Library Passport: @AlbanyNYlibrary #UHLS

Library Tour- Albany’s many branches

The Albany Library serves over 97 thousand people, so they get more than one library branch. Seven total, in fact.  Getting to all of them was a challenge all by itself.  The Library Director completed a “bike to work day” by reaching them all by bike (and bus) in one day, and I am just now realizing what an accomplishment that was.  Well done, Scott!  They are very dedicated to bike and bus transportation. They have bike-care stations at each branch and sell bus passes.

Albany- Arbor Hill

“No bicycles allowed” is for the lobby, there was a bike repair program going on in the conference room.  (By the way, as I was leaving someone brought in their bike and left it in the lobby!)

There are lovely partitions using plants to break up the industrial look.


Bach is in a suburban area.  It has beautiful landscaping in front and a garden in the back.  There are some odd quirks I noticed for it being a new building- like the book drop is not next to the circulation desk. Rolling shelves make changing the children’s area for a program easier.  The place was airy and light, with a large teen area off to one side.       I noticed “shopping baskets” at several branches.  An interesting idea (though personally I try to keep my selections to what I can carry). Automated Fax machine would cut a lot of my staff’s work… unless they would have to help patrons use it?

Albany- Delaware

The Delaware branch is across the street from the Spectrum Movie theater.  I parked at a Taco Bell, not realizing that the place had its own parking lot!

The Library was also having a bike repair class while I was there.  My impression of the place was “cozy” and “sleek”.

It is one story, with a dividing wall separating the adult and children’s area  in the middle, which then opens up again for the computers, teen area and children’s services desk.  I found it quite pleasant.

and it’s a Pokemon gym.


I didn’t feel quite as comfortable in the Howe branch, even though it had lovely architecture and many great features.  It was busy, and while it made excellent use of small spaces, I felt like I was invading the people reading papers, using the computer and playing in the children’s area.  I was surprised to find the back entrance led to stairs and an elevator (the bottom floor is a large meeting /program room).

I really liked the large, attention-grabbing signs.

Beautiful windows, woodwork and shelving.

I want one of these closed bulletin boards for our front foyer.


This is the secret library.  It is cunningly camouflaged from every angle, and you have to know it’s there to see it.  Give the special password, and it will shimmer into existence.  Or in my case, find the Pokestop and look around in utter confusion.

But…it’s just a set of stairs, leading to a YMCA!



Oh! There it is! Access to the secret room led to treasure, one of the few copies of “Fantastic Beasts” available in the system.. Thank you!


Albany- Pine

I interned here.  In 1995.  Apparently it’s changed a bit.  It’s still across the street from the police station, where Washington and Western branch off in what I call “the veering”.  Now it has two floors and a lot more space.

I see that kids leaving out toys doesn’t just happen at our library.  I think they need that sign that Bethlehem has, about getting a sticker for cleaning up.

The display for new books was small, which made me feel like there wasn’t much choice (it’s more likely that these were just the newest of the new, but I’m talking about emotional response).

Albany- Washington

This will always be known as “Main” to me (just like I always think of my brother as his full name and not a nickname).  The Director would like it to be seen as just another part of the whole, and not the center.  But it is a four story building next to the capitol buildings, dude.  Albany M-, I mean, Washington, is next to the Armory building.  The builders of the library shunned that aesthetic, going for the “futuristic” box shape.  It’s been recently painted to blend more with the brick next door, however.

Street parking is tricky this close to the capital buildings, but there is a parking lot behind the building.  The street behind the building is one-way, so you’ll want to turn down Dove street to get to it.

The library has a dedicated Maker Lab, with items such as sewing machines, 3-D printers and digital production tools.

A flock of construction workers comes to rest on the brick sidewalk in front of the building.

Of course, there is so much more I could add, I think I will revisit different topics like signage, categorizing and placement later.  I still have so many more libraries to visit.  ( I feel like I’ve just done a marathon doing these 7!)

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
















One Reply to “Library Passport: @AlbanyNYlibrary #UHLS”

  1. It’s so funny to read your impression of the North Albany library. My girl scouts went to school there when the library was built. From inside the school, you can walk to the library and the YMCA easily. I have never used the library from its “front” door. Good to know it has one, however hidden…
    As for Pine, it’s just too small to have a good selection. I lived a few blocks from there for years, but I always ended up walking to main (“washington,” ha!) because Pine was not open or, on the rare occasions it was open after work or on a weekend, it didn’t have the books I wanted. Ahhh, remember back when we couldn’t check the library’s holdings from home, and you had to actually go to a library and from there talk to a person who could find out if other libraries had it? I feel so old now…

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