Community Forums about North Albany Branch on Oct. 28 & Nov. 1
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Albany Public Library is hosting two community forums in an effort to gather neighborhood and patron input about the future of the North Albany Branch library.
Community members are encouraged to attend one or both of these sessions, which will take place at the North Albany Branch inside the YMCA facility at 616 North Pearl St.:
• Oct. 28 (Saturday) at 1:00 to 3:00 pm
• Nov. 1 (Wednesday) at 6:00 to 8:00 pm
“The library trustees and administration have been discussing a number of issues about the North Albany Branch for over a year. These concerns are necessitating serious thought about the role of this small branch and the services it can provide given its limited footprint, usage, and resources,” said APL Executive Director Scott Jarzombek.
“The trustees are considering not renewing the lease on the current space and thinking about alternative service models that would be sustainable under the current budget. We need the residents of North Albany to add their voices to the discussions about the future of this branch library,” he said.
There are a number of ongoing challenges at the North Albany Branch. Rent for the 2,500-square-foot space in the YMCA will double starting in January. More than a year ago the library was forced to reduce Saturday hours at the branch due to the YMCA changing its open hours at the facility.
The branch accounts for just under 4 percent of Albany Public Library’s total circulation, and just under 6 percent of annual visits across the system. More than 20 percent of North Albany Branch users actually live outside the city of Albany. It currently costs twice as much to serve patrons at the North Albany Branch than patrons at the other six branch libraries.
During the community forums, APL officials will share information about the North Albany Branch, trends in its usage, and what they envision for its future. There will be ample time for attendees to share their comments, provide suggestions on what library services they’d like to see in the North Albany neighborhood, and participate in a dialogue with library leaders.
The North Albany Branch has occupied a small corner of the YMCA facility on North Pearl St. since the building opened in 2005. Sometimes referred to as the APL system’s only satellite location, the North Albany Branch has a much smaller footprint and materials collection than the rest of the branch libraries, as well as fewer computers and no dedicated space for meetings or programs. It is also the only branch located in a non-library owned building and subject to the control of a landlord.
The library’s Board of Trustees established the Ad Hoc North Albany Branch Committee in March 2017 to study the issues surrounding this library location and begin discussing options for its future role in the system.