Library News

Director Interviews

[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.

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

New Curbside Pick-Up Program

Sick kid? Arthritis flare-up? Broken leg?

Let us bring library items to your car.

This service is intended for patrons who find it difficult to
access the library building for any reason.


  1. Place the item(s) you want on hold in the library catalog or call the
    Children’s Department at 413-587-1010 or the Reference Desk at
  2. You will receive an email, text or telephone call from us when your item(s)
    are available for pick up.
  3. Call us at 413-587-1012 to arrange a time to pick the item(s) up. This
    service is only available when we are open but you are welcome to leave us a
    message and we will call you back.
  4. The library staff will check out your item(s) to your library card.
  5. When you arrive at the library, pull into the short term parking spot on
    the side of the building or along the outgoing driveway. Please turn your car
    off while waiting to protect the environment. Call us again at 413-587-1012
    to let us know you are here and we will bring your checkouts to you and you
    will be on your way.

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