetan prayer flags based on the theme of world peace.

Eventually these prayers will be exchanged with people of similar hopes and aspirations. Who knows what may become of their efforts?  Who truly knows?

Personal display

This month’s entryway display is the creation of Guilderland High School student David Lennard. It is truly unique.

He explains that he has long been interested in armor as well as theatrical props and costuming. That interest led him to a perfect-fit website, one devoted to sharing “pepakura work”. 

He feeds card stock into his computer and then downloads printed plans for cutting, folding, gluing, and hardening the paper into a desired shape — primarily intricately designed helmets and other body armor.  One of his helmets called for 20 separate sheets of card stock.

His first piece took him two months. Presently, he finished one in less than two weeks. His personal description of what he does is a perfect definition of a hobby: “It’s time-consuming...” he says, “but it’s fun.”

When asked what becomes of his completed work he says, “They sort of sit around in the basement. My dad likes to show them to people,” he continues, chuckling.

The banners from the Global Art Project currently hang in the large window facing the train tracks, mutely saluting the tons of steel and spray-paint that rumble past the building on occasion. Come in to the Altamont Free Library and see them before they become expatriates.

Open Mic

On another, hopefully well-tuned note, the Unplugged Open Mic Night hosted by David Warner is now a certainty, and we look forward to holding it on Friday, March 28. Sign-up begins at 7 p.m., the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Kids’ double header

For the Superintendants’ Conference Day on Wednesday, March 26, we’ve got something to keep the kids occupied: at 2 p.m., we’ve got Trivia, and at 3 p.m., we’ve got “Squishy Circuits”, a remarkable toy that uses play-dough to let children create circuits and explore electronics. Clearly, play-dough has undergone some significant technological advances in the last few years, though we’re still waiting for the remote-controlled stuff. 

Author visit

On Sunday, March 30, at 2:30 p.m., the retired Schenectady Gazette columnist Carl Strock will come to the library to discuss  From D’Burg to Jerusalem: the Unlikely Rise and Awful Fall of a Small-Town Newsman. The book in question chronicles the author’s various journalistic exploits, from police corruption to religious nationalism in Jerusalem.

Couch 2 5K

Finally, C5K has made a return. This spring, there will be a library-sponsored 10-week program in which participants will meet three times a week to prepare for a Spring 5K. Things will begin with an interest meeting on Monday, March 31, at 4:30 p.m., when things will hopefully have thawed. Our end date on June 1, coincides with the Friehoffer’s Run for Women. Our schedule will largely depend on the needs of our participants, but will probably include 2 weekday sessions at 4:30 p.m. that have a babysitter, and a weekend morning session.  Get off the couch, and get on the sidewalk. Taunting stragglers is highly discouraged.