Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Library Worker Defends Patron’s Free Speech, Is Brutally Arrested in Library Where He Works


“For someone to be assaulted and then arrested for asking a question, in a public library of all places, is abhorrent. The library should be a place where people of all points of view can feel safe and welcome,” Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming at the Kansas City Public Library told the Dissent NewsWire.

But that is exactly what happened during a question and answer session with former Bush Administration official and current Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow Dennis Ross, when a local activist was arrested after asking Ross a question.

“I have spent the last 10 years of my life trying to cultivate that atmosphere through public programming at the library. Library staff should be the final arbiters of what constitutes reasonable discourse at a public event held inside a public library,” Woolfolk explained to the Dissent NewsWire. Yet, when he tried to intervene on the questioner’s behalf, Woolfolk found himself arrested at an event he helped plan.

The Kansas City Public Library is no stranger to hosting events, sometimes with controversial speakers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Your Signed Books and Artwork Just Got Harder to Sell in California

From Eureka Booksellers

On September 9, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1570 Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia into law.

The law requires dealers in any autographed material to provide certificates of authenticity (COA) for any signed item sold for $5 or more.

“That sounds pretty reasonable,” you might be thinking. The legislature and the governor apparently had a similar response, because the law was passed with almost no discussion (though eBay’s lobbyist’s fingerprints are on the bill — they managed to get themselves exempted).

Here’s the problem: We sell greeting cards by local artist John Wesa. He signs each one. If we sell one for $5, under this law, we have to provide a certificate of authenticity, and we have to keep our copy of the COA for seven (7!) years. For a $5 greeting card.

Each year, we sell more than a thousand books signed by local authors, every one of these will need to have an accompanying COA. In odd-numbered years, we sell books for the Humboldt County Children’s Book Author Festival. In 2015, we sold 1605 signed books to benefit the festival. That’s 1605 COAs, to be filed and stored for seven years.

You might think, "Oh, you can just have a generic COA." No.

Friday, September 16, 2016

UNH Librarian Leaves His $4 Million Fortune To The School, then...

From Inside Higher Ed:

It sounds too good to be true -- a University of New Hampshire library cataloguer thriftily munched Fritos and microwave dinners and drove a 1992 Plymouth while slowly amassing a fortune, which he bequeathed to his longtime employer and alma mater.

Depending on whom you ask, though, the story ended up being too good to last. Upon his death in 2015, New Hampshire cataloger Robert Morin donated his $4 million estate to the university from which he graduated in 1963 and where he worked for nearly 50 years. News outlets across the country published glowing accounts of his donation.

But to hear some tell it, the glow has faded.

That’s because of the way New Hampshire decided to spend Morin’s gift.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

‘Rock star’ Baltimore librarian makes history at Library of Congress

From the Washington Post
The usually quiet atrium of the Enoch Pratt Free Library came alive with laughter and cheers last month as hundreds gathered to say goodbye to a Baltimore official known to many as “Doc.”

It was an astonishing display of affection for the Pratt’s departing leader, Carla D. Hayden, who is being sworn in Wednesday as the new head of the Library of Congress. Many dismiss urban libraries as outdated and irrelevant, yet Baltimore residents and civic leaders were celebrating the Pratt and Hayden, who captained its resurgence.

“She’s like a rock star,” said Maureen O’Neill, a librarian at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a city high school. “To see a librarian exalted and appreciated is very touching.”

City residents and Pratt employees gathered alongside current and former trustees of the Pratt, city officials and members of Maryland’s congressional delegation to wish Hayden well. She seemed to know them all by name.

“As my grandmother said, ‘It’s mutual between us,’ ” Hayden said later. “It’s a city that really grabs you. They’re just good people.”

After 23 years as Pratt’s chief executive, Hayden, 64, will make history today as she becomes the first woman and the first African American to run the nation’s library. Founded in 1800, the library is the largest in the world, with 162 million items in its collection. It also provides research and legal advice for members of Congress and oversees the U.S. Copyright Office.

Hayden succeeds James H. Billington, a Reagan appointee who retired last year.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Acoustic Rock Night at Albany Public Library September 16

The Albany Public Library is closing out the summer with the last Garage Bands in the Garage concert of the season. Join us this Friday, Sept. 16, for Acoustic Rock Night featuring Matt Durfee & the Rattling Baddlies and Swamp Baby.

The free, all-ages show runs from 6 to 8 pm at the Washington Ave. Branch (back entrance off Elk St.). You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and snacks to complete your concert-going experience.

