Saturday, January 31, 2009

The City Of Albany's Gospel Gala

On Friday, February 6, 2009 the City of Albany will once again host the celebration of African American History through gospel music at the historic Palace Theatre. This free event will officially kick-off African-American History Month in the City and will include performances by many local gospel choirs and liturgical dance groups. Click here for details.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Important Tax Filing Information

From the state tax department-

Employees of the State of New York:

Report retirement contributions on your State income tax return

If you are an employee of the State of New York and make contributions to a retirement system, you must add these contributions to the amount of the Federal adjusted gross income that you report on your New York State Personal Income Tax return. These contributions are exempt from Federal tax but are not exempt from New York State tax; therefore, the amount must be added to your New York State tax return. (Note: this does not apply to voluntary contributions to a tax deferred annuity.)

You can find the amount of your 2008 retirement contribution (known as “414(h)” contributions) in Box 14 on your W-2 Statement.

Report this amount on the correct line of your income tax return:
Line 13 of Form IT-150 NYS Resident Income Tax Return (short form) or
Line 21 of Form IT-201 NYS Resident Income Tax Return (long form) or
Line 21 of Form IT-203 NYS Nonresident/Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return

Be sure that any tax preparation software you may use performs this calculation.

Failure to add this amount to your Federal adjusted gross income on your New York State Tax return may result in additional tax, interest and penalties.

For more information, contact the New York StateDepartment of Taxation and Finance
at 1-800-225-5829.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Library of Congress Now Has an Official Twitter Feed

You can find the official LC feed here. As of this writing nearly 1000 are following them; they are following no one yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Please be advised that the City of Albany has issued a SNOW EMERGENCY that will begin at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, at which time all normal parking rules and regulations are temporarily suspended.

During the first 24 hours of the snow emergency all vehicles must be parked on the even numbered side of the street.

Beginning at 8:00 P.M. Thursday, January 29th all vehicles must be parked on the odd numbered side of the street.

If you are parked on the wrong side of the street during the snow emergency your car will be ticketed and may result in it being towed.

At 8:00 PM on Friday, January 30, 2009 the snow emergency will be officially declared over and normal parking rules and regulations will go back into effect.

In addition recycling collection will be suspended during the snow emergency. Trash should be placed out as usual. For more information call the Department of General Services at 434-2489 or Click here for more information.

If your vehicle has been towed, call Albany Police Department Traffic Safety Division at 458-5675 for information on how to retrieve your vehicle

Snow emergency brochures, which outline all of the Snow Emergency procedures, can be picked up at any City firehouse, police station, branches of the Albany Public Library or by Clicking Here.

Click Here for a list of Alternate Parking Locations

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

City of Albany Bicycle Master Plan

Save the date for the City of Albany Bicycle Master Plan Public Meeting scheduled for February 25. It seems the City and the Capital District Transportation Committee is undertaking a Plan to identify a network of bicycle routes to help make cycling a more viable way of getting around. You can drop by and share your thoughts between 4:30 and 6:30PM and/or you can attend the presentation and workshop from 6:30 to 8PM. For more info on the Master Plan, call the City at 434-2532 ext. 33 or email them at

Monday, January 26, 2009

1000 novels to read before you die

The Guardian (U.K.) has rounded up 1000 must-read novels. They will be blogging online and you can let them know what you think of the list.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Plan Now for Economic Challenges!

January 31 - 9AM-3PM

Drop by the Main Library for the Financial Resources Fair & VITA Kick Off

Get some great ideas for surviving the money crunch!
One the same day, the library will kick off its VITA income tax assistance program. So bring in your W-2s and learn how to begin improving your finances all at the same time. For more info, contact us at 427-4303.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New TV Age

If you are receiving your television signal through rabbit ears and you've been procrastinating about getting your coupon for the digital converter box, you should know that they are out of coupons until enough coupons already sent expire. I ordered my coupons about six weeks ago, right after the ice storm and they arrived only two days ago.

This means you've got only about three weeks to figure out how you're going to keep up with 60 Minutes. Get on the coupon waiting list by visiting this website and keep your fingers crossed.

