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 Thursday, May 5, 10 – 12 or 1 – 3pm 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 Thursday, May 12, 10 – 12 or 1 – 3  pm 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 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.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Food for Fines, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Technology, Young Adults | Tagged | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Children's Library, Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 website and the website, along with several other databases.
  •   Discover how to search for family members outside of the U.S. using  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…

View original post 13 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Berkshire Athenaeum: Holiday Hours


Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

“THE HEART OF THE SEA” at the Berkshire Athenaeum Explore the Reality!

heart of the sea


Visit the Herman Melville Memorial Room where the world’s largest collection of Melville Family Treasures, Whaling Artifacts and Scrimshaw are always on display.

Ron Howard’s new film In the Heart of the Sea will open in theaters on December 11th. For those of us who live in Pittsfield, there is a special significance to this event.

Based on the story of the wreck of the whale ship Essex as recounted by her first mate Owen Chase, the film also addresses the effect this tale had on Herman Melville and the writing of the great American novel, Moby Dick. Melville lived in Pittsfield from 1850 to 1863. It was here that he penned his novel, published in 1851, while gazing from the window of his study at Arrowhead toward the humped silhouette of Mt. Greylock in the distance.

Moving forward over 100 years, in 1953, under the patronage of Harvard University professor Dr. Henry Murray, the Herman Melville Memorial Room opened in the Old Athenaeum “to provide a convenient center for Melville studies in Pittsfield, thereby perpetuating the memory of a world famous local author.” Donated materials included books, portraits, personal possessions, art prints, letters and photographs. When the current library was designed, an elegant space was included to permanently house the treasures that comprise this collection. Over the past 62 years, the collection has continued to grow. Today it is considered to be one of the top three centers for Melville studies in the world and is visited by tourists and Melville scholars year-round.

Among many other items, within the Melville Room visitors may view the portrait of Melville painted in 1847, the library table that sat in his Arrowhead study as he worked at the manuscript of Moby Dick, and even some of his feather pens, blotters and ink stands. Also on view is a display of artifacts related to whaling and a portion of the Athenaeum’s renowned Milham Scrimshaw Collection. Many books are available for further exploration of the various themes that drive the film “In the Heart of the Sea”.

Additionally, since 1975, Arrowhead, Melville’s Pittsfield residence, has been the home of the Berkshire County Historical Society. Locals and tourists alike can wander the grounds of the farm, tour the house, and attend special events.

In conjunction with the opening of “In the Heart of the Sea” the Athenaeum has created an introductory display in the Blake Reading Room of the library and encourages anyone wishing to explore the reality behind the film to visit the Herman Melville Memorial Room, located on the main floor in the Local History area of the library. The room is available for viewing whenever the library is open.

Also, to coincide with the opening of the movie, the Berkshire County Historical Society will re-open Arrowhead for a limited time. Tours of the house will be offered on the hour, 10-3, December 11, 12, 13 and 18, 19, and 20.  The book by Nathaniel Philbrick will be available in the BCHS shop! (Please note: otherwise, Arrowhead is closed for tours.)

Posted in local history department, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment