Library News

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

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!

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

Director Interviews

Update October 25, 2016: The Trustees have now finished all 4 director interviews. They will meet on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 3:15, in the Coolidge Museum to select their choice for director. The meeting, like the interviews, is open to the public.

[Update: read the article from the Daily Hampshire Gazette: “Four to interview for Forbes Library director post” by Chris Lindahl. Friday, September 30, 2016.]

Four candidates have been invited to interview for the position of Forbes Library Director. They are:

  • Lynn Piotrowicz, Director of the Tucker Free Library in Henniker, New Hampshire, who will interview on Oct. 7
  • Matthew DeLaney, Administrative Director of the Onondaga County Public Library in Syracuse, New York, who will interview on Oct. 13.
  • Adam Novitt, Director of the Lilly Library in Florence will interview on Oct. 20
  • Lisa Downing, Assistant Director/Patron Services Librarian at Forbes will interview on Oct. 24.

The full day session includes meetings with the staff and an open, public meeting with the Trustees. The community is invited to attend, ask questions and submit comments to the Trustees. The public meetings will be held in the Coolidge Museum with the exception of the interview on Oct. 13 which will be in the Community Room. They take place at 4:00 p.m. with the exception of the Oct. 7 interview which is at 3:30.

The four candidates were chosen from a pool of 28 applicants.

Janet Moulding, who has been Director since 2004, will retire the end of this year.

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.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month


September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Libraries play an important role in the education and development of children. Studies show that children who are read to in the home and who use the library perform better in school and are more likely to continue to use the library as a source of lifetime learning.

Librarians are literacy experts. Libraries offer a variety of programs to stimulate an interest in reading and learning. Preschool story hours expose young children to the joy of reading. Summer reading clubs keep children reading during school vacation and have been shown to be the most important factor in avoiding the decrease in reading skills that educators refer to as “summer learning loss.”

Society is changing in the way it consumes information. Libraries are evolving with these changes in order to serve the public and to continue to fulfill their role in leveling the playing field for all who seek access to technology, and the help to use it.

Today’s public libraries are thriving technology hubs that millions rely on as their first or only choice for Internet access and digital content. In addition to books, magazines, DVDs, computers, games, software and other multimedia materials, libraries provide access to e-books.

Often the library is the first point of contact in helping community members. From providing assistance to small business owners to assisting with access to e-government resources, libraries are changing lives through education.

Libraries are America’s great information equalizers – the only place people of all ages and backgrounds can find and freely use such a diversity of resources, along with the expert guidance of librarians.

If you haven’t been to your local library lately, September is a great time for a visit.

sally-cropped Online Library Card Application

or visit us in person
at the Main Desk
or the Children’s Desk


Serving People with Disabilities Survey

Serving People with Disabilities Survey

We are finishing a two year grant to improve library services to people with disabilities. The project is being funded through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners with funds from LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act), a Federal source of library funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With the help of the grant, Forbes Library has provided equipment, software, staff training, and public programming so as to enhance services to patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have vision difficulties.

Your answers to this survey will help us to continue to improve services to people with disabilities and to evaluate our performance so far.

This survey is available in large print format at Forbes Library and the Northampton Senior Center. To have a copy of this survey mailed to you or to request this survey in other formats, please contact Lisa Downing at 413-587-1017 or