Teen Book Giveaway: Monday, June 6, through Saturday, June 11

Teens reading booksBe ready for vacation reading opportunities! During Teen Book Giveaway Week, Monday, June 6, through Saturday, June 11, stop in and grab a book or magazine from the free table in the Young Adults Department. We will offer paperbacks, popular titles, new and next-to-new. Limit one free item per teen, while supplies last.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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Short Story Contest: Cash Prizes!

short story

The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are pleased to announce the 38th Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and the 19th Annual Short Story Contest for Young Adults. Contest opens Monday, May 2, 2016. Forms available at the Children’s desk.

Depending upon entries received, the following prizes will be awarded in each division: First Place will receive a $35.00 cash prize, Second Place will receive a $25.00 cash prize, and Honorable Mentions will receive $20.00 cash prizes. Prizes are donated by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, whose generous and continued support make this contest possible!

Stories will be judged on their originality, appeal, and writing style. Each contestant should submit her/his story to the Berkshire Athenaeum Children’s Library (1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201); and all entries, whether delivered in person or by mail, must be received by 4:00 PM on Monday, July 18, 2016.

Winning entries, honorable mentions and works of merit will be bound and added to the collection of the Berkshire Athenaeum, so community members may read and enjoy them! All entries become property of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Winners will be notified by telephone, and a list of winners will also be posted in the Children’s Library after August 12, 2016.

An awards ceremony and reception with refreshment and meet and greet, for ALL participants, family, and friends, will be held on Friday, August 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM.  The speaker will be local author and Berkshire Eagle reporter Derek Gentile. Also Doctor Jason McCandless will be attending as a special guest.

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Genealogy for Beginners: Classes in May


The Local History Department, in  collaboration with the Berkshire Family History Association, is pleased to announce a new series of classes for beginning genealogy research.

Intro to Familysearch.org: Thursday, May 5, 10 – 12 or 1 – 3pm

Familysearch.org is a resource to learn more about family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Class instructors will be library volunteers, Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, along with Vera Silva.   Limited to 10 participants.

Intro to Ancestry.com: Thursday, May 12, 10 – 12 or 1 – 3  pm

Ancestry.org is a commercial database created to help you discover your family history and build a family tree with the world’s largest genealogy website. Search birth records, census data, obituaries and more!
Class instructors will be library volunteers, Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, along with Vera Silva.   Limited to 10 participants.

Registration is now open.  Register online at www.pittsfieldlibrary.org and click on the Calendar of Events page or contact the Local History Department at 499-9480 x6.  Please register for one session only. Register soon as classes fill up fast.


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Food for Fines: April 11 – 16


As part of its celebration of National Library Week, the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, will offer a modified fines amnesty from Monday, April 11, through Saturday, April 16. During this time the library will accept non-perishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

Collection boxes are located at the Adult Circulation Desk and at the Children’s Service Desk. When “paying” off a fine with donated food items, please alert a staff librarian before depositing food into a box.

Food is accepted for payment of overdue fines for items currently in circulation as well as outstanding overdue fines from other transactions. The replacement costs of lost or damaged materials may not be resolved by donated food.

During the amnesty period, in addition to food brought in lieu of fines, the Athenaeum will encourage general donations of food not associated with overdue library books. All donated food will be turned over to food pantries in Pittsfield.

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3D Printing at the Athenaeum


We are pleased to announce a free event for Teens! Please join us on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM as we celebrate Teen Tech Week.

Teenagers are invited to come explore the library’s recently purchased 3D printers, learn the 3D software and print a 3D selfie. No prior experience is necessary. The program will run between 90 minutes and two hours.

Teen Tech Week is a special week during the month of March when libraries showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for 21st century careers. Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by the Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA) and is aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults.

Please stop in or call the library at 499-9480 ext. 5 to sign up. This program is free and for ages 13-17.


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Tablets for Kids!

sgThe Children’s Department is excited to announce the addition of two tablet devices to our collection. The devices, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Edition and an Apple iPad Mini, will be available for in-house only use starting on Monday, February 22, 2016. Both tablets are intended for use by children 10 years of age and under.


Applications loaded on these devices include interactive books by Sandra Boynton, Sight Word Learning, and games featuring Elmo and Thomas the Tank Engine. Patrons will be allowed to download other free apps if they so desire. A library card in good standing will be required to check the devices out for a loan period of 30 minutes.

These devices have been made available through  Athenaeum’s Technology Lending Program, an initiative funded by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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Genealogy with Alan Horbal

Berkshire Athenaeum: Pittsfield's Public Library

genealogy_treeThe Local History Department has announced the following schedule of  Genealogy Classes: On four Tuesdays in March (March  8, 15, 22 & 29) professional genealogist Alan Doyle Horbal will lead hands-on sessions on using the census and other resources.

  • Outline and instruction on researching the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census.
  • Discover how to find your ancestors’ emigration to the U.S. using the http://stevemorse.org website and the www.ellisisland.org website, along with several other databases.
  •   Discover how to search for family members outside of the U.S. using http://familysearch.org.  Alan will explore England, Canada, Poland and other countries.

All students must have an E Mail account and be computer literate. Limited space. We ask that you attend all four classes. You may bring your own laptop or use a library device.

Registration opens February 1st. Register online  through the Calendar of Events page on the…

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