I love libraries. I have kept a card to the Albany system even though I moved away more than 10 years ago. I still have cards for the town library system in Farmington, Maine, where I went to college, and Meredith, New Hampshire, where my grandparents had a house.
The trick to still using these cards is to use them at least once a year and, every single time, walk up to the desk without a purse and claim that you walked to the library without your ID. They will tell you they must check your address next time.
I was delighted to discover I did not need such subterfuge to use the stellar Crandall Library. Consider this my love letter to that beautiful, useful and most excellent place.
The selection of books is slightly smaller than my home system (Schenectady County), but surely it can be forgiven – my home system has nine libraries.
In all other ways it is by far the best.
First, it is so easy to use its website that I now use it for all book searches. I can request books to be sent to my home system from other libraries if Crandall doesn’t have them – and it’s so much easier to request them from the Crandall website that I prefer to use it. You can even register for classes online.
If I return a book late, I can pay my fine with my debit card from their machines. In Schenectady, they have one machine that takes cards now. It’s new. It only works if a librarian literally unlocks the back of the machine and holds some part of it together while you swipe your card. I’m not kidding. It took three librarians and about 15 minutes for me to try to pay a fine there recently. I gave up and paid it at Crandall.
They have a multitude of programs – so many fabulous toddler programs that on two occasions, my wife has actually brought our daughter there from Schenectady. I love this because I can have lunch with my family and Katie Beth can visit my office, which is especially great for special events held here for employees' children. I am not sure how the library feels about it, though – they have so much demand for some preschool programs that they limit the number anyone is allowed to do in one week. Last summer I registered for a preschool acting program in the first three minutes that registration was open...and Katie Beth was waitlisted.
There are many compelling programs for every other age, too. I’m constantly running in there to grab a book and stumbling across a program that makes me desperately want to stay.
There is an art gallery and a museum in the basement. Outside, there are three PokeStops. And Monday through Thursday, they are blessedly open until 9 p.m.
If you can’t find anything there to do, see or read, you aren’t really looking.