What a treat it was Wednesday to be able to walk around inside the Carnegie Library in downtown Albany, without an appointment or time limit, browsing the shelves, looking for something to read.
After more than a year of being closed to the public and then open with only limited access because of Covid-19, the Albany Public Libraries reopened with new hours this week.
The Carnegie branch downtown now is open from 10 to 6 Wednesdays through Fridays and, for the first time on a regular basis, from 10 to 5 on Saturdays. From Sunday through Tuesday the place is closed.
The main library, on 14th Avenue at Davidson Street, is open 10-8 Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10-6 on Thursdays and Fridays, and 10-5 on Satudays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The city libraries announced the new hours last week, and Wednesday I paid a visit to the downtown branch.
A woman and child were just leaving, both wearing face masks. But in the library masks are no longer required.
One person was using a computer. Otherwise I had the place to myself.
Jason Darling, the librarian, says the lunch hour is normally quiet. Things will get busier in general as word gets around that the libraries are open without the previous Covid restrictions.
I had read a good review of the latest thriller by Brad Thor, “Near Dark,” and found a copy on the shelf. Never having read that author before, I also picked up his first, “The Lions of Lucerne,” which came out in 2002.
During most of the Covid shutdown, library books have been accessible via curbside pickup, and that program continues. But for me, that didn’t do it.
I like to pick up a book and open it up. Often you can tell from the first sentence or two whether a book is worth your time. So the reopening of the shelves was very good news. (hh)