Take 10 minutes to improve county transportation

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission needs your help to understand future transportation needs across Berkshire County. They are providing Berkshire residents the opportunity to identify key transportation challenges and to voice in what way the County’s transportation system can better serve them by completing a brief survey.
This survey should only take about 10 minutes. Your feedback will help identify priorities for transportation improvements to enhance quality of life and economic growth in the Berkshires.
The survey will be available until November 1, 2018.  For more information visit berkshireplanning.org or call (413) 442-1521 (ext. 19) for Eammon and (ext. 28) for Justin. Thank you for participating!
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Build a Basic Budget: Wednesday, September 19, 5:30 – 7 pm


Come join Lynn Wallace, Certified Federal Credit Union Financial Counselor, for an evening program designed to motivate, educate, and empower you to improve your financial future.

This session will address:
– Tips on saving money
– Tracking strategies
– An exercise on where your money goes
– Prepping for the unexpected
– The key difference between budgeting, saving and investing
– One strategy does not fit all – options options options

All participants will receive information packets, a budget tracker book, and access to book individual Financial Wellness Coaching appointments with one of the Certified Coaches at Greylock for free.

Light refreshments will be provided. This session is expected to run 90 minutes to allow ample time for the attendees to ask questions both during and after the presentation.

The event is free. Please reserve a seat by registering below or by calling the Pittsfield Library’s Reference Desk at 413-499-9480 ext. 202.

CONTACT:  Alexander Geller  413 499-9480 ext 202  alexander@pittsfieldlibrary.org
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50 Plus Job Fair: Wednesday, September 26, 10 – 12

BW career center

BerkshireWorks, in collaboration with Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. presents a 50 Plus Job Fair on Wednesday, September 26, in the library’s Auditorium!

Are you seeking full time or part time work?

  • Meet with organizations that are age friendly and value a multi-generational workforce.
  • Learn about free resources from AARP and other organizations to help with your job search.
  • Use your age & experience to your advantage.

Participating employers include:

AARP Massachusetts – www.aarp.org/work

Advantage Solutions –  www.advantagesolutions.net

Age Friendly Berkshires – www.agefriendlyberkshires.com

Allegiance Nursing – www.allegiancenurses.com

BaneCare – www.banecare.com

BCArc – www.bcarc.org

Berkshire Access Realty – www.BerkshireAccessRealty.com

Berkshire Bank – www.berkshirebank.com

Berkshire Community Action Council – www.bcacinc.org

Berkshire County Head Start Child Development Program – www.berkhs.org

Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. – www.bcreb.com

Berkshire Family and Individual Resources – www.bfair.org

Berkshire Healthcare – www.berkshirehealthcare.org

Berkshire Medical Center – www.berkshirehealthsystems.org

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority – www.berkshirerta.com

BerkshireJobs.com – www.berkshirejobs.com 

Carr Hardware – www.carrhardware.com

City of Pittsfield – https://cityofpittsfield.hyrell.com

Clinical and Support Options – www.csoinc.org

Cole Haan – www.colehaan.com

Crane Stationery – www.crane.com

CRT Cabulance – www.crtcabulance.com

Deidre’s Special Day – www.deidresonline.com

Elder Services of Berkshire County Inc. – www.esbci.org

Excel Nursing Services – www.excelnursingservices.com

Goodwill of the Berkshires – www.goodwill-berkshires.org

Home Care Services of Massachusetts – www.homecareservicesofma.com

Home Instead Senior Care – www.homeinstead.com/berkshire

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts – www.mcla.edu

Medical Resources Home Health Care – www.mrhhc.com

Molari Employment and Healthcare Services – www.molariinc.com

People Ready Skilled Trades Division – www.peopleready.com

Taconic – www.4taconic.com

The Brien Center – www.briencenter.org

Touched By An Angel, Inc. – http://www.touchedbyanangelma.com/

United Personnel – www.unitedpersonnel.com

U.S. Census Bureau – 2020census.gov/jobs

Wyndham Bentley Brook – www.WVOjobs.com

Free & open to the public. Please call 413.499.2220 ext. 110 to register.

