Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Case for Rational Optimism

Local author Frank S. Robinson will be at the Friends of the APL Noon book review, talking about and signing copies of his new book, The Case for Rational Optimism.

TUESDAY, OCT 6 at 12 noon -- Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany. (light refreshments)

Published by Transaction at Rutgers University, the book explains not only how life and the state of the world are improving, but the substantive reasons why this progress will continue. For more information, see

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Honoring Sgt William Francis of Albany, 54th Mass. Infantry

There will be a dedication of a new grave stone marker for Sgt William Francis of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, an Albany resident at the Albany Rural Cemetary in Menands, NY. The date is Oct. 7, 2009 at 11:00am and should last about an hour. Numerous digitaries will be in attendance. The event is sponsored by the Capital District Civil War Round Table.

The grave stone is an official stone provided by the United States government for Civil War Veterans.

Sgt. William Francis was an African American who lived in the Arbor Hill area of Albany when he enlisted.

Please share this notice with anyone in the area that might find it relevant such as churches, and Veterans groups.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Consumer Protection Board "Ask The Expert"

Consumers from across the State are invited to take advantage of the New York State Consumer Protection Board’s (CPB) upcoming Home Improvement Ask the Expert Call-In Day which will take place on September 30, 2009 from 9AM until 2 PM. This free public service program is designed to empower New Yorkers with information and direction as they contemplate small or large home repair and/or improvement projects. New Yorkers with home improvement questions, concerns and problems may call our “Ask the Expert,” toll-free number, at 1-888-351-4648.
As the fall and winter seasons approach, home improvements and repairs are once again on the minds of New Yorkers. Under Governor Paterson, the CPB has created home improvement resources and worked toward stronger consumer protections to prevent scam victimization.
Last year, the CPB created its online “Ask the Expert” program to make it easier for people to obtain answers to home improvement questions. Given its success, we are expanding the project to enable people who may be “Internet-shy” or who have questions which are too difficult or time-consuming to explain in an e-mail to speak to a “live” professional.
Thanks to the generosity of WMHT, the Capital Region’s public television station which is hosting the call bank, New Yorkers will be able to direct their inquiry to home improvement professionals whose areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: kitchen and bath remodeling, plumbing, heating, A/C, sheet metal installation and servicing, construction management, site development, window/door installation, home building, energy-efficiency, home improvement funding for low-income consumers, and improvements on historical buildings.
To bring this event to the people of the State of New York, the CPB is partnering with public and private entities including WMHT, the New York State Builders Association, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and the Preservation League of New York State.
We are looking forward to helping many New Yorkers who are seeking to preserve the equity in their homes and protect their wallets. Therefore, I am asking your assistance in sharing this information with your colleagues, family, friends and acquaintances. Those who need information before then, may check the Ask the Expert page of the CPB’s website at, or may e-mail their question to us at
Thank you for your interest and support. Together, we can make our phones ring off the hook on September 30th and serve many consumers around the State.
Sincerely, Mindy A. Bockstein, Chairperson and Executive Director, CPB

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Downtown BID wants you to know

- Businesses ARE OPEN! Continue to patronize downtown's businesses and maybe you'll rub elbows with members of the production crew from the movie!
- The City's
September in the City Art Fair is temporarily moved to West Capitol Park for September 30th (11:30am-2:00pm).
- The
Downtown Albany Farmers Market has temporarily relocated to Academy Park at the corner of State and Eagle, across from City Hall. They will be there on October 1st from 11am to 2pm. They will return to their Maiden Lane location on October 8th.
Restaurant Week is fast approaching (October 4-10) and will not be impacted by the filming so make your reservations soon! Visit the website at for details.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Douglas Blackmon program was great

The presentation by 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon at the main branch of the Library last night (Thursday) was well-attended and well-received.

Blackmon is the author of Slavery By Another Name, which addressed the neo-slavery that took place in the South from about 1880 to 1940. I had a chance to talk with him before the talk and found him to be an interesting and insightful man. He was introduced by his father, who now lives in Rensselaer County, NY.

In his talk, Douglas addressed the curiosity and compulsion about the injustices of growing up in the Deep South in the 1960s and 1970s that made him locally notorious and that ultimately led to this book.

