Preschool Halloween Parade at the Library


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is pleased to host our Annual Preschool Halloween Parade on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.!

Library Staff will be giving out treats (no tricks!) as kids trick-or-treat across all three floors of the library. Kids are encouraged to dress up and wear Halloween costumes. Our Annual Preschool Halloween Parade is intended for babies and children up to age 5. Groups are welcome, and registration is not required. We require that Children under the age of 10 to be accompanied by an adult age of 18 or older at all times.

We thank the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum for sponsoring this spectacular event.

For more information, please contact the Children’s Library at 413-499-9480, ext 5.

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Halloween at the Library: Saturday, October 28


carving tools

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield Public Library, is proud to host “Halloween at the Library,” a day of spooky-themed events for all ages on Saturday, October 28, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM.

Please join us in the Auditorium starting at 11:00 AM for a pumpkin-carving party. The Library will provide the pumpkins, courtesy of Taft Farms, carving tools, and stencils. Library staff will give out prizes for the most creative pumpkin designs. Also, instead of throwing out the pumpkin seeds with the rest of the guts, why not give seed saving a try! Seeds saved at the party will be included in the Athenaeum’s new Seed Lending Library, which will open in February 2018. What is a Seed Lending Library, you ask. Seed Lending Library’s make seeds available for patrons to “borrow.” Patrons then plant the seeds in their garden, enjoy the fruits of their labor, and at harvest time collect seeds from some of their plants and return these seeds to the library for other patrons to checkout.

Pumpkins cannot be reserved, and will be available on a first-come-first served basis. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Do you know where the most haunted places in Berkshire County are? Come to the Local History Department all day to find out. You can read about the eerie events that happened around Western Massachusetts, see the Library’s display of hauntings, and take home a free map of the spookiest places.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum and Alchemy Initiative.

Refreshments will be served. Costumes are encouraged. No registration required. For more information, please call Alex Geller, Outreach Librarian, at 413-499-9480, ext. 202

Posted in Childrens Events, Family Events, Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, local history department | Leave a comment

Forum credit for Berkshire Community College students


Year round the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum offer a variety of programs, generally on weekday evenings or Saturday afternoons, that take the form of author talks; informational lectures; musical performances; and other events of interest for their educational or cultural value. Library events are free and open to the public; and, with some exceptions, generally require no preregistration. Berkshire Community College students may find it useful to know that many library programs are approved for Forum credit.

The Athenaeum website calendar provides dates, times and descriptions of library events  and generally includes announcement of whether the event is approved for Forum credit. Students with additional  questions about whether a specific  program is credit worthy are encouraged to contact the college’s Office of Assistant Dean of Students (413-236-1601).

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STEAM, Wild Things and Community at Curiosity Day 2017!


Did you think that you saw a Wild Thing walking around town last week?

Don’t worry, you weren’t imagining things: That was real!

Thank you to our partners from Pittsfield CFCE, Berkshire Music School, Berkshire County Head Start, and Berkshire County United Way for organizing and coordinating yet another successful Curiosity Day event at the library on Saturday, September 23, 2017. The kids were loud, excited and engaged, and everyone enjoyed State Representative, Tricia Farley-Bouvier‘s fantastic reading of “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Local Photographer, Susan Geller, also stopped by to share in the fun and take some beautiful photos of this special event (Disclaimer: Photos by Susan Geller are for promotional use by the library only and are protected by copyright).


Curiosity Day is a popular event held in the Children’s Library to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.), learning and the importance of literacy. Children were engaged with a number of fun activities to promote S.T.E.A.M. Some of the activities included: making crafts; engineering a boat; learning about buoyancy; dressing up in the Imagination forest; designing binoculars; playing musical instruments and even meeting reptiles thanks to our friends from the Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Athenaeum was especially proud to host this family event as we are Full STEAM ahead at the library. The Berkshire Athenaeum’s received a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which has allowed for us to make available 25 STEAM kits available for check out from the Children’s Library and make a number of improvements in the Children’s Library.

Our 25 S.T.E.AM. themed kits contain: books (fact and fiction), activities, manipulatives, props, music, arts/crafts ideas, tools and terms for ages infant to grade 6 on topics that include Force and Motion, Life Cycles, Magnets, Matter, Rocks and Fossils Sink and Float and many more. These kits support exploration and learning at one’s own pace.

To borrow one of these amazing kits, please visit the Children’s Library where we will happily check out to you a S.T.E.A.M. kit with your library card for a two-week loan period. To view our offerings, please visit our catalog. Educators, parents and the curious minded will certainly discover something new!


Curiosity Day was a huge success thanks to all of the hard work from members within our community. The Berkshire Athenaeum remains committed to education, growth and literacy being a fun, accessible opportunity for all. Thanks to the generosity and support of the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum and sponsors, we were able to provide every child with a free book on Curiosity Day, which will keep young minds engaged every day.



Posted in Berkshire United Way, Children's Library, Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, Library Program, STEAM, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beginner’s Genealogy Classes offered October-November


The Local History Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum announces a four-part series on beginning genealogy.

  • On Thursday, October 12,  we’ll be learning how to organize and plan  family research, along with reviewing what the census is and how to glean information from it.
  • We follow up on Thursday, October 19, with  using vital records and beginning level immigration research. Learn how how navigate the various vital record sites and begin research on your immigrant  ancestor.
  • On Thursday, October 26, we delve into, the world’s largest genealogy website, which can help you discover your family history and build a family tree. Search birth records, census data, obituaries and more.
  •  We conclude on Thursday, November 2, with an introduction to, a resource built by a nonprofit family history organization that has been gathering, preserving and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years.

All sessions run 10 am – 12 noon. We recommend registering for all sessions to receive the most benefit from the instruction.  Class instructors will be library volunteers Janet Rogge and Angela Rifkin, assisted by Vera Silvia.

Space is limited and Preregistration is required.  Register at the Calendar of Events on the library’s website or by contacting the  Local History Department at or  413 499-9480 x6 during regular business hours.

Please note: We accept your registration as a commitment to attend a session and we will hold a spot for you. If you later find you will not be able to attend, we request that you let us know so we can alert someone on our waiting list. Those who habitually reserve a spot and then don’t show may be denied the opportunity to register for future sessions. Thank you.

Sponsored by the The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Berkshire Family History Association.

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New England Stone Walls: A Master Stonemason shares techniques

stone walls

Join us at 2 pm on Saturday, September 16, when Kevin Gardner, author of The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls, presents Discovering New England’s Stone Walls. The PowerPoint presentation features the history, techniques, stylistic development and aesthetics of New England’s thousands of miles of stone walls.
Free and no registration required.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum

Attention BCC students: This program has been approved for Forum Credit.
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Basic Genealogy series offered


We are pleased to announce a Basic Hands-on Genealogy series with Alan Doyle Horbal, professional genealogist, has been scheduled. This evening series, running 5:15 – 7:15 pm, is offered with the needs in mind of those who work during the day. The class meets on Tuesdays: September 26, October 3, October 10, and October 17.

Horbal will outline and provide instruction on researching the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census.  Attendees will discover how to find their ancestors’ emigration to the U.S. using the website and the website, along with several other databases, as well as learn  how to search for family members outside of the U.S. using  Exploration of England, Canada, Poland and other countries will be included.

The series is free; however registration is required and space is limited. All registrants must have an email account and be computer literate. We require that you commit to all four classes. Attendees are asked to please bring a personal  device/laptop; a limited number of library laptops are available for loan, with a library card, from our Reference Department.   Register at or contact the Local History and Genealogy Department at 499-9480 x6.

The series is sponsored by The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Berkshire Family History Association.

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