Hamptons + Holyoke Read: Orange is the New Black

For Immediate release.

February 22, 2017 – Five communities are coming together during March and April in a new partnership called Hamptons + Holyoke Read. The inspiration for this multi-community initiative is the book Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman, popularized by the Netflix series. Spearheaded by the public libraries in Holyoke, Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton, Hamptons + Holyoke Read is sponsoring dozens of events exploring incarceration through discussion, art, film and lecture. Community partners for this project are wide reaching including Holyoke Community College, Historic Northampton, Wistariahurst, Prison Policy Initiative and UMass Amherst Public History Program.

Originally published in 2010, Orange is the New Black tells the true story of the author, a Smith College graduate, who served a 15-month sentence in a federal women’s prison for drug trafficking. Although the book and to a larger extent the Netflix series give a narrow and often unrealistic view of prison life, the organizers of Hamptons + Holyoke Read are using this book as a jumping off point to encourage community conversations about pervasive issues of mass incarceration affecting our communities and our nation.

There are currently 2.2 million people serving time in the United States, which represents a 500% increase over the last 40 years according to the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. In Massachusetts alone there are nearly 20,000 people currently serving time. The State Senate will be discussing three important criminal justice related bills this year and nationally prison policy is receiving lots of attention. “The topics raised by this year’s community reading event are extremely timely and important. Participants will have the opportunity to increase understanding and foster conversation about the past, present and future of prison and its impact on our society,” said Lisa Downing, Hamptons + Holyoke Read Co-Chair.

Copies of Orange is the New Black are available to borrow from the participating libraries. For a complete list of events and exhibits please visit http://forbeslibrary.org/hhr.

Concurrent with Hamptons + Holyoke Read, the national exhibit States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories is coming to Holyoke and Northampton during the month of March. For more information about the exhibit and related programs, please visit https://pv-soi.org/.

Food for Fines in January

Forbes Library is offering its annual Food for Fines during the month of January. This is a time of year to support the needs of people in our community and clear accumulated overdue fines. During this time, patrons may pay overdue fines by donating items in demand by the Northampton Survival Center.
This year the drive has been expanded beyond food to include personal care items and cleaning supplies. The library will be accepting donations of canned goods (please check expiration dates) and healthy non-perishable food items; personal care items including deodorant, lotion, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, conditioner, powder, shaving cream, razors, diapers, lip balm,  feminine hygiene, shampoo; and household cleaning supplies including laundry detergent, dish soap, and any household, kitchen or bathroom cleaners.
The suggested donation is one item for each $2 in fines that are waived and applies to late fines only and not to lost or damaged fees.

Friends of Forbes Library Red Sox Raffle

Friends of Forbes Library Red Sox Raffle 2016

The Friends of Forbes Library is raffling off tickets for the September 13th game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles! One lucky winner will get 2 tickets to the game and a Red Sox Hat.

Tickets are available at library any time up to the drawing before the July 13th concert.

Tickets are 2 for $5 and 6 for $10.

Free Technology Classes: Accessibility Focus

Northampton’s Forbes Library is offering a series of free technology classes for people with vision loss. Taught by Dr. Rick Ely, the classes will be held from 3:30-5 PM on the second Monday of the month. The first class will be “Keep Reading Digitally via Ear or through Larger Text” on February 8. Future classes will focus on Apple mobile apps, audio description for theater and television, and speech synthesis on personal computers. Seating is limited so preregistration is requested: contact Lisa Downing at 413‑587‑1017 or ldowning@forbeslibrary.org.

This series of classes is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. They are free of charge and open to the public. Classes will be held at the Forbes Library, 20 West Street, Northampton, MA 01060.

Forbes Library is committed to providing universal access to all of our events. For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations please contact Lisa Downing at 413‑587‑1017 or info@forbeslibrary.org. Please let us know at least two weeks before the event if you require any special accommodations.


Elevator construction update: we are now wheelchair accessible!

The elevator is complete and has passed inspection!

New Elevator Full Height

Food for Fines, January 2016

Food for FinesDonate food at the library during the month of January and we’ll clear your overdue fines. Win-win!!

During January, patrons may pay overdue fines with canned goods (please check your expiration dates) or healthy non-perishable food items. This applies to late fines only and not to lost or damaged fees. All food collected will be given to the Northampton Survival Center for distribution to those in need in our community.

Suggested donation is one item for each $2 waived in fines.

We’ll be accepting food all month long. Tell your friends and neighbors!

What’s Your Library Worth?

Forbes Library provided $7,062,976 in services last fiscal year: A $42 investment per capita with a $278 return.

