Genealogy Classes return for October & November


In response to continuing interest, we are happy to offer the following FREE Genealogy Classes for Novices.

Tuesday, October 28: 
10 am-12 noon: Organizing Your Records and Planning Your Research and Introduction to Census Research
1 pm-3 pm:  [Repeat of morning session]

Tuesday, November 4:
10 am-12 noon: Using Vital Records and Beginning Immigration Research
1 pm-3 pm:  [Repeat of morning session]

These workshops are free of charge and open to the public.  To register call the Local History Dept. at 413-499-9480 ext. 6.  We encourage you to register early, as sessions fill very quickly.

Sponsored by the Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Berkshire Family History Association.

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Custom-made afghan for raffle!


The mission of the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum is to enhance the library experience of the patrons of Pittsfield’s public library. Enhancement may involve the purchase of amenities not covered by the library’s budget or the sponsorship of free programs to entertain and educate adults and children. Occasionally, the Friends provide space and support so a good program, like the Berkshire Athenaeum Knitters, can thrive.

Two years ago, Ann Tierney, a nursing instructor at Berkshire Community College, came to the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum to volunteer to teach a class for novice knitters. The response was tremendous. We quickly filled one class. Because there was a lengthy waiting list, Ann added a second class.

The classes have continued to meet. Novice knitters developed skills.
Friendships were formed.

Last spring the knitters decided to thank the Athenaeum for bringing them together and providing them with a place to meet. Their thank you is a beautiful afghan. Each student knit a square; each square has a distinct stitch. Joined, the squares form a work of art which will be raffled to benefit the library on November 8th, the final day of the fall book sale.

The machine washable, earth toned afghan, which is 30% wool and 70% synthetic fiber, is displayed in the main reading room of the library. Tickets are available at the circulation desk. The cost of a single ticket is $2.00.


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Bartlett Avenue Construction October 9: Library will be open

HEADS UP! Berkshire Gas is replacing the old cast iron gas line on Bartlett Avenue with new plastic piping that won’t corrode. The installation crew estimate that they will be installing on the east side of Bartlett Avenue (across from the entrance and exit to the library’s parking lot) by Thursday, October 9.

While the crew foreman has assured us they would not need to shut down the library lot, there will be service disruptions resulting from making traffic on Bartlett Avenue temporarily one way to accommodate the construction. If you are planning a visit to the library, please be prepared for the disruption.

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Genealogy Classes return for September & October


The Local History Department announces a new round of Genealogy classes for September & October.

A three part workshop for novices will be taught by Janet Rogge, Angela Rifkin and Vera Silva. The workshop series is  scheduled for Thursday, September 11; Thursday, September 18; and Thursday, September 25. A morning (10 -12) and afternoon (1-3) session is offered for each part; patrons should register for one session only.

  • Thursday, September 11: Organizing your Records and Planning your Research.
  • Thursday, September 18: Using Vital Records and Beginning Immigration Research
  • Thursday, September 25: Introduction to (Library edition)

Alan Horbal returns to the Athenaeum to lead a four-week series, Continuing your Genealogy Research using Census and other Resources. Scheduled for four consecutive Tuesdays (September 30, October 7, October 14 and October 21), the series offers both a morning (10-12) and afternoon (1 – 3 pm) session. Patrons should register for one session only. Registrants must have a an established email account and  commit to attending all four classes.

Genealogy workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required and may be made by contacting the Local History Department at (413) 499-9480 x6. Space is limited; early registration is encouraged. Attendees may bring a personal laptop or request use of an Athenaeum device.

Sponsored by the Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Berkshire Family History Association.

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Food Zone work progresses: Flooring installation

FZ image

Work on the Athenaeum Food Zone brings this new area to completion over the coming weeks. Additional electrical outlets are installed in the newly finished window seating area; the walls are freshly painted.

This week the floor installation process began with removal of existing carpet and application of a a skim coat.


Next week the flooring tile will be placed. We’re on our way!

Our designer’s rendering of the new Food Zone:



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You might qualify for Food Stamps and not even know it


Too often people don’t apply for  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly known as Food Stamps – because they don’t realize they are eligible. You may be eligible for SNAP even if you are earning an income from wages, Social Security, SSI, or retirement or have money in the bank. You could also be eligible if you own a home or a car.

The Athenaeum is hosting a SNAP clinic on Tuesday, August 26, 1-4 pm. Staff will be available to provide prescreening and application assistance. To pre-register for the clinic call 1-866-448-3621.

Registrations are requested to facilitate planning; but walk-ins are welcome.

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Short Story Contest: Winners announced!

snoopyOur Children’s Library is pleased to announce the winners of the Annual Short Story Writing Contest. Stories were judged on their originality, appeal and writing style. Our judges, Mary Kinnas, Marilyn Manning and Bea Da Silva have served Pittsfield schools as English teachers for many years and appreciated all the stories submitted. Winning entries, Honorable Mentions and works of merit will be bound and added to the  Athenaeum collection  so  community members may read and enjoy them!

The winners are:

Ages 7 – 8: 1st Place: Sydney Lalime, 2nd Place: Gabryela Y. Ortiz-Ramírez, Honorable Mention: Sebastian Dinsmore

Ages 9 – 10: 1st Place: Hannah J. Stroud, 2nd Place:Miles Cece, Honorable Mention: Ian Corbett

Ages 11 – 14: 1st Place: Autumn Sheldon, 2nd Place: Sarah Stroud, Honorable Mention: Lydia Loverin

Ages 15 – 18: 1st Place: Emma Lezberg, 2nd Place: Mary Ward, Honorable Mention: Charity Stroud

All 1st Place winners will receive a $35.00 cash prize; all 2nd Place winners will receive a $25.00 cash prize; and all Honorable Mention winners will receive a $20.00 cash prize. Prizes are donated by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, whose generous and continued support make this contest possible!

Winners will receive their awards at a reception at 1 pm on Friday, August 22,  in the library auditorium. All contestants are invited to attend! Jenn Smith from the Berkshire Eagle will be our guest speaker and  Mayor Dan Bianchi will  be on hand to share a few words.

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