Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

Library Board News

The Albany Library Board met on Wednesday, January 23. The Board has been restructured to include five members, each appointed by a city council member. The new Library Board includes Hank Olson, Karen McKeown, Rosalie Gonzales, Alan Riffer and Karen Leeburg. Outgoing members–Sarah Whitmer, Linda Yamamoto, Leah Flanagan and Robert Lieber (not pictured)–were recognized for their conscientious service to the community, with combined service of over 24 years!  Judy Lieberman will continue to represent the City of Albany at these meetings–bringing her organizational expertise and commitment to fairness to the table.

The Board will continue to serve as advocates for the people of Albany, working to ensure that funds are used wisely and allocated properly.  Community input is encouraged and members of the public are always welcome to attend meetings–to be held on the 3rd Tuesdays of most odd-numbered months. (Please see Library and City calendars for actual dates. There will be no meeting in July.)

Outgoing Members, L to R Leah Flanagan, Sarah Whitmer & Linda Yamamoto (credit: Judy Lieberman)

Swearing in of new Library Board (cr: Judy Lieberman)

Swearing in of new Library Board – L to R: Rosalie Gonzales, Hank Olson, Alan Riffer, Karen McKeown and Karen Leeburg (credit: Judy Lieberman)

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Be sure to spend some time in front of the display case as you enter the library this month. The Urban Sketchers have treated us to a rainbow of local color. The group will hold a sketching party on January 19 from 12-3 on Solano Avenue followed by a reception in the foyer of the Community Center. See sign in gallery below for details of that party.

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The Miko Dolls on display this December bring a story of Kizuna and camaraderie across the ocean. The March 11, 2011 Earthquake in Northern Japan and the following tsunami saddened the world. Miko Doll creator, Mikio Sakuma, responded to this tragedy with creativity and compassion.

One box shows a family reaching toward each other across rushing waves, with branches arching over their heads. It is a delicate portrayal of kizuna or friendship which pulls us toward each other even when we are in danger.

So many of the boxes tell interesting stories. Come see for yourself!

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Albany Library Board met on Wednesday, October 24, with a special item on their agenda: a presentation honoring Gardener and Margaret Young, whose bequest made possible an audio-visual upgrade to the Edith Stone Room.

The Albany couple died last year, both just shy of 100 years. Mr. Young worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the couple lived in Albany from 1952 to 2011. Neighbors fondly recall them and spoke of how much they loved Albany.

The board was honored to have the trustees of the Young estate, Kay and Ed Kinney, at the meeting for this “ground-breaking” of sorts.

Jeremy Allen, representing the City of Albany, demonstrated the audio-visual capabilities to an enthusiastic audience. Cal Freshman and Albany’s own Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nir Maoz, manned a TV camera in the back of the room. (See the meeting on KALB.)

After the demo, Ronnie Davis thanked the board and the Kinneys on behalf of the library. She showed how the equipment already proved its worth, working its magic on kids playing Wii games and wowing adults with HD images of the presidential debate.

City Manager, Beth Pollard, officially thanked the Kinney’s for the gift provided by the estate. Board members also expressed thanks and noted that the project cost only a third of the library’s share of the bequest. They expressed satisfaction with the current project and stated that any future spending of the gift should follow the same thorough planning.

Finally, Kay Kinney addressed the group, thanking the library board for their stewardship and emphasizing how much the Young’s valued the library’s service to kids and the community. (She and her husband arrived at the library during peak kid time and were happy to see the library full of children–knowing how that would have pleased the Youngs.)

Read more about the Youngs and their awesome gift on Albany Patch



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They’re back and they’re as colorful as ever! Come see the wonderful, whimsical hearts made by Marin School’s Third-Grade Artists. See the Key to the Artists and photos of the display below. If you prefer action, spin around the stacks to the tune of a nickelodeon.

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The Albany Library Puppet Festival had its first show: Aztec Pinocchio. Maldo creates a little boy with a butterfly for a heart and the show flutters to a fantastic finish with a beautiful moral about self-sacrifice and love.

The magical, colorful creatures had plenty of slapstick fun, smacking each other over the head or falling behind stage. Kids screamed and laughed so we knew it was a good show! Caterpillar Puppets‘ Joey Leon engaged the audience very nicely, inviting us to shout out Spanish words. We all left with a tiny mariposa in our hearts.

