Your Library Stories

How has the Library impacted your life in a positive way? Share your story with the community.

The US citizenship and English conversation class in our library, it totally changed my life in the US. Even after when I go back, I believe. Libraries in Korea are aimed at storing and sharing information only, and there is no such great program like this. Our library is a community in itself and a center of cultural activities for local residents.

Before coming to the US, I thought I had achieved everything in Korea, and I had no more goals because I already had everything I needed. Through our library, I met great people, learned a lot, and newly achieved a lot. I opened my eyes. Our library has been a great inspiration for the next half of my life. I’d like to remind you that our library and volunteer teachers are making a “WAY huge contribution” to lives of immigrants, our communities and the US society.- Sooyoung P.

The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library has always been a big part of my life. I grew up going to all of the fun programs with my little brother and leaving with arms full of books. As soon as I was old enough, I started volunteering for the Junior Friends of the Library and assisting in coding classes. After volunteering, I would also leave with arms full of books!

When I saw that the library was hiring, I was very excited to apply. I started working as a page and learned so much more about the library and the people there than I could have as a patron. It was so much fun to learn the little ways we organize each section to make things easier for people to find. I love how each coworker cares about this library as much as me and how they make each shift amazing. After being a page for a little over a year, I interviewed for a clerk position and was hired. Now that I’m also a clerk, I’m able to get to know our patrons and I like being a part of the whole process from books going out, to being checked in, and going back out again. I’m very happy that I get to work in the place I’ve loved for most of my life. – Madi C.

Our second graders at Okte Elementary School had the best field trip to the library in March! They had a wonderful time rotating through four well thought out stations (decorating a bookmark, touring the library and learning many secrets, choosing a book to take back to the classroom, and listening to a story)!

We heard from many families after that their children were so inspired by the trip that they want to go back and get themselves their own library card! What a wonderful experience for our children! Thank you to all the amazing staff for making it such a memorable experience for us!– Jessica G.

Ira & Natasha met in our ELL (English Language Learners) class after their daughters who live in this area separately encouraged them to sign up. It didn’t take long for Ira and Natasha to realize they went to school together in Ukraine, decades ago. Ira and Natasha are classmates from both Kyiv Music Preparatory School and Donetsk Music University in Ukraine. Both are classically trained pianists.

Today, Ira and Natasha regularly attend the Beginner English class at the Library and also work with a tutor (pictured with them and one of their classmates) once weekly to improve their English language skills.

Thank you, Ira and Natasha, for sharing your Library story!

After much studying and investment, I’m proud to say I’m an American citizen.  Without the help of the library programs, I don’t think I would have had enough confidence to pass the citizenship interview. Most immigrants have to wait five years to apply, then complete a twenty-page application and wait up to a year to be called for their interview. Once I knew I would have the citizenship interview in several months, I got worried. Therefore, I hoped I could get some help.

I‘d heard that there was a citizenship class in the library, but during the pandemic many activities were canceled. I wished they could restart the class. I went to the library to look for the information and I was very surprised.  There it was!

Thanks to all of the staff very much, especially the Coordinator and reminder, Alison.

Every Wednesday night, I was looking forward to meeting online with our volunteer teacher Judy and my classmates, although I was sometimes very tired after work. Judy’s pronunciation is close to my memories from when I learned English in middle school in my homeland of Taiwan.

She taught us American history as it relates to the 100 citizenship questions. That is really interesting and helpful for me to understand.  What did I love most about the class? Judy always encouraged everyone to ask questions and cared about our opinions and feelings.  She tried her best to explain as simply, fairly and equally as possible.

After ten lessons were over, some classmates continued meeting at this time on Zoom and shared their lives in America. That was very interesting. I learned something new from the classmates, too. I was very happy in the class. – Chiali L

I come to the Library because it’s a clean spot to work on projects I’m doing, like photography or planning European travel. I find the staff is excellent–you can communicate with people and exchange ideas.

