What's New


Downtown library gets a new piece of art

By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Democrat-Herald democratherald.com Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2010
A new metal sculpture was placed Wednesday outside the downtown Albany library. Its various elements are meant to represent children's learning by reading books.
Next time you go by Albany’s downtown library you will see something new: a titanium and stainless steel sculpture nestled in a newly created courtyard.
Kings Valley sculptors Raymond Hunter and Czarina Gupton, father and daughter, created the 9-foot tall piece. It was delivered to the library, 302 Ferry St. S.W., Wednesday afternoon.
The piece is meant to commemorate the work of school teachers and makes references to a child’s education. It will cost between $27,000 and $30,000 and will be paid for by the Wanita Robb Sculptural Trust, of which John Boock of Albany is the trustee. Boock and the sculptors spent some time Wednesday arranging the separate pieces just so before they were to be bolted down.

The sculpture features renditions of books and building blocks, two cornerstones of early childhood education. A dinosaur perched on the blocks recalls children’s toys and the Earth’s prehistoric past. A titanium globe expresses people’s boundless horizons. The roots of a white oak, a tree indigenous to the mid-valley, spill over the educational components of the sculpture, uniting the worlds of nature and human intellect. A radiant sun tops the piece and is meant to be a companion to the sunflower on top of a sculpture in the park at First Avenue and Lyon Street. Hunter also made that sun. The whole thing is called “Zeki,” which Boock says is “reminiscent of childhood endearments and nicknames while it pays tribute to Semir Zeki, a world leader in neuroesthetics, the science that studies the neural basis of creativity and artistic appreciation.”
The sculpture can be enjoyed on many levels, in Boock’s view: It is at once fun and deeply reflective, he said. Hunter and Gupton used shimmering on the sculpture so as the light changes, the color varies from a pinkish red to a bluish green. The sun’s color goes from the bluish green to a gold color. “Our end goal is to spread joy,” Hunter said.
The book-like pieces are built to sit on. Gupton estimates she and her father worked on the sculpture for four months, averaging 10 hours each day Monday through Friday.
Bill Marshall of Stutzman Services said the company donated courtyard design work, plant material and the stepping stones. Scott Hoerauf of Bob Hoerauf Concrete put in the courtyard concrete at a reduced price, and Burcham’s Metals Inc. located titanium for the globe.
A public dedication is planned later.

Scott celebrates his 30th year ...

When kids ask Albany Children’s Librarian Scott Keeney if he enjoys his job, he points at them.
“I tell them my job is all about you, because you are eager to read, learn, laugh and sing,” he said.
On June 16, Keeney, 61, also known as the “jump-up librarian” because of his eagerness to get out of his desk chair and help, celebrated 30 years with the Albany Public Library.
So how much longer is he going to stay on the job?
“Well, I can’t decide about retirement,” he said. “There are times that I would rather sit at home. I would like to garden harder, see more Netflix movies and read more. But then I would miss all the kids, and there is no repetitive grind here.”
It is a pleasure for Keeney to have at his disposal “all of the tools, raw materials, movies, books and puppets —50,000 of them — that children can have fun and learn from. And what other job is there where you can see lots and lots of babies?”
He estimates over his 32-year career, he has conducted 5,000 story times. He is proud that his sessions are among the largest attended in the state. He averages about 110 parents and kids at a time.
Story times at the main library are at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7 p.m. Monday and at 10:30 a.m. Saturday during the school year. Story time at the downtown library is at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Children sense the respect Keeney has for them. “Kids respond well to cool things if they are done right. I still giggle at the responses I get to things. And I like it when kids hang over my desk and ask silly or funny stuff.”
Despite this age of technology, more and more children are going to the Albany library to read, and they love “big, fat books,” like Harry Potter. About 1,400 children have signed up for this summer’s reading program.
Keeney was raised in Seattle, where his father taught school and his mother was a homemaker and worked in the Frederick and Nelson Department Store office. Close relatives were educators, but Keeney had his eye on becoming a stockbroker.
“That is an infinite and interesting game that appeals to the math side of me,” he said. “But I ended up going to Stanford, majoring in English, and going on to library school at Berkeley.”
He married Deborah Jacobs and the two “sat down brainstormed what we could do together. We decided we wanted to be librarians, but it wasn’t that easy to get a job.” But both of them did. They later divorced amicably, and then he married Roz Keeney, a historical researcher and consultant.
Looking back over his career, Keeney said he is glad to see libraries today are less stuffy, formal and restricted. The chairs are more comfortable, and there are couches. That is good because we want “children to revel in libraries. We want to educate them and at the same time give them a safe place to hang out.”

Work at home has an all new meaning ...

Lynne Jenne is visiting her family in Albany but still 'goes to work' at the Library. Lynne is Project Coordinator for Community Development projects in Sichuan Province (mainland China) and needs to stay in touch (skype) with her co-workers and staff. Lynne uses the Library's wi-fi and tutor rooms to conduct business.
Lynne says that Chinese libraries have very popular 'English Corners' where folks gather to speak and learn English.
Lynne has lived in China for 17 years and plans to take back to China her new Library2Go account so that she can enjoy downloadable ebooks and eaudiobooks while she bounces along on some treacherous rural roads.
If you would like to view Lynne's efforts in China check out these links: http://www.relevantart.net23.net/

Albany Arts Commission

New Library gets artworkBy Cathy Ingalls, picture by Mark YlenAlbany Democrat-Herald
The nuns did not teach art in the Catholic schools Cheryl French attended in Seattle, so she never knew she had any artistic talent until she was in her 30s.French, 51, of Albany is respected enough now in her field that the Albany Arts Commission asked her to paint bright-colored panels or boxes to place around three columns in the Children’s Room at the new Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Ave. S.E. The art will be installed on Tuesday, June 30.The city budgeted $12,500 for the project, which includes delivery and installation. An Albany ordinance requires that 1 percent of the cost of a public building be dedicated to art. Other art to be placed at the library are an outdoor sculpture and a painting over the main circulation desk.French used acrylics to paint boxes that are 10 feet tall and total 2 feet wide. Edel Designs Inc. of Albany constructed the boxes.“The whole idea of the murals is to show the many wonders out there that can capture the imagination of a child,” she said. “There are no better ways to learn about those things than in a library and in books.”One mural contains ideas that children can discover in books, another shows the exciting places children can explore in books, and the third shows the scientific and natural wonders of the world written about in books, French said.One column shows the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal, the Himalayas, sailing ships, an astronaut tethered to the Space Station, the Hubble Telescope and because this is Albany, hot air balloons.French began the paintings in her single-car garage early in March and estimates she has been at it between 500 and 700 hours.French, a retired labor lawyer, now considers herself a painter and a printmaker. She studied painting at the Seattle Academy of Fine Art and printmaking at the University of Washington Extension Program.She has exhibited at City Hall and the Albany Art and Air Festival. She works as an artist-in-residence in schools through the Corvallis Art Center.She lives in Albany with her husband, John Byrne, a retired labor union lawyer, and her 11-year-old daughter, Sean Marie French-Byrne, a Memorial Middle School student, who contributed several ideas for the paintings.

All That is Oregon

Judi Mintzer's impressive 6' X !8' mural gracing the Library foyer adds a wonderful welcome to the Library and to the world that opens to those who 'travel' through books. "All That is Oregon" captures the history of our community and the blessings of our surroundings. Recognize the mountain? The lighthouse? Have you seen that bridge before? Explore your Library; explore your community.

Images are of Davis Glass hanging Mintzer's Albany Arts Commission commissioned work.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Library2Go is such a value!

Lot's of excellent titles to choose from!