Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Memories

A shout out to Carmen Licari for this wonderful discovery!  From the Little Falls Evening Times, November 26, 1954 comes this lovely photo of Peter and Sharon Babuska sharing a book in the Reaney Room with Paul Stone, a member of the St. Johnsville High School Library Club.

Apparently, they were all attending a holiday book fair at the Reaney Library.  Look at that tinsel-drapped tree!  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Making Connections

One of the absolute “truths” I cling to is that everyone crosses your radar for a reason and sometimes that “reason” is because you can lend a hand in some way.  Another “truth” is that one of the most important roles a public library can fill is in making connections.  Case in point.

Sometime ago a patron was sharing an employment dilemma.  At that time I happened to know of a vacancy in an area business.  Telling my patron to hang on, I made a call and low and behold, after an appropriate interview, a part-time job was secured.  Recently I learned that the part-time job was becoming full-time with benefits.  I think I was nearly as thrilled as my patron.   My day was complete!

You have heard me say it many times; while emergency services are in the business of saving lives, libraries are the position to change lives. 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen; children of all ages and those who are young at heart; can you imagine my SHOCK when I received a text Sunday morning from THE MAN himself????
Yes indeedy, a great and beloved pal to us all who resides in the cold north is coming to share in Sunday’s community tree lighting!
My windows rattled and the cats ran to hide when I shouted out my delight.
See you Sunday, December 3!

Tis the Season!

Calling all chili eaters! Morris J Edwards American Legion Post # 168, St. Johnsville, is sponsoring a chili supper on Sunday, December 3. Serving will begin at 3PM and is $3/person. That’s a whole lot of “3”s making things super easy to remember.
At 5 o’clock the community Christmas tree will be lit in the adjacent lot and feature a carol sing and refreshments. There will be gifts for the children.
In addition, 2 fresh and beautifully decorated wreaths from Quackenbush Trees and Wreaths will be raffled.
Come join your family, friends and neighbors as we prepare to welcome Christmas. All are welcome.
The event is a cooperative effort of the St. Johnsville Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post #168 and the Village of St. Johnsville.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Gobble Gobble

Family story time will be held Friday, November 10 at the library per usual.  Any pals age 5 and under who would normally be in school are welcome to attend.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  We are going to make yellow, orange and brown countdown chains to Thanksgiving.  Yes, there will be glitter involved! 
The fun begins at 10AM.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Story Time

Tiny pals came to call this morning and we welcomed a couple of newcomers.  A rousing rendition of the “Washing” song was followed by “Two Little Black Birds”, “I’m a Little Tea Kettle”, “Row Your Boat”, “5 Little Monkeys”, and “Ring Around a Rosie”.

We then read a book by Jim Arnosky about fall and hibernating bears. When talking about bears, of course we growled and showed our claws!  It was all very exciting.

Because my craft skills are limited I keep things simple for this very young group.  Today, with glue sticks in hand, they attached colorful, fall “leaves” to a pre-drawn tree.  I must say, for little kids, they did a great job with the glue sticks; placing smudges of glue ever so carefully and selecting and pressing down “leaves”. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Canal Event

The St. Johnsville Chamber of Commerce will host a canal celebration on Saturday, October 14 from 11AM-2PM at the St. Johnsville Marina. 

The event will include a pig roast to benefit OESJ Class of 2019, children’s games, pumpkin painting, “Junk in the Trunk” mobile garage sales, ribbon cutting for the new marina laundry and bathhouse and a display of old canal photos.  Music for the event will be provided by Linda Lee and the Fox Creek Band. 

Chamber members and St. Johnsville Town and Village residents and businesses are invited to participate with Junk in the Trunk at no charge.  There will be a nominal set-up fee of $5 for anyone else.  For planning purposes, sign-up for Junk in the Trunk is required. In addition, village residents wishing to have an at-home garage sale are advised that the usual village permit fee has been waived for that day. 
Anyone wishing to sign-up for “Junk in the Trunk”, secure pre-sale pig roast tickets or needing additional information is invited to contact event chair Crystal Napier at 315-527-9585 or via email at


Writer to Read

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library will host writer Christine Oarr Eggleston at the St. Johnsville Community House, Thursday, October 19 at 7 PM.

