Athenaeum presents Three Annual Awards: Champion Borrower Award; Family of the Year Award; and Donald L Lutes Volunteer of the Year Award

Each year during National Library Week in April, the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum sponsor three awards.

Ralph Calamari, late of Howard Street in Pittsfield, has been posthumously selected to receive the library’s twentieth annual Champion Borrower Award.  Given each year as part of Pittsfield’s celebration of National Library Week, the award is presented to the library patron whose voracious reading appetite and conscientious borrowing habits constitutes what staff consider to be the ideal library user.  Mr. Calamari was tragically killed in a traffic accident last fall while he was walking home from the library with an armload of books.

Runner‑up honors this year went to Catherine A. Frieri and Michael Borosky of Pittsfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Whitaker of Lanesboro.  Last year’s award went to John J. Randall III of Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield. “Ralph Calamari loved the library and enjoyed a very wide range of reading interests,” says Cathy Congelosi, Circulation Department supervisor, who adds, “We at the library loved working for Ralph and wish that he was still with us to visit the library he so treasured.”

Diana Kinoy of Thompson Place in Pittsfield, has been selected to receive the nineteenth annual Donald L. Lutes Library Volunteer of the Year Award. Part of the Athenaeum’s recognition of National Volunteer Week, April 18 through 24, this designation is awarded annually to that library volunteer whose efforts have provided the most positive impact on the Berkshire Athenaeum.

Ms Kinoy volunteers in the Local History Department three days each week for a total of twelve hours. Over the past year she has photographed the library’s entire collection of framed items, measured and described each one, and created a printed record of the collection that is kept in a three-ring binder. When that project was completed, she began working on data entry of the Berkshire Authors vertical files, and is currently working on photo scanning for part of her time and data entry for the rest of the time. According to Kathy Reilly, Supervisor of the Local History Department, “Diana is a very dedicated and conscientious volunteer who has accomplished so much in her time at the library.”

Ms Kinoy will have her name engraved on a plaque permanently on display at the library.  Volunteers receiving honorable mention in this award include: Roy Bryan, who donated many hours of professional creating quality publicity posters of Pittsfield celebrities as part of the 2011 Pittsfield Reads! program; Halley Zanconato, who designed a multi-page website for the Pittsfield Reads! project; and Tracy Anderson, who has been scanning the Liddle/Boltwood manuscripts to preserve them for future generations, and in collaboration with the Berkshire Music School as part of Pittsfield’s 250th celebration, he prepared The Happy Day play for a staged reading in February.

The award itself is named after Donald L. Lutes, the president of the Berkshire Family History Association for twenty-six years and a tireless volunteer in the Local History Department for decades.  “Don could have won this award each year for the past nineteen years,” explained Library Director Ron Latham.  “By naming this award in Don’s honor, the Athenaeum has the opportunity to annually recognize his incredible contribution to the library’s genealogical services while allowing us to also acknowledge the efforts of the many other hard working library volunteers.”

The John and Erin Neiner family of Partridge Road in Pittsfield have been selected to receive the seventeenth annual Library Family of the Year Award.  The Award, sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, is part of the Berkshire Athenaeum’s annual celebration of National Library Week and is presented annually to the family that best typifies the ideal library users.

Selected by a consensus of library staff, the Neiners scored high in awareness of library programs and services, were conscientious in their use of library services, and have integrated their use of the library into the family routine.  John and Erin, and their three children, Andrew, Jack and Caiden, will have their family name engraved on a plaque permanently on display at the library.

“The Neiners visit the Children’s Library regularly, to check out books and other materials, and to take advantage of the programs available at the Athenaeum,” notes Nan Pearson, Children’s Librarian, adding, “It is such a pleasure to see a family demonstrate such deep appreciation for the library and what it has to offer.  John and Erin joined The Early Literacy Action Team/Wee Read last summer and have attended meetings of the group’s planning committee which has a goal of educating families and the community about the importance of early literacy.  John Neiner, who is a graphic designer, created the Wee Read logo.”

Families receiving honorable mention in this award include the Raymond and Lisa Pixley family, the Christopher and Leanne Hayden family and the Sio Weng Lee and QuiongAi Liu family, all of Pittsfield.   Previous award recipients have been the Frank and Karen Furlano family in 1992, the Peter and Theresa Apple family in 1993, the Douglas and Joanne Neiner family in 1994, and, the Mark and Joyce Wasnewsky Family in 1995, the Daniel and Linda Hermanski family in 1996, the Wayne and Jane Juliano family in 1997, the James and Adrienne Hamilton family in 1998, the Timothy and Youling Dunton family in 1999, the Marcie and Richard Simons family in 2000, the Theresa and Kevin Farley family in 2001, the Quentin and Amy Chin family in 2002, the Steve and Jennifer Bushhouse family in 2003, the Jonathan and Heather King family in 2004, and the Mark Petruzella and Chrystal Shelley family in 2005, and the John and Kathleen Budaj family in 2006,  Liyaudeen Sulaiman and Shateeka Liyaudeen family in 2007, John and Kara Demler family in 2008, Rene Champoux and Kathleen Maloney family in 2009, and William and Michelle Peets family in 2010.

John Neiner is the son of Douglas and Joanne Neiner who were winners in 1994.  What a great tribute to the Neiner family that three generations have been recognized as great readers and library users.


About Berkshire Athenaeum

We are the public library for the city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
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