By Bonnie J. Ross
Winter is upon us, but that’s no reason to hunker down at home! Local libraries have something for everyone, whether your passion is knitting sweaters or building Lego towers. Most libraries offer story hours for the little ones, and some even have yoga and meditation for the adults. At the very least, get out and stock up on a good stack of books against the cold. Following is a selection of local library offerings—for libraries not listed, refer to the library directory. Call up and ask about programs — and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, why not suggest a program? After all, you might not be the only one in your community interested in sustainability or calligraphy or Old Norse mythology.
Albany Public Library
With seven different branches, each with unique offerings, the collective Albany public library offers a variety of programs for babies to adults. Weekly story-hours and playgroups are presented for ages 0-5 at the Bach, Delaware, Pine Hills and Washington Avenue branches. Delaware has a weekly program with border collies, “Delaware Dogs,” for ages 6-11. North Albany, Howe and Arbor Hill all have Lego clubs, and most branches also have craft clubs. Pine Hills has a Monday evening chess club for ages 6-17. For teens, Howe has a Monday gaming club; Arbor Hill, Monday teen health/drug education group; and Pine Hills, a Thursday filmmaking cub. For adults, Pine Hills and Delaware both offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and conversation groups; Howe, a writing workshop, “Pen in Hand,” led by Professor Paul Lamar of Saint Rose; Bach, a Thursday knitters/stitchers group; and Arbor Hill, a BOCES general education course. There are frequent special events and workshops in topics like yoga, beading, and a two day Rubik’s Cube workshop for teens through adults (17th-18th at Bach Branch). See schedule: www.albanypubliclibrary.org.
Guilderland Public Library
Guilderland offers three different levels of story hours for children: “Baby and Me,” for infants 4-18 months (Mondays); “Toddler Time,” for ages 19-36 months (Monday and Wednesday); and Preschool Storytime (Thursdays and Fridays). There also is an intriguing literacy confidence program called “Book Buddies,” which pairs a young reader (grades 1-4) with a teen volunteer listener (Thursdays 3-5:30pm). Knitters and stitchers have a Monday morning club. For aspiring builders, there are monthly teen and younger-age Lego clubs. Every month, the “globetrotters” family program introduces families to a different culture through stories and languages. There are several book clubs, including a “books and brews” group for ages 21 and over. See schedule: www.guilpl.org; 456.2400.
Rensselaerville Public Library
Rensselaerville offers a family story time for children ages 0-6 and their parents (call for more information). For adults, there are lots of programs, including a monthly writer’s group (2nd Thursdays at 7pm) and a poet’s group (2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7pm). The library is also launching an adult coloring club, to meet on 3rd Thursdays at 7pm. Among special events in February is a “paint and sip” on the 17th, which combines a painting lesson with snacks, beverages and socializing. See schedule: www.rensselaervillelibrary.org; 797.3949.
Troy Public Library (Main [M] and Lansingburgh [L] Branch)
Troy has numerous programs, many taking advantage of the City of Troy’s unique academic offerings. On Saturdays from 10am-2pm, students in K-12 can get free tutoring from RPI students at the L branch. Tom Bulger, professor at Siena, leads a weekly course on Shakespeare (continued from January), Thursday evenings at M branch. In addition, the library has plenty of regular programs, including family story hours for ages 0-5 (Wednesday mornings at M branch, Thursdays at L branch); yoga; meditations; book clubs and teen gaming groups. See schedule: www.engagedpatrons.org; M-274.7071 and L-235.5310
Berkshire Athanaeum (Pittsfield)
Pittsfield’s library presents a children’s story time for ages 1 ½ to 5 on Tuesdays; an early literacy support group on Wednesdays; and a Thursday play group. There is also a Lego group for ages 5 and up that meets on the 3rd Wednesdays of the month. The library also offers regular computer and financial literacy classes for adults, and on February 20, there will be a mini golf tournament for all ages. See schedule: www.eventkeeper.com; 413.499.9480.
Great Barrington Libraries (Mason [M] and Ramsdell [R] libraries)
There are several children’s programs at these libraries for ages 2-5 at the M library: a Tuesday STEM and literacy playgroup; a Thursday story hour; and a Friday musical playgroup. R Library has a Friday story hour for ages 3-5 and a Saturday craft group for ages 5-12. R library offers “The Powder Keg sessions” writing workshops for women; and there are often film screenings and book discussions for both kids and adults. See schedule: www.engagedpatrons.org.
North Adams Library
The North Adams library has a toddler story time on Tuesday mornings; a preschool story time on Wednesday mornings; and a Lego club for ages 4-12 twice a month (call for dates). For adults, there is a monthly book club and a weekly intro to genealogy class. See schedule: www.naplibrary.com; 413.662.3133.
Claverack Free Library
Claverack library offers a family story hour on Friday mornings from 10-11am, and on 4th Fridays, a family movie night at 7pm. February’s film is the 1968 movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, starring Dick Van Dyke. The knitting group happens on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3pm. See schedule: www.claveracklibrary.org; 851.7120.
Hudson Area Association Library
Hudson library offers an incredible array of programs for kids, tweens, teens and adults. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, there is a pre-K story hour; and there’s a Wednesday evening language enrichment program for children of the ESL program participants. Monday afternoon, kids ages 10-16 can discuss and review books they’ve been reading for a local radio show broadcast. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (and by appointment), adults can receive free tutoring in literacy skills. Other programs include a Tuesday Spanish class for adults; Columbia County’s photography club (all ages, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays); a monthly adult book club; and regular presentations on local history. See schedule: www.hudsonarealibrary.org; 828.1792.
New Lebanon Library
New Lebanon has two story hour programs on Wednesday mornings: a movement, music, story-time and craft half-hour for toddlers up to 35 months, followed by a preschool story hour for ages 3-6. On the first Tuesdays of the month, there is an afternoon Lego club for ages 5-12, and on Friday evenings, a variety of family programs take place, including film screenings, author talks and performances by local musicians. See schedule: www.newlebanonlibrary.org; 794.8844.