CONTACT: BerkshireWorks 413 499-2220
LOCATION: Library Auditorium

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September is National Library Card Sign Up Month!

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This September, the Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to be joining with Downtown Pittsfield and libraries across the country for National Library Card Sign-up Month! This month, we are encouraging everyone in our community to obtain a free library card that will save them money while reaping incredible rewards. Existing library card holders are also able to benefit from the rewards offered this month, and we ask that you to bring a friend along to sign up for a free library card so that way they can enjoy the same benefits too!

To help us celebrate, local Pittsfield businesses are teaming up for the whole month of September to offer residents discounts, prizes, and/or freebies on meals and purchases when they show their library card at checkout.

Stop by these businesses right here in downtown Pittsfield with your library card for INCREDIBLE discounts:

If enjoying extra discounts at many of Pittsfield’s best local spots, the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are hosting a raffle. During the month of September, if you sign up for a card, renew an expired card, or refer someone to get a card, you will be entered into the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum’s raffle to win a Kindle Fire 8 HD prize. Only One Raffle Ticket per Person.

Background & History of National Library Card Month

As explained by ALA, “National Library Card month is a national initiative lead and coordinated by the American Library Association (ALA). Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. Libraries work to remind parents and youth that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

“Throughout the school year, public librarians and library staff will assist parents and caregivers with saving hundreds of dollars on educational resources and services for students. From free access to STEAM programs/activities, educational apps, in-person and virtual homework help, technology workshops to the expertise of librarians, a library card is one of the most cost effective back to school supplies available.


“This September Disney Pixar’s superhero family, the Incredibles, will team up with the ALA to promote the value of a library card. As honorary chairs, the Incredibles will remind families, students and people of all ages that signing up for a library card is a great step toward a truly super lifestyle: libraries offer fun and informative resources to help you pursue your passions and succeed in school.

“How much money can you save?  Visit the ALA’s Library Value Calculator to total your savings.

“The American Library Association is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.”


Don’t have a library card? No problem. Stop by the Library with a photo ID and proof of your current address to learn about all the wonderful resources your library card provides!

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library expresses its gratitude to the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, Downtown Pittsfield and all participating businesses in supporting this program!

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Genealogy for Beginners


The Berkshire Athenaeum Local History Department has announced a schedule of Genealogy Classes for Beginners.

  • September 27, 2018 10am-12pm: Organizing your Family Research and Introduction to the Census
    Learn suggestions on organizing your family research, along with what a census is and how to glean information from it.

  • October 4, 2018 10am-12pm: Using Vital Records/Beginning Immigration Research
    Learn how to navigate through various vital record sites, as well as how to begin research on your immigrant ancestor.

  • October 11, 2018 10am-12pm: Introduction to Ancestry.com 
    Ancestry.com is a database 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!

  • October 18, 2018 10am-12pm: Introduction to Familysearch.org

Familysearch.org 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.

Class instructors will be library volunteers, Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, along with Vera Silvia. Class is sponsored by The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Berkshire Family History Association. Limited to 10 participants. Classes are free and open to the public.

Registration is now open. Register online at pittsfieldlibrary.org under Calendar of Events or contact the Local History Department at 499-9480 x6. Classes book quickly, so sign up now!!

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Pittsfield Baseball Document

Baseball is the talk of the town! We have seen an increased interest and questions from Pittsfielders surrounding the Berkshire Athenaeum’s “Baseball Document.” The story about this document uncovered by Berkshire Athenaeum goes back nearly 14 years! In April 2004, Pittsfield received national publicity for a 1791 bylaw, which is believed to be the earliest written reference to baseball in North America. Our Local History & Genealogy Department maintains and preserves the original baseball document and town records in their collection. The town record and document is currently on display in the Blake Reading Room for library patrons to view; a copy of the transcription is available on the library website.

