Library News

Closed summer Saturdays July 2 – Sept 3

Summer hours begin July 2. The Library will be closed on Saturdays through September 3. We will also be closed July 4 in observance of Independence Day, and September 5 for Labor 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.

E-books, streaming video, research databases and other online resources are available 24/7 through the library website.

Forbes Seeks Status Quo


The Trustees of Forbes Library value a productive relationship with Northampton’s City government.  The current unfortunate dispute resulted from the Trustees’ receipt of a January 28, 2016 opinion of City Solicitor Alan Seewald concerning library governance.  That opinion (and Solicitor Seewald’s more recent arguments to several state agencies regarding the Trustees’ status) reflect an attempt to unilaterally alter the terms of the historic relationship between the City and the Library, as established under the Will of Charles E. Forbes.  As Trustees, one of our responsibilities is to ensure Judge Forbes’ wishes are respected.  We are therefore determined to prevent the unilateral imposition of these changes on the library.  We seek to preserve the public/private partnership which has existed since 1881, when the City agreed to accept the express conditions of Judge Forbes’ bequest.

Ongoing negotiations with the City regarding the annual appropriations and capital improvements budget have been fruitful.  This dispute is not about that.  The Trustees have always understood and agreed that the City makes the determination regarding library appropriations.  The Trustees have also always provided all financial information requested by the City.  Neither is this dispute about transparency or adherence to the state’s Open Meeting Law.  The Trustees voted in 2009 to follow the provisions of the Open Meeting Law, and amended their by-laws accordingly.  This was done notwithstanding the fact that the Commonwealth has twice concluded, in 2007 and 2008, that Forbes is not an arm of city government or a municipal department, as City Solicitor Seewald is now asserting.

We are disheartened that this dispute has reached the point of litigation.  But we also recognize that only the Probate Court can definitively interpret the provisions of Judge Forbes’ Will and Trust.

Judge Forbes charged the Trustees with managing, preserving, and overseeing Forbes Library.  We take that task very seriously, as we do our role in preserving the fundamental notion that a free public library must be independent of governmental control and political influence.  Were the Trustees and the Library to become enveloped within City Government (as the City Solicitor is arguing is or should be the case) then there could be no guarantee that in the years to come, the City would continue to fulfill the obligation to support the library it formally accepted under Judge Forbes’ Will.  We look forward to a quick return to the strong relationship that this historic partnership has produced.  And we remain deeply committed to providing the people of Northampton with the quality of services they have come to expect from Forbes Library.

Contact: Russell Carrier/ 586-8048


or Janet Moulding/


From the Daily Hampshire Gazette:

Janet Moulding, Director at Forbes Library, announces retirement

photo of Janet MouldingJanet Moulding, Director of Forbes Library since 2004, has announced her retirement, effective the end of this year.

Under Moulding’s leadership the library renovated both the Anna Gertrude Brewster Children’s Room and the Doland Reference room, making both more attractive and functional for library users. Additionally, the building envelope was restored. Moulding’s goal was always to make the library a more welcoming place for patrons; in 2015 the handicap lift which was frequently out of service was replaced by a fully functioning Victorianesque style elevator insuring that the library met Moulding’s goal of always being “accessible to all.”

Moulding served on the C/W MARS (Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing) Executive Committee and the Western Mass Library Advocates Board. She is a member of the American Library Association, the Massachusetts Library Association, the New England Library Association and the Western Mass Library Advocates.

“Janet Moulding has given the Forbes a decade of dynamic and forward looking leadership. She has also provided the Trustees with strong direction and wise counsel. You have only to visit the Library to appreciate her legacy. Janet will be missed by all who have worked with her. The Trustees feel a deep loss, but wish her a long and healthy retirement,” said Russell Carrier, President of the Board of Trustees.

Moulding’s first professional position was Director of the Gaylord Library in South Hadley; she was named the first Librarian (Director) of the Renaissance Center at the University of Massachusetts and later served as Assistant Director at Forbes.

Moulding holds a Masters degree in Library Science from the State University of New York at Albany; she received a Bachelors Degree from Northwestern University and a Masters in Early Modern English Literature from UMass.

After retirement Moulding plans to spend time riding her horse, volunteering at Forbes and reading more books.

A search committee has been formed to find a replacement. Members of the committee are Trustees Marjorie Hess, Chair and Russell Carrier, staff members Molly Moss and Dylan Gaffney and representing the Friends of Forbes, Martha McCormick, President, and Serena Smith.

CONTACT: Marjorie Hess, 586-5569; 413-210-1922

Forbes Library Seeks Volunteer Applicants for new Outreach Delivery Service

Frank in the Outreach officeThe Forbes Library Outreach Delivery Service provides access to library materials for residents who are unable to visit the library because of short or long-term illness or disability.

We are currently accepting applications from residents of Northampton who wish to apply for these services, as well as from volunteers who would like to help deliver materials.

If you are interested in receiving outreach services, or in becoming a delivery volunteer, please follow the application links below.


Please complete the online Volunteer Application form.

Volunteer application





Please complete the online application form, or print, fill in and mail the printable form. If you are unable to print or complete it online, please call 413-587-1017 and request that an Outreach Delivery Service application be mailed to you. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis.

Online application for Outreach services

Printable application for Outreach services

New streaming movie database: InstantFlix

Forbes Library is pleased to announce the availability of online streaming movie service InstantFlix: Powered by IndieFlix.

InstantFlix brings engaging stories to movie lovers around the world. Through the Forbes website, patrons can enjoy unlimited access to over 7,000 high-quality shorts, features, documentaries, classic TV shows and Web series from 85 countries. Programming includes comedies, dramas, horror, documentaries, animations, classic TV, short films, and over 40 other channels and genres.

InstantFlix also delivers films from major festivals all over the world, including Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca. To find movies, patrons simply search by language, genre or film length, and the “quickpick” feature allows patrons to sample movies like they would sample music. InstantFlix can be enjoyed on any Internet-enabled computer, smartphone, or tablet with a Web browser, and movies are also available on Roku, Xbox and Apple TV.

To get started streaming movies and video through InstantFlix, click the logo below and create a personal login and password. Please see a library staff member if you would like more information or assistance.


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

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 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