Love Your Library

Many people think of libraries with a sense of nostalgia. They’re the ultimate in old school – dusty stacks of books and shushing librarians – right? But you’d be making a mistake if you thought of Albany Public Library that way.

The Albany Public Library has all the traditional library resources you need – books and movies, computers and WiFi, databases and research, storytime and tutoring. But they also offer services that educate, entertain and empower our community – like a maker space, museum passes, fitness classes, and meeting rooms.

Albany Made Creative Lab

The maker space at the Washington Avenue Branch gives adults access to creative arts materials and digital technology. They offer classes and programs using the resources of the Albany Made creative labs, and also host open lab times during which patrons can come in to tinker on their own.

This is a great place to explore a side hustle – or perhaps transform a hobby into a career! The Albany Made Creative Lab boasts: 3D printers and scanner; sewing machines; fiber arts materials; screen printing press; hand tools like a rotary tool, power drill, and soldering iron; bike repair station; graphics and video editing software; color printer; digital cameras and Adobe Creative Cloud software for PC and Mac.

Museum and Historic Site Passes

Did you know your library card is also a key to free admission to 26 cultural attractions in the greater Capital Region? From The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and The Clark art museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts – to treasures in our own backyard like the USS Slater and the Albany Institute of History and Art.

You can even borrow an Empire Pass, providing unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by state Parks and the DEC, including forests, beaches, trails and more. Locally, that includes Grafton Lakes State Park, Thompson’s Lake Campground, Peebles Island State Park and Saratoga Spa State Park.

Summer Reading Challenge

There’s ample evidence that kids do better during the school year when they read over the summer – even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day!

To combat the dreaded “summer slide,” the Albany Public Library is hosting dozens of programs, activities, and events during the Summer Reading Challenge, which runs through Saturday, Aug. 31.

Participating kids and teens can:

– Read whatever they want – fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, chapter books, short stories, comic books, and more;

– Level up their reading to get prizes – the more they read, the more they earn; and

– Visit the library for fun activities – including science experiments, animal encounters, music and cooking lessons, comedy and puppet shows, art and animation workshops.

It’s all free!

Not only are the programs above free, but as of January 1, 2019, Albany Public Library is a fine-free library. The library’s staff and board chose to go fine-free to decrease barriers to the collection and encourage people to come back to the library.

Some people thought that having overdue fines meant they couldn’t use any of the library’s services or attend their programs – and they stopped coming to the library. By eliminating fines, the library hopes to make it easier for all people to visit, borrow materials, and access services. (A growing number of libraries are opting to move in this direction).

Get Involved

Friends of Albany Public Library is a non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to supporting the library. The group presents a variety of programs that are free and open to the public. The Friends also raise money to help support library programs, like the Summer Reading Program mentioned above.

They also host a weekly book talk on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m., posting their monthly schedule on Facebook. Here’s a preview of the August lineup:

8/6 – Book Review – Nuclear Fear: A History of Images – reviewer Jonathan Skinner PhD
8/13 – Author Talk – Sue Oringel reads from her poetry collection “My Coney Island.”
8/20 – Author Talk – Tom Fels discusses his new book, “A Tree with Roots.”
8/27 – Book Review – “Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law” – reviewer Peter Sokaris

PRO TIP

Did you know you can use your library card to borrow free digital downloads of books through the Libby app? It’s the easiest way to get started with digital books, audiobooks, and magazines on your phone, tablet or desktop. If you prefer reading on your Kindle, Libby can even send your library books to it. Libby is available for Android, iOS, Windows 10, some Chromebooks, and in your browser at libbyapp.com.

As Carl T. Rowan said: “The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.”

Visit your local branch today and love your library!

The author of this post, Colleen M. Ryan, has always been a storyteller. An innovative communications professional with experience in government, nonprofit and business sectors, she recently launched CMR Communications.

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