RCS Library

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Library, which has very sensibly shortened its name to the RCS Library, has a checkered past which reminds me of swamp castle in Monty Python’sHoly Grail (and that fourth one stayed up!) That’s not something I’m explaining, just that things are looking up  for them- they are in a wonderful space and in the process of expanding.

I realized that I am spoiled in my new lifestyle- I was thinking it was a bit of a trek to go there, but it actually is a shorter distance away than my local mall was growing up! I wanted to visit before the traveling Nano exhibit leaves at the end of October.

I found this library delightful.  Not only was it a new space with lots of room,  I was also impressed by the signs, displays and personal touches.

The more I am pleased to see my favorite genre separated, the more I realize we need to make it easier to find in our own collection


Such a cute display!

The teen area is a work in progress.  It has comfy seating and a nice graphic. novel collection, but is in a big empty space, and their nonfiction is mixed in with children’s.  I really like the bar seating for device use.

The children’s area is large, full of places to play and things to play with.  The director caught me as I was leaving (worst spy ever!), and explained that they were expanding- the children’s area will have a dedicated play space inspired by Storyville in Baltimore, but with a nautical theme. Director Judith Wines is an innovator, what I consider to be a local “mover and shaker” who is willing to experiment and change to meet patron’s needs.  

It is really nice to see a library with enough space to expand, and I plan to revisit when their changes are complete!

Jane is visiting all 36 locations of the Upper Hudson Library System (see introduction)






Pumpkin Carving

I’ve made many jack-o-lanterns out of real pumpkins.  This time I tried out carving a fake one, thinking it would be just the same.  It is in some ways, but the material in fake pumpkins is harder than real ones.  Cutting the hard, hollow pumpkin is more akin to carving wood. The consistency is a blend of foam and smooth plastic.  I had thought it was going to be more like the squishiness of stress balls.

Exacto knives are not going to cut it (har har). You can slice the surface with small scalpel blades, but for actual cutting, you will need a very sturdy box cutter or wood carving knife.  I found it very hard to shape the cuts, they wanted to go in straight lines.  Small cuts  were also very difficult due to the tools I had.  I did have small saws from a pumpkin carving kit, but they only work after a piece has been cut out.

Find a good stencil, there are thousands online to choose from, and tape the stencil on your pumpkin. Use a pin to punch holes along your design lines, then take off the stencil.  The pinpricks will be faint, and hardly noticeable if you decide to slightly change the lines.

The pumpkin left something like sawdust on everything.  To clean out the inside of your work, you could use canned air.

When your work is done, toss in a fake candle (real candles are a bad idea). While this was fun, I think I want to go back to real pumpkins, and not just because I love roasted pumpkin seeds.




Menands Library

My first attempt to visit, on my way to the Watervliet Library, was a failure, because their hours are, in library jargon, “wackadoodle”.  I had glanced quickly at their schedule, saw they were open until 8, and just assumed they would be open at 3.  Nope.  They were open 5-8 that day.

Monday 12:00PM – 8:00PM
Tuesday 5:00PM – 8:00PM
Wednesday 12:00PM – 8:00PM
Thursday 5:00PM – 8:00PM
Friday 12:00PM – 5:00PM
Saturday 10:00AM – 1:00PM
Sunday Closed.

Lay-people may wonder how odd library hours come to be. They are often caused by having only one employee and a non-existant budget, so the hours need to work around meals, perhaps another job, and other factors.  Then sometimes the hours get fixed in place, and need a lot of convincing to make them change.

So I went on a Saturday with my daughter.

The library is tucked away on a side street, with a good-sized parking lot (about 10 spots). There might be a side entrance, but the front entrance is not accessible.  My overall impression is the place is cozy, clean and welcoming. Several families were there, playing, reading and coloring.

The library is all one room, there didn’t seem to be any separate program space or tutor rooms. The children’s area has a play area and tables for activities, and there is a table in the nonfiction area for  small meetings.  I think I would turn the couch behind the computers around to face the shelves (I personally would feel uncomfortable having someone sitting behind me while I’m on the computer.). There is a nice office chair in the teen area, making it easier to browse the lower shelves.

