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Special Collections

Did you know that in addition to our general fiction and nonfiction collections, we have several special collections of books you can check out with your library card? Our librarians develop these collections with our community in mind, so whether you’re seeking materials in Spanish and Chinese, books and audiobooks for English language learners, small business startup information, or education and career advancement test prep materials, we strive to collect just what you’re looking for.

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Chinese Book Collection – Pine Hills Branch

We host a number of English for Speakers of Other Languages conversation groups here at the Albany Public Library, and many Albany residents speak Chinese. To respond to this vital community, our library began a Chinese language collection in 2003. Currently located at our Pine Hills Branch, it is the biggest collection of its kind in the Capital Region, and we don’t want to brag, but it’s possibly the biggest in upstate New York. Its 2,700 items include both fiction and nonfiction and materials for children and adults. It even has a magazine section, so stop by and browse or check out a great Chinese book or DVD with your library card. Can’t get to the library? Our eLibrary has over 100 Chinese language titles as well!

Spanish Book Collection – Delaware Avenue Branch

Did you know that Spanish is the second most-spoken language in Albany, NY, and that the Delaware Community School near our Delaware Branch is home to the only Dual-Language Spanish-English immersion program in northeastern New York? The Spanish language collection at our Delaware Branch has everything from board books for early readers, picture books, and chapter books for elementary school students to a wide selection of popular adult fiction and nonfiction titles. Our collection includes both original Spanish titles and translations, so stop by and check out a great book en Español with your library card. Can’t get to the library? Our eLibrary has over 100 Spanish language titles as well!

English as a Second Language (ESL) Collection– Washington Avenue Branch

We know Albany is home to many English language learners, and we strive to collect materials to facilitate understanding and conversation. The Washington Avenue Branch is also home to the Albany County office of Literacy New York of the Greater Capital Region, and we partner with BOCES to host many ESL classes at several of our branches. The ESL collection supports all of these endeavors, and includes bilingual dictionaries, books on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and CD sets to practice listening and conversation skills. It also includes resources for teachers of ESL students.

Basic Adult Education Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

In support of our partnership with Literacy New York of the Greater Capital Region, our Adult Services librarians select materials for adults whose first language is English, and are learning to read or seeking to improve literacy skills. It includes books on reading, grammar, vocabulary, and basic math, as well as recreational reading materials at various reading levels and resources for literacy teachers.

Job Information Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

One of the most frequent uses of our library is seeking information about finding employment or changing fields. The Job Information Collection includes books on job hunting and interview strategies, networking, resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing. It also includes in-depth looks at many career choices and requirements, whether you’re interested in IT, business, medicine, or much more. We also post the latest civil service exam announcements. This collection, along with our business database, our free Wi-Fi and access to public computers, and our knowledgeable Adult Services librarians make the Albany Public Library the one-stop destination for finding your next job!

Small Business Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

We know that many of our patrons are interested in launching a small business, but just aren’t sure where to start. Geared toward potential and current entrepreneurs, the Small Business Collection will help you get a better idea if going into business for yourself is right for you. The collection includes guides to business plans, marketing, accounting and bookkeeping, and much more. The Small Business Collection is located near the Reference Desk on the first floor where our Adult Services librarians are always on hand to answer any questions.

Test Preparation Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

At some point in the lives of many adults, they have to take one test or another to gain entrance to a higher education program or to qualify for a specific job. Our Adult Services librarians support adult test takers by collecting study materials for high school, undergraduate and graduate education exams, civil service, military, certification, and other employment-related or exams. This collection also includes general study guides for math, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. The Test Prep Collection is located near the Reference Desk on the first floor where our Adult Services librarians are always on hand to answer any questions.

Parenting Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

The Youth Services librarians at our Washington Avenue Branch collect timely books for parents and caregivers that offer ideas for developmental and educational activities to do with children and strategies to tackle sensitive subjects related to pregnancy and parenting. This collection also has many picture books to share with children that cover sensitive subjects such as the illness or death of a loved one or pet, divorce, body safety, family member’s arrest or incarceration, and much more. The Parenting Collection is located near the children’s play area on the second floor, where our Youth Services librarians are always on hand to answer any questions.

Fishing Pole Collection – Washington Avenue Branch

That’s right! We said fishing poles! If you can’t think of a better way to spend warm spring and summer days than fishing on a local stream, lake, or river, come to the Washington Avenue Branch, borrow however many poles you need, and then spend a day relaxing and trying your luck in the area’s many fine fishing holes.