Archive for the 'News' Category

Meet APL’s New Executive Director at July 8 Open House

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Library patrons, friends, and neighbors are encouraged to attend an open house on Tuesday, July 8, where they can meet our new Executive Director Scott Jarzombek from 4 to 5:30 pm at the Howe Branch.

Jarzombek, who started his career at APL, is thrilled to be back in Albany and is eager to get reacquainted with the community. Please stop by and say hi!


APL Announces New Children’s Library Card & Summer Reading Program

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Local officials from Albany Public Library, the City of Albany, and the City School District of Albany joined together at City Hall June 13 to announce literacy initiatives aimed at increasing children’s access to the library and emphasizing the importance of reading to our youngest citizens.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan shared her experiences as a young girl participating in her hometown library’s Summer Reading Program, which sparked her love of biographies of famous women and started her down the path to public service. Beginning with Friday’s event, free children’s and young adult books will be available in the City Hall Rotunda while supplies last. This press event and free book initiative is part of the City of Albany’s monthly series of community programs presented at the Rotunda.

Albany City School District Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard discussed the importance of youngsters reading during the summer months so they don’t lose the academic strides they made during the school year.

Summer Reading Program

Albany Public Library Assistant Director Melanie Metzger shared details of the annual Summer Reading Program, which is designed to encourage children and teens to continue to read, and engage in other educational pursuits, during those long, leisurely weeks between June and September. The library’s Summer Reading Program, which runs from June 28 through Aug. 16, rewards young people for their reading and participation in mind-enriching activities. During the Summer Reading Program, the city’s seven libraries are hosting close to 100 special events and fun activities, including science experiments, dance parties, food tastings, arts and crafts, game challenges, and more. All programs are free.

MyCard Children’s Library Card

Metzger also announced a new library card for children—dubbed MyCard—that allows city children to get a card on their own and use it to borrow up to three items at a time, with no late fees. MyCard also gives users access to the library’s free public computers and to digital materials, like eBooks and eMagazines, which are available for free from the library’s website. MyCard is only available to city of Albany youth under the age of 18, and can only be used at APL’s seven locations in the city of Albany.

“The benefit of MyCard is that youngsters can come into the library on their own and get a card that lets them borrow up to three items at a time, and have the freedom to take as long as they need to read those books without racking up late fees,” Metzger said. “Once done with a book, a MyCard user can return it to the library and borrow another one. This new card gives children and teens an opportunity to explore the library, and the world of reading, on their own.”

As part of the MyCard rollout, which begins on June 27, Albany Public Library is waiving late fees on all current children’s cards. This one-time waiver will put current children’s cardholders on the same level playing field as new MyCard cardholders.

Twenty-one fifth grade students from the Arbor Hill Elementary School participated in the press conference and were issued the first APL MyCards, which feature a brightly-colored owl designed for APL by Albany artist Phil Pascuzzo.

Children and teens will have the option of getting the new MyCard, or getting a traditional youth library card. The regular card requires a parent/guardian signature and proof of address. The traditional youth card allows up to 200 checkouts at a time, but also accrues late fees. The regular youth card can be used at all libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System (Albany and Rensselaer counties).




Library Board Appoints New Executive Director

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The Albany Public Library Board of Trustees appointed Scott C. Jarzombek as the organization’s executive director at its regular meeting June 10.

Jarzombek, who currently serves as director of the North Castle Public Library in Armonk, NY, will start at Albany Public Library on June 23. He replaces Carol Nersinger, who retires later this month after five years of service at APL.

“The board and I are very excited to have Scott join us,” said APL Board of Trustees President Holly McKenna. “He has many new ideas to elevate APL’s status in the community and bring more and more people through our doors. He has great vision for our future and wants to improve the lives of our city’s, and our region’s, residents.”

Jarzombek is not new to the city of Albany or Albany Public Library. He started his professional career at APL and served as a branch librarian, primarily at the Howe Branch in the city’s South End, from 2000 to 2009. During his tenure at Howe, “Mr. Scott” was a fixture in the community, created an award-winning summer technology camp for teenagers, and helped plan the complete overhaul of that historic branch library. Jarzombek has owned and maintained a house in Albany for close to a decade.

“I am very excited to return to Albany,” Jarzombek said. “While I have enjoyed my time with other organizations, my heart has always been with APL.”

Jarzombek has held two library directorship positions in the past several years. During his time at North Castle Public Library, he expanded that library’s public space and access, created a leadership team, and developed a marketing plan. He also directed the Pawling Free Library where he established the library as a digital “shelter” during major weather events, expanded programming and public space, and created a mobile computer lab for digital literacy instruction.