From the Publishers Weekly review of the hardcover book:
Wall Street Journal bureau chief Blackmon gives a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history—the lease (essentially the sale) of convicts to commercial interests between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Usually, the criminal offense was loosely defined vagrancy or even changing employers without permission. The initial sentence was brutal enough; the actual penalty, reserved almost exclusively for black men, was a form of slavery in one of hundreds of forced labor camps operated by state and county governments, large corporations, small time entrepreneurs and provincial farmers. Into this history, Blackmon weaves the story of Green Cottenham, who was charged with riding a freight train without a ticket, in 1908 and was sentenced to three months of hard labor for Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Cottenham's sentence was extended an additional three months and six days because he was unable to pay fines then leveraged on criminals. Blackmon's book reveals in devastating detail the legal and commercial forces that created this neoslavery along with deeply moving and totally appalling personal testimonies of survivors. Every incident in this book is true, he writes; one wishes it were not so.

The Book House sold a number of copies last evening, which the author graciously signed. I just started reading it, but based on that and the talk, I am highly recommending it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

H1N1 Flu Resources

Information about the H1N1 Flu Virus for students and parents has been added to the New York State Library's web page H1N1 Information for Libraries:

The newest addition is Know What To Do About the Flu - Information for Students and Parents. This information is relevant specifically to students and their parents or care givers from the State Education Department, local school districts and the New York State Department of Health.

For those who have not yet taken a look at the main page: H1N1 Information for Libraries, please note:

* Center for Disease Control (CDC) information for business establishments is adapted for public libraries

* CDC information for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, child care programs

Questions, comments or suggestions of resources to add to the State Library's H1N1 web page: Cassandra Artale, New York State Library / Division of Library Development, 518/474-1479 or

Monster Mash at APL Main Oct. 23

From "bookworm" Stephanie Simon:

The Monster Mash Halloween Bash costume party is set for Friday, Oct. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Main Library (161 Washington Avenue). Children and families are encouraged to come dressed in costume to enjoy the festivities, including: spooky storytelling, Dracula's dance party, scavenger hunt, kooky crafts, and ghoulish goodies. Don't miss this after-hours, free family event!

So, mark you calendars now and plan to join us for our free family Halloween party on Oct. 23. You may even catch your favorite librarian in costume that night!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why Twitter?

Librarian Bill Drew explains what Twitter can do for one's library & community.

Superintendent Search Forum

City School District of Albany Superintendent Search Open Community Forum
Wednesday, September 30 at Albany High School auditorium - 6 p.m.

All members of the community are invited to attend this final open forum to provide input regarding the qualities and qualifications that will help guide the search for the district’s next superintendent.
Visit for additional information, including a Leadership Profile Assessment that you can
download and return with feedback as well. You also can contact Director of Communications Ron Lesko at (518) 475-6065 or

NYLA Auction ends this Thursday

There’s still time to place a bid on an item in NYLA’s Fundraising Auction set to end Thursday, September 24 at 4:30 PM. If you’ve already placed a bid, now is a good time to make sure you’re still the highest bidder! Visit here to see what's being auctioned off.

If you’re not interested in bidding on an item in the Auction, but you still want to support NYLA, please consider making a donation.

Items to be auctioned off include:
• Jewelry
• Gift Certificates to hotels & restaurants across NYS
• Fine arts including sculptures, paintings and prints
• Knitted Goods
• Calendars, and more!
Many NYLA members, friends, family and organizations have helped support NYLA’s efforts by donating to the Auction. All items can be viewed here.

Remember: proceeds from the NYLA Fundraising Auction will help fund scholarships to students, grants to libraries impacted by natural disasters, efforts to support intellectual freedom, as well as various NYLA programs and events.

The NYLA Fundraising Auction is open to all NYLA members, library advocates, supporters, friends, and family members. Before placing a bid on one or more items, please take a moment to read the Terms & Conditions located on the Auction page.

For questions concerning the NYLA Fundraising Auction, please contact the office: 1-800-252-NYLA (6952) x 103 or email

Movie filming to close Albany streets

Filming of "The Other Guys" will begin today in Albany, causing street closings and parking restrictions through Monday.

The majority of the film sequences will involve stunts and include simulated car crashes and simulated gunfire, according to Albany police. Two helicopters will be used on one day of the production.

Read more here.

