Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Questions, Questions!

We get asked lots of interesting questions here in Libraryland.  Most recently, someone wanted to know how to get their water turned on and another individual asked what I knew about a book that spoke of an incident when canal boats were frozen in Oneida Lake.

The first inquiry was pretty straight forward; call the village clerk who would then alert DPW and with the second I reached out to the Oneida County Historical Society who in turn contacted the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse.  While neither could speak to an actual book I did get some basic information which eventually led me to this 1936 article from the Utica Daily Press. 

The photo is courtesy of the Canal Museum and the Daily Press article was found on the newspaper site 

Enjoy and learn!

Utica Daily Press- December 14, 1936

Crowds Inspect Icebound Fleet at Sylvan Beach


Well, the fleet is in.  It's tied up alongside the pier at the entrance of the Barge Canal at Sylvan Beach. Indications last night were that the ships would keep their berths until spring. Such channel as there was from Oneida Lake where the vessels had been Icebound for a week, into the canal, was a pretty sketchy affair. Broken ice showed where the craft had banged their way through. But at noon the thin layers of Ice crystals were forming on top of the open water between, blocks, and by this morning the whole surface will doubtless be another layer of ice.

These members of the Barnes fleet hardly fit the usual conception of Barge Canal craft. They are sea-going vessels of 200 feet or more, Diesel powered and ready to go places. That is, anywhere in or on water that is not covered with from six inches to six feet of ice. The difference is accounted for by the thickness of the “pressure ridges" which form on big bodies of water when ice takes bold

and buckles itself into thicker sections.

Those blocked the five ships out in the lake last week. After Friday's thaw their skippers and crews thought they had a chance to make port. Their first effort had been to reach Brewerton at the western end of the lake. They missed that by 15 miles. Saturday, they had only five miles to go to make Sylvan Beach—If they could break a channel through the ice.  The state tug Syracuse helped clear the way.

The Andrew M. Barnes was out in front and with some dynamite ahead of it, finally crashed its way through to the haven of Sylvan Beach. Some of the crews, many of whom talked with a Scandinavian accent thought the dynamite was more bother than it was worth and really had little to do with getting alongside a pier.

But they arrived, the last about I p. m. Saturday. Yesterday they were visited by hundreds of curious persons who went to the Beach to see what ice-bound freighters might look like.

The fleet includes the Robert Barnes Fiertx, the Alden Barnes Fiertx, the Andrew M. Barnes, the Detroiter of Wilmington, and the Michigan, all members of the Barnes fleet They are loaded with everything from steel to caustic soda. Part of the cargoes are consigned to a silverware company In New Haven. Smart local boys were advising the crews yesterday to sell the stuff to the Oneida Community and cut down hauling charges.

The crews had no particular excitement to report from their week's sojourn in the lake. They were surprised to have been caught off-shore by ice but let it go at that.  Attendants were on duty at Lock 20 but had no activity to report. Nothing Is moving in the channel between Utica and Rome. The channel eastward is similarly icebound at least as far as Little Falls.

There were unconfirmed reports that the Transoil, coastwise tanker, had broken its way eastward to Lock (?) and might make the Hudson River and open water. Other tugs and barges, however, were thought to have been "interned by the frost for the duration of the winter."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Extraordinary Keepsake


Margaret Reaney Memorial Library is very pleased to offer for sale an extraordinary St. Johnsville keepsake at the upcoming Bridge Street Block Party August 13 & 14th.

 From the June 7, 1939 Enterprise and News newspaper:

“Mr. Joseph H. Reaney has caused to be struck a number of bronze discs which relate to the local Margaret Reaney Memorial Library.  Each medal weighs one half pound and measures 3 inches in diameter and is a quarter inch think.  It is cast in bronze of the proper alloy approved by the United States standard of quality.

The medal shows the library in relief with the inscription: “Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, St. Johnsville, NY.”  On the reverse side is shown the soldiers’ monument (which is on the library south lawn) with the inscription: “Fifth NY Duryee Zouaves, erected in memory of Joseph Reaney.” 

The medals are $20 and will come with a photocopy of the original 1939 newspaper article. 







