Books are read on phones and movies are streamed to TV sets, but Crandall Public Library continues to thrive by adapting to the changing times, creating new programs while still offering traditional library services.
“Libraries have to adapt,” said the library’s director, Kathy Naftaly, and the willingness that she and the library’s staff and trustees have shown to do that is critical to the institution’s success.
The library’s budget is inching up but staying under the tax cap. At a rough estimate, if you’re a property owner in the library district — comprising Queensbury, Glens Falls and Moreau — your library tax will come to about $10 a month. It’s a great deal when you consider the myriad free resources, events and services the library offers.
The library is also a critical part of downtown Glens Falls, which serves not only as the downtown for the city but for the larger region that encompasses Queensbury and Moreau. A stream of people is drawn to the library year-round, almost every day of the year, and its presence brings a feeling of stability and culture to the city.
A couple of examples show how the library is adapting to changing times and continuing to find ways to serve the public.
Not everyone has a computer and not everyone can get out of the house to downtown Glens Falls. So Crandall’s librarians undertook a “library by mail” program, free to users, in which people who live in the library district can have books delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, and when they’re done with them, can mail them back.
In a more wide-reaching program, the library has set up a clearinghouse called Southern Adirondack Network Guide that connects people in need with the human and social service organizations that can help them. It’s a new direction for the library but expands on its traditional mission of service through information.
Many people still enjoy reading a physical book — holding it in their hands and turning the pages — and in a district without a bookstore, the library offers access to an experience you cannot get elsewhere. But the library’s leaders recognize the changes technology has brought to the ways people amuse themselves and find information, and you can get audiobooks and ebooks at the library and stream videos, music and films from its website.
The library shows free films, holds talks, offers story times for toddlers and other activities for children and for teens, has public meeting rooms, stages art shows and attracts a steady stream of users to its computers. In the basement, the Folklife Center, with historical archives and rotating exhibits, focuses on the history and culture of the region.
It’s easy to take the library for granted, but its extensive services and their general excellence help make this region a great place to live. Election Day decisions can be difficult, but this one isn’t: Support Crandall Public Library.