He believes in the concept of modern public libraries where everyone has access to information and resources to better their lives.

“There are so many great things about modern libraries, especially when you think about them as the third place. I love the fact that you can visit any of our branches and see how we have become the community’s meeting place,” Jarzombek said. “As the world becomes digitized, the library’s role in our democracy becomes even more important. We bridge the divide for so many members of our community.”

Jarzombek earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from the University of Hartford (CT) and a master’s degree in library science from the University at Albany. He is a member of the New York Library Association.

Fun Library Activities This Week

Monday, June 9th, 2014

We’ve got some fun activities planned at APL this week. Join us! And for a complete listing of all APL programs, visit our online calendar.


JUNE 9 (Mon)

+ Get help downloading free books, audiobooks, and magazines to your smartphone or tablet at the Bach Branch from 6:30 to 7:30 pm


JUNE 10 (Tues)

+ Enjoy live music by Marty McDermott and Tom Holland at 4:30 pm at the Delaware Branch

+ Youngsters can experiment with gadgets, gizmos, and goo at the Howe Branch from 3:30 to 4:30 pm


JUNE 11 (Wed)

+ Youngsters ages 5-17 can make a gift for that special father in their lives at the Bach Branch starting at 4 pm

+ Use our sewing machines to repair your clothes or make new ones at the Howe Branch between 6 and 7:30 pm


JUNE 12 (Thurs)

+ Toddlers and their caregivers enjoy story time at the North Albany Branch at 10:30 to 11:30 am

+ Teens have fun after school with games, craft projects and more at the Pine Hills Branch from 4 to 5 pm


JUNE 13 (Fri)

+ Bring your teenagers to the Main Library for Wii gaming fun from 4 to 5 pm


JUNE 14 (Sat)

+ Be part of the audience as WEXT 97.7 tapes “The Peanut Butter Jam” children’s music show from 11 am to 1 pm in the Children’s Room at the Main Library

+ Explore our collection of local history in this open house on the second floor of the Main Library from 11 am to 5 pm

New Month, New Programs at APL

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

June has arrived and Albany Public Library has plenty of activities planned to keep you busy this month! Read on to learn about just a few of our June programs. A full list of events, activities, and classes is available online.

June 2 (Mon) — High Intensity Interval (HIIT) exercise class for adults at 6 pm at Pine Hills Branch (continues on next three Mondays; registration required)

June 6 (Fri) — 1st Friday Open Mic Coffeehouse runs from 6-8 pm at the Main Library

June 10 (Tues) — Live Musical Performance by Marty McDermott and Tom Holland at 4:30 pm at the Delaware Branch

June 11 (Wed) — Father’s Day Gift Making for kids at 4 pm at Bach Branch

June 11 (Wed) — Sewing and Clothing Repair workshop from 6-7:30 pm at the Howe Branch

June 14 (Sat) — Pruyn Collection of Albany History Open House at 11 am at the Main Library (second floor)

June 18 (Wed) — Reading Music Book Discussion Group covers “Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove” at 7 pm at the Main Library

June 20 (Fri) — Service Dog Awareness with Empire Servicedog Program for kids at 4 pm at North Albany Branch

June 21 (Sat) — Bike Rodeo with Albany Police Department includes skills courses, safety tips, refreshments and more from 1-3 pm at Delaware Branch

June 23 (Mon) — Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program from 3-5 pm at Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch

June 24 (Tues) — Delaware Community Farmers’ Market starts its season at 4-7 pm at the Delaware Branch (every Tuesday through early fall)

For even more APL programs, check our online calendar.



Friends of APL Announce June Book Talks

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Join the Friends of APL every Tuesday at 12:15 pm for some lively and engaging book talks! The talks take place at the Main Library, in the large auditorium on the first floor, and are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are served too.


JUNE 3 — Book Review of “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Silvia Mejia, an associate professor at the College of St. Rose, reviews this novel.


JUNE 10 — Book Review of “Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York” by Richard Zacks

Robert Knightly, a former police officer, criminal trial lawyer, and crime novelist, reviews this book.


JUNE 17 — Book Review of “Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life” by Len Fisher

Union College History Professor Steven Sargent reviews the book.


JUNE 24 — Book Review of “Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity” by Lester R. Brown

Susan Kayne, a television producer and researcher, reviews the book.


Fun Library Activities This Week

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

We have some great activities lined up for you this week. For a complete list of all APL events, please check our online calendar. Here are just a few of the activities we have scheduled:

MAY 27 (Tues)

Gadgets, Gizmos & Goo — 3:30-4:30 pm at Howe Branch

Kids ages 8-17 have fun with hands-on science experiments, technology activities, and more.

