Thursday, June 11, 2015

Albany Public Library Honored with Program of the Year Award for “Albany History Race”

ALBANY, NY—Albany Public Library (APL) received the 2014 Upper Hudson Library System Adult Program of the Year Award for the “Albany History Race” program at a ceremony on June 10. APL is the largest library in the system that includes 29 public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer counties.

“Albany History Race” was a one-day team competition involving quick visits to many historic buildings and sites in the city of Albany that took place last November. The goal of the program was to introduce people to the library’s local history collection in a fun and social way, by joining a scavenger hunt with the popular television show “The Amazing Race.”

“Local History Librarian Jim Davies combined an old-fashioned scavenger hunt with intriguing pieces of history into an entertaining and immersive program for adults,” said APL Executive Director Scott Jarzombek. “The ‘Albany History Race’ not only led participants to many noteworthy sites around Albany, but it also utilized dozens of historic photographs, maps, and books from the library’s collection. The very modern addition of live event coverage on the library’s social media platforms, provided by eLibrarian Deanna DiCarlo, brought the program into the hands of those watching from the sidelines.”

The program was recognized for strengthening APL’s reputation as a curator of local history, forging relationships with local businesses, delighting passionate history buffs, and engaging library followers. During the race, teams used mission clues, based on items from the library’s collection, to identify and drive to 12 spots around Albany, including the old YMCA building on North Pearl Street, former Cataract Brewery on Park Avenue, and a trolley pole that still stands on Quail Street. The teams documented their visits to the clue locations with digital photos. Once all clues were deciphered, and locations visited, teams raced to McGeary’s Pub to determine the winners. The top three teams received bragging rights and prizes, which were procured from local businesses, including the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center. Armchair racers followed the teams’ progress via the library’s Twitter and Instagram feeds.

The second annual "Albany History Race" is set for Saturday, Sept. 26, and will feature a dozen new historic locations. For more information, please email Team registration will begin Sept. 1 through the library’s events calendar or by visiting  

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