Every day, Albany Public Library strives to educate, entertain, and empower our community. You can visit us for books and DVDs, music and magazines, classes and workshops, computers and Wi-Fi, tutoring and tax assistance, arts activities and technology programs, study spaces and meeting rooms, movie showings and musical performances, book clubs and author talks, and so much more. You’ll find all of this great stuff—along with a professional staff who can help you figure it all out—at seven neighborhood branches across the city of Albany, New York and via our 24/7 online eLibrary.
The library is chartered to serve those who live in the City School District of Albany, which means the entire Capital Region city of 98,000 people. But as the central library for the two-county Upper Hudson Library System, we have 465,000 potential users from across Albany and Rensselaer counties. Participation in this system gives our users access to books and materials from 28 other local libraries, as well as online resources like digital books and databases.
Albany Public Library is governed by an elected board of nine trustees who are all residents of Albany. The library is funded by city taxpayers, with residents voting on the budget every May.
Albany has had a number of libraries, under the direction of various organizations, dating back to 1833. Three different library groups merged in 1922 to officially form one unified Albany Public Library. The following year, the city of Albany entered into a formal agreement with the library to provide services to city residents. Almost 80 years later, in 2002, Albany Public Library left the umbrella of city government and re-chartered as a school district library, with its own budget and tax levy. We grew in 2009-2010 with the construction of two new branches (Arbor Hill/West Hill and Bach) and renovation of three branches (Delaware, Howe, and Pine Hills).
The library’s reach is far and wide, with about three-quarters of city residents having a library card. The same number of people visit our branches every month. We loan out more than 90,000 books, DVDs, and other items – that’s almost one item for every person in the city of Albany. About 15,000 people a month visit Albany Public Library to use public computers, and thousands more bring their own laptops and devices to tap into Wi-Fi at our branches. About half of the city’s population attends the almost 3,000 activities, classes, movies, workshops, performances, and assistance programs we host every year. Our skilled librarians answer more than 12,000 questions a month – that’s one question for every eight people in the city. And, thousands of people visit their friendly neighborhood libraries for the quiet study spaces, equipped meeting rooms, and welcoming reading nooks.
Home, work, and where else? Modern public libraries are the third place to spend your time, offering everyone a neutral, safe space to gather, study, work, and have fun. We hope that you consider Albany Public Library your special place in our community.