Library News

Applications available for Hosmer Gallery

Exhibit Opportunity for Western Mass. Artists in All Media

From January 3 through February 5, 2017, 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. Applications and details can be found at

Food for Fines

Forbes Library is offering its annual Food for Fines during the month of January. This is a time of year to support the needs of people in our community and clear accumulated overdue fines. During this time, patrons may pay overdue fines by donating items in demand by the Northampton Survival Center.
This year the drive has been expanded beyond food to include personal care items and cleaning supplies. The library will be accepting donations of canned goods (please check expiration dates) and healthy non-perishable food items; personal care items including deodorant, lotion, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, conditioner, powder, shaving cream, razors, diapers, lip balm,  feminine hygiene, shampoo; and household cleaning supplies including laundry detergent, dish soap, and any household, kitchen or bathroom cleaners.
The suggested donation is one item for each $2 in fines that are waived and applies to late fines only and not to lost or damaged fees.

Sarah Johnson is new head of Children’s and YA Services

Sarah Johnson

Please welcome our new head of Children’s and Young Adult Services, Sarah Johnson!

Sarah is originally from Mendon, Massachusetts and is thrilled to be back in her home state. For the past five years she worked for Brooklyn Public Library in New York. While there, she launched a storytime at a nearby community garden, co-wrote the library’s strategic plan, helped create an online readers’ advisory service, and served on BPL’s Children’s New Books Showcase Committee. Some of her favorite parts of being a Children’s Librarian are introducing patrons to great books and hosting interactive storytimes with songs, puppets, and felt board stories. In her new role at Forbes she looks forward to conducting lots of outreach, increasing programming, and working with colleagues to launch interesting new projects to meet the needs of our community.

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!

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

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.