So you think you want to own your own business

Free orientation Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Conference Room #2, Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave, Albany

More info here.

The Friends Present. Paul Grondahl

Paul Grondahl's review of the Dexter Filkins book The Forever War.

Mr. Grondahl, of the Albany Times Union, will discuss this reporter's (Filkins) account of how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were experienced by those who actually waged them.
Will you feel like dancing in the streets after the Inauguration?

Tuesday, January 27, High Noon, Main Auditorium

Light Refreshments will be served.

Books rule

Earlier this month, I saw the story Ebook DRM provider goes dark, the books you paid for disappear. As one librarian noted on a listserv, It used to be that you worried about fire, water damage, mold and theft. Now your collections can "expire"!

Another wrote: "This situation has been worrisome for many years, not only with
respect to e-books, but with regard to any purchased datafiles."

Electronic resources becoming unavailable isn't really new. I still have some 5.25" floppy discs SOMEWHERE. My library used to have microfiche. And Census has electronic files from the 1960s that are not easily transferable.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Citizen's Police Review Board

Drop by the Library Auditorium at 6PM on January 26 for some rollicking fun with the Citizen's Police Review Board.

Eagle Eye: Two Thumbs Up!

Drop by the Main Library at 2PM on Sunday, January 25 for an afternoon movie featuring two strangers and a mystery.

A young slacker and a single mom become pawns of a mysterious woman they have never met, but who seems to know their every move. The two are framed by terrorists and forced to become part of a planned political assassination.

Free and Open to the Public
Call 427-4303 for more information

Libraries' many benefits rediscovered in hard economic times

Although talking about libraries in Wisconsin and the upsurge of use in these hard economic times, I always like to show these stories in other parts of the US.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Six Tips to Preserve Your Election Collections

Across the nation, Americans are saving newspapers, posters, buttons, and bumper stickers to commemorate the historic election and inauguration of Barack Obama, America’s first African American president. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), encourages citizen-collectors to make sure that their presidential inauguration collections will be preserved long into the future.

“The election day newspaper – cared for properly — will still be there years from now to remind us and future generations of this singular moment in American history,” Radice said. “This is a great time to raise awareness of the need to protect election and inauguration-related items from common threats such as high temperature, humidity, and light exposure.”

More here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Information ecology of social media and online communities

Social media systems such as weblogs, photo- and link-sharing sites, wikis and on-line forums are currently thought to produce up to one third of new Web content. One thing that sets these “Web 2.0” sites apart from traditional Web pages and resources is that they are intertwined with other forms of networked data. Their standard hyperlinks are enriched by social networks, comments, trackbacks, advertisements, tags, RDF data and metadata.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Library of Congress Leads Nationwide Digitization Effort

The Library of Congress will digitally scan "The Heroic Life of Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator" as the 25,000th book in its "Digitizing American Imprints" program, which scans aging “brittle” books often too fragile to serve to researchers. The program is sponsored by a $2 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. The movement, which includes over 100 libraries, universities and cultural institutions, aims to digitize and make freely available public-domain books in a wide variety of subject areas.

All scanning operations are housed in the Library’s John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 "Scribe" scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at Books can be read online or downloaded for more intensive study. The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Video From ALA: Tools to Help Libraries in a Bad Economy

American Library Association Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels discusses the economy, its effect on libraries, and what ALA offers to help libraries survive in tough times. This video also serves as an introduction to a special issue of AL Direct to be sent January 20 on the economy and other issues.

Inauguration Day

You are cordially invited to join us and your neighbors at the Main Library for this nation's Historic Presidential Inauguration broadcast live on the large screen.

Don't sit at home alone or in front of your computer screen at work - gather with APL in this celebration of our democracy! It certainly promises to be a great afternoon!

Tuesday, January 20th, 11am - 12:30pm
Main Library Auditorium
Swearing In Ceremony & Presidential Address

Also, the Howe Library at 200 South Pearl Street
will be broadcasting live at 11am too.