Eggleston, a former area journalist and retired Amsterdam teacher, will be reading from her series of Murder in the Mohawk Valley tales.

Of particular interest to local residents will be the 1916 Rotundi murder at the old Rapacz Market and the 1889 stabbing death of young Floyd Nellis in the Lion Knitting Mill.

Eggleston began writing in 1972 for the Amsterdam Recorder and worked as a journalist for two decades before becoming a teacher.

Now retired, she has returned to her first career. She graduated from Fulton Montgomery Community college where she received the Evans Award in English, SUNY Oneonta with a degree in Human Ecology and also holds a master's degree in Educational Psychology.

Her two previous published works were for children, "The Boy Who Slept in the Pickle Barrel, an Erie Canal Tale"  and "Valerie Celery" a book about bullying.

The Community House is located at 16 Washington Street, St. Johnsville.  Anyone desiring further information is invited to contact library director Dawn Lamphere at 518-568-7822. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nifty Needles

Nifty Needles will convene at Margaret Reaney Memorial Library on Wednesday, September 27.

The group, which is open to anyone who enjoys handicrafts, will meet at 10 a.m. Thereafter, Nifty Needles will meet the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

 For more information, call Library Director Dawn Lamphere at 518-568-7822. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Family StoryTime


            Family Storytime will begin Friday, October 6 at 10 AM.  The program is open to children infant to age 4.  

            Finger plays, nursery rhymes, songs and stories will be shared in addition to time set aside for play.  The program is intended to introduce children and their adult care givers to the library and reading. 

Family Storytime is free, however, for planning purposes please contact the library if you are interested in attending.  The library is located at 19 Kingsbury Avenue, St. Johnsville and may be reached at 518-568-7822. 


Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11

Over the years as library director I have been invited to speak at a number of public occasions. One of the most profound occurred in 2011 on the 10th anniversary marking September 11. My remarks preceded a baseball game at Soldiers and Sailors Park. My dad always said that one of the worst things as a nation we could do would be to forget the great sacrifices made in the name of freedom. As you go about the business of living remember those people who gave so much on that September day. Whatever your belief system, there but for the grace of God, goes anyone of us.
As you look out under the canopy of this glorious September day, a day much like ten years ago, you see our future as a nation resting squarely on the slim shoulders of these young boys; some of whom are far too young to have felt the impact of that particular fall day.
It is these boys, as well as all the children across this great nation, with their enthusiasm and excitement that have given us reason, even during the darkest of days, to keep pressing forward.
Whenever we are faced with cataclysmic events that define and shape us as individuals, and collectively as a society, we have no trouble at all recalling where we were and what we were doing when those events unfolded.
On this grim day a decade ago we see in our minds eyes, through the haze of an entire nation’s mourning, the images which have forever become engraved in our hearts. We often wonder how much we can possibly bear, how great a burden can we carry? The sacrifice and suffering of September 11th demonstrated to us that while we as a nation may bend, we remain unbroken.
As clear as if it were yesterday we recall the determined faces of emergency personnel and first responders and the haunted look of broken families and a devastated citizenry. Within the stillness of our minds and hearts we hear the focused words of our leaders and the comforting prayers of our pastors.
We need to remember, never forgetting that day, and all that has occurred at home and abroad because of September 11. The twin flames of hope and remembrance light our path towards the future as we continue to struggle to find a new kind of normal.
On what is probably one of the saddest anniversaries our country marks we need to keep hope alive because it is when our despair extinguishes that flame of hope our enemies claim victory.
On this day remember and pledge yourselves to never forgetting. On this same day play ball and laugh and hold your loved ones close because if there is one thing September 11, 2001 taught us it is this; how quickly things can change, almost in the twinkling of an eye.
Soldiers and Sailors Park
St. Johnsville, NY
September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Alzheimer's Series

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, in cooperation with the Alzheimer’s Association, will host the three-part series, Living with Alzheimer’s for Middle-Stage Caregivers, consecutive Tuesdays beginning September 26.