Thursday, July 28, 2022

Walk, Stop and Read


We are absolutely thrilled to feature another original work in our most recent Walk, Stop and Read installation along the front sidewalk.
Yesterday, Miss Marge installed the 12-panel book, Blue and the Swallows, written by Gianna Ciaccio and illustrated by herself and her grandfather, Gene Colorito.
The book was inspired by what Gianna noticed each spring in her own backyard. Bluebirds would nest in their houses and two weeks later the swallows would arrive and force them out. Life is full of surprises; even in the bird world and Gianna captures moments of being bullied, acceptance, compromise and kindness.
Having been encouraged to read by her family from the time she was little, and in response to her mom saying at one point “go find something to do”, Gianna decided to sit down and write a book.
A student at Fonda Fultonville Central School, Gianna is the daughter of Gina and Tom Ciaccio and the granddaughter of Joan and Guy Ciaccio and Gene Colorito and his late wife, Marie. We join her family and friends in congratulating this dear girl on her wonderful accomplishment and thank her for allowing us to share Blue and the Swallows with our community.
In addition to the Walk, Stop and Read version, a copy of Blue and the Swallows may be borrowed from the Reaney Library and is available on Amazon.
The project was funded by Stewart’s and printed by Sportee Designs.
On your next stroll down Kingsbury remember to Walk, Stop and Read!


Q-Tip Painting, Old Friends and Beaver Tails

As you may be aware, we are having a limited run of our always popular Toddler Time. Week #1 we welcomed 8 children accompanied by 6 adults. Last Wednesday, we had 17 children and 13 adults! The children’s room rug was very full. Normally, we would have adjourned to the Reaney Room but in this weather, we like to stay in the front which is air conditioned. There were several new faces which always makes us happy; plus we were Q-tip painting. 

When Miss Samantha and Miss Faith arrived they immediately set to work preparing our painting space. Paper plates each got a squirt of 6 different color paints along with the requisite handful of Q-tips. The beauty of Q-tip painting is that there is no water involved. You simply dip your Q-tip and either use it with brush like strokes or dot it out as if you were proficient in Morse Code. The paintings are done on actual canvas so they do make a long-lasting wonderful keepsake. By the time the last artist left the building Miss Samantha, Miss Faith and myself convened an emergency staff meeting and collapsed with some cold water and chocolate to revive ourselves. It was a hectic 45 mintues! 

On Friday, one of our long-time service providers stopped by to give some visiting family a look around. I have known this gentleman for over thirty years and it was a delight to see him and meet his daughter in law and grandchildren. The visitors live in Texas and they assured me the heatwave we were experiencing was nothing like living in the Lonestar State. I tried to keep that in mind when I went home for the evening to my air condition-less house. 

Yesterday we had another gathering of our Read With Me group. It was all about seeing. Some of the children shared who they knew that wore glasses. One of our pals, Miss S, was unable to be with us and I know she would have taken great delight is showing us her pink polka dot glasses that she always looks so festive in! Our book for the day was What Does Word Bird See by Jane Belk Moncure. A perfect series for beginning readers, this particular book follows Word Bird on a walking adventure giving simple clues of what he sees and what he says when meeting someone new. For example, he saw a hole in the baseboard of a house. Of course, Word Bird guessed that was where a mouse lived and he said “Hi, Mouse”. Another illustration was of a domed pile of sticks floating in a stream. I think everyone knew that a beaver lived there. That lead us into a fun discussion of how would a beaver say “Hi”. They slap their tails. With great enthusiasm we whacked away at the table top. As I had to step out for a minute to take a phone call, Miss Marge came in and there was some excited chatter about beaver talk. As she was leaving I said “Wait, Miss Marge, we need to say goodbye to you in beaver language.” Whack, whack, whack. I have promised the children that next week I would have a container of water and we would practice our beaver skills by splashing our hands in the water. We finished our visit with Look and Find books. On the left are pictures of items and characters from the book and you have to find them in the adjacent heavily illustrated busy pages to the right. Some are fairly obvious while others not so much. I encouraged the children when they got stuck to close their eyes for a couple of seconds of rest then look again with fresh eyes. They are thrilled when they find their objects. It was a lovely hour. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

Go Fish!


Dear Community,

            It is with great excitement we announce an impressive promotion for Miss Marge.  She has been promoted to Director of Fish as we cast a line for our Fishing Rod Lending Program.  The fishing poles and accompanying literature come to us in partnership with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, each loan will also include a small tackle box that has extra hooks, bobbers, jig heads and small, plastic swim baits appropriate for panfish.

We would also like to thank Walleye Bob Borst for his donation of a 6 ½’ Bass Pro rod and reel to the program.

Poles may be borrowed for 2 weeks and will be checked out using your library card.  When borrowing, students 15 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when checking out a pole. While the adult does not have to be a cardholder, this is a requirement so that a responsible adult is aware the child has borrowed the equipment. As a reminder, borrowers over the age of 16 must possess a valid NYS Freshwater Fishing License.  



Saturday, June 18, 2022

Upcoming Events In and Around the BIG TOWN



*Reading of the Declaration of Independence & Strawberry Festival

Monday, July 4 @ Fort Klock Restoration



*Mark Bolos Concert

 Wednesday, July 13 @ St. John’s Reformed Church, St. Johnsville


 A free will offering will be taken to benefit a Peruvian children’s orphanage.


*Cycle the Erie Canal

Friday, July 15 @ the Marina.


