Food for Fines: 400 lbs of food collected


canned food
The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is pleased to announce 400 pounds of non-perishable food was collected during April’s Food For Fines week.

Annually during National Library Week the Athenaeum offers  modified fines amnesty, a week when patrons are allowed to pay overdue fines with donations of non-perishable food items. Many patrons also give food donations unrelated to late fines.

Donated food was delivered directly to Pittsfield food banks.

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Berkshire Athenaeum makes three annual awards


Libraries across the country celebrate National Library Week this year from April 7
through April 13 with the theme of “Libraries = Strong Communities.” Three awards are
presented annually as part of the National Library Week celebration at the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public library.

The twenty-eighth annual Library Family of the Year Award is presented to that family
demonstrating conscientious and considerate use of the Berkshire Athenaeum that best typifies the ideal library users, this year going to the Rebecca and Jesse Cook-Dubin of Bartlett Avenue in Pittsfield. Selected by a consensus of Children’s Library staff, the Cook-Dubin Family is at the Library several times a week and can often be seen with a huge stack of books on their way out of our Library programs. Receiving an honorable mention in this award include is the Jennifer and Kyle Burks Family. The 2018 Family of the Year Award went to the Qiao Yan Chen Family.

Catherine Frieri of Elm Street in Pittsfield, has been selected to receive the library’s
twenty-eighth annual Champion Borrower Award, presented to the library patron whose
voracious reading appetite and conscientious borrowing habits constitutes what staff consider to be the ideal library user. Runnerup honors for this award went to Anna Gershenson, Brian Bailey, and Parker Fennelly. Last year’s award went to Paul M. Abell.

The twenty-eighth annual Donald H. Lutes Volunteer of the Year was presented to that
volunteer whose efforts have provided the most positive impact on the Berkshire Athenaeum. This year’s recipient is Alan D. Horbal. For years, Alan has been sharing his passion for and deep knowledge of genealogy with the Athenaeum community and throughout the state. Runnerup honors for this award went to Sandy Stowe-Wright, Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, and Leslie Appleget. Last year’s award went to John Fetherolf.
Award winners have their names engraved on plaques permanently on display at the

First celebrated in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by
the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic, and special – participate.

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Athenaeum offers Earth Day Technology Recycling Collection


In observance of Earth Day, the Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is hosting an Electronics Recycling Collection, Monday, April 22 – Tuesday, April 30. Partnering with Dell’s Reconnect residential recycling program, the library will accept monitors, scanners, mice, printers, keyboards, laptop batteries, ink/toner cartridges, computers, hard drives, speakers, cords, and cables. No television sets will be accepted

Technical Services Supervisor Becky McDole remarks, “What a great way to observe Earth Day and the coming of spring: by clearing your home of outdated technology and disposing of these items responsibly. We had this collection last year; and it was so well received. We’re pleased that in 2019 we can offer the collection for an even longer period.”

Recycled items will be accepted during regular library hours in designated bins. Those bringing computers and hard drives for recycling are advised to remove all personal data. Neither Dell nor the Berkshire Athenaeum is liable for data removal or protection. Those with questions about the Recycling Event can contact the library at or 413-499-9480.

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Grant Research Databases available


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is pleased to share that a grant from  Berkshire Bank  makes it possible to continue offering free public access to the Foundation Directory Online Databases.

The Berkshire Athenaeum is part of a national organization of Funding Information Network (FIN) partners and the only FIN in Berkshire County. Athenaeum patrons can search the Foundation Directory’s database of over 140,000 grant making organizations; entries provide access to grant maker data, application process, and history of giving. Reference librarians are available for assistance.

Reference Services Supervisor Madeline Kelly notes, “Without the generosity of the Berkshire Bank we would not have been able to continue this service. We so appreciate they recognize its value.”

Patrons requiring assistance in accessing the Foundation Directory Online should inquire at the Reference Desk or 413 499 9480 x202 during regular library hours.



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We added a Film Streaming Service!


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, has added the on demand film streaming service Kanopy. Library cardholders can select from a collection of over 30,000 quality films and award-winning documentaries which includes film festival favorites, classic films, shorts, and world cinema titles of note as well as collections from The Great Courses, PBS, and thousands of independent filmmakers. Films can be streamed from any computer, television, mobile device or platform by downloading the Kanopy app for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Chromecast or Roku.

Earlier this month Wired called Kanopy “impressively stocked” and “the best (free) streaming service you’ve never heard of,” lauding the availability of titles from the Criterion Collection, Paramount Pictures, and the recently-added A24. 

Berkshire Athenaeum Supervisor of Technical Services Becky McDole says, “We’ve wanted to offer something that provides thoughtful entertainment and Kanopy, with films of social and cultural value, films that are difficult to access elsewhere, programming that features diversity, and so many foreign films seems a worthy addition for our patrons.” 

Athenaeum patrons set up a free  Kanopy account at and can borrow up to four films per month. A borrowed film remains available to the patron for 72 hours and can be viewed multiple times during the loan period. Those with questions about borrowing from Kanopy can contact the Reference Department at or (413) 499 9480 x202 during regular library hours.

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Holiday Recess: We’re here to help!


Attention Moms, Dads, Grandparents & Caregivers: We can help with that Holiday Recess challenge of keeping your kiddos engaged.

  • Movie & Craft: On Thursday, December 27, our Children’s Library offers a screening of Incredibles 2 on our big auditorium screen, with a fun craft, courtesy of Pittsfield CFCE, before the movie. Craft at 10 am. Movie at 10:30. Snack provided. All free; no registration required.
  • Teen Book Giveaway: A changing selection of fun reads available in the Young Adults Department, on the giveaway table. One free book per teen while supplies last.
  • Family Gaming: We have a selection of gaming consoles (Atari, Nintendo and Sega Genesis) that can be borrowed for one week. Plan a bit of classic family gaming fun. These materials funded by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.
  • As always, we’re here with books, graphic novels & comics, recorded books, DVDs,  music, board games and more.

Holiday Hours: We’re closed Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25. On Monday, December 31, we close at 4 pm and reopening Wednesday, January 2.

Best wishes for 2019!

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Consumer Reports available for home use


Whether you are purchasing for yourself or shopping for gifts, you want to select reliable products that are worth  your hard-earned dollars. The Berkshire Athenaeum offers access to Consumer Reports, a go-to source for product testing and evaluation. From headphones to dishwashers, car batteries to humidifiers, laundry detergents to slow cookers – Consumer Reports tests, rates and reports. CR also provides timely advice on topics as varied as finding cheap airfares, deciding if a robotic vacuum is right for your home, spending less on food.

Access Consumer Reports from the Online Databases page of the library’s website, when you visit the Athenaeum or from your personal computer or device, which will prompt for your Berkshire Athenaeum library card number if you are researching from your home or office.

Having trouble logging in? Contact the Reference Department at  or 413 499 9480 x202 during regular library hours.

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