I also like coming to the monthly genealogy meetings. [Genealogist] Lisa Dougherty is very helpful and there’s a nice interaction among the group. We share ideas, help one another searching through family history. [It] brings people from the community in and there’s usually a couple of people just starting the process, so it’s very helpful to them too.  In one meeting, a former neighbor of mine was looking for some help [finding] a particular surname. I recognized the name and had some notes in my notes on that family, which I sent to her later. She came back later and sat down next to me and said, “Hi, third cousin.” Her great-grandmother and my great-grandmother were sisters [who lived] in this area and then we end up being neighbors, not knowing [we were related]. I went out and bought a lottery ticket!  -Dan M.

I am Alex Gutelius, the Director of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.   Originally, from Toronto, Canada, my family and I moved here in 2008, and I became a US citizen in 2016.  

I should have known that I would become a librarian, because as a child my favorite place to visit each week was the public library, where I read the fiction section alphabetically by author.

When my wife got a promotion at her job and we moved up to Clifton Park, I was unaware that my decision to go to the local library (5 minutes by car) to ‘have something to do’ since I’m retired and love to read, would lead to a wonderful discovery! I grew up in Brooklyn, and one of the things I really got annoyed with was politicians constantly cutting the libraries budget. Up here, it seems the library, a beautiful little building full of friendly staff is treated far better.

From the moment I walked in I was enthralled. In the first few months I was engaged by trivia night, meet the local author, and a few weeks ago a great taco truck and Big Fez & the Surfmatics. These are only a few of the excellent services in this gateway to far more than just reading. The library is the best part of living in Clifton Park. The deal was sealed when, on exiting that first day, I saw the pyramid out front and noticed IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND LIVED A HOBBIT, the first line from one of my very favorite books. Keep going! In five decades of going to the library, (I started in 1966) Clifton Park library is the best one I’ve ever been to. – ROB M.

“We are originally from India and didn’t really have a solid support system here but, when we went to the Library, everyone was so welcoming and patient, we felt right at home”

In the past 10 years the library has given my family plenty of opportunities, activities and hours of fun. The more I started going to the library I learnt that they have plenty of activities for all age groups. The Library was the first place we took our children and they love the Library and all the other helpful librarians especially, Miss Lindi as my kids call her, with all our hearts.

The Library also gave me and my family the opportunity to display and share our culture with the community by allowing us to bring Diwali and share it’s traditions and importance with everyone. The Library was generous and helpful. I’m so thankful for Melinda’s kindness she has shown over the past years to my family and welcomed our culture with the biggest smile.

The Library once again turned out to be pivotal to the community when COVID-19 hit because I was homeschooling my children. Coming up with new ideas to teach and keep the kids busy is difficult but with all the resources the library had to offer, craft to-go kits and numerous Art, STEM, coding classes-what initially seemed like a difficult task turned out to be a breeze. The Library has always been our silver lining and we couldn’t be happier to have a little heaven so close by! 

– The Jhaveri Family

connecting threads group October 2021

“We have a lot fun getting together, sharing ideas and solving each other’s quilting issues. We are thankful the Library provides a space for us to meet monthly. Every quilt has a story” (just like a library patron!)

-Connecting Threads Group

Thank you for the llamas today!

-Colleen V.

I just wanted to thank you for your book display. I’m trying not to tear up but I’m a Muslim and this is the first library I’ve been in that has displayed books related to this! It really means a lot”. -Anonymous

Max reading while patiently waiting in line. He couldn’t wait to start his new book!

– Max’s Mom

Just wanted to let you know how much your assistance helped me.  I just accepted a job that I wouldn’t have been able to apply for, if not for the resume tips you sent me.  I was able to put together a quick resume and applied for 2 positions on  I was delighted to receive a call & interview.  I will begin remote training next week.  Also, my son Sean updated his resume with your suggestions and has already had one interview.  Hopefully he will find a position soon.

After our trip to the library, we stopped at the craft store and bought some markers and a canvas bag so she could decorate her “Library Book Bag” – the bag she will take to and from the library to transport her books and to hold them safely at home!!
-Giana’s Mom

The Library was very important to me during the pandemic. I had decided to read 100 classic American books in a period of 8 months as a project to keep me busy while we were unable to participate in many other kinds of activities. I borrowed many of them from the books on CD collection, others I downloaded from the Cloud library to my iPad and some I read in hardcover or paperback editions. I am so grateful for the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library!