Forbes Library, Historic Northampton and Wistariahurst host States of Incarceration, a traveling exhibition

States of Incarceration imageSTATES OF INCARCERATION

March 13-30, Forbes Library, 20 West St, Northampton, MA and Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge St., Northampton, MA

Opening reception: March 13, 5-8 PM; featuring a guided tour of the exhibit at 6pm at Forbes, led by local residents who are featured in the exhibit, and a public reading by Voices from Inside at 7pm at Historic Northampton.

Forbes Library and Historic Northampton are partnering to present States of Incarceration, the first national traveling multi-media exhibition and coordinated public dialogue to explore the history and future of mass incarceration in the United States.

The exhibition will also be on view March 1-12 in Holyoke at The Wauregan (420 Dwight St), hosted by the Wistariahurst Museum with an opening reception on March 1 from 6-8 PM.

Website: / Programs and events:

States of Incarceration was created by the New School’s Humanities Action Lab, a coalition of 500 university students and formerly incarcerated individuals from 20 cities, including students and faculty from UMass Amherst Public History Program and several local community organizers. It explores the history of incarceration by focusing on human stories from 20 different local communities from across the U.S., including here in western Massachusetts. The exhibit offers a diverse genealogy of the incarceration generation and challenges all of us to remember our own past and use the insights of history to shape what happens next. A Spanish-language exhibit catalog accompanies the exhibit.

States of Incarceration will be on view alongside several additional installations, including an exhibit titled The Carceral Commonwealth on how incarceration impacts families and communities in Massachusetts, a photographic installation about Holyoke-based community organizations (on display in Holyoke), and exhibit panels and artifacts on history of incarceration in Hampshire county (on display at Historic Northampton).

Simultaneous to the exhibition, Wistariahurst, Forbes Library, Historic Northampton and several other organizations are offering public programs on this theme, including field trips, film screenings, workshops, and lectures. Events include a youth-led workshop for school-based professionals led by Pa’lante, a restorative justice group from Holyoke High School; a Know Your Rights workshop led by local civil rights and defense attorney Luke Ryan on March 9; and a talk about the history of the Northampton state hospital on March 29, hosted by Historic Northampton and Forbes Library.

In addition, six local libraries have teamed up to present Hamptons + Holyoke Read, featuring a community read of the book Orange is the New Black and other related programs, including a panel discussion with three women who were incarcerated with Piper Kerman and whose lived experience informed the book and the TV series. On March 30, the exhibit culminates with a “Local Action Forum”, bringing local students, scholars, community members and activists together to discuss ongoing work to build the collective power of communities affected by mass incarceration, hosted by the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation and sponsored by the Feinberg Series. Additional programs will continue into April.


States of Incarceration is presented by the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, the UMass Amherst Public History Program, Forbes Library, Historic Northampton and Wistariahurst, with support from the Humanities Action Lab, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by The Wauregan, NEPR, the UMass History Department, and the UMass Office of Research Development.

States of Incarceration was created by the Humanities Action Lab and designed by Matter Practice. The web platform,, was created by Picture Projects. The Spanish-language exhibit catalog was created by María José Giménez (translator) and Maggie McDonald (graphic designer). The Carceral Commonwealth was created by UMass students and local residents and designed by Jennifer Luxton. Wistariahurst created the photographic exhibit about Holyoke-based community organizations, and Historic Northampton and UMass students collaborated to create the exhibit components on incarceration in Hampshire county. More than three dozen additional students, faculty, activists, community leaders and people with direct experience with incarceration contributed to the creation of these exhibitions and programs.

CANCELED: Friends of Forbes bus trip to Hyde Park, NY, National Historic Sites

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home[Update: The Friends of Forbes Bus Tript to Hyde Park has been canceled due to low enrollment. 3/28/2017]

The Friends of Forbes are presenting a 1-day bus trip on Saturday, May 13, 2017, to Hyde Park, NY, with guided tours of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home & library and the Vanderbilt mansion, plus lunch. Both homes are National Historic Sites. The cost is $139 per person, which includes a donation to the Friends of Forbes and is based on 42-50 participants. Motor coach departs at 7:00 a.m. from Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton. Estimated return is 7:00 p.m.