There will also be a sale of gently used CDs -- all just $1 each -- at the show. Stop by Friday night for a fun evening of music!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Banned Book READ-OUTS! Scheduled For Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs

Per the NYCLU

Lovers of books and free speech will be celebrating Americans’ constitutional freedom to read at three Banned Book READ-OUTS! later this month in the Capital Region. At these events, local citizens read their favorite passages from books that have been banned or challenged.

This year’s events are scheduled for:
· Albany Public Library, 161Washington Avenue, Wednesday, September 28 at 6 pm.

· Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry Street, community room, Sunday, September 18 at 3 pm.

· Market Block Books, 290 River Street in Troy, Friday, September 30 at 7 pm.

Each year there are hundreds of attempts to ban books in schools and libraries throughout the country. Melanie Trimble, Director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, “Our Constitution gives us the right to read what we want and the best way to preserve this freedom is to exercise it.”

This year’s banned book celebrations are focusing in particular on the subject of diversity. The American Library Association (ALA) estimates that more than half of all banned or challenged books are written by authors of color or represent groups or viewpoints outside the mainstream. Trimble said, “It’s distressing to see that, in our diverse country, there is so much effort spent on trying to muzzle diverse voices.”

Even when such attempts at censorship are turned back, they often have a residual dampening effect. Teachers may shy away from including challenged books on reading lists; libraries and bookstores may shrink from featuring them on their shelves.

In the past year, the three most challenged books have been Looking for Alaska by John Green; Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, and I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. Many of our greatest novels have been among the most consistently challenged works. Some examples: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, Ulysses, Invisible Man, The Call of the Wild, Native Son, Rabbit, Run and An American Tragedy.

This year, banned websites are also receiving attention. Excessive and unbalanced filtering of websites has become a growing issue in schools. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, notes that many serious LGBT sites are often blocked, while religious sites aimed at convincing LGBT youth to change their sexual orientation or gender identity and sites that foster hate speech against LGBT people are not blocked.

For example, The Trevor Project, a lauded website devoted to suicide prevention among LGBT youth, is commonly blocked by schools, but the National Organization for Marriage site, which advocates against marriage equality, often goes unfiltered.

Local sponsors of these banned books READ OUTS! are the Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs public libraries, the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs and Market Block Books in Troy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

City of Albany Institutes Mandatory Water Restrictions

Albany--The ongoing repair of the sinkhole on South Lake Avenue has involved shutting off the major water transmission main that brings water from the City of Albany’s water treatment plant in Feura Bush to the Loudonville Reservoir, which serves as the finished water storage for our water supply system.

To assure that there is sufficient water for all customers for their normal domestic and business needs while the City of Albany works to repair sewer and water lines at South Lake Avenue, the City of Albany, per order of Water Department Commissioner Joseph Coffey, has instituted the following mandatory restrictions on outdoor use of water until further notice:

1. No lawn watering, either by automatic systems or manual methods;
2. No car washing with open hoses;
3. No hosing of sidewalks or driveways;
4. No filling of swimming pools.
Watering of vegetable garden plots is permitted by hand. Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in a fine.

If you have questions about these restrictions, call the Department of Water & Water Supply at 434-5300.
By Order of: Joseph E. Coffey, Jr., P.E., Commissioner
Department of Water & Water Supply

Monday, August 08, 2016

Iran is First Country to Ban Pokemon Go

From PC Mag:

Good luck trying to catch 'em all in Iran. The country's High Council of Virtual Spaces has officially banned the Pokemon Go app, making Iran the first country to do so.

As for why, High Council of Virtual Spaces wasn't very specific. The BBC reported that the High Council claimed the game caused "security concerns," but it neglected to elaborate on what those were. We have our guesses, though. Pokemon Go can encourage players to get creative with their sleuthing at all hours of the night, which can prove troublesome. Trespassing concerns are prevalent, too—so much so, there's even a class-action lawsuit in the works in the United States centered on that very issue.

It's also possible that Iran wants to stop the "Pokemon effect" of tens (if not hundreds) of people all hanging out in the same area for hours at a time.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Central Library brings a social worker on board

From The Oregonian:

Susan Voss-Rothmeier walks the halls of Portland's Central Library, a bag slung over her shoulder and a clipboard of resource lists in her hands.

She looks for opportunities to discreetly approach people and quietly ask if she can be of help.

"It's walking around and meeting people and just introducing myself," Susan said of her typical work day. "I just keep it low-key."

