Library News

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 average price $1,883,634
Young Adult Books Borrowed 10,143 $12.00 average price $121,716
Children’s Books Borrowed 67,428 $17.00 average price $1,146,276
Audiobooks Borrowed 42,749 $9.95 average price $425,353
Interlibrary Loan Requests 35,345 $25.00 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,

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

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

The Well Tempered Ukes awarded residency at Forbes Library

WellTemperedUkesBeginning this fall, patrons and followers of the ukulele can regularly meet The Well Tempered Ukes as they begin a musical residency at Forbes Library. This residency, the first of its kind for the library, aims to support artist process and program development by providing time, space and opportunity for teaching, performance, and conversation.

Once a month The Well Tempered Ukes, a trio which plays and sings mainly early music, and parlor and art songs, will present an hour long public session. They will perform selected new and old songs from their repertory, share historical and cultural information about the songs and their ukuleles, and offer tips and insights into ukulele playing and performance.

Sessions will take place in the historic Calvin Coolidge Museum housed in the Forbes Library. Dates and times for the fall are Monday, October 19 at 7 pm; Saturday, November 21 at 1 pm; and Monday, December 21 at 7 pm. Open and free to the public.

Elevator construction update: Building temporarily not wheelchair accessible

The elevator is continuing to be constructed. The frame and platform are in place and we should soon see the cage and related enclosure materials on site. The project is now expected to be completed in mid-October and then it will require a state inspection before the elevator can be used. The replacement doors at the top of the stairs are expected to be delivered and installed at the end of October. It will take a couple of days to install them and the front entrance will be closed during that time. Update posted on September 28, 2015.

Forbes Library’s Outreach Program will continue for another year

Forbes Library’s beloved Outreach Program will continue for another year thanks to generous donations from the community. To date donations in excess of $8,000 have been received and this will allow the library to keep on staff member Frank Heston, the “Book Man”, on a somewhat reduced schedule. The donations were received anonymously from several community members who had personal connections to Outreach and knew its importance.

“Outreach serves an extremely vulnerable and isolated portion of our community. The books and movies that are delivered along with the relationship they have formed with Frank greatly improve the quality of life for those who are served by Outreach. We are very touched by and grateful for the generous response of the community to this situation,” said Janet Moulding, Library Director.

The Outreach program which has been in existence at Forbes for 25 years, delivers books and movies to low mobility Northampton residents who have difficulty visiting the library themselves. Library materials are delivered to private homes, Northampton Housing Authority sites and long-term care facilities. Patrons may specify genre—such as western, romance or non-fiction; format—such as books on CD, large print or video; or ask for specific books or authors.

Books are delivered to patrons every three weeks or as requested. At its height the program had two full-time staff people that served 400 individuals. Budget constraints have forced the program to shrink to its current staffing level consisting of one part time person with some volunteer assistance. The library trustees have formed a subcommittee charged with finding a sustainable solution to the budget issues and funding for Outreach that does not rely solely on volunteers and donors.

Applications available for Hosmer Gallery 2016 season

Exhibit Opportunity for Western Mass. Artists in All Media

From September 3 through October 10, 2015, 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. Details and applications can be found at

Closed summer Saturdays July 4-September 5

Summer hours begin July 4th. The Library will be closed on Saturdays through September 5. We will also be closed July 3 in observance of Independence Day.
Hours through the summer are: Monday 9-9 (Children’s Department 9-6); Tuesday 1-5; Wednesday 9-9 (Children’s 9-6); Thursday 1-5; Friday 9-5.