The non-fiction collection could use an influx of new items.  The video collection is robust, and my daughter found several tv show sets she wanted to check out.  The collection was well-tended.  The books on the bottom shelves are sideways to make the spine labels easier to read, not because there’s not enough room for them to be upright.

All in all, a nice little library, one that probably could use more funding.

Jane is visiting all 36 locations of the Upper Hudson Library System (see introduction)



Watervliet Public Library

The Watervliet (pronounced “water-vill-eet”) library is in the same building as the city’s senior center.  It had a massive renovation in 2016.


There’s a large bell in the lobby.  I learned from my mistake from the Guilderland library (will anybody ever comment on why there’s a cow in their lobby??) and read the plaque.


September 28, 2017

Altamont Library

I usually question the use of words like “charming” and “quaint” when talking about libraries, since those are often used like real estate euphemisms for “cramped” or “needs work”, but in the case of the Altamont Library, tucked into an old train station, the charm is real.  It could easily be on an episode of HGTV’s Tiny Houses.  Every corner and nook is utilized and surrounded by attractive touches, giving the illusion of a much larger space.  It was a delightful palate-cleanser after the last library I visited.

I love the area, near the beautiful Indian Ladder Trail, and my favorite apple orchard, Indian Ladder Farms.  So when we were in the area for apple picking on a hot day, I convinced the family to make a few detours (here and Voorheesville, which is my next blog).


North Greenbush Library

The North Greenbush Library covers the township of North Greenbush and is located in Wynantskill, Southeast of Troy.

When I visited the Troy libraries, I saw that they were struggling with buildings in need of renovation and repair, but had staff who curated and cared for the collection in spite of the awkward spaces.  The North Greenbush Library… I am trying to find the right words so I don’t hurt feelings.

September 7, 2017

 Troy Public Library

This is not the entrance.  

Neither is this.

The building I had always assumed was the Troy library is not, in fact, the library.  This was after getting lost just trying to park.  “You have reached your destination” said Siri as I drove under Russel Sage College.  Um, no.  (Rte 2 goes under Second Street).  The giant white building is the court house, and the building next to that is the Supreme Court law library… then you have the Troy Public Library.  This massive old building (well, American old, built in 1897) is built in an oversized, opulent style,  with marble stairs, stained glass windows and roman pillars.  A true temple of knowledge.  It has that faint “old building” smell familiar in museums and used book shops.  It is full of awkward little nooks and crannies, interesting to explore, but not fully accessible.  While historical buildings are definitely worth preserving and sharing with the public, trying to run a modern library in one is a logistical nightmare.  The library director has had to fight to get an elevator installed, and there is so much more that needs to be done, to keep the building from falling apart, to make spaces for all the things that a library does now that never occurred to the builders, from computer labs to event stages.  Doors are left open to allow air flow through the building, which makes me wonder what this is like in the winter.


August 28, 2017

Castleton Public Library

I took a long drive down a winding, unlined road, questioning Siri’s navigational skills, to find the village of Castleton-on-Hudson.  I found the charming red building at the bottom of a steep hill.

The library is part of the  village hall.  The front door is not accessible, but the back door is.  I commented to the director that the back hall could be signposted  a little bit better.  Working with the town in a shared space is somewhat difficult (as is relying on their help, I can attest to that).

The library is one long room in the building, but recent improvements have made best use of the space.


Nassau Free Library

No, I didn’t go to the Bahamas, or even to Nassau County.  Nassau Free Library is out in the pretty countryside in Rensselaer County. The building is an old house, built upon over the years.  Their most recent renovation put in a meeting room in the basement.

Ramp entry in the back of the building.


August 18, 2017

 East Greenbush Community Library

Sometimes it’s hard not to be jealous.  To be held up against something and found wanting is very hard, even when it’s an “apples and oranges” thing.  I’ve explained to my library board that we’re a Stewart’s Shop, and this library is Target, and there’s nothing wrong with being either until you demand that Stewarts starts carrying furniture.  But I digress.  The East Greenbush Library is a special district library that covers a sprawling township with no real center.  They are next to the Greenbush YMCA, and the night I visited they were hosting a farmer’s market in the parking lot between their buildings.

 Fancy entry hallway has large meeting rooms on both sides, and built in display cabinets currently showing off a scout display, kid’s creations and ads for summer programs.


%d bloggers like this: