A Little but Lively Library in the Heart of Upstate New York

Located in the small town of Otego, New York, the Harris Memorial Library has a rich history in large part thanks to the lovely and adventurous Daisy or “Dasa” Harris who willed her Victorian-Italianate-style home to the village of Otego–so long as it became, and remained, a library. Her house became known as the Harris Memorial House, and when it was realized that the small rooms were not conducive to a library’s organization, and that the weight of so many books and their shelves might collapse the historic structure, a modern addition was added to the back of the building to house the library.

We offer free computer and wi-fi access, and have a 3D printer  –  things Dasa likely never imagined being part of the library she was so intent on providing room for.

We invite you to explore our history and book shelves with us, and learn about our inclusive and varied programs. Like us and follow us on Facebook to get the most up-to-date listing of activities.

The Annual Silver Tea: Sunday 12/8 at 2pm

We love our traditions and community here in Otego and the Annual Silver Tea is a great event to enjoy.

Due to concerns about some of our valued Senior community members not feeling safe driving at night, the time of the Tea is 2pm.

What exactly IS our Silver Tea? It’s a tradition started by Miss Dasa Harris (who once owned the Harris Memorial House and library property). We all gather together to enjoy tea and other beverages and delicious snacks in the historic Harris Memorial House (which is decked out in holiday splendor). The piano starts up (thanks to the nimble hands of Irmabelle Sheldon) and we sing a bit, thank our volunteers, and announce the winners of the Silver Tea Baskets. It’s all about kindness and good cheer and maintaining a sense of community and connectivity. Granted, it’s an old-timey thing, but some of the best things are sweet traditions that we can pass along.

Inclement or Hazardous Weather Policy

As the first “Snowpocalypse” of the season approaches, we thought it might be smart to share our full and complete “Inclement or Hazardous Weather Policy” here. Shannon has taken a moment to place in bold the most pertinent (in her mind) parts for our patrons. In short, if Unatego closes, the library will very likely close, no fines will accrue, and patrons may call 988-6661 and leave a message to renew resources.

 

Harris Memorial Library

Inclement or Hazardous Weather Policy

Weather-related situations may occasionally require altered hours of operation or complete closure of the Harris Memorial Library. Although all reasonable attempts will be made to keep the library open during regularly scheduled hours in order to best serve the public, the safety of our patrons and staff are of utmost importance.

The library will be closed if the Unatego School District closes due to inclement weather, and programs/events already scheduled for the library on that day will be cancelled. The opening of the library will be postponed for the day if the Unatego School District postpones their opening, and the library may close early, especially on days the Unatego School District closes early due to weather concerns.

In some cases library staff will attempt to open, or remain open, if circumstances, locality, and availability of staff or Board members allow.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page (@HarrisLibrary) for details.

The library will close, delay opening or close ahead of schedule when the weather becomes hazardous to the health and/or safety of the public and/or library staff.  Emergency/inclement weather closings will be authorized by the Director and/or the Board of Library Trustees with observance of local conditions and in accordance with National or New York Weather Service Warnings, Watches, and Advisories. Early closures may be announced at any time during the work day to ensure the safety of patrons and staff traveling in the evening hours.

During questionable weather, please do not attempt to travel to the library without first listening to the local radio station and checking our Facebook page to ensure the library is open.

The public will be notified of postponements, closing, or changes in hours of operation through the following means:

  • Facebook posting @HarrisLibrary
  • Local television announcements
  • Local radio announcements

Library resources can be renewed over the phone (messages left during closure will be honored), and fines will not accrue during closures, so use caution when travel is concerning.

If severe weather and/or emergency conditions arise during the day and the library is to close early, library patrons already in the building will be notified immediately.

In the case of suddenly arising severe weather (microbursts/tornados, etc.), patrons and staff currently inside the library will take shelter until the danger has passed in either the office closet, or in the basement, depending on circumstance, mobility, and number of people.

Thank you and stay safe!

Board-specific:

In the event of needing to issue a closing or delay, the Library Director and Board members should be in contact via email or phone the evening prior to an expected problem, with a vote being made by Board members by 8:30pm that night, so that the appropriate media groups/outlets may be notified by 6:30am the morning of the potential delay/closing.

If a super-local member of the Board volunteers to open the library instead, they must make that clear before a vote is issued and responded to.

Board approved February 20, 2019.

 

Saturday’s the Annual Otego Tree Lighting!

Everyone’s invited to this wonderful Otego tradition!

Saturday evening, December 7th at 6pm, bring a canned good for the food pantry and  join other members of our community at the Firehouse for hot cocoa and cookies (cookies are again thanks to Rubera’s) and then walk down to the library via our historic Main Street for the tree lighting ceremony and caroling in the neighborhood. This is just one more of the many things that makes communities like ours so special–don’t miss out! Special thanks to Chad Angellotti and all of the Otego Community Engagement Committee members for all the hard work they do to help keep Otego awesome!

Do you want to help Otego build a continuing sense of kindness and community? Find Chad or the group on Facebook and see how YOU can give back and help make memories in our little bit of classic small town America!

Thursday! Stuffed Animal Slumber Party plus SANTA!

The Stuffed Animal Slumber Party is this Thursday, December the 5th, and Santa is coming to visit! This is a unique memory-making event for our region and we hope you can join us!

Children bring a stuffed animal (the slumber party part of the night that starts at 7pm is for stuffed animals only), meet Santa, have cookies, and hear a story–it’s so much fun! Then, after the Santa-inspired fun is over, children say goodnight to their stuffed animal friends and the children head home.

