From the Director:
Guilderland, NY – I was recently asked how things were going here at your library. The question came at a fortuitous time as I had just finished the 2016 statistical report the library is required to file with the State of New York. So I replied, “It was a fantastic year! Program attendance was up 48% over the previous year, we held 13% more programs, and … my favorite stat: We had a 23% jump in the number of young readers in the Summer Reading Club! Plus, we got a new roof.”
Those statistics are a reflection of the innovative and captivating programs the library’s Programming and Public Services Department created in 2016. Among them:
“The Teen Winter Writing Contest,” in which young authors and poets were encouraged to submit original writings for a
chance to win prizes, and be published in a book, was hugely successful. The program proved so popular, and the entries so outstanding, that every entry was published.
“Albany Distilling: A Spirited History” was a talk – and tasting! – hosted by the Albany Distilling Company that explored the rich tradition of spirits in the Capital Region, Participants over age 21 were able to sample Ironweed whiskey, which pays tribute to the William Kennedy novel of the same name.
Concerts, as always, were very popular, with performances by The Finger Lakes Guitar Quartet, The Electric City Chorus, and The Sonny & Perley Trio attracting crowds well in excess of 100, straining the capacity of the library’s largest meeting room, with some concert-goers sitting in the hallway.
One program that had an immediate, practical, and lasting benefit to the community was April’s “Drug Take-Back Day.” The library and the Guilderland Police Department teamed up to use the library’s parking lot as a collection point for this nationwide, one-day collaborative effort between the DEA and state and local law enforcement agencies. The goal: To remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Just drop them off; no questions asked.
It was unknown how successful Drug Take-Back Day would be. The worries were misplaced: Over 800 pounds of controlled, non-controlled, and over-the-counter medications were collected and turned over to the authorities for destruction. The program was so well-received that GPL and GPD held another in October; this collection day brought in an even greater amount of medications.
And, just so you know: We have another Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 29.
A New Collection
The library launched “GPL Gadgets,” a collection that gives customers the ability to borrow GoPro cameras, metal detectors, WiFi hotspots, fishing rods, folding tables, bake ware, and similar items that patrons would love to use, but might not want to own. Another popular item is a collection of Birthday Backpacks; these give parents an assortment of themed items and activities to create fun little parties!
Library Foundation Events
The Foundation had two signal events in 2016. In September it held a very successful fundraising Gala at the Albany Country
Club. The Gala was a celebration of the library, and honored the Robinson family – owners of Robinson’s Hardware — for their many years of service to the community. (Note to other libraries: Your old card catalog is the ideal piece of library furniture for raffling bottles of wine.)
This was followed in November when Mets former star pitcher, sports commentator, and acclaimed author Ron Darling spoke as part of the Foundation’s Carol J. Hamblin Notable Author Speakers Series. An author’s reception at the library opened the evening, but the author talk was so popular – more than 500 attendees — that the Foundation held the talk in the “Cafetorium” of the nearby Farnsworth Middle School. (Thanks, again!, to Farnsworth’s Principal – and Foundation Vice President — Michael Laster.)
As to the new roof: The library is marking a quarter-century in its current building, and the roof was beginning to show its age. Thanks to grants from State Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. and the Upper Hudson Library System, customers, staff, and the collections are now safe from leaks from above.
It was a great year. And 2017 is shaping up that way, too!