Library Service Count
(in FY2015)
Unit cost (without library) Source of unit cost Total Value
Adult Books Borrowed 110,802 $17.00 Amazon.com average price $1,883,634
Young Adult Books Borrowed 10,143 $12.00 Amazon.com average price $121,716
Children’s Books Borrowed 67,428 $17.00 Amazon.com average price $1,146,276
Audiobooks Borrowed 42,749 $9.95 Audible.com average price $425,353
Interlibrary Loan Requests 35,345 $25.00 Amazon.com average price plus shipping $883,625
eBooks Downloaded 8,665 $15.00 Average Barnes & Noble/Amazon average $129,975
Magazines Read 11,310 $5.00 Estimated purchase price average $56,550
Newspapers Read 3,900 $2.00 News stand average $7,800
Movies Borrowed 99,347 $4.00 Estimated Netflix average $397,388
Meeting Room Use 3,044 $25.00 Estimated value $76,100
Adult Program Attended 9,294 $15.00 Entertainment/program admission fee
(estimated average per adult)
Young Adult Program Attended 199 $12.00 Entertainment/program admission fee
(estimated average per youth)
Children’s Program Attended 11,281 $7.00 Entertainment/program admission fee
(estimated average per child)
Museum Pass Borrowed 1,607 $20.00 Museum admission fee
(estimated average for two adults)
Computer Use (perhour) 33,852 $12.00 FedEx/Kinkos price $406,224
Database Searches 42,165 $19.95 Average cost for online article search $841,192
Reference Assistance 62,034 $7.00 Average library cost $434,238

The cost figures for library services were derived by the Massachusetts Library Association based on data from the Swiss Army Librarian.

National Novel Writing Month at Forbes Library

Want to write a novel this November?

Forbes Library will be supporting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an event that encourages writers of all experience levels to tackle the challenge of writing a novel in November. Launched in 1999, NaNoWriMo inspires its 300,000+ participants with pep talks, a huge and supportive online community, and a host of web-based writing tools, http://nanowrimo.org/

Spearheaded by Forbes Writer in Residence, Naila Moreira, the library will support writers daring enough to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge by hosting regular “write-ins” during the course of November where participants gather to work on their novels as a group. The library will also host a kick-off party with best-selling novelist Jacqueline Sheehan to inspire and answer questions about the novel writing process on Wednesday, 10/28 from 4-6 PM. NaNoWriMo will wrap up with a community reading on Wednesday, 12/16 from 7-9 and prizes will be awarded to all participants who complete the challenge.

For the full schedule of NaNoWriMo events at Forbes Library see http://forbeslibrary.org/events/nanowrimo/

Find out more about NaNoWriMo at a brainstorming and informational session on Friday, 10/23 from 3-5 PM in the Watson Room or contact the library at 413-587-1017 or by email at info@forbeslibrary.org.

Forbes Library selects new Writer in Residence

Naila Moreira

Naila Moreira

Forbes Library has selected Naila Moreira as its new Writer in Residence. Ms. Moreira will begin a two year term in July succeeding Susan Stinson who has held the post for five years.

The Writer in Residence is a professional writer who furthers the library’s fundamental mission by volunteering approximately five hours each week creating, offering and promoting library programming. The intention of the WIR program is to further the engagement between the library and the community’s writers and readers. Forbes Library is unique among public libraries to have a Writer in Residence. “We are so fortunate to live in an area with such a rich literary community. Having a Writer in Residence at the library allows us to reach out to the writers as well as to readers in our community in exciting and meaningful ways,” said Lisa Downing, Assistant Director.

Naila Moreira is an essayist, poet, and science journalist.  Her work frequently focuses on themes of science and nature, drawing on her past experiences in the sciences, including her doctoral work in geology.  Her articles and essays, including nonfiction for children, have been published in numerous venues, including The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Science News, The Common Online, and Science News for Students. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Gorgeous Infidelities, an art book published by Impossible Dream Editions in collaboration with internationally recognized photographer Paul Ickovic.  She works at Smith College as a lecturer in the English Department and a writing instructor in the Jacobson Writing Center, and teaches a science and nature writing course for high school girls in Smith’s Summer Science and Engineering Program.  She recently completed her first children’s novel and is at work on a novel for adults. You can learn more about Naila on her website, and follow her on Twitter (@nailamoreira) or on Facebook (naila.moreira).

Susan Stinson will receive the Twenty-Eighth Trustees Award at a public awards ceremony on Saturday, May 30 at 2 PM at the Forbes Library in recognition for her exceptional volunteer service.

Form 1040 is here!

Federal income tax form 1040 has arrived and can be found in the reference room, along with forms 1040A and 1040EZ which were already available.

The library also has the 2014 Massachusetts Resident Income Tax and Massachusetts Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax booklets.

For information about tax forms in the library, where to find forms online, and local tax assistance, please see our community resource page on taxes.

Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are here!

Federal income tax forms 1040A and 1040EZ have arrived, and can be found in the reference room.

The IRS has also shipped our copies of form 1040—we can expect to see those here in a week or two.

The library also has the 2014 Massachusetts Resident Income Tax and Massachusetts Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Income Tax booklets.

For information about tax forms in the library, where to find forms online, and local tax assistance, please see our community resource page on taxes.