Book Clubs are Back for the New Year!

Last year we read a bunch of books with our Harris Memorial Library book clubs, including This Heart of Mine by C. C. Hunter, Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee, The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and this year we’ll be continuing the trend!

We’ll kick the year off reading It’s All Relative by A.J. Jacobs while exploring our family trees and being introduced to a selection of online genealogical tools, and, for the World War II Book and Movie Club we’ll start by reading (and then watching) The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

The World War II Book and Movie Club will also be reading The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys,  Saving Private Ryan by Max Allan Collins, Defiance by Nechama Tec, Caging Skies by Christine Luenens, and Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally.



Challenge Yourself to Read More in the New Year

As we approach the New Year, reading challenges are popping up all over, so we’ve devised one for library patrons! Pick up your challenge sheet at the library any time during 2020 and, for every 10 reading prompts you respond to, you’ll get to enter another chance in a drawing for the end of the year. Read 10 books, you’ll have 1 chance, for 20 books you’ll get 2 chances, 30 books equals 3 chances and so on.

Maybe one challenge isn’t enough for you! If so, hop over to A Book Worm’s Musing for a 20 in 2020 Challenge. Or pop over to Ginger Mom for an A to Z Challenge. Ginger Mom also has a Picture Book Challenge, and if those still don’t satisfy, here’s a list featuring a larger selection of reading challenges–something for everyone!

Winter Activities: Snowflake-Making

Winter time is beautiful but it can make you feel you’re limited in the activities you can do.

Luckily there are some fun traditional (and creative!) pastimes you can do that have a neat, modern take on them. If you remember cutting snowflakes out of paper and want to do that again, but differently, you can now join the Baby Yoda and Mandalorian madness and make snowflakes inspired by those characters.

Go to Anthony Herrera’s site and check out what he’s done for Star Wars fans! You can download the snowflake templates, and cut and fold according to his instructions. Got kids or grandkids? This may be a great activity to do with them. It develops and strengthens hand-eye coordination AND engages them in a creative activity that’s cheap and wall-hanging-worthy.

Don’t have a printer at home? Come down to the library and we’ll help you print what you like: 20 cents a page for black and white, and 25 cents a page for color.

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!


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.