Monday, September 30, 2013

Albany school board candidates forum October 16

Three candidates are seeking two available seats on the City School District of Albany Board of Education this fall.

Current board members Sue Adler and Edith Leet both are running for re-election. Anthony Owens also will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The Albany City Council PTA and The League of Women Voters have scheduled a board candidates forum at Albany High School on Wednesday, Oct. 16 beginning at 6 p.m. The forum will provide an opportunity to meet the candidates and hear their vision for the future of Albany's public schools.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Test Your Spelling Knowledge and Win Prizes on Oct. 10

Is your trivia team looking for a new challenge? Do you secretly yearn for the old days of weekly spelling tests in school? Sign up for our fun team spelling bee! We'll test your spelling prowess on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 pm at the Pine Hills Branch. Please register your team at 482-7911 ext. 230 or online.

Part traditional spelling bee, part written spelling test, only team-selected participants have to endure standing in the spotlight to speak into the microphone for the oral part of the bee. So, shy spellers are welcome too! Each round will feature words found in popular books. Start reading the dictionary to increase your chances of winning prizes.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Name the one place where you can watch movies, trick-or-treat, learn a language, show off your spelling skills, take in an art exhibit, make holiday gifts, get help installing a car seat, write your memoir, and enjoy live musical performances? Albany Public Library, of course.

The library has dozens of activities, programs, and events -- all free and open to the public -- planned for the fall months. Read the APL program guide for October, November, and December for all the information!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Who’s Not Online and Why

From Pew Internet and American Life Project:

As of May 2013, 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email.

Asked why they do not use the internet:

34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.
32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Indie bookstores on the rise

The number of members of the American Booksellers' Association is slowly creeping up, a welcome sign after a steep decline from 5500 members in 1995 to 2191 in 2002. ABA is comprised of indie booksellers, and though the dominant narrative has it that the indies were slaughtered by Amazon, the numbers suggest that the decline had more to do with the rise of the big-box chain-stores (ironically, these are dead [Borders] or dying [B&N] and were almost certainly killed by Amazon).

More interesting is why the number of indie bookstores is growing:

More from BoingBoing

Monday, September 16, 2013

E-books Market Share at 22%

From Publishers Weekly:

E-books accounted for 22% of all book spending in the second quarter of 2012, only a one percentage point gain from the first quarter of the year, but up from 14% in the comparable period in 2011, according to new figures from Bowker Market Research. In the year-to-year comparison, the hardcover and trade paperback segments both lost two percentage points each to e-books, while mass market paperbacks’ share fell from 15% in the second quarter of 2011 to 12% in this year’s second period.

This handy chart accompanying the article gives figures for every type of outlet from Walmarts and supermarkets through indie bookstores to Amazon and other e-book sites.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


ALBANY—The Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union will sponsor two “Read Outs” during this year’s national Banned Books Week. The events in Albany and Troy will feature regional notables—actors, writers, politicians, poets, and activists of all types—reading from books that have been banned or challenged in the United States.

The first Read-Out will be held on Tuesday, September 24 at 6 pm at the University Club, 141 Washington Avenue, Albany. The second event will take place as part of Troy Night Out on Friday, September 27 at 6 pm at Market Block Books, 290 River Street, Troy.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Melanie Trimble, NYCLU Chapter Director, said, “Our Constitution gives us the right to read what we want, and the best way to preserve that freedom is to exercise it. At a time when pervasive governmental spying on citizens is in the news daily, it is crucial that people come out to demonstrate their passionate commitment to constitutional freedoms.”

Every year there are hundreds of attempts to suppress books in our schools and libraries. During the first decade of our current century, the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA) recorded 5,099 challenges to books nationwide. And, since most banning attempts do not get widely reported, the organization estimates that the real number of attempted suppressions is at least four to five times higher.

Heading the most recent list of the country’s most frequently challenged books is Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series. Runner up is Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Many of America’s greatest novels have been the most consistently challenged works, among them: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, Ulysses, Invisible Man, The Call of the Wild, Native Son, Rabbit, Run and An American Tragedy.

Many attempts to ban reading material are not necessarily mounted in the parts of the country where one might predict them to be. Substantial clusters of challenges can be found on both the East and West Coasts. One recent ALA survey, for example, counted five incidents each in Connecticut and Pennsylvania but only one each in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama. Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts recorded four challenges each. Nevada and Utah had none. Oregon had eight. The most active states were California, New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Florida which all recorded between 10 and 13 challenges apiece

National sponsors of Banned Books Week are the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition against Censorship, National Council of Teachers for English, PEN American Center, Project Censored.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

National Grandparents Day 2013: September 8

In 1970, Marian McQuade initiated a campaign to establish a day to honor grandparents. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation, declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. This day has been celebrated every year since in honor of our nation's grandparents. The Census Bureau presents updates of statistics about their role and responsibilities in our society.

7 million

The number of grandparents whose grandchildren under age 18 were living with them in 2011.

More facts HERE.