Welcome Hudson Valley to this week’s edition of IN TOUCH, the public affairs and issues program that runs across Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley radio stations.  

This week’s guest is Rebekkah Smith Aldrich from the Mid-Hudson Library System. The first public library system to be certified through the Sustainable Libraries Certification Program, MHLS aims to foster tighter communities, build community resilience and bring together diverse groups of people that wouldn't normally speak. 

We invite you to join us and listen to a previously recorded conversation between Rebekkah and myself here on In Touch. 


This has been this week’s edition of IN TOUCH, the public affairs and issues program that runs across Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley radio stations. We want to give a big thank you to Rebekkah Smith Aldrich. For more info on the Mid-Hudson Library System, visit midhudson.org. Of course, all links and information can be found in the description of this episode. 

READ MORE BELOW: Libraries and Adirondack Mountain Club Team Up to Spread Love of Nature

Hudson Valley families have even more opportunities to learn and explore nature thanks to partnerships between public libraries in the Hudson Valley and the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). Now in its third year, the Library Support Program, which was conceived and implemented by the Mid-Hudson Chapter, funded 12 libraries in the Hudson River region to support "Learning About and Appreciating Nature and the Environment."

"We are thrilled to work with the Mid-Hudson Library System through our Mid-Hudson Chapter to connect families and children with New York's outdoor spaces,” said Michael Barrett, ADK’s Executive Director. Libraries were invited to submit proposals to underwrite the cost of programs and services to provide opportunities for kids and their families to learn and explore nature.

The Purpose of the Library Support Program

The purpose of the Library Support Program is to provide opportunities for families and children of all ages to participate in, appreciate, and learn about the joys and benefits of the natural world including creatures, plants, and recreational opportunities.  Proposals must be consistent with and in support of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK’s) mission to protect New York’s wild lands and waters by promoting responsible outdoor recreation and building a statewide constituency of land stewardship advocates.

Carla Barrett, the Chapter’s Program Chairperson, said “ADK is excited about its Library Outreach Program which is in its third year. Local libraries have become major forces in many of their communities combining the love of books with other activities. Libraries are already important sources of learning fun for children and their families, and the Adirondack Mountain Club simply funded the amazing ideas and energy of library staff. We particularly like that these library programs get participants into nature with its fresh air and sunshine. The libraries make it fun to be outside, exploring and learning about the nearby world."

“Developing a love for the outdoors through fun and educational experiences is key to ensuring future generations love and care for the natural world,” said Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System. “We’d like to thank the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club for recognizing area libraries as co-creators in their vision to protect New York State wild lands and waters by promoting responsible outdoor recreation and building up the number of folks who believe in land stewardship.”

Funding varied by program need and averaged $500 for the following libraries:

  • Beekman Library: Funding of a monthly after school Nature Club.
  • J.L Butterfield Library: Creation of a nature and sustainability oriented Little Free Library on the Hudson River waterfront.
  • D.R. Evarts Library: Development of loanable nature backpacks designed to increase patron’s understanding and appreciation of natural resources and each person's role in conserving.
  • Grinnell Public Library: Outdoor Explorer Backpacks which contain different nature-themed books, observation tools, and other exploration items.
  • Kent Public Library: Nature backpacks which include a guidebook to the backpack's ecological theme and tools.
  • Kinderhook Memorial Library: A three-part multi-season program called "Native Plants and Pollinators in Columbia County" in conjunction with the Columbia Land Conservancy.
  • Millbrook Library: Two new program series for children and teens: Family Nature Walks & Teen Eco-Crafts.
  • Reed Memorial Library: Creation of a StoryWalk themed "Treating Nature with Kindness" on the Putnam County Bike/Trailway.
  • Roeliff Jansen Community Library: Expand its outdoor program along a trail to the Roe Jan Kill.
  • Staatsburg Library: Collaboration with the Pollinator Patrol Club for nature exploration through a series of 12 guided hikes, and an introduction to citizen science through a Monarch butterfly larva monitoring program.
  • Tivoli Free Library: Support ecology based, reusable, STEM and Arts Kits for families and children aged 1-14.
  • Woodstock Library: Guided hikes and hiking packs as a part of the library’s "Woodstock Gets Wild: Outdoor Adventures Beyond the Library Shelves" program.

This program was built upon the belief that young people who learn to love things in nature will want to protect nature when they are adults when they can make a difference in their work, community involvement and recreation. They will support ADK's mission, and most importantly, they will want to save the environment. Contact your local library today to see what they are offering!

READ MORE: Mid-Hudson Library System Celebrates National Library Week

There are over 2,123,000 residents living in the Hudson Valley. Out of that number, over half obtain one of these. One item gives residents access to events, classes, movies, audiobooks, books, tools and more. And it is free to own this. This has to be a joke, right? Nope, it's totally real and can make such a big impact on your life.

More than Half of Hudson Valley Residents Have a Library Card

Yes, a library card! I used to think when I was a kid that libraries were old, stuffy, and boring. That could be further from the truth. They are a hub for knowledge, community, and accessibility. The Mid-Hudson Library System makes sure that residents receive the most from their library cards.

Mid-Hudson Library System Celebrates National Library Week

April 23rd through the 29th was National Library Week. The Mid-Hudson Library encourages all community members to visit at least one of its sixty-six (66) libraries. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries of all types across the country each April.

Move Over Audible, The Mid-Hudson Library System is Here!

In a 2022 survey, over two-thirds of Americans claim to read books during the year. A third of those surveyed only read print books, while another third said they consumed digital and print books. Digital books being ebooks and audiobooks. Audible, in 2021, had 116.25 million members in America. Audible costs members $14.95/month. That $180 a year could be used towards something else. The Mid-Hudson Library System has a vast catalog of audiobooks, ebooks, and emagazines all available with your library card.

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There are more than 1.7 million unique titles in the shared online catalog and you can have physical items from any library delivered to your library. MHLS delivery services are one-seventh the cost of mailing items between libraries. Member libraries save their communities over $12 million annually by sharing items.

Mid-Hudson Library System's Call to Sustainability and Technology

Libraries are welcoming spaces that bring communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, storytimes, movie nights, crafting classes, lectures, and more. The sixty-six (66) libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System offer a wide array of programs, classes and resources, including some very unexpected items at select locations such as seed libraries, tool lending, museum passes and more.

Libraries play a critical role in the economic vitality of communities by providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for job seekers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Libraries across the Hudson Valley participate in the Beyond the Library Walls program, offering broadcast Wi-Fi signals and many offer Digital Navigator services to help you either connect online or up your game when it comes to understanding how to navigate information and services offered online.

Find Your Closest Mid-Hudson Library System Library

Each library has something incredible to offer. Take the Hyde Park Library's Star Wars Day Video Filming Event they had Easter Weekend! The full video comes out on May 4th (Star Wars Day, May the Fourth be With You), but we got a trailer below.

You can find even more events across the 66 libraries in the MHLS. To find your nearest library in the MHLS system, click the link here.



Whether you’ve been listening for a while or you have just joined us, thank you! You can find In Touch episodes new and old on your favorite streaming services like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and more! That, and listen On Demand with your Townsquare Radio Station Mobile App. Of course, you can still find all articles and audio under the In Touch Tab on this radio station’s app and website. And don’t forget, we are also on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram @intouch_hv. 

If you like what we do here on In Touch, and want to be on the show, let us know! Whether you have a topic you want discussed or you want to be a guest, the best way to contact us is through our office number 845-471-1500 or email direct to conor.walsh@townsquaremedia.com 

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