The history of this document is significant and of interest to baseball fans. The document was written in September of 1791 by Woodbridge Little, the first lawyer in Pittsfield and long-time town selectman. This is the original document presented for a vote at the town meeting of September 5, 1791 for the purpose of creating a bylaw that would insure the protection of the windows of the new meeting house, soon to be built. (This would have been the Congregational Church, designed by renowned architect Charles Bulfinch in 1789 and completed in 1793.)


#XVIII. A #10 of the Town of Pittsfield, Original Papers
Dated September 5, 1791. Bylaw to prevent damage to new meeting
house windows: no ball games within eighty yards of the building.

The original document shows evidence of having been folded, with the word “Recorded”written on the back. Normal procedure would have been to store the original in some type of a docket envelope and record the new bylaw in the town record book. This is precisely the procedure followed in this case, as is confirmed by consulting Book 2 of the Pittsfield Town Books, where a “true copy” was entered under the date of September 5, 1791 by town clerk Joshua Danforth. This town book remains in the possession of the Pittsfield City Clerk to this day.

At some point in time, the original document, along with close to 1000 others with dates ranging from 1739 – 1843 were affixed into a large ledger volume using a form of tape (this is not scotch tape) or small metal straight pins. Many other documents in this collection bear the same tape residue seen on the right hand side of this document. At some point during the first half of the twentieth century, this book of original documents was transferred from the Pittsfield City Clerk to the Berkshire Athenaeum, where Local History Librarian Fanny Clark (who retired in 1956) compiled a partial index to the documents. In 1988 Athenaeum staff, in a first step toward archival preservation, removed these documents from the ledger book, carefully maintaining the original order, and re-housed them in archival folders and document storage boxes.

In the fall of 1998, Berkshire Athenaeum librarians created an item level annotated guide to the collection, with each document being assigned a unique number for identification purposes.

In the spring of 1999, with funding provided through an LSTA Grant administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Athenaeum commissioned the microfilming of this entire collection to assure the permanent preservation and protection of the original documents while simultaneously facilitating future public access to the wealth of information they contain.

It is certain that Joseph E A Smith quoted from this document in the first volume of the History of Pittsfield, published in 1869 (p. 447). Whether he consulted the original documents, the Record Books, or both in his research is unknown; but he definitely used at least one of these sources.

In 1972, Edward R. Knurow, during the course of his research into the Record Books at City Hall, copied this document along with several others outlining the construction of the Meeting House. Knurow’s manuscript books are now in the possession of the Berkshire Athenaeum where this record can be found in Volume # 33, p 573 – 574.

During 1999, while the collection of Original Pittsfield Papers was being prepared for microfilming, the Berkshire Family History Association was also indexing this volume of Knurow’s materials. The material concerning the Meeting House having been noted in both of these sources, the reference was published in the Winter 2000 edition of the Berkshire Genealogist (Vol. 21, No. 1, P. 36) with the following editorial comment included:

“According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, ‘It was in Cooperstown, New York, in the summer of 1839, that Abner Doubleday was alleged to have laid out the first baseball field and conducted the first game of baseball ever played.’ Could Pittsfield have jumped the historical gun by over 48 years?”

During your next visit to your favorite library, be sure to enjoy this one of a kind document on America’s favorite past-time! For further information about Pittsfield’s 1791 Baseball Bylaw, please contact the Berkshire Athenaeum’s Local History Department at (413) 499-9480 ext 204 during regular library hours or directly at localhistory@pittsfieldlibrary.org.

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We honor the Pittsfield Americans!


“Pittsfield is our home, and when one of us does well, we want to celebrate that to the fullest,” says Mayor Linda Tyer. We agree!

The Library’s Main Floor Reading Room offers a display honoring the Pittsfield Americans, our winning Little League World Series team, with a large print photo, courtesy of the Berkshire Eagle.

The Athenaeum has a great affection for the National Pastime, being in possession of what is arguably the earliest origin document for the sport, an authenticated 1791 bylaw proscribing baseball play in the vicinity of the then-new Meeting House.


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