More puppet shows to follow: 2/18 – The Frog Prince (Fratello Marionettes;) 3/17 -Spin a Shadow, Tell a Tale (Daniel Barash, Shadow Puppet Workshop;) 4/14 – Mei Lin and the Magic Paintbrush (The Puppet Company;) and 5/5 – Coyote Sings(Magical Moonshine.)

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Hold Everything!

As if drawn toward an irresistible magnet, large numbers of books, CD’s and DVD’s are pulled toward the Albany Library each day. The dynamo at work is the Holds Process.

In September 2011, Albany Library handled 6240 holds. The Magnet puts a lot in motion–from the purchase of new material to retrieval from other Alameda County libraries and our partners at Link+. By sharing our collections, the Library’s entire stock is utilized more efficiently and–for Albany–the shelves stay fresh and full. The volume is so great, it takes constant shelving and organization. See the stellar work of a library volunteer below:

Self-service Holds Shelf on a quiet day

We do not want to reverse the Magnet or curb enthusiasm for the Shared Collection. However, space constraints in the branch require some creative maneuvers, Library staff members try to keep room on the shelves by sending excess copies back to other branches.

But we don’t want to send everything back. You, too, may have your sights set on a copy of Fringe! Sometimes we have to move collections around the branch or shift material to other shelves–redrawing the mental map of the library. If you are unable to find CD Books, for instance, just look to the left of the Reference Desk. This move does not downgrade CD Books, it just reflects our need to shelve more DVD’s and our desire to make CD Books more “browsable.” (Last month, AV Circulation was 18,831 or 53% of the whole.)

Holds help generate traffic to and from the library. Circulation rang in at 35,340–up 6.6 % from 2010. Dweebs will be pleased to break that down to 213 items per hour.

The Albany Library’s “Gate Count” for September was 23,993 which comes to an average of 145 per open hour. (The under-15 crowd may skew that number, as they zig-zag in and out the door with high frequency.)

The quality of one’s individual experience at the library is the most important thing. High traffic, super circ, and overflowing holds shelves may overwhelm the system at times. The reference and circulation staff are here to help at any point in the process. We are well-aware that Requesting Library Material is part of a larger Quest for meaning and satisfaction–or just a plain-old need for “something from the library.

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September’s display case exhibit gave us a glimpse into the secret lives of our Friends of the Library. For a couple weeks last month, it took a little “aqueous humor,” or “aquatic humor” to get through the days–after water poured into their storage rooms, but they kept at it and the results were spectacular. 

If you want to join this illustrious group, come on come on Wednesday, October 5, at 7:15 pm to the annual Membership meeting. Following a short business meeting, the “food writers,” Robin Donovan and Juliana Gallin will talk about The Lazy Gourmet and give a brief cooking demonstration! There will be door prizes and cake. (Meeting in the Edith Stone Room.)

PS. If you see the newly legible tiles on the Marin side of the Library, thank a Friend.

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Library staff and Friends of the Library came together under the canopy once again for the 2011 Solano Stroll. Books were sold, games were played and prizes awarded to anyone who “took a spin” on the library wheel.

Our Mini-Mandala featured questions of great complexity like, “Can you practice your trumpet in the Library?” or “Can you read in the Library?” Kids had great fun winning the prizes though a few junior geniuses found our questions too EASY!!! (“The noive,” to quote the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz.)

The Friends’ treasurer, Alan Riffer, reports that the Stroll booksale netted $815 – a record! The library gained wonderful publicity, as well. The Stroll always includes new residents and out-of-towners who don’t know about the Treasure Chest just down the street at 1247 Marin!

Caryl O’Keefe did a great job planning and preparing for the event. Thanks to everyone who did a shift in the library booth and to all the hands behind the scenes who made it happen!

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The last show of summer! The Friends of the Albany Library brought us a wonderful line-up of special shows in 2011. Join the Friends as a volunteer or contribute your used books to the Book Sales. See our final act, Tony Borders, a ventriloquist and puppeteer. Tony used animal books from our collection to create a magical show.

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