Susan is the first, and so far the only, on-site social worker contracted with the Multnomah County Library system. She's three months into a year-long pilot program that provides free social services to patrons in crisis.

Central Library, where Susan spends the bulk of her time, has a jarring juxtaposition between historic opulence and modern poverty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fix Your Bike at Albany Public Library

Bicycle Fixit Stations to be Unveiled on Friday During Bike Tour
Just in time for prime bike-riding season, and Bike to Work Week, we are opening Bicycle Fixit Stations outside three libraries at a special event and bike tour on Friday, May 13.

The event kicks off at the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch (148 Henry Johnson Blvd.) at 9:30 am when library officials will be joined by leaders of local bicycle, transportation, and community organizations for a short press conference and unveiling of that branch's Bicycle Fixit Station. Participants will then get on their bikes and ride to the Bach Branch (455 New Scotland Ave.) to visit the fixit station there. The last stop on the bike tour is the Delaware Branch (331 Delaware Ave.).

Community members are invited to participate in the bike ride -- just meet us at the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch at 9:30 am this Friday with your bike and helmet!

"We're excited to provide the people of Albany with free Bicycle Fixit Stations at three Albany Public Library branches," said Scott Jarzombek, the library's executive director. "There are many recreational cyclists, families, and commuters who can benefit from having easy access to bike repair tools at three locations in the city of Albany. The Bicycle Fixit Stations are another great service the library is proud to provide to the community."

The stations, manufactured by DERO, contain all the tools riders need to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, including changing a flat tire, adjusting brakes, and fine tuning gears. Each station includes the following tools: Philips and flat head screwdrivers, various Allen wrenches, a headset wrench, a pedal wrench, several sizes of box wrenches, tire levers, and an air pump. The tools and air pump are securely attached to the stands using stainless steel cables, but are still easy to access for those using the stations. The stands have hanger arms that allow users to spin the pedals and wheels while making adjustments.

The library partnered with the Albany Bicycle Coalition and the Protected Bicycle Lane Coalition to secure a grant from the Capital District Transportation Committee's Capital Coexist Traffic Safety Ambassador Mini-Grant Program to fund the stations. Additional funds are provided by the Albany Public Library Foundation.

Monday, May 02, 2016

APL Budget, Trustee Candidate Forum

The Albany Public Library is just about two weeks out from the annual budget vote and trustee election. If you're interested in learning more about the library's 2017 budget and candidates for the Board of Trustees,  attend one of two forums this week.
  • May 2 (Mon) | 6 pm | Washington Ave. Branch
  • May 5 (Thurs) | 6 pm | Pine Hills Branch
Attendees will hear a budget presentation by Executive Director Scott Jarzombek, followed by a Q&A with the candidates running for three seats on the library board. We will make videos from the forums available on the APL YouTube channel early next week. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Learn About All that Albany Public Library Accomplished in 2015

The Albany Public Library is proud to present the 2015 community report to you. The report details accomplishments and highlights some of the programs and services that are available at the library.

As Executive Director Scott Jarzombek wrote, "We are excited to show you the good work we did last year, thanks to your investment in our city. We pride ourselves on being an open organization, and welcome the opportunity to share this information with you."

You can read the 2015 community report HERE.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Albany Public Library wants to know how it's doing


Here's your chance to share with the folks at the Albany Public Library what you think about APL!

If you haven't done so already, please take a few minutes to complete the survey and let them know your thoughts on the programs and services being offered. Your answers will help shape the library's future.

The survey will only run for a few more days, and it takes less than five minutes to complete, so please respond to the survey today.

Thank you.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Now they're coming after the librarians

From Daily Kos:

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) is, as I suspect most people know, a Teahadist moron. But it takes a special kind of moron to piss off librarians. That’s exactly what she did this morning, with the announcement that she would introduce a bill in Congress, mandating that,

“The Librarian of Congress shall continue to use the terms ‘Alien’ and ‘Illegal aliens’ in the Library of Congress Subject Headings in the same manner at they were in effect during 2015.”

Libraries'... ultimate purpose is not simply to be a storehouse of books, but to make those books useful to patrons. Now, “useful” can mean different things to different people, but for catalogers, one of the chief qualities of usefulness is simply: discoverability. No matter how “useful” a book may be in terms of its literary or informational qualities, if it cannot be found among the thousands of other books held by a given library, it’s not particularly useful at all.

In order to fulfill this mandate, catalogers maintain library catalogs...

