Historic newspaper database trial extended through May 31!


The Athenaeum Local History Department is offering online access to the Pittsfield Sun, a weekly local paper, on a trial basis in a database that includes full text content from the paper’s inception in 1800 through 1877. This  database allows researchers to search for historic newspaper items in Pittsfield and the vicinity using names and other keywords. Full text content of articles is included.

Local History Department Supervisor Kathleen Reilly says, “As we evaluate this product, we want to consider the input of our patrons. We would appreciate as many people as possible taking a few minutes to look at this resource and letting us know what they think, good and bad.”

Patrons can access the database at http://infoweb.newsbank.com/?user=ncd50098 where you will be prompted for a User Name and Password. Please enter ncd50098 for both.

Due to high interest, the trial has been extended through Wednesday, May 31. Please share your experiences at localhistory@pittsfieldlibrary.org


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Winners of the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum’s T-shirt Art Contest are Announced!

Art Contest

The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are pleased to announce the winners of their T-Shirt Art Contest.

The first place winner’s designs will be made into T-shirts that will be available for purchase at the Library to help support the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Berkshire Athenaeum in addition to having won $50. Second Prize winners won $25, and Third Prize winners won $10.00 in each category. All winning entries are on display in the library for community members to enjoy.

Without further ado, the winners of the T-shirt Art Contest are:

First Category:
1st Place – Paytan Flint

2nd Place – Andrew Hamill

3rd Place – Yashita Benga

Honorable Mentions – Koby Cross


Second Category:

1st Place – Tessa Hanson

2nd Place – Sariana Soares-Paradise

3rd Place – Matt Mccormack

Honorable mentions- Kiara Mae Fuller

Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to all of our participants! All of the designs were incredible.

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World War I: Commemorating Pittsfield’s role

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The Local History Department is proud to present a new exhibit: World War I:100 Years, commemorating Pittsfield’s role in World War I.  Artifacts and newspaper articles take you back to a time of rationing, victory gardens, and patriotic events in Pittsfield.  Come see photographs of Pittsfield’s World War I veterans and read about life in the trenches and on the Home Front.

Find out more about how everyday life in Pittsfield changed during the war and what the citizens did to help with the war effort.

The exhibit will be changing frequently so be sure to check back in to see new photographs, articles, and artifacts.  The exhibit will run through November 2018.

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Short Story Contest for ages 5 – 18: cash prizes awarded!


The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are pleased to announce the 38th Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and Young Adults. Contest opens Monday, May 1, 2017.  Application forms available at the Children’s desk and online. Children’s Form at http://pittsfieldlibrary.org/sscontest_child.pdf   and Young Adults Form at http://pittsfieldlibrary.org/sscontest_ya.pdf  There will be five divisions (Aged 5 – 6 years as of June 1, 2017; Aged 7 – 8 years as of June 1, 2017and Aged 9 –10 years as of June 1, 2017;  Aged 11 – 14 years as of June 1, 2017; and Aged 15 – 18 years as of June 1, 2017). If there are not at least ten (10) entries in a division, it may be combined with another. See the Children’s Desk for full rules and application.

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 17, 2017. Winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony for all participants, which will be held Friday, August 18th at 1:00 PM in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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STEAM Kits Open House: Thursday, April 13, 4- 6 pm

Lifecycles kit.jpg

The Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to announce a free event for families and educators!

Please join us on Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the Auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum to celebrate full STEAM ahead and our new STEAM kits, which will be available for circulation the following day.  These 25 kits center on themes of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Each kit contains, books (fact and fiction), activities, manipulatives, props, music, arts/crafts ideas, tools and terms for ages infant to grade 6. Kit topics include Force and Motion, Life Cycles, Magnets, Matter, Rocks and Fossils Sink and Float and Many More. Staff will be on hand to answer all questions.

kit collection

Kits have been paid for in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as from generous contributions from the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

It is a free event, no registration is required but children under 10 must be accompanied at all times by an adult over 18 years of age.

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Celebrate National Library Week: Join us for a public reception at 11 am on Wednesday, April 12



Please join us at 11 am on Wednesday, April 12, for a special community proclamation on the importance of libraries with Mayor Linda Tyer, an unveiling of a new portrait of longtime library director Ronald Latham, and the announcement of annual library award winners for Champion Borrower, Family of the Year, and the Donald L Lutes Volunteer of the Year.

Reception with light refreshments hosted by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.
Event takes place in the library’s Main Reading Room. All are invited!

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Attention Stargazers!



The Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to announce that the library now owns an Orion Star Blast Altazimuth Reflector Tabletop Telescope that is available for circulation. Whether you’re an astronomer or just have a passion for gazing at the night sky, this easy-does-it telescope is here for you to try.

The telescope is available for check out to adults (age 18 and older) with a library card in good standing.  You must have a physical library card.  The loan period is seven days with no renewals.

All inquiries should be made at the Children’s Desk at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

The telescope was purchased by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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