Quadricentennial Lecture by Artist Len Tantillo Sept. 27

Rensselaer County artist Len Tantillo will present a lecture on “The Legacy of New Netherland: Dutch Influences on the Early Development of New York” at the Albany Public Library on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. The lecture, which will take place at the Main Library on 161 Washington Avenue, is free and open to the public. This program is part of Explore NY 400, a series of events across New York State celebrating Henry Hudson’s historic 1609 voyage up the Hudson River and discovery of Albany. For more information, call 427-4303.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at APL

Albany Public Library is celebrating Hispanic heritage and culture in the coming weeks with a series of events for National Hispanic Heritage Month. These events–which include musical performances, bilingual activities, and documentary film showings–highlight the contributions Hispanics have made to American culture. The events are co-sponsored by the Albany/Capital District Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. All events are free and open to the public, and take place at the Main Library at 161 Washington Avenue. For more information about these events, call the library at 427-4300.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Main Library Health Fair September 30

More than a dozen service organizations will provide free health screenings and medical information at the Lunch Hour Health Fair at Albany Public Library’s Main Library, 161 Washington Avenue, on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. .

Health fair attendees will be able to: find out about free and low-cost health care providers and insurance options; get answers to Medicare Part D and EPIC questions; consult a pharmacist and a nutritionist; sign up for a free mammogram; test blood pressure, vision, and blood glucose levels; get private, confidential AIDS testing; try the Wii Fit program; get a chair massage; and enjoy snacks from Honest Weight Food Co-op.

For more information, call 427-4303.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Letters About Literature contest announced by NY Center for the Book

The 2010 Letters About Literature contest is now open and New York Center for the Book director Pamela McLaughlin is encouraging students in grades 4-12 to enter. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the New York Center for the Book, in partnership with Target.

To enter the contest, students write a letter to their favorite author, living or deceased, describing how his or her work changed their view of the world or of themselves. "Students really enjoy this contest and those who read their letters can readily see how literature influences and inspires young people. I hope thousands of New York students will participate this year," said McLaughlin of the program. A winner from New York State, Jared Dauman of Chappaqua, won a national honorable mention at Level 2 in the 2009 contest. Read his and other winning letters here.

There are three levels of participation: Level 1 for grades 4, 5 & 6, Level 2 for grades 7 & 8, and Level 3 for grades 9 – 12. First, second, and third place winners for each level are selected by a panel of judges in New York State. First place winners receive a $100 prize from the New York Center for the Book and a $50 Target gift card. Second place winners receive a $50 prize and third place winners receive $25. First place winning letters also advance to the national competition, where two national winners and four national honorable mentions are selected at each level. National winners receive a $500 gift card and national honorable mentions receive a $100 gift card, provided by Target.

Target also awards a $10,000 reading promotion grant to the school or community library of each national first place winner. National honorable mention winners receive a $1,000 grant for their school or community library.

The deadline to enter the contest is December 12, 2009. State winners will be announced in May 2010. More information about the contest and entry forms are located here.

Target sponsors "Letters About Literature" as part of its national reading initiative, "Ready. Sit. Read!," which is aimed at fostering a love of reading among children at an early age.

The Other Guys

Purloined from SUNY:

Columbia Pictures, Inc. will be filming the movie, The Other Guys, in Albany over the next few weeks. It is anticipated that the filming will occur on the streets of Albany between September 23, 2009 and October 4, 2009, and some of the scenes will occur in the vicinity of State University Plaza.

On September 23, 24 and 30 and October 1, State Street from North Pearl east to Broadway and Broadway north to Clinton Avenue will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to film a car chase. At times, it might be noisy with low flying helicopters. The filming segments will be of 5-10 minute duration, during which all pedestrian traffic will be cleared and not allowed on the streets. After the segments are filmed, normal pedestrian traffic will be allowed to cross the streets affected.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Call for Proposals-Underground Railroad History Conference


The Ninth Annual Underground Railroad History Conference Sponsored by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.

February 26, 27, 28, 2010 in the New York Capital Region

The forces of gender, class, race, and ethnicity have deeply and complexly conditioned the Underground Railroad and the movements for freedom that have arisen in its wake.

The theme of the 2010 UGR History Conference calls on us as academic scholars, independent researchers, performers, educators, and community members to examine the many ways that these forces interacted to shape the UGR and the struggles that followed it, and to consider how these interactions impact us today.