MAY 28 (Wed)

Sew What! — 1-2:45 pm at Howe Branch

Learn how to use our sewing machines to repair your clothes and to make new items. For ages 18 and older.

STEMpunk! — 6:30-8 pm at Main Library (computer lab, second floor)

Teens use tools, wires, gears, and circuit boards to explore aspects of engineering, computer programming, chemistry, and physics. For ages 11-17.

MAY 29 (Thurs)

With Pen in Hand — 2-3pm at Pine Hills Branch (small meeting room)

Learn how to write your own story with the help of St. Rose Professor and South End author Paul Lamar.

Science Crew — 4-5 pm at the Main Library (conference room #1, second floor)

Explore various aspects of science with the CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology. For grades 2-5. Registration required.

MAY 30 (Fri)

LEGO Club — 4:30-5:30 pm at Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch (small meeting room)

Use our huge LEGO collection to build your own creation. Ages 10-17.

MAY 31 (Sat)

Family Exploration of Pine Hills Architecture — 11 am-12:30 pm at Pine Hills Branch

Join historic preservationist Lorraine Weiss as she introduces us to the history of Pine Hills on this walking tour of the neighborhood that used to include a trolley stop. For all ages. Please register at 482-7911 x230 or online.

JUNE 1 (Sun)

Daisy Lin and Friends Piano Recital — 2-3:30 pm at Main Library (large auditorium)

Join us for a live performance by some very talented musicians.




Results of Library Trustee Election

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

On May 20, voters in the city of Albany elected two new trustees — Alison Calacone and Andrew Bechard — to the Albany Public Library Board of Trustees.

The new trustees will begin five-year terms in July. This is Bechard’s second election to the library board, which he joined in 2008 as an appointed trustee. This is the first election for Calacone. She replaces Holly McKenna, who chose not to run for a second board term.


The place order, candidates, and vote totals (according to Tuesday night’s unofficial results) were:

1.   Alison Calacone — 1,501

2.   Andrew Bechard — 1,263

3.   Anthony Gooding — 749

4.   Jose Lopez — 529


Library Budget Facts

Friday, May 16th, 2014

For the second year in a row, Albany Public Library will have a flat budget and no increase in the tax levy. The 2015 library operations budget is $6,434,764 — the same amount as the 2013 and 2014 spending plans.

The library trustees heard taxpayers’ pleas for tax relief and directed the leaders to hold the line on spending and present a budget with no tax levy increase for next year. APL is keeping all current services, programs, and hours while maintaining current spending levels through fiscal conservatism and efficient budget planning

The Board of Trustees approved the flat budget in March. Because it does not increase the tax levy, the library is not required to put it up for a public vote. There is, however, a trustee election on Tuesday, May 20


  • The 2015 operating budget is $6.4 million – the same as in 2014 and 2013
  • The Branch Improvement Plan portion in 2015 (for the construction of two branches and renovation of three other branches) is $1.8 million
  • Homeowners pay about $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value for library taxes
  • The average home (assessed at $150,000) pays about $220 each year for the library
  • The library tax accounts for about four percent of your total local tax bill (includes school, city, county, special districts too)


  • Last year, APL loaned out more than one million books, DVDs, magazines, and other materials
  • Had about one million visitors across seven neighborhood libraries
  • APL was open more than 15,000 hours for customers
  • Provided public computer access for almost 200,000 users
  • Hosted more than 4,500 programs and events for the community
  • Helped about 2,000 people file income tax returns (resulting in more than $2 million back to them)
  • APL provides free Wi-Fi internet access at all libraries
  • The library has a free mobile app – search for Albany Public Library mobile – for Android and Apple devices that gives 24/7 access to many APL services
  • You can keep up-to-date on library news and happenings via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube


Library Trustee Election is May 20

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Four candidates are on the May 20 (Tuesday) ballot for two seats on the Albany Public Library Board of Trustees.

The candidates, listed in ballot order, are:

  • Andrew Bechard of Forest Avenue
  • Jose Lopez of View Avenue
  • Alison Calacone of Ramsey Place
  • Anthony Gooding of Clinton Avenue

The candidates are seeking to fill two trustee positions that both carry five-year terms. Holly McKenna has chosen not to run for re-election, while Andrew Bechard is running to keep his seat.

More information about trustee candidates is available online and at service desks at each APL location.

The library trustee vote is held in conjunction with the school district’s budget vote. Details about voting locations are available on the school district’s website at polls are open on May 20 from 7 am to 9 pm.

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