The St. Johnsville Chamber of Commerce will once again meet and greet dozens of riders as they rest, have a nib and chat before pushing off to overnight in Canajoharie.  Their 8-day journey covers 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany.  Adding to their visit, we will have a display of reproduction vintage photos showing the building of and life on the canal.  Come by, say “hello” and “welcome” and send them on their way with a wish of good weather and safety. 


*Vacation Bible School

July 18-22 @ the Methodist Church, Main Street, St. Johnsville


A longstanding tradition in many communities, VBS is a wonderful time to share faith and fun with your friends.


*2022 Stone Arabia Quilt & Artisan Show @ the Stone Church, 5414 NYS Route 10 north of Palatine Bridge

Friday, July 22


Saturday, July 23


Featuring local quilts and coverlets; both vintage and new

Keynote address Friday @ 6PM local fabric artist Barbara Todd

Saturday workshops including Japanese Zen weaving and long arm quilting demonstration.

Catered BBQ on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

Fabric, art and craft vendors


*Moses Quinby Conference and Public Field Day

Saturday, July 23 @ Fort Klock Restoration


Crafts, food, kids’ activities, raffles, hat contest and lectures and demonstrations for bee keepers and wannaBEE keepers.


*Concert: Monkey & the Crowbar

Friday, July 29 @ Fort Klock Restoration 



*Young Pioneers Program

Tuesday-Thursday, August 2-4 @Fort Klock Restoration


The Mohawk Valley is steeped in history.  Join us as we learn how kids and their families lived in the 18th century.  For program details and registration information call 518-568-7779.


*Rock on the Mohawk 2022

Saturday, August 6 @ 44 Bridge Street, St. Johnsville


Music, food and vendors.  Did we mention there would be music and lots of it?


*Bridge Street Block Party on Bridge Street, St. Johnsville

August 13 & 14


Food, vendors, crafters, bake sale, safe child ID and music.  Old fashioned community fun while noshing on popcorn, burgers and dogs, fries and onion rings, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, fried dough AND Manhattan clam chowder!


*Fort Klock Craft Fair

September 10th & 11th for information call 518-568-7779


*Fort Klock Interrupted Harvest for information call 518-568-7779

October 1st & 2nd


*St. Johnsville Summer Concert Series @ the Marina unless otherwise noted.  Rain or shine, bring your chairs and blankets as we tap our toes and bob our heads!

Monday, unless otherwise noted


7/11  Matt Grainger; a journey through music from the 60s to the       present

7/18  Sarah Martin; Nashville recording artist, singer, songwriter

7/19 TUESDAYCooperstown Community Band @ Soldiers’ & Sailor’s Park grandstand. Marches, show tunes and Dixieland jazz.

7/25   The Wheel; a Grateful Dead experience

8/1     Les Brers; the ultimate Allman Brothers Tribute Band

8/8     Walrus; classic rock hits

8/15    Linda Lee and the Fox Creek Band; country classics from the 50s and 60s

8/22     Lustre Kings; country, blues and R&B

8/29     Pine Ridge Mountain Band; Southern rock and roll 


*St. Johnsville Youth Park Program

Tuesday, July 5 through Friday, August 12th

Registration and games on opening day.

9A-4P Monday through Thursday with breakfast and lunch.

Friday, 9A-noon, closed for lunch, then reopen 1P-4P.  No breakfast or lunch will be served on Fridays. Many activities are scheduled.  If your child did not bring home an information packet, they are available at the Reaney Library.

Questions about the program should be addressed to the Village Office, 518-568-2221, who will put you in contact with Samantha Carter, Park & Recreation Director. 


*Margaret Reaney Memorial Library

Monday, July 11-August 15

1P-2P Read With Me, ages 5-8.  Miss Dawn will read aloud favorite picture books and beginning chapter books to the group with quiet time will be set aside for browsing.  This program is to encourage budding and new readers to visit and enjoy their local library while becoming reading confident. Registration is required as the program will be capped at 12 readers. 


Wednesday, July 13-August 17

10A-11A Toddler Time, ages 4 and under. Miss Dawn and Miss Faith will share songs, traditional finger plays, stories and playtime.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  This is a super fun way to introduce our tiniest of pals to new friends and new experiences while practicing basic manners and good listening habits. It also makes a nice time for parents, grandparents and caregivers to swap stories and offer support.


Saturday, July 16-August 20

10A-11A, Jr. Book Club, ages 9+, Miss Lela and Miss Dawn will lead a discussion of the popular Erin Hunter Warrior Cat novel Son Trail.  Four chapters will be read each week as we discover how the warrior cat clans came to be.  Registration is required and books provided.  For information or to register call the Reaney Library at 518-568-7822


If you know of other events; please drop an email to