Summer Book Sale is just around the corner!


The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum Summer Book Sale returns with books – and more – for browsing and bargain shopping!

Book Sale Hours are

  • *Thursday, July 12, 4 – 8 pm
  • Friday, July 13, 10 am – 4 pm
  • Saturday, July 14, 10 am – 4 pm

Special offerings for this sale include: interesting & rare coffee table books; “All Things British”; gardening; new age/spirituality; sci-fi; art, architecture & travel; music CDs and DVDs; and a large donation of materials from the Blantyre library.

As always, sale inventory includes vinyl records, VHS, cassettes, books on tape, puzzles, games, baby books, self-help, cookbooks, sports, biography, science, holiday books, and thousands of paperbacks.

Shelves, carts and tables are meticulously organized for efficient and fun browsing – and Book Minders will hold your selections while you shop for more!

*Thursday shopping hours reserved exclusively for members for the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum. Not a member? Join at the door for as little as $10.

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Overdose Management & Narcan Training: Thursday, June 21, 2 – 4 pm



The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is proud to join Cathleen Vidoli from Healthy Steps in offering overdose management and Narcan administration training on Thursday, June 21, 2 – 4 pm in the Athenaeum Room.

In this training, you will learn what measures to take when responding to opioid overdoses (including fentanyl and carfentanil concerns). The class will cover overdose prevention techniques, signs of an overdose, rescue breathing, and narcan administration. All attendees will receive an overdose response kit, including Narcan nasal spray, to take with them after the training.

The class is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is required. Register at or by calling 413-499-9480 ext. 202

Berkshire County offers many local substance use recovery services. Please visit the Massachusetts Substance Use helpline website at or call (800) 327-5050 to learn more about your options. Helpline services are free and confidential. Their caring, trained specialists will help you understand the treatment system and your options.

Contact: Alex Geller, Outreach Librarian, 413-499-9480, ext. 202

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Literary Lecture Series: July Tuesdays on the Terrace

On each of the first four Tuesdays in July, The Mastheads will host a literary lecture on the  outdoor terrace of the Berkshire Athenaeum. For our first lecture,Tuesday, July 3, at 6 pm, Professor Meredith McGill of Rutgers University will discuss the work of Berkshire writers and activists Catherine Maria Sedgwick and Fanny Kemble.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: Meredith McGill

For our second  lecture,Tuesday, July 10, at 6 pm, In partnership with the Berkshire County NAACP, and in celebration of the 150th birthday of Berkshire County native W. E. B. Du Bois,  Professor Neil Roberts of Williams University will give a talk on Du Bois’s writings and Berkshire legacy.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: Neil Roberts

For our third lecture, Tuesday, July 17, at 6 pm, author, scholar, and poet Dolores Hayden will join us for a talk on urbanism and design.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: Dolores Hayden

For our fourth lecture, Tuesday, July 24, at 6 pm, award-winning poet and professor Jaswinder Bolina will give a poetry reading and a discussion of his work as the founder of Write the Power, an online social justice community.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: Jaswinder Bolina

Seating is limited and can be guaranteed with a reservation online [] or by calling the Reference Desk at 413-499-9480.

Attention Berkshire Community College students: These lectures have been approved for BCC Forum credit.

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Tuesdays on the Terrace: A new series celebrates the creative process



The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is celebrating the rich creativity in our community this summer with weekly conversations about the creative process.  All conversations are on Tuesdays at 6pm on the Adult Terrace.  Seating is limited and can be guaranteed with a reservation online [] or by calling the Reference Desk at 413-499-9480.

Here’s the June lineup:

Tuesday, June 5th, 6:00 p.m.

Creating Theatre – Berkshire Theatre Group:  Join the conversation with artistic members of the Berkshire Theatre Group, including Charlotte Cohn, director of Church & State (previews start June 14) for an overview of the BTG season and an engaging discussion of how a play goes from the writer’s idea to the page to a staged reading to a full production.



Tuesday, June 12th, 6:00 p.m.

Creating Dance – Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival:  Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge visits the Terrace to give an overview of the Festival line-up followed by a conversation about translating ideas into choreography and Vision ’22, a blueprint for the Pillow’s transition into a year-round center for dance research and development.



