We are thrilled to commemorate our Centennial with a series of events, programs, and activities for our wonderful community to enjoy at APL’s seven libraries across the city of Albany. We encourage you to visit the branches and participate in our Centennial celebrations. APL thanks the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library for their generous support of Centennial events.



You can participate in the library’s 100th anniversary by taking the Centennial Challenge! You have until Nov. 1 to complete the challenge.

  • Pick up a Challenge booklet at any APL branch.
  • Do an activity and get a sticker (worth 10 points) from library staff.
  • Once you earn 10 stickers (100 points), return your Challenge booklet to the library and receive a prize! 
  • Adults win a Centennial canvas tote bag, and kids win a special Centennial puzzle.
  • Prizes can be picked up until Nov. 15, while supplies last.
  • Any questions? Call or visit your favorite APL branch.

View the Centennial Challenge flyer



Upcoming library events that are part of our Centennial celebrations:

Centennial Storytime | Sept. 23 (Sat) | 1-2 pm | Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence Historic Site, 194 Livingston Ave. | We’re commemorating our Centennial with a special storytime at the Myers Residence, which was an important stop on the Underground Railroad in Albany. We’ll read stories and sing songs that celebrate the library, our city, and the critical history of the Myers home. | No registration. For children ages 2-8 and their families.

Bike the Branches Hosted by Friends & Foundation of APL and Albany Bicycle Coalition | Oct. 7 (Sat) | 11:15 am-1:30 pm | Start and end at Pine Hills Branch | Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Albany Public Library with Albany Bicycle Coalition (ABC) and the Friends and Foundation of APL! Ride to six libraries, with a brief history talk at each branch. Arrive at Pine Hills at 11:15 am for check in and to sign the ABC waiver. Ride to five more library branches and return to Pine Hills at 1:30 pm. Reservations are not required; but for planning purposes, ABC appreciates it if you RSVP to: albanybicyclecoalition@yahoo.com to let ABC know you’re coming, and how many people are in your group. For ages 12 and older.

Taste the Foods of the 1920s | Oct. 11 (Wed) | 4:30-5:50 pm | North Albany Branch | As part of our Centennial, we’re tasting food items with recipes that originated 100 years ago. | Registration required. For children ages 4-7.

Centennial Film Series | Oct. 21 (Sat) | 2-4 pm | Pine Hills Branch | We’re showing a movie for each decade APL has been around, starting with “Sherlock Jr.” This silent film starring Buster Keaton was released in 1924. | No registration. For ages 18+.

Centennial Celebration Fundraiser Hosted by Friends & Foundation of APL | Oct. 21 (Sat) | 6-9 pm | Cafe Madison | Join FFAPL, library supporters, and community members to commemorate the library’s Centennial at a special fundraising event. The evening includes music, drinks, and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail attire suggested. Ticket purchase required. Proceeds from the event benefit library programs and services. | Purchase tickets from FFAPL online. | Registration (ticket purchase) required. For ages 18+.

Past programs:

  • We kicked our Centennial celebrations off with the first-ever Albany Public Library Day on May 21 at the Howe Branch! Read a recap and see some photos from this wonderful community block party.
  • And even though we had rain, the Centennial Summer Celebration at Delaware on June 24 was a wonderful family party marking our 100th anniversary and the start of Summer Reading!

Read the Times Union story about the library’s Centennial and APL Day

Watch the News10 story about the Centennial celebrations



Our library has a long and varied history, which actually dates back more than 100 years.

  • APL’s origins began in 1833, when the Young Men’s Association for Mutual Improvement in the City of Albany (YMA) formed and opened a member library a few months later.
  • It wasn’t until May 21, 1923, that the NYS Legislature created Albany Public Library, moving five libraries run by the YMA to city government.
  • A year earlier, the YMA, which operated its library in Harmanus Bleecker Hall, as well as the John V.L. Pruyn Library on N. Pearl St., had taken over responsibility of the Albany Free Library, which operated libraries in the South End, Delaware, and Pine Hills areas as far back as 1891.
  • After being part of city government for 79 years, APL then made another major change: on May 21, 2002, city residents voted to allow the library to recharter for autonomy over its budget and operation, and board members elected by city residents.
  • APL’s most recent major development was the complete renovation of three branches (Delaware, Howe, Pine Hills) and construction of two new branches (Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach), all of which opened between November 2009 and June 2010.