If you have not reserved a seat yet, you may use PayPal (below) or mail a check to Friends of Forbes Library, P.O. Box 1363, Northampton, 01061. For questions call 413.584.8334.

You may park for the day on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Smith College parking garage, which is just a few doors beyond the library on West Street. There is no charge for that parking. The 1st floor is for students, who have paid to park there.

Seats are limited. Deadline for reservations is March 29, 2017.

Tickets may also be bought online via PayPal.

Outreach Delivery Service

Is it difficult for you or someone you know to get to the library?

Let us bring the books to you! Forbes Library volunteers deliver and return library materials to home bound residents in Northampton, Florence and Leeds.

Apply online or pick up an application at the library. For more information call 413-587-1019.

Applications available for Hosmer Gallery

Exhibit Opportunity for Western Mass. Artists in All Media

Applications and details:

From January 3 through February 5, 2017, artists may apply to exhibit their work in the Hosmer Gallery at Forbes Library next year.

The application can be completed online or printed and mailed with a CD of images. Criteria for review include technical and artistic quality, a coherent theme, and contribution to an interesting and varied program for the year. Artists living and working in the greater Northampton area are eligible to apply. First-time exhibitors, individuals and groups are welcome.

Art exhibits featuring the work of local artists have been part of Forbes Library’s cultural mission for over 100 years. The Hosmer Gallery has versatile display panels, cases and pedestals to accommodate a variety of two- and three-dimensional art formats.

The Hosmer Art Gallery is designed to provide opportunities for local artists to show their work to the public. Exhibits include a wide range of media and content reflecting the diversity of the Pioneer Valley community. The gallery is curated and scheduled by the Head of the Arts & Music Department.

There is no fee for application or for the use of the space. Applications and details can be found at

Sarah Johnson is new head of Children’s and YA Services

Sarah Johnson

Please welcome our new head of Children’s and Young Adult Services, Sarah Johnson!

Sarah is originally from Mendon, Massachusetts and is thrilled to be back in her home state. For the past five years she worked for Brooklyn Public Library in New York. While there, she launched a storytime at a nearby community garden, co-wrote the library’s strategic plan, helped create an online readers’ advisory service, and served on BPL’s Children’s New Books Showcase Committee. Some of her favorite parts of being a Children’s Librarian are introducing patrons to great books and hosting interactive storytimes with songs, puppets, and felt board stories. In her new role at Forbes she looks forward to conducting lots of outreach, increasing programming, and working with colleagues to launch interesting new projects to meet the needs of our community.

New language learning system for young children: Little Pim


Little Pim is an online language learning system for ages 0-6. It’s a fun way for kids to learn a foreign language!

  • Little Pim’s Entertainment Immersion Method makes it fun and easy to learn.
  • Kids love Little Pim, the animated panda who teaches each lesson.
  • It’s fun for the whole family.
  • Just like the rest of the Mango system, it’s accessible anywhere you get online, right through the library website!

2016 Giving Tree for children ages 0-15

15327365_10154830281528184_8990881041988836335_nForbes Library is collecting new and unwrapped toys, gifts, and clothes for kids ages 0-15 as well as gift cards for tweens/teens, from now until December 27th. This is the 28th year that Forbes has collected for its annual “Giving Tree” program. Donations will be given to Casa Latina of Northampton for their Three Kings’ Day celebrations. Casa Latina offers educational and community-supporting programming for the local Latino community. For more information contact 413-587-1010 or

Forbes Library Seeks Assistant Director

Assistant Director/Patron Services Librarian
   posted November 23, 2016
   Assistant Director Job Description

Forbes Library, the public library in Northampton, MA seeks candidates for the position of Assistant Director/ Patron Services Librarian.