Tuesday, June 19th, 6:00 p.m.

Creating a World Premiere – Williamstown Theatre Festival Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield talks with WTF creative team members about the generative process behind some of the world premiere work at the Festival this summer.  This exciting discussion offers a rare glimpse into how critically acclaimed, new theatre is made!


For more information, contact the Berkshire Athenaeum at 413-499-9480

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Melville in Love: Screening at the Berkshire Museum



Please note that the location of the screening is the Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Museum will present a special screening of the film Melville in Love on Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m. The event will include a Q&A session with Melville biographer Michael Shelden and the film’s director Seth Newton. Admission is $7.50; $5 for members of the Berkshire Museum and the Berkshire Historical Society.

Melville in Love is a full-length documentary on Herman Melville, the writing of Moby-Dick, and Melville’s secret love affair with Sarah Morewood, based on the recent book by noted biographer Michael Shelden. Filmed here in the Berkshires at Arrowhead and at other area landmarks, the movie was produced and directed by local filmmaker Seth Newton of Newton’s Law Productions.

Melville in Love (both the book and the film) tells the story of Herman Melville and the inspiration that led to the writing of Moby-Dick, his brilliant masterwork. Moby-Dick was not a success when it was published in 1851, ending Melville’s aspirations to literary fame. Because he kept few records, scholars know relatively little about the process that led him to create the obsessive Captain Ahab and the white whale.

Using fresh archival research, Michael Shelden, in his book Melville in Love, is able to reveal new information on this time in Melville’s life. He tells the compelling story of Herman Melville’s obsessive and passionate affair with a married woman named Sarah Morewood, an unconventional person with “libertine” impulses. In his research, Shelden found documents that suggest Melville and Morewood shared a resistance to the strict rules of social behavior of their time, and that sense of freedom inspired Melville in his writing. The excitement of their romance as well as time spent with literary figures Oliver Wendell Holmes and Nathaniel Hawthorne led Melville to the writing of Moby-Dick.

Filmed in Pittsfield and the Berkshires, at Melville’s home, nearby houses and farms that Melville visited, and even the local cemetery, the documentary includes interviews as well as dramatized scenes. The film includes an original score by Michael B. White; the composer will be in attendance at the May 24 screening.

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Disability Information Expo: Thursday, June 7, 5 – 8pm

Community Expo LogoThe Community Expo provides a safe, welcoming space for patrons to interact with organizations that provide direct services to our community.  The June Expo is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind and the Berkshire Athenaeum. Light refreshments  will be served.


At our June Expo, we are delighted to host organizations that offer services to individuals with disabilities.  Representatives from AdLib, BCArc, Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind, Berkshire Talking Chronicle, Elder Services, Mass Commission for the Blind, Mass Department of Conservation & Recreation, Mass Rehab, Perkins Library, the Pittsfield Fire Department and UCP will be here to answer your questions. Join us!

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New Book alerts come to you mailbox!

wowbrary globe

The Berkshire Athenaeum is excited to offer patrons free “Wowbrary” email alerts that showcase the library’s newest items each week. The alerts feature the latest bestsellers, movies, music CDs, audio books, children’s titles, cookbooks, mysteries, travel guides, health books, science fiction, and more purchased by the library.

“This is a great new way to see in one place just how many great new titles we add to the collection each week,” says Alex Reczkowski, director of the Berkshire Athenaeum. “People are truly amazed, especially because they can reserve and borrow it all for free!”

Reczkowski notes that the new Wowbrary alerts are extremely convenient and quickly show what’s new, whether checked out or not, all from the convenience of one’s email.

The alerts help those interested in just specific topics, as Berkshire Athenaeum children’s librarian Samantha Cesario points out. “It only takes a mouse click to see the newest arrivals appropriate for your child or teen. There’s a separate section on parenting. Teachers can quickly spot new resources for their classes,” she says.

Wowbrary alerts are free and do not require a library card. Please visit to sign up or learn more.

The Berkshire Athenaeum serves a population of 43,655 and has 20,087 registered cardholders, who borrow 250,000 items each year. For more information, visit or contact the Reference Desk at 413-499-9480 x202.

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