Library News

Free Technology Classes: Accessibility Focus

[Update! The first class, “Keep Reading Digitally via Ear or through Larger Text”, has been rescheduled to February 22 due to the weather.]

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

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 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.