In the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease, those who were care partners now become hands-on caregivers.   Over the course of the three presentations participants will hear caregivers and professionals discuss helpful strategies to provide safe, effective and comfortable care in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s. 

The series will take place September 26, October 3 and 10 from 1P-230P at the Reaney Library. 

For planning purposes please register with the library at 518-568-7822.

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library is located at 19 Kingsbury Avenue, St. Johnsville.   

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sharing the Eclipse

A favorite phrase among politicians of late is “shared services”.  Public libraries have a long standing tradition of just that and nowhere was it more evident than during the August 21, Great American Eclipse.   

While many libraries across the nation received official eclipse glasses, the Margaret Reaney Library was not among them.  In an email conversation with several of my colleagues throughout the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondack Library Systems, a generous offer to share came from the Middleburgh Library in Schoharie County.  With a few strokes of the keyboard, the Reaney Library suddenly found itself in possession of one hundred and fifty pair. 

I immediately posted our good fortune to Facebook and soon the phone began ringing, FB messages started arriving, and people were coming through the door to collect a pair.  In no time at all one hundred and fifty pair were spoken for.  The sharing, however, did not stop there.

One pair of glasses went to a family and were shared by eight children and four adults spanning four generations.  Another person reported that she had taken hers when running errands and, after 5 stops, the glasses had been shared by twenty-two people.  Two pair of glasses found themselves on either end of Main Street where they were shared by shop owners and passersby.

A couple of pairs were circulated among boaters and campers at the St. Johnsville Marina and Campsite.   On Mount Hadley, a single pair was shared among a group of hikers and, at Glimmerglass State Park, two pair made the rounds of those on the beach. 

A young man, coming out of Stewart’s, was invited to take a peek by residents at  Midtown Estates. A patron shared her pair with thirty co-workers and a gentleman stopping in at Performance Therapy and Fitness watched his glasses repeatedly go out the door.

Our glasses also found their way to Oneida and Saratoga Counties.  Standing on the quad at Mohawk Valley Community College a patron pulled out her official eclipse glasses and was soon asked where she had secured a pair.  She proudly answered, “the St.Johnsville Library” and proceeded to share them with the group around her. 

Like mushrooms in the rain, our eclipse experience here at Margaret Reaney Library just kept growing and growing and growing.  It was positively wonderful and a whole bunch of fun.  We are eagerly looking forward to the spring of 2024.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Club to Meet

Peanut Butter and Jelly Book Club will meet Saturday, September 9th at 10 AM to discuss Jodi Picoult’s novel, the Storyteller. 

Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

All are welcome to join the discussion.  Copies of the book are available in regular, large type and audio formats.     Anyone needing a copy is invited to contact Library Director Dawn Lamphere at (518) 568- 7822.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Golfing for Libraries

The foundation arm of  the Mohawk Valley Library System annually sponsors two fundraising golf tournaments.  The first was held earlier this summer at the Mohawk Country Club in Schenectady and the seconded is scheduled for Monday, July 31 at the Canajoharie Country Club.  A raffle is included in the event.  Our contribution to the raffle table is this golf wreath which I commissioned from a patron.  She did a nice job! 
The Foundation for Mohawk Valley Libraries provides funding to assist every public library in Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady and Schoharie counties; fourteen institutions offering library service at twenty two locations in the greater Mohawk Valley. 
Last year the Foundation granted us funds to replace the computer chairs at our three, public computers as well as a new computer table. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Martian

The Martian,  Andy  Weir’s bestselling novel of 2011, is the selection for discussion on Saturday, August 12 at Margaret Reaney Memorial Library, St. Johnsville.    The discussion will begin at 10 AM.
 In Weir’s novel, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.  After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Watney won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.   

Not ready to give up, Watney  draws on his ingenuity,  engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit as he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next working to overcome the impossible odds against him and survive.

The book was optioned for film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, and released in the fall of 2015.  Both the novel and film were critically acclaimed. 

