Overdose Management & Narcan Training: February 9, 10 am – 12 noon


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is proud to join Cathleen Vidoli from Healthy Steps in offering overdose management and Narcan administration training on Friday, February 9th, from 10AM-12PM, in the Athenaeum Room.

In this training, you will learn what measures to take when responding to opioid overdoses (including fentanyl and carfentanil concerns). The class will cover overdose prevention techniques, signs of an overdose, rescue breathing, and narcan administration. All attendees will receive an overdose response kit, including Narcan nasal spray, to take with them after the training.

The class is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is required. Register at http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=PITTSFLD#5448621 or by calling 413-499-9480 ext. 202

Berkshire County offers many local substance use recovery services. Please visit the Massachusetts Substance Use helpline website at https://helplinema.org or call (800) 327-5050 to learn more about your options. Helpline services are free and confidential. Their caring, trained specialists will help you understand the treatment system and your options.

Contact: Alex Geller, Outreach Librarian, 413-499-9480, ext. 202

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Holiday Hours

The Berkshire Athenaeum will be open regular hours, 9 am – 5 pm, on Friday, December 22, and 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, December 23. The library is closed on Monday, December 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday, and reopens on Tuesday, December 26.

Similarly, the library will be open regular hours, 9 am – 5 pm, on Friday, December 29, and 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, December 30. The Athenaeum is closed on Monday, January 1, in observance of New Years Day, and reopens on Tuesday, January 2.

We send best wishes to our patrons and our community for safe and happy holidays.

-The Staff of the Berkshire Athenaeum


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Games to play, Games to borrow

The Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to be offering a collection of family friendly board games. From traditional favorites like Candyland and Monopoly to brainteasers like Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit to the simple fun to be found in Chutes and Ladders and Cootie, there’s something for all ages and interests. Patrons can select from over 20 different games shelved in the library’s Reference area.

Library visitors are welcome to start a game here at the Athenaeum. We also encourage you to consider borrowing one or two for your own Family Game Night. Put those electronic devices down for a nap, slow down and use this as an opportunity for conversation, good-natured competition and creating some pleasant memories. What a great way to start the New Year!


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Libations with Librarians: Tuesday, January 16, 6 – 7:30 pm


Are making a New Year’s resolution to read more? We can help. Join us for our monthly book club, Libations with Librarians, hosted by Hotel on North,  with discussion led by Berkshire Athenaeum Outreach Librarian Alex Geller. Free and no registration necessary.

We’re starting off 2018 by getting together on Tuesday, January 16, 6 – 7:30 pm, to talk about We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. The New York Times included this collection of essays in its 2017 list of Books To Breeze through this Summer,  describing Irby as  “a sidesplitting polemicist for the most awful situations.”

Stop in for a drink, a book chat, to share your thoughts with others. It’s ok if you haven’t finished the book! Copies can be requested from the Reference Department.

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Community Preservation: Your input requested before November 20


city seal

The Community Preservation Committee of the city of Pittsfield has released a public input survey as part of its efforts related to the development of a Community Preservation Plan.

The survey is designed to be completed in less than five minutes, with the ability to provide substantive input, if desired.  The results of the survey will be incorporated into an overall plan that will assist the committee in decision making as to the allocations of Community Preservation Act funds.  The committee plans to complete this work by early 2018.

The plan is a required step that allows the community to develop priorities in how Community Preservation Act funds are spent within four allotted categories: parks, open space, historic preservation, and community housing.

A link to the survey is located on the home page of the city’s website, www.cityofpittsfield.org, and through the Community Preservation Committee’s page also through the city’s website.  Paper copies are also available at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

For more information, please call CJ Hoss, City Planner, at 413-499-9366 or choss@cityofpittsfield.org.

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Holiday Joy: Providing warm clothing, food, toys


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is proud to join the Berkshire Community Action Council, the Salvation Army, The Christian Center, and the Eagle Santa Fund on Monday, November 27, from 10 a.m.. to 12 p.m, for the Holiday Joy Program’s kickoff event at the Library.

The Holiday Joy Program is a collaboration among many local businesses, organizations, and members of our community to provide warm clothing, toys, and food, to low-income families who struggle to meet their basic needs.

At the kickoff celebration, the Library will decorate a giant tree in our main reading room with tickets that list children’s names to sponsor. Sponsors purchase gifts for children and return the new, unwrapped items to the Salvation Army at 298 West Street or the BCAC at 1531 East Street in Pittsfield. There will be carolers, an acting troupe from the Berkshire Theatre Festival, refreshments, and special guest star, Mrs. Claus. The Library will also accept donations of slightly used children’s winter clothing, which we will donate to the Christian Center at 193 Robbins Avenue in Pittsfield.

For further information contact Lauri Eulian, BCAC Program Planning Administrator, (413) 822-3015 or Alex Geller, Berkshire Athenaeum Outreach Librarian, (413) 499-9480 ext. 202

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Food for Fines returns for November



The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, will offer a modified fines amnesty from Wednesday, November 1, through Thursday, November 30. During this four-week period the library will accept nonperishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.

According to Library Director Alex Reczkowski, “This ‘Food for Fines’ initiative has become an annual tradition at the Berkshire Athenaeum, and it is wonderful to see the responsive community support.”

“While overdue fines are intended to encourage people to bring their library books back
on time,” explained Cathy Congelosi, Supervisor of Adult Circulation at the Athenaeum,
“Sometimes our fines generate the opposite reaction, and borrowers become reluctant to return library books because of the fines attached.” The food-for- fines program is the library’s attempt to create a more positive feeling about getting overdue library materials returned, and to get library borrowers to clean out their bookshelves and bring back library items that may have been long forgotten.

“With a Thanksgiving holiday coming up that encourages Americans to reflect on all we
have to be thankful for, donating food in lieu of fines is a feel good solution that’s a perfect fit for this holiday,” says Reczkowski. “It’s a win, win, win situation because the borrower wins by clearing up an overdue fine record, the library wins by getting overdue our items returned, and neighbors win by getting donated food at a time when the food supply is short.”

Food will be collected in boxes located at the Adult Circulation Desk and at the
Children’s Service Desk. When “paying” a fine with a donated food item, patrons should
alert staff prior to depositing the item into the collection boxes. Food will be accepted not only for payment of overdue fines for items currently in circulation, but also may be applied to 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 the Rotary Club of Pittsfield as part of that organization’s annual food collection drive that distributes non-perishable food to area food banks.

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