Albany Public Library Hours Changing Sept. 1

I’m thrilled that three branches will be open Thursday night, instead of the whole system being shuttered.

albanypubliclibraryStarting Tuesday, September 1, hours are changing at all APL locations. And it’s about time. One of the great frustrations with having a half dozen branches with identical hours is, if they had been staggered, one could easily traverse to another locale. Most are only a mile or two apart.

Presently, all the branches (except Washington Avenue, f/k/a Main) open the same 8 hours Monday-Wednesday, 6 hours Thursday and Friday, and 4 hours on Saturday. Next month, there will be some branches open during the range of 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and the non-Washington Ave branches will be accessible for five hours, rather than four on Saturday.

Washington Avenue will lose an hour in the morning, and one in the evening Monday through Wednesday; the morning I’ll miss, and I wonder if the downtown business community may as well. But I’m thrilled that three branches will be open Thursday night, instead of the whole system being shuttered.

The library director Scott C. Jarzombek, with whom I confer from time to time, notes: “We based the new schedules on feedback we got from customer surveys, community outreach, and by looking at the usage patterns at all branches. We are able to make this change with little to no effect on our budget. Our service area model, which pairs branches in three areas of the city, allows us to share staff and resources, and to save money.

“And remember, we’re always open online!”

What the Chuck

Chuckie’s is a not place this man will enter again.

chuck-e-cheese-logoDid this ever happen to you? You experience something, you suffer through it. But then another person crystallizes your feelings about it.

This took place recently. A friend of mine, who I’ll call Rachel, I first met 20 years ago. She wrote on Facebook recently about a dialogue between her husband (“Thor”) and her daughter (“Anna”).

Anna: Daddy, my birthday party is at Chuck E. Cheese this year!
Thor: Good luck with that. I don’t go to parties at Chuck E. Cheese.
Anna: But there will be pizza and games!
Thor: Anna, I wouldn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese if you were getting married there.

I practically applauded, as I responded: “I’ve been to no fewer than a half dozen CEC bday parties, none for MY daughter. BRUTAL. You should hire a nanny for the afternoon.” As Rachel had previously indicated the importance of quality time with her children, I was trying to suggest that Thor’s (totally justifiable) intransigence should not mean that Rachel should be on the hook for going into the rat’s lair and that she find a third party to suffer.

A relative of Rachel interjected: “What’s wrong with Chuck E. Cheese’s? They have all kinds of games and stuff is supposed to have things for adults to do now.”

I didn’t realize what passion I had for the topic: “It’s loud and mind-numbing, and makes children crazy and greedy for the crap they don’t need. And their pizza is mediocre at best.”

One of Thor’s relatives complained, “It’s her birthday…” but he was unapologetic: “I stand by my comment. Chuckie’s is a not place this man will enter again. Life is too short to spend 1 minute in that insane asylum.” At that moment 1) I so regretted the 700 or more minutes that have been sucked out of MY life at that place and 2) I wondered if the misspelling of the store was a deliberate attempt to evoke that sadistic doll Chucky.

Thor’s stand won him several other admirers. One response encapsulated it: “Thor is a principled man. My hero.”

And people started piling on CEC: “It is a madhouse of undisciplined children and an incubator for who knows how many nasty germs.” And “My niece used to manage a CEC… A couple of my favorite status updates of hers were, ‘Someone s@#$ in the sky tube,’ and ‘A parent just handed me a paper cup full of vomit.’ I’m sharing this just so you know it’s tons of fun for everyone involved.”

Fortunately, I’m at the point where I won’t be asked to go to any more birthday parties at Charles’ place. But, just in case, I’m practicing my Nancy Reagan routine of just saying no.