Then at 12:30pm at Main
Join the Friends of APL at the Main Library for a special Noon-Time Presentation
Jazz Dance Program, presented by The Egg. This free, multimedia program exploring the history of jazz dance through dance demonstrations and historic video footage features Tap Dancer and Lindy Hopper, choreographer, writer, and dance preservationist Rusty Frank.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Barack Obama on libraries

President Elect Barack Obama has indicated his understanding of the important role libraries play in times of economic depression to assist people with job searches, job training and jobless benefits by including support to public libraries in his proposed massive economic stimulus package.

Here's the speech he made in 2005 to the annual national conference of the American Library Association.

Bound to the Word
Guardians of truth and knowledge, librarians must be thanked for their role as champions of privacy, literacy, independent thinking, and most of all reading.
by Barack Obama

"If you open up Scripture, the Gospel according to John, it starts: "In the beginning was the Word." Although this has a very particular meaning in Scripture, more broadly what it speaks to is the critical importance of language, of writing, of reading, of communication, of books as a means of transmitting culture and binding us together as a people.

More than a building that houses books and data, the library represents a window to a larger world, the place where we've always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward and the human story forward...

Friday, January 16, 2009

ALA Releases Tough Economy Toolkit

From the American Library Association:

Chicago -- A new web-based resource has just been released that will help library advocates make the case for libraries during times of economic downturn. The “Advocating in a Tough Economy” toolkit is available at .

"With city, county, state and federal budgets under increasing pressure, we need to be making the case for libraries more than ever. All too often, libraries are the first to receive budget cuts. Funders need to understand the essential role that libraries play in our society and economy, with usage up significantly, and increasing numbers of people coming to libraries for job-related services, for access to government assistance programs, and as a way of making their money go further," says Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director. "The new toolkit will arm librarians and library supporters with the facts and strategies they need to speak out effectively for libraries in this tough economy."

The toolkit contains information on how to work with decision-makers, ways to work with the media, and talking points to help libraries articulate the role of libraries in times of economic downturn. Talking points on the economic value of libraries, with return-on-investment examples; libraries and the economy; and upswings in library usage are included. Users are also invited to share their stories of how they have successfully advocated. Recent media coverage of libraries is also featured.

This resource is part of the "Advocacy U", ALA’s new initiative geared to providing tools, training and resources to library advocates achieve real advocacy goals in real situations at the local level. Learn more at

"The Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit" is also a work in process. Updates and improvements will be implemented as new information and new success stories become available.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Banning Children From Public Libraries Only Option Under New Fed Lead-Testing Law?

From the Bristol (VA) Herald Courier:

Barring a drastic change in legal interpretation, public libraries across the nation might soon consider banning children.

The American Library Association, a nationwide library advocacy organization, fears such bans are the only option left available by a new federal lead-testing law that takes effect Feb. 10.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection Now Online For Public

It being MLK's birthday (the actual date, not the holiday), I'm happy to find out that: Thousands of documents in the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection at Morehouse College will now be available online for public research, school officials announced on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Job posting


Albany Public Library seeks a dynamic and skilled leader to oversee the operations of a growing urban library serving 95,000 people in Albany and 350,000 more as the central library for the Upper Hudson Library System. It has a publicly funded budget of $6.4 million and a staff of 79 employees (full-time and part-time). Albany Public Library’s $29.1 million Branch Improvement Plan will see the opening of two new and three renovated branch libraries by early 2010.

The Executive Director reports to a 9-member elected Board of Trustees and manages the main library, six branches, a bookmobile, and staff. Candidates should have strong management, budgetary, and communications skills.

The Executive Director will have the opportunity to:

*oversee the construction and operation of a newly expanded library system in a diverse community;

*put into action a strategic plan that emphasizes community participation;

*live in the dynamic capital of New York State, which is a short drive from the Adirondack Mountains, historic Saratoga Springs, New York City, and Boston.

A detailed job description is available on the Albany Public Library website at or the PDF here.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Graduation from a college or university registered by the NYS Education Department to grant degrees with a Master’s Degree or higher and eight (8) years of fulltime paid professional library experience in a library of recognized standing, three (3) years of which must have been in an administrative capacity over a complex operation.

