Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2008 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission recently awarded the Fort Plain Free Library an Honorable Mention for the 2008 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence. The award honors and celebrates significant places of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and recognizes excellence in the implementation of the Erie Canalway Preservation andManagement Plan.
The 2008 Jury selected the library for Phase I of renovation and restoration to the facility, enabling it to serve as a welcome and visitor center for Erie Canalway Trail users, boaters, and other visitors to FortPlain. The jury commended the library for providing an “anchor” for the community as a central meeting place with “something for everyone,” including traditional library users, genealogical researchers, cyclists, boaters, and other travelers; preserving and showcasing the community and canal history of Fort Plain; contributing to local and regional economic and recreational revitalization plans; forging partnerships with neighboring towns to further expand visitor services; and inspiring renewed community pride.
2008 Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence recipients included Canal Place in Little Falls and the School Street Hydroelectric Facility, Brookfield Renewable Power, in Cohoes. Historic Palmyra’s William Phelps General Store and Home in Palmyra also received an honorable mention. More information on both the Canalway and the Award of Excellence is available at http://www.eriecanalway.org/.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Do We Have Your Sampler Submission Yet?

The Margaret Reaney and Fort Plain Free Libraries have been collecting works from local residents since late 2007 for inclusion in A Mohawk Valley Sampler, a compilation of reminiscences and writings about an event, a memorable person, or a special place that defines the writer's feeling about living in the central Mohawk Valley. Ali MacDonald, writer-in-residence for the project, will be available to meet one-on-one with interested individuals on Friday, July 18, from 3:00 to 5:00 at the Fort Plain Free Library. “These working sessions are intended to assist individuals interested in sharing their recollections. I will be available to help a person get started, to fine tune a piece that has already been written, or to explore the best form to use to present a specific emotion or scenario,” MacDonald said recently. “I would also be happy to transcribe a person’s memories or stories or work with them to capture, on paper, their feelings about a very special place, the central Mohawk Valley.”
Individual sessions with MacDonald are available on a drop-in basis and no appointment is necessary. For additional information about the Mohawk Valley Sampler project or this month’s working session, please call the Fort Plain Free Library at (518) 993-4646.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grand Opening a Success

Despite hot, humid, and stormy weather, the Grand Opening of the Fort Plain Free Library’s newly repaired/restored/and renovated quarters held on Sunday, June 8, was an unqualified success. Those in attendance viewed the first of many displays of Clinton Liberal Institute artifacts and memorabilia prepared by board member Eileen Chambers. Quite a few confessed that they had no idea that this co-ed preparatory military boarding school attended by the likes of Simon Lake, inventor of the submarine, had been located in Fort Plain at the end of the 19th century. In addition, they were able to view a Power Point presentation featuring some of the many photographs and postcards donated to the library by local historian Myron Saltsman. The images depicted the Old Erie Canal in Fort Plain and provided a wealth of easily understood information about the engineering marvel that made the village a prosperous commercial and transportation hub.
Visitors also commented on the new herb and perennial garden in keeping with the period of the house designed and planted by Sherri Byrne, owner of The Herb Cupboard. The garden will grow and change over the years adding to the attractiveness of the exterior. Also unveiled was a large landscape painted by local artist Joanne Resch that graces the Willett Street entrance to the building and welcomes residents and visitors alike to the facility and the community. The painting depicts the Mohawk River, Abeel’s Island, a packet boat traveling the Canal, and emphasizes the natural beauty of the area. Finally, all enjoyed a lovely assortment of snacks and refreshments prepared by library patron Donna Ahrens. For those who missed the Grand Opening, feel free to stop in during regular library hours for a tour of the facility. For pictures of the event, please go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/phaseone.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The Fort Plain Free Library will host a Grand Opening to celebrate the completion of its repair/renovation/and restoration project on Sunday, June 8, from 1:00 - 4:00. Construction on the project began in September, 2007, and work included the repair and restoration of the front porch, the addition of a handicapped ramp at that entrance, upgrading of the lights and windows resulting in a reduction in energy costs, repair and restoration of the interiors of the two former front parlors, and the installation of secure, custom display shelving. The first of many displays of Clinton Liberal Institute artifacts and memorabilia has been prepared by board member Eileen Chambers. The custom display shelving added as a central part of the project allows the library, for the first time, the opportunity to share this remarkable collection with the public on a continual basis.
Sherri Byrne, owner of The Herb Cupboard, has planned and planted an herb and perennial garden in keeping with the period of the house. The garden will grow and change over the years adding to the attractiveness of the exterior. Local artist Joanne Resch was commissioned to paint a large landscape that graces the Willett Street entrance to the building and welcomes residents and visitors alike to the facility and the community.
Funds for the project were provided, in part, by the New York State Canal Corporation, the New York State Library through the Public Library Construction Grant program, Senator Hugh Farley, the Yerdon Foundation, the Arkell Foundation, the family of Bob and Ruth Moyer, family and friends of Evelyn Cranker, American Legion Post #554, McFee Memorials, Midvale Veterinary Clinic, the Shults Agency,
Canajoharie - Fort Plain Elks, Loyal Order of the Moose, and Loren Prime.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nearing Completion....

Staff and volunteers have spent the past several weeks rearranging fixtures and furniture and reshelving our non-fiction and reference collections. It is wonderful to have these materials back and available for loan to the public. A collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the Clinton Liberal Institute has been artfully arranged on the new custom display shelving and is available for viewing. A small amount of detail work on the now lovely front porch and the restored fireplace in the Welcome Center remains. In addition, a landscaping project will begin shortly now that the weather has improved. For recent photos, please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/phaseone/ or stop in at the library during regular library hours.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Well Worth the Wait

Recent work on our ongoing renovation/restoration project has centered on the installation of the custom display units that will house the library's Clinton Liberal Institute and local history collections. Repair and restoration of the fluted columns that have traditionally graced the front porch is also complete and the pillars were put into place earlier this week. In addition, the bookshelves have been returned from storage and the non-fiction collection will be reshelved when detail work is complete in the project area. For photos of this exciting aspect of the project, please go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/phaseone/.