When it comes to topical discovery, one of the most important tools that cataloging librarians have at their disposal is the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), which is a suite of controlled vocabularies that enable catalogers to record the “aboutness” of a given work. Because “natural language” is more or less inexact, the terms in the LCSH serve to cut out some of the noise by selecting certain terms as “preferred” and recording other, “non-preferred” terms as cross references...

Now, of course, providing subject access is, ultimately, a language game. And language, like libraries themselves, is an ever-changing organism...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

National Library Week

From the Times Union Books blog, written by Alicia Abdul

Nothing makes me happier than a party. Now, imagine an entire week to celebrate. Even better, right? This week is National Library Week and you’ll find that most libraries are having events, activities, and displays to bask in the transformative nature of libraries. It’s as much an homage to the patrons that keep us in business as it is about the employees who invest their time and talent to make them thrive.
And it’s awesome to see the kinds of things that are going on in libraries. Look no further than Scott Jarzombek’s work with Albany Public Library or any public library branch for that matter. They’re hosting authors, running informational meetings about home ownership, providing tax forms, and letting kids get elbow deep is robotics.

Saturday, April 02, 2016


New Saturday Hours Start April 2

Starting this Saturday, April 2, the North Albany Branch will now be open from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays. The rest of that branch's schedule remains the same, as do the schedules for all other APL branches.

The adjustment to the Saturday hours at the North Albany Branch is necessary because the YMCA building, which houses that library location, is changing its operating hours on that day of the week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate

From BoingBoing:

Everyone thinks libraries have a positive role to play in the world, but that role differs greatly based on whether you’re talking to a librarian or a patron. Ask a patron what libraries have in common and they’d probably answer: they share books with people. Librarians give a different answer: they share a set of values. It’s time for libraries to step up to those values by supporting access to the Internet and taking the lead in fighting to keep the Internet open, free, and unowned.

The American Library Association Code of Ethics says: ”We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.”

That free flow of information on the Internet is at risk because of the past twenty years’ worth of centralization. What was once a field where all comers could express their ideas and create tools and content is increasingly reliant on proprietary services.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Daily Kos: The Koch brothers' vision for America includes destroying your public library

From Daily Kos:

The library [in Plainfield, Illinois], currently an anchor for downtown and is a much-loved and heavily used part of the community. They are asking for a 20-year bond and a small increase in property taxes. The end result will be a brand new library that is three times larger than the current library, still in downtown, and will feature new technology, public meeting spaces, classrooms, and more space for books DVDs and other materials for the community.

So of course the Kochs’ most invasive arm, Americans for Prosperity, had to step in, because FREEDOM!!! They never met a tax increase for the public good they didn't have to destroy, like the Columbus Zoo funding referendum a few years ago. They killed that—and they helped kill the Plainfield Library, too.

They ran anti-library robo calls (seriously, anti-library!) and they won. Not only will Plainfield not get the new library building, but "a 20 percent cut to services and programs will be needed to keep the existing building functional in the long term."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Monday, March 07, 2016

Summer Youth Employment Applications

The City of Albany's Summer Youth Employment Applications have arrived. You may pick up your copy in the Guidance office before school, during your lunch shift and after school (Albany High School)

The City of Albany's LIGHT (Learning, Initiative and Gaining Headway Together) Summer Youth Employment Program is designed to provide any young City of Albany resident, age 14-18, with a summer work experience. The goals of the program are to:
  • Introduce and prepare youth for the world of work.
  • Help youth identify career interests and attain skills and good work habits.
  • Provide income to youth, which may also supplement family income.
The program runs five (5) days per week for five (5) weeks. The first date of employment is Tuesday, July 5th, the last is Friday, August 5th. Except for the first week, employees will work 20 hours per week. Job assignments will be mailed to the home address on file on June 24th. Participants are able to earn between $6.17/hour and $9.00/hour, depending on their age.

Eligibility requirements:
  • Age 14 or older on or before April 2, 2016
  • Attending a middle or high school in the City of Albany
  • A resident of the City of Albany
Applications must be submitted by the students at one of the following locations and times:
  • Saturday, March 19th, 9am-12pm TOAST School
  • Wednesday, March 23rd, 4pm-7pm West Hill School
  • Wednesday, March 30th, 4pm-7pm Hackett School
  • Saturday, April 2nd, 9am-12pm Bleecker Stadium
Applications will not be accepted without the following documents:
  • 1 copy of the student’s Social Security card
  • 1 copy of the student’s Birth Certificate
  • The original and 1 copy of the student’s Albany City School District Working Paper card (if under 18 years old)
  • 1 copy of the student’s current picture ID (if 18 years of age or older)
  • 1 copy of the student’s alien resident card with alien registration number and date of entry to US (if not a US citizen) 
Applications are also available at:
  • All Albany middle and high school guidance and/or business offices
  • The Dept. of Youth and Workforce Services: 175 Central Ave. – 2nd Floor OR 382 Clinton Ave. – Youth Services Office
  • The Dept. of Recreation, 7 Hoffman Ave.
  • The Summer Youth Employment Program office, Bleecker Stadium, 721 Clinton Ave.