For the full call document visit:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Citizens for Public Transportation meeting

Citizens for Public Transportation will meet September 16 at 7:00 PM at the Albany Public Library, Washington Ave.
Guest Speaker will be Rev. Peter Young, President of Housing Industries and Treatment and Chaplain to the New York State Senate. Rev. Young will speak on "The Senate's Up-to-date Views on Transportation".
A representative of CDTA will attend.

Questions: call Lucille Brewer at 436-1944

By The Book: RA in a Dynamic World

A Readers' Advisory Conference
Albany Public Library, Albany, NY
November 13, 2009

Join Albany Public Library to celebrate the sixth annual By the Book Readers’ Advisory Conference! In 2009, continue to expand your skills and understanding of readers’ advisory in an ever-changing world.

The featured speaker is Cynthia Orr, winner of the 2004 American Library Association Margaret E. Monroe Award for service to adults and an editor of The Reader’s Advisor Online, a website and blog aimed at readers’ advisory and collection development for public libraries. With an exciting sequence of programs for professional and paraprofessional staff scheduled for Friday, November 13th, APL’s By the Book event is designed to give attendees real-world readers’ advisory tips and techniques that they can implement in their libraries.

Cynthia Orr has over 30 years of experience with four different library systems in the areas of collection development, public service, management and readers’ advisory service. She is the former Collection Manager at Cleveland Public Library and has also been Fiction Selector and Director of Technical Services at Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio. She teaches Readers' Advisory Services for Kent State University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Ms. Orr is a member of the advisory board for Libraries Unlimited's _The Reader's Advisor Online_, and editor of its blog as well as a consultant for OverDrive.

Cynthia Orr will begin the morning session with a presentation on what library professionals should know about the reading habits of the public. Ms. Orr will also present an afternoon session on how to stay current in a rapidly changing environment and lead a breakout session about the future of readers’ advisory.

Attendees may choose to participate in two breakout sessions. Other topics, each led by APL staff, include conducting readers' advisory on the move, readers' advisory for children if you are not a children's librarian, and going Dewey-free. These sessions are designed to give attendees the opportunity to discuss current issues with colleagues facing the same challenges.

Librarians, library school students, and paraprofessional staff are all invited to join By The Book: RA in a Dynamic World. The fee for registration is $65.00 (includes lunch). Student registrations are available for $25 (student ID required).

Registration must be received by Friday, November 6, 2009.

For more information, contact Amy Maurer McLaughlin, Program Manager,, 518-427-4349.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Underground Railroad Tour

Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Sunday, September 20th at 1:00pm
Meet at Albany Area Heritage Visitor's Center, Quackenbush Square
Phone: 518 432-4432

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Douglas Blackmon, author of Slavery By Another Name

The Friends of the Albany Public Library are joining with the New York State Writers Institute to co-sponsor a presentation by 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon at the main branch of the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue on Thursday, September 24th at 7:30 PM.

Blackmon is the author of Slavery By Another Name.

Watch and listen to this segment with Blackmon on the June 20, 2009 episode of Bill Moyers' Journal.

From the Moyers page:

Blackmon's book tells the unfamiliar story of 'neo-slavery' that reached beyond the de-facto slavery of tenant farming and debt peonage.

"Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible 'debts,' prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude."

It was a system that Blackmon found carried on in some areas until the early days of World War II.

The Blackmon event at APL is free and open to the public.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Are Dictionaries Becoming Obsolete?

From the Wall Street Journal.

Do we still need dictionaries in the age of Google?

Dictionaries are, after all, giant databases of words compiled by lexicographers who investigate word usages and meanings.

These days, however, Google is our database of meaning. Want to know how to spell assiduous? Type it incorrectly and Google will reply, in its kind-hearted way: "Did you mean: assiduous"? Why yes, Google, I did.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

APL Closed Saturday-Monday

All locations closed September 5-7 for Labor Day Weekend

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

1st Friday's 3rd Anniversary - September 4

The next 1st Friday Albany event will be this Friday, September 4th, beginning at 5PM, featuring numerous gallery openings, one-night shows, local shops, restaurants, and live entertainment. Best of all, 1st Friday is an entirely free event.

September 2009 Friends of the APL Events


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

YouTube - Haunted Library

Haunted Library

Public Library Longitudinal Data

For those of you interested in longitudinal data on a national scale, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has now posted Public Library statistical data from FY1992-FY2007 that can be found on here.