Judith Prest will facilitate the discussion.   Ms. Prest is a poet, photographer, mixed media artist and creativity coach. Her work has been published in several journals including Mad Poet’s Review, Chronogram, and the Akros Review.  The program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and is sponsored by the Reaney Library in cooperation with the Mohawk Valley Library System.

Anyone desiring further information or wishing to reserve a copy of the book is invited to contact Library Director Dawn Lamphere at 518-568-7822. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Only the Good

I ran into a gentleman earlier this week while at NBT. Out of the blue he asked if we could use some copy paper. Of course we can, always:) We have 3 public computers, 3 staff computers, a public fax machine and photocopier. Paper is a MUST. Anyway, he showed up yesterday with 3 reams of paper. Just like that; a gift. We very much appreciate his kindness and generosity; attributes he exhibits daily.

We have many such good people within our orbit. Today I am writing a "thank you" to a former resident and her husband for a recent donation. I remember her as a child and am so glad the library has remained fondly in her heart. 

Then, there is the case of he-who-shall-remain-nameless who continues to gift us regularly with new audio books. The audios are popular among our patrons. Heading off on a vacation or spending a day at the beach? An audio book might be just what you are looking for.

One last surprise? I had recommended the novel Tiger's Woman by Celeste De Blasis to a patron. It is probably one of THE best romantic/historic pieces of fiction I have ever read. Published in 1981, the book has been around MRML almost as long as I have and over the course of its life has been glued and taped and circulated to many. My patron came by last week and handed me a package. Inside? Another copy of Tiger's Woman! She had found a used copy on Amazon and gave it to us so we could retire our original copy. It was like Christmas morning and getting the best gift ever.

When we watch the news and see all the "bad" in the world it is easy to despair. I assure you, there are many, many good people out there; some right in our own back yards.

Now, to make you laugh. One of the most popular books we have sent out on Interlibrary loan over the years? A novel titled "By Reason of Insanity". Where did it go so frequently? A correctional facility. I kid you not.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Club Notes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Book Club titles have been selected for August-December.  New readers are always welcome.  Titles are available in regular and large print or as an audio book. 

If you would like to participate please contact the library at 518-568-7822.  Readers gather on the Saturdays noted at 10 AM.


August 12       -         the Martian by Andy Weir*

September 9  -        the Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

October 14    -         the Round House by Louise Erdrich*

November 4 -       Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant *

December 9   -         Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance


*These discussions are funded by NYSCA and will feature guest facilitators.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Book Club; because books and talking about them go together like that old sandwich favorite!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5th grade Class Visit

Our last class visitors for the year were the 5th grade students of Mrs. Etherton, Mrs. Brundage and Mrs. Oppenheimer.
About 60 strong, they created rather a stir for Trustees Sharon Fuller and Mat Rapacz. I took the AC off “energy saver” to accommodate the rising temperature of their excitement!
I got to say hello to many pals, some of who I have known since they were tiny tots.

It was also nice to see Mrs. Oppenheimer who I’ve not had a chance to say hello to since she brought her children to the library when they were young. Wow, time does fly!

My trustees reported that the kids asked lots of great questions and seemed very knowledgeable about some of the museum artifacts. A couple of young men impressed Mrs. Fuller when looking at the World War I & II displays. Mat Rapacz commented how many in his group were interested in the paintings and sculpture.

Towards the end of the visit, I chatted with some kids in the Reaney Memorial Room. One young man asked me if a large doll, under a glass dome, was haunted! Apparently he thought it was moving! I assured him, with all the children walking by it, the case was moving and NOT the doll.

The absolute best line of the day? I pointed out that one of the French baby dolls had a wax head. One young lady, who was apparently reading the doll’s description, asked me what “kidskin" was. I explained that it was goat leather. She looked so relieved I just had to ask, “Did you think they had skinned an actual KID?” It would seem so! Oh my goodness, the handful of kids I had been visiting with, including the young lady, and I all had a good laugh.

Click on the link for a taste of our museum collections. One of the photos is of the doll mentioned above. Enjoy!