Short Story Contest for ages 5 – 18: cash prizes awarded!


The Berkshire Athenaeum and The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are pleased to announce the 38th Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and Young Adults. Contest opens Monday, May 1, 2017.  Application forms available at the Children’s desk and online. Children’s Form at   and Young Adults Form at  There will be five divisions (Aged 5 – 6 years as of June 1, 2017; Aged 7 – 8 years as of June 1, 2017and Aged 9 –10 years as of June 1, 2017;  Aged 11 – 14 years as of June 1, 2017; and Aged 15 – 18 years as of June 1, 2017). If there are not at least ten (10) entries in a division, it may be combined with another. See the Children’s Desk for full rules and application.

Depending upon entries received, the following prizes will be awarded in each division: First Place will receive a $35.00 cash prize, Second Place will receive a $25.00 cash prize, and Honorable Mentions will receive $20.00 cash prizes. Prizes are donated by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, whose generous and continued support make this contest possible!

Stories will be judged on their originality, appeal, and writing style. Each contestant should submit her/his story to the Berkshire Athenaeum Children’s Library (1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201); and all entries, whether delivered in person or by mail, must be received by 4:00 PM on Monday, July 17, 2017. Winners will receive their awards at a special ceremony for all participants, which will be held Friday, August 18th at 1:00 PM in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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STEAM Kits Open House: Thursday, April 13, 4- 6 pm

Lifecycles kit.jpg

The Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to announce a free event for families and educators!

Please join us on Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the Auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum to celebrate full STEAM ahead and our new STEAM kits, which will be available for circulation the following day.  These 25 kits center on themes of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Each kit contains, books (fact and fiction), activities, manipulatives, props, music, arts/crafts ideas, tools and terms for ages infant to grade 6. Kit topics include Force and Motion, Life Cycles, Magnets, Matter, Rocks and Fossils Sink and Float and Many More. Staff will be on hand to answer all questions.

kit collection

Kits have been paid for in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) under the Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as well as from generous contributions from the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

It is a free event, no registration is required but children under 10 must be accompanied at all times by an adult over 18 years of age.

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Celebrate National Library Week: Join us for a public reception at 11 am on Wednesday, April 12



Please join us at 11 am on Wednesday, April 12, for a special community proclamation on the importance of libraries with Mayor Linda Tyer, an unveiling of a new portrait of longtime library director Ronald Latham, and the announcement of annual library award winners for Champion Borrower, Family of the Year, and the Donald L Lutes Volunteer of the Year.

Reception with light refreshments hosted by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.
Event takes place in the library’s Main Reading Room. All are invited!

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Historic newspaper database trial extended through May 31!


The Athenaeum Local History Department is offering online access to the Pittsfield Sun, a weekly local paper, on a trial basis in a database that includes full text content from the paper’s inception in 1800 through 1877. This  database allows researchers to search for historic newspaper items in Pittsfield and the vicinity using names and other keywords. Full text content of articles is included.

Local History Department Supervisor Kathleen Reilly says, “As we evaluate this product, we want to consider the input of our patrons. We would appreciate as many people as possible taking a few minutes to look at this resource and letting us know what they think, good and bad.”

Patrons can access the database at where you will be prompted for a User Name and Password. Please enter ncd50098 for both.

Due to high interest, the trial has been extended through Wednesday, May 31. Please share your experiences at


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Attention Stargazers!



The Berkshire Athenaeum is pleased to announce that the library now owns an Orion Star Blast Altazimuth Reflector Tabletop Telescope that is available for circulation. Whether you’re an astronomer or just have a passion for gazing at the night sky, this easy-does-it telescope is here for you to try.

The telescope is available for check out to adults (age 18 and older) with a library card in good standing.  You must have a physical library card.  The loan period is seven days with no renewals.

All inquiries should be made at the Children’s Desk at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

The telescope was purchased by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

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Talking Book Fair: Thursday, April 27, 10 am


The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is pleased to announce a Talking Book Fair will be held at the library at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the Main Reading Room. Erin Fragola, Library Outreach Coordinator from the Perkins Library will speak about the Talking Books program, a federally funded service that provides free reading material to those who cannot read printed materials because of blindness or other disabilities.

Talking Books are digitally recorded books or magazines in audio formats provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. They are available on free loan to people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise unable to read or use standard printed materials. Talking Books can be played on customized digital players, supplied at no cost by the Library of Congress and its cooperating libraries, or via a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The Perkins Library in Watertown, Massachusetts circulates more than a half million accessible books, newspapers, and publications in braille, large print and digital audio formats annually to thousands of registered patrons in New England and beyond.


Reference Librarian Madeline Kelly explains, “Here at the Athenaeum we are working to improve our services to community members with disabilities. Sometimes that means being knowledgeable about and connecting people to available resources. The Talking Books program is a great resource! And we’re happy to be hosting Erin, who will talk about the service, how it works, how those who are eligible can register.”

Members of the public are invited to attend Fragola’s free presentation. No registration is required. Light refreshments will be served.

Attention Berkshire Community College Students: This program is approved for Forum Credit.

The April 27 Talking Book Fair is part of a two-year Athenaeum initiative made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). LSTA is administered and funded on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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3D Printing: From random thought to reality

Athenaeum patron Bill Macfarlane shares his experiences with our 3D printers in a recent post to his blog, Channeling Whittlin Jim. Want to be part of the fun of 3D printing? Join us!

mercury capsule


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