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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We want to know, Was it AWESOME?

awesomeHave you borrowed something from the library (a book, a CD, a DVD) that was especially amazing, useful or entertaining? When you return it, we’d like you to place it in the AWESOME Box. When we scan the item back in, the title will upload to a page of shared recommendations that other readers can view.

Don’t worry:  placing an item in the AWESOME Box does indeed return the item to the library for removal from your library account, just as when returns are made to the library book drops. And while items that are AWESOME are shared online for general viewing, information about who borrowed or suggested  the item is, as always, confidential. AWESOME Boxes are located at both the Children’s Library Desk and the Main Floor Adult Circulation Department.

The AWESOME Box is supported by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, the Harvard Library Lab, and the Arcadia Fund.

Share something awesome today!

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Friends prepare for July Booksale: Thursday, July 10, – Saturday, July 12

CIMG1653CIMG1656The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are  sorting, marking and arranging books and other materials in preparation for their Super Summer Booksale, scheduled for Thursday, July 10, through Saturday, July 12.

An additional hour is being offered for the July sale, which runs 4 – 8 pm on Thursday; 10 – 4 pm on Friday and Saturday. The Thursday evening hours are, as always, reserved exclusively for members of the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Those who would like to join the Friends may do so at the sale doorfriends4 for as little as $10.








The sale will offer books for  children, teens and adults; DVDs, CDs, VHS cassettes, Vinyl LPs and books on cassette; classics and collector items. Many items are in gift-giving condition. Inventory is organized by category and prices start at 25¢.

This summer sale offers an especially strong collection of classical and opera music CDs, audio & video tapes and books. A large selection cookbooks and travel books will also be available.

As a new service, arrangements have been made for shoppers to have their book selections held while they browse for more.friends6

Make plans now to shop ’til you drop!

Proceeds from the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum booksale support library activities, especially the Children’s Summer Reading Club and the adult programming series.



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Genealogy Workshop scheduled for Tuesday, June 10

genealogy_treeA new genealogy workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10, 2014.  An Introduction to  will be offered as a morning session, 10 am -12 noon;  the same session will be repeated that afternoon, 1 – 3 pm.

Instructors are Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, assisted by Vera Silva. There are no pre-requisites.

Registration is required and may be made  by contacting the Athenaeum’s  Local History Department at 499-9480 x6.  Early registration is encouraged: these sessions are expected to fill quickly.

Sponsored by the Berkshire Athenaeum Local History Department.

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