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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New Genealogy Class offered Tuesday, December 11, 2 – 4 pm

One Family’s History from 1840 to 1940:
Using the Census and

In this never before offered class you will learn how to search for relatives listed on the US Census using the Library Edition of A single family will be traced from 1940 back to 1840, and a sketch of their lives will be constructed using the census and additional documents found on Ancestry.

Computer literacy and an email account are required. A personal account is not necessary to take the class.

 The class is presented by the Western Mass Roots Events team and is free of charge.

Space is limited. Registration is required and can be made at the library’s website Calendar of Events or by contacting Ann-Marie Harris during regular library hours at  413 499 9480 x107  or


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Food For Fines: November 1 – 30


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s public library, will offer a modified fines amnesty
from Thursday, November 1, through Friday, 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” off 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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“Pittsfield is my Home” Community Project

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, invites the public to submit photos and short written pieces to our “Pittsfield Is My Home” project. Photos and writing will be displayed on the Community Bulletin Board through the end of December.

Picture of a bulletin board. A compass made from black, red, orange and green paper forms the shape. Images of Pittsfield surround the compass.

Pittsfield is my Home Community Bulletin Board

We are looking for photos that reveal the multiple aspects of Pittsfield from as many different view-points as possible. Show us your Pittsfield! Photos may be submitted for printing by the library by emailing the photos to Materials are available for the public to post their own photos on the Community Bulletin Board. Cut-out shapes are available for jotting down thoughts or poems to be posted on the board.

For more information, please contact Andrea Puglisi at the Reference Desk (413) 499-9480 ext. 202 or by email at:

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