Then, almost as if by magic (as libraries all have their own particular type of magic thanks to the books they contain) the stuffed animals come to life and have adventures that Shannon and Anne document in photos! Some play games, some read books–you never can tell just what kind of magic happens at a library after hours! On Saturday (during regular hours) children can come and get their stuffed animal pals and will take home photos of some of the fun their fuzzy friends had!

*Please Note: Parents and guardians, not only does the event reinforce the magical feeling we all hope our children experience during the holiday season, but it can be used as a way to reinforce healthy bedtime rituals (using the stuffed animal in place of the child, and child in place of adult) and it also can be used to ease separation anxiety by showing the child that someone (the stuffed animal) may go away for a little while but that doesn’t mean they never return. If children aren’t ready to be parted with their stuffed animals, stuffies are still invited to meet Santa with their children and be included in the Santa-related pictures, AND children (whether they leave a stuffed animal for the sleepover or not) are encouraged to get a picture to take home on Saturday of the silly fun had after hours so they better understand and might participate more fully next year.

Winter Hours Start December 1st

As all of us know in Otego, winter brings changes, and library hours are one of the many things that get adjusted for the safety of all.

 

Starting December 1st our hours will be:

Mondays open 11am-5pm

Tuesdays open 10am-4pm

Wednesdays open 12pm-6pm

Thursdays open 10am-4pm

                                                     Fridays closed (except for special events)

                                                     Saturdays open 9am-12pm

                                                     Sundays closed (except for special events)

 

Please remember, if the weather is worrisome, you can always call 988-6661 and leave a message requesting your books be renewed. Your safety and well-being are important to us.

Santa Claus is LITERALLY Coming to Town

That’s right, Santa Claus is coming to town! Thursday, December 5th at 6pm YOU can meet him! He’s let his beard grow out a bit and has rested up since this picture–he looks much younger, but he’s going to be coming for story and cookies, and PICTURES! Children can bring a favorite stuffed animal to join in the celebration and then leave their stuffed animal for a stuffed animals-only sleepover party in the library! Shannon and Anne will get photos of their silly adventures to share when children come back to the library Saturday to pick up their stuffed animals. You must RSVP by either reaching out on Facebook or leaving a message at 988-6661.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving–we hope you all enjoy many reasons to be thankful and know how thankful we are for each and every one of YOU!

Stop by the library Saturday to get your December calendar of events, have some coffee, and check out our Silver Tea Baskets–there’s something for everyone! Santa visits Thursday December 5th at 6pm, the Silver Tea will be held on Sunday December 8th at 2pm, and we have a Paint & Sip scheduled for December 14th–and lots, lots more! We hope to see YOU @ YOUR little but lively library! Soon, and often!

December will bring lots of changes, including our hours! Our hours will change to: Mondays 11am-5pm, Tuesdays 10am-4pm, Wednesdays 12pm-6pm, Thursdays 10am-4pm, and Saturdays 9am-12pm.

Local Author Panel this Saturday 1-3pm!

This Saturday–November 16th–from 1pm-3pm we are hosting a great panel of local authors!

We’ll have Alice Lichtenstein (The Genius of the World, Lost, and The Crime of Being), Deborah Blake (The Baba Yaga series, The Broken Rider series, and 11 books on modern witchcraft), and Dennis Fowler (Earth’s Song).

Audience members will be able to ask authors questions about the writing and publishing process and purchase books directly from the authors–and have them signed! A great event for readers, would-be writers and other creatives, and right on time for the holiday shopping season!

                           

Deborah Blake                                           Alice Lichtenstein                                                         Dennis Fowler

A Bit More about Dennis Fowler’s Most Recent Book

In 1972 Dennis Fowler was out of work, and, with a pregnant wife and a fierce need for money, began to write. With wife Peggy at his side, he launched a writing career that has lasted more than forty years, utilizing several pseudonyms and jumping through the genres. His earliest works paid him between $500 and $750, and though it might not sound like much today, it kept the family fed. He wrote a Gothic for Berkeley and romances for Jove. Suffering from writer’s block he jumped genres and wrote articles for Computer Shopper and other magazines–some paying a dollar a word, and it, as Dennis puts it, “feathered our nest nicely.”

The shifting markets focused more on technology and webpages and, now retired, says, “I still write. If I’m not writing I’m not breathing. But I have no illusions of making a living at it. I’m living off our IRAs. My most recent effort is Earth’s Song, self-published through Lulu, 90,000 words, available at The Green Toad in downtown Oneonta, as well as online from the printer, Lulu, as well as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. A sequel is planned.”

Dennis also suggests, having seen the changes in the writing marketplace, “If you want to be a writer today, don’t quit your day job.”

Dennis Fowler will be one of three local authors on our Author Panel on November 16th.  Earth’s Song is his debut young adult novel. The panel will include time to ask authors questions, and opportunities to buy their books and have them signed.

Word Nerd Tournament this Sunday!

Yes, that’s right, Sunday afternoon you’re invited to bring your very best words, and a competitive and friendly verve (v-e-r-v-e, that’s 4+1+1+4+1…), to YOUR little but lively library for a Word Nerd Tournament.

Think vocabulary. Think spelling. Think small wooden tiles on a board… Think cash prize for the final winner. Are you with me?

I hope so!

We’ll get started at 1pm–please call (988-6661) ahead so we can organize teams, and please bring $2 dollars to donate for snacks and $3 to pitch into the winner’s pot. Yes, this is a prize-winning opportunity based on your ability to use the tiles you draw to craft the very best vocabulary words and puzzle them onto your board!

We expect this first event to be a modest one, but if we see people are interested, we’ll hold more in 2020!