SALARY: $95,000-$105,000 with an excellent benefits package. This is a Civil Service appointment. To apply submit a letter of interest and a resume to Jon Allen at by February 20, 2009.

Albany Public Library is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to increasing diversity within its organization.

Marjorie Reinhart, PHR
Human Resources and Finance Manager
Albany Public Library
161 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
518-427-4336 phone
518-427-4377 fax

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

You might have heard that there's some event taking place next Tuesday in Washington, DC. Where to Watch on TV, Radio, and Online

Monday, January 12, 2009

Library of Congress Annual Report (FY 2007) Now Available

The Annual Reports of the Librarian of Congress highlight programs, projects and activities that occurred during the year at the Library, as well as details of its normal operations in Washington and around the world.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New On the Web:

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences this week unveiled the Humanities Indicators, a prototype set of statistical data about the humanities in the United States. The new on-line resource is available at

Several library indicators are a part of the report. Including:

+ State Library Agencies

+ Number and Training of Public Librarians

+ Public Library Expenditures & Funding Sources

+ More Library Indicators Can Be Found Here

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Visit the Library for The Visitors

Thursday, January 15, 6PM, Main Library

Co-sponsored by the Albany Independent Film Forum and the Prison Action Network

The Visitors is a mini documentary following passengers of a charter bus that leaves New York City every weekend to visit prisoners in various prisons in Upstate New York.

The film reflects on the struggles of a unique group of people, mostly women who live at the intersection of confinement and the free world. The director, a former prison visitor herself, - follows the coordinator of the bus, Denise Robinson, whose husband is coming home soon after 17 years of imprisonment.

A Content Analysis of YouTube

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has conducted an analysis of entertainment content available to children on the Internet’s most popular video destination: YouTube.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Friends welcome Tom Ellis

Local activist, Tom Ellis reviews the autobiographical book Son of Mountains: My Life as a Kurd and a Terror Suspect by Yassin Aref.

In 2004, Mr. Aref, was arrested in Albany for allegedly being part of a terrorist ring, he was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

While the FBI stands by its investigation, many people still believe that this was a wrongful conviction.

Come join the Friends at 12PM on Tuesday, January 13

Check out Mr. Aref here.

Economic downturn sends job seekers to library in search of help

A new twist on old story

By PAUL GRONDAHL, Times Union Staff writer
First published in print: Friday, January 2, 2009

ALBANY — In these tough economic times, with record numbers of layoffs, librarians are being called upon to add a new duty not taught in library school: unemployment counseling.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Movie of Hitchcockian proportion

North by Northwest

Drop by the Main Library at 2PM on January 11th for a FREE movie.
North by Northwest, rated 8.6 on the IMDB scale!

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Best of Reference 2008

Determined by a consortium of librarians from the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the queens Library, a number of sources, in print and online sources, judged to be the best.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Consumers seek answers about the food they eat

To help companies better understand consumers’ concerns around the food they eat, Deloitte LLP commissioned a survey of 1,110 consumers in 2008. Several of the results suggested strong concerns from consumers. In particular, large percentages of respondents expressed food safety fears and many wanted to see more information on the foods they purchased.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Troy library branches to close Feb. 2

From the Times Union

The library will shut the Lansingburgh and Sycaway branches. The main library will remain open. The library also will lose seven staff members who fill the equivalent of four and a half full-time positions.

Because too many people say, "Nothing happens in Smallbany"

Downtown Albany BID Events Calendar

Metroland's Arts & Entertainment Calendar

Times Union Online Entertainment Page

Monday, January 05, 2009

United States Mint to Produce New Quarters in 2009

You thought your collection was done when you got that Hawaii coin, released November 3, 2008? Think again. The District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories will get their own commemorative quarter-dollars in 2009, under legislation signed by President Bush in December 2007.

Don't Top Off the Tank!


If you have ever wondered why topping off your vehicle's tank at a self-service gas station is a problem, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC) explains it in some detail on Pages 5-6 of the newsletter Clean Air News: Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems - Performance Testing (PDF).

This 'Gasoline Stations' newsletter from 2003 can be found among other related topics here.