New employee orientation is mandatory for students who have not previously worked for the Summer Youth Employment Program. It is scheduled for June 4, 2016. New employees required to attend orientation will be notified by mail of the time and location. New employees who fail to attend orientation will not be assigned to a work site.

Application clinics are available to help you with the application.  Please call Bleecker Stadium at (518) 438-1082 for locations and other information.

To download an application for 2016 summer youth employment and/or the Cadet Program click here.
To download examples of summer jobs click here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is designed to present the experiences of African Americans and how they helped shape the nation. This new Smithsonian Institute museum is scheduled to open this fall on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Would you like to help the museum tell the African American experience? Among other assistance, NMAAHC is asking the public to:
  • Donate objects - NMAAHC is looking for your artifacts, historical documents, photographs, audio recordings, moving images, books, or visual arts related to African American history, to include in its collection.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Check Your Tax Professional's Background with IRS Directory

This tax season, you may ask for help with preparing your return. But not all tax return preparers have the same level of skills, education, and expertise.

Before choosing a tax professional, check their credentials and qualifications.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Don't Delay, Renew Your Passport ASAP

"When does my passport expire?"

This is a question we ask ourselves before any big trip. If you haven't checked your passport's expiration date in a while and are planning a trip overseas, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. 

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. As spring and summer travel plans come up, passport agencies become even busier so begin the process now. So don't put it off and renew your passport today! 

If you have more questions regarding passports, visit the U.S Department of State's frequently asked questions page.
Image of passports takes you to information on getting a passport

Friday, February 26, 2016

Albany Reads features Books by 2016 Literary Legends

From the Albany Library Foundation: On Saturday, April 16, Albany Public Library enthusiasts from across the City will gather in the homes of their friends and neighbors to eat, drink and discuss one of the books written by our 2016 Literary Legends–Marion Roach Smith and Leonard Slade. After dinner and discussion, everyone will gather at the Washington Ave. branch of the Albany Public Library for dessert. Albany Reads 2015 featured Wicked by our 2015 Literary Legends honoree Gregory Maguire.
If you would like to host an Albany Reads dinner, please click here and fill out our host form.
Watch for more information about Albany Reads.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Meet President Obama's Nominee for Librarian of Congress

The White House, Washington

Today, I'm nominating someone to be our new Librarian of Congress -- the leader of one of our nation's oldest federal institutions -- and I want to introduce you to her.
Michelle and I have known Dr. Hayden for a long time since her days working at the Chicago Public Library, and her dedication to learning and education is unparalleled.
More recently, she's devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today's digital culture. She's been hard at work revitalizing Baltimore’s library system as the CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library, updating its technology and raising money to fund essential improvements. Under her leadership, the Pratt library has become the largest provider of public-access computers in Maryland.
As Librarian of Congress, she'll work in close partnership with Congress, support the copyright office that serves our nation’s creative communities, and explore new ways to share the information housed within our library through innovative technologies.
And I know she'll be a good steward for the important role that libraries play in our communities. Last year, during the unrest in Baltimore, Dr. Hayden and the library’s staff kept the doors of the Pratt open as a beacon for the community.
Finally, she'd be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position -- both of which are long overdue.
I have no doubt she'll make a fantastic Librarian of Congress.
President Barack Obama

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Black History Month Key Lesson Plans

If you're a history or art teacher and you're looking for a few more materials for your lesson plans on Black History Month, be sure to check out Kids.gov. You'll find information on the following and more:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Alany Public Library Users Now Have Two Branches to Visit on Sundays

APL patrons who want to visit the library on Sundays have another option now -- the Bach Branch!

Starting Jan. 10, the Bach Branch at 455 New Scotland Ave. will be open Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm. This is the second APL location open on Sundays, as the Washington Ave. Branch is also open from 1 to 5 pm that day.

So, if you aren't busy this Sunday, we invite you to drop by the Bach Branch to borrow a book, use the computer, tap into the WiFi, or catch up with your New Scotland area neighbors!