Northampton, MA is one of the top small arts cities in the United States and lies in the heart of the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. The city of just under 30,000 offers a vibrant downtown unique for its number of independent businesses and a lifestyle rich in cultural, artistic, and academic resources.

The library has a collection of 360,000 and a dedicated staff of 24 FTE, including full and part-time employees. The budget for FY 2017 is $1.49 million. The Richardsonian Romanesque building opened in 1894 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes an inviting children’s area, exemplary arts and music collections, a strong reference department, an art gallery, extensive local history and genealogy materials for Hampshire County, and the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum. There is an active and supportive Friends group.

The Assistant Director/ Patron Services Librarian is a member of the administration of the library and assists the director in all matters, assuming the role of director in absence of director. This position requires balancing multiple responsibilities in a fast paced and forward thinking environment with an emphasis on quality customer service. We seek candidates who see challenges as opportunities and will continually strive to develop and improve service models through creative thinking and effective use of technology. Library staff are encouraged to work collaboratively at all times, and the Assistant Director/Patron Services Librarian serves as a team leader and mentor to staff in various work teams and across all departments.

Responsibilities of this position include both administrative and direct patron services. The focus of this position is on borrower services, collection development, personnel management, community engagement, library programming, data analysis and volunteer coordination. For a detailed job description see,

Qualifications: Master’s degree in library science from an American Library Association-accredited library and information studies program; enthusiasm for and a record of success in developing innovative patron services; 3 or more years of experience in public library supervisory roles and the ability to effectively plan and supervise the work of others; attention to detail, strong organizational skills; strong service orientation; ability to organize work, develop effective work processes and work within budget; assess work priorities and work independently; aptitude and experience with social media and technology savvy; analytical skills.

SALARY: Full time benefited position, $66,000 annually

To apply, please submit cover letter, resume and names of three references to Director, Forbes Library, via email at — Deadline to apply is December 19, 2016.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

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, The 5-college and Western Mass region will gather at 4 pm on Sunday, October 30, at Dobra Tea (186 Main St, Northampton) to meet one another and prepare for the first day of the challenge.  We’ll have plot planning worksheets available and will be wearing our brainstorming hats to both first time and more experienced writers get started.

Write-ins are being held throughout the month on Monday (4:30-6:30 pm) and Friday (3-5 pm) to give participants a chance to work on their novels as a group.  The write-ins will also welcome those working on the 30 Poems in November fundraiser run by the Center for New Americans.

Spearheaded by Forbes Writer in Residence, Naila Moreira, the library will support writers daring enough to take on the NaNoWriMo (or 30 Poems) challenge by hosting regular “write-ins” during the course of November where participants gather to write together. NaNoWriMo will wrap up with a community reading on Wednesday, 12/14 from 7-9 and prizes will be awarded to all participants who complete the challenge.

Forbes Library Receives Access Award

Forbes Library received a 2016 Paul Winske Access Award from Stavros in recognition of the improvements the library has made to accessibility for people with disabilities. In 2015 Forbes installed a new elevator to provide safe and reliable access into the building. The library was also commended for providing accessible formats such as large print and Braille materials, audio books and videos with audio adaptations. In the Stavros Access Awards program Forbes is praised, “Just as exciting are the many new assistive technology devices and software applications: magnifying glasses along with a desktop magnifier and screen magnification software, screen reader software, and listening systems at service desks. The folks at Forbes have gone all out!”

In addition to the “Forbes For All” elevator campaign, the library has been working on improving access through a two year federal grant provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Stavros Access Awards

New Notary Public service offered

Library staff members who have been appointed as notaries public by the Secretary of the Commonwealth are available to perform brief notarial services, free of charge, during most Library hours. To confirm that a notary public will be available when you visit the Library, please call (413) 587-1012. The library provides notary service free of charge, but donations are appreciated.

Our notaries are not attorneys and have no authority to give advice on immigration or other legal matters.