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LIBRARY NEWS: Summer of the Big Read

May 25, 2018
By LISA FORREST , Lake Placid News

People who came to our recent readers' party all said they enjoyed themselves and were leaving with ideas for books they want to borrow.

The May 10 informal gathering was an opportunity for adult readers to converse with others with similar, or maybe completely opposite, reading tastes.

Some expressed a desire to repeat the event, and organizer Karen Armstrong has said she was considering an encore in the fall. That would coincide with the "Great American Read," an eight-part public broadcasting series that, along with exploring concepts, themes and writing styles, seeks to nail down Americans' one favorite work of fiction.

Article Photos

Lake Placid Public Library Director Bambi Pedu answers questions at the first Lake Placid Community Day Sunday, May 20 at the North Elba Show Grounds.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

The first part of this series, hosted by Meredith Vieira, was aired this past Tuesday evening, May 22. It presented a list of 100 books that a panel has deemed to be American readers' favorites based on a survey. It's a fairly diverse compilation of familiar international fiction, although a couple of us have voiced wonderment how something like Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James wound up in the company of "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck or "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austin. (And, is there even one chance in a hundred that "Fifty Shades" could possibly be the favorite book of Americans?)

In case you missed the two-hour opener of the Great American Read, it can be streamed from PBS or YouTube on most devices. It will be repeated again this fall and followed by five one-hour episodes and a grand finale naming "America's best-loved book," as determined by public voting.

Jennifer Kowalczyk, director of engagement and marketing for Mountain Lake PBS of Plattsburgh, said last week that the station is considering a companion event to discover locally favorite fiction works that take place in the North Country. Titles such as "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser and "Dancehall" by Bernard Connors or "Cloudsplitter" by Russell Banks come to mind, but there are many more.

I invite everyone to let me know his or her favorite Adirondack or North Country works. If you think of any titles you feel should be included, please call me, Lisa Forrest, at 518-523-3200, or email

We have copies of the 100-book check list, or it can be downloaded from Beyond choosing a national favorite, the goal of the series to is to get the country reading and talking about books. A fun exercise is to see how many you have already read.


Catch-up and review

Once again, parents and students are reminded that the library offers free math tutoring for middle and high school students every Saturday morning at 10. The purpose is to make the usually expensive service available to everyone. For information, call Bambi Pedu at 518-523-3200.


Kid stuff

Activities for kids have been in full swing with a special "Star Wars" day, "May the 4th Be With You," on May 4. Spring has also been a time for outreach as Children's Librarian Karen Armstrong, and Library Director Bambi Pedu have been busy representing the library at Community Day and Arbor Day events.


Rock'n and reading

"Libraries Rock" is the official theme of this year's summer reading program for children through grade five which kicks off Tuesday, July 10 at 1 p.m. Although the national theme of the program focuses on rock music, real mineral type rocks will be part of the village's summer activities. Seeing stones creatively and making them into artistic masterpieces will be the opening day project. Local musician Scott Sileo will be the guest and play for the kids on Tuesday, July 17.

Wednesday and Thursday installments of Libraries Rock from 1 to 3 p.m. will offer crafts, stories, books and games. The program, which goes through Aug. 14, is free and is open to all. Anyone looking for more information may call the library.


Medicare information

For those approaching the Medicare age of 65, Mohawk Valley Physician Providers-MVP-will offer a free information session at the library on Thursday, June 7 at 1 p.m. There will be no charge or obligation to enroll.


Student photo competition and show

The showing of the annual Lake Placid Institute's photo competition for students throughout the Adirondack Region will officially open June 1 in the library art gallery.

"24 Hours: A Photographic Interpretation of Life in the Adirondacks" is designed to help the participants and the public see something unique of our towns, landscapes and shifting seasons. This year, three photos are being selected to win prizes of $200, $100 or $50.

It is always interesting to view the take these young photographers have of our surroundings. The Guy Brewster Hughes Gallery is free and open during library hours. The show will remain through the month of June.


Library vote

The annual Lake Placid Library District meeting and vote was held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. The final budget was unanimously approved and Peter Lynch, who ran unopposed, was voted in for another five-year term.


Get your books at the train station

With summer comes the bi-seasonal Lake Placid parking Olympics wherein timing is everything. It doesn't take a long, grueling training regimen and anyone with a car may compete. Just come over to Main Street and try to find a space.

Actually, parking is usually no challenge at all before 11 a.m., but the difficulty level does rise by the hour, especially on rainy days. Work-arounds have included getting here early, and occasionally, by special request, library people have been known to aim books through open car windows as patrons drive slowly by.

This summer, the library's board of trustees has decided to try a different alternative, and that is to let people pick up library books at the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society's History Museum located at the train station on Station Street.

When a book has been requested through interlibrary loan, borrowers are notified by phone or email on Wednesday afternoon that it has arrived. Now, from Memorial Day through Columbus Day when patrons are contacted, they will be given the option of picking up on Thursday or Friday at the station, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.



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