The Board of Trustees is the governing body for Forbes Library. The Trustees are responsible for the hiring and evaluation of the director and the oversight of the library budget and policies. As an example, a few years ago Forbes Library eliminated fines after the Trustees voted on and approved this new policy. Trustees also fundraise and advocate for the library. These important roles are filled by five people, elected by the residents of Northampton in the general election. Three of these five seats will be on the ballot in November. One incumbent trustee is running for re-election and two incumbents have decided not to run again. The term of office is four years and these volunteer positions are open to any registered voter in Northampton. 

To be put on the November 7th ballot for library trustee, individuals must take out papers from the City Clerk of Northampton. These papers are available at the City Clerk’s Office in Northampton’s City Hall. Applicants then need to have their papers signed by at least 50 Northampton registered voters and return them to the Registrar’s Office in City Hall by July 24, 2023. 

The trustees attend 11 monthly meetings a year and are asked to do committee work. “Every member of the board brings a unique perspective and skill set. Ideally, the board is a reflection of the community. In this way diverse backgrounds and lived experiences are one of the most important things a candidate can bring to the table along with a strong interest in libraries,” said Lisa Downing, Library Director. The library has often benefited from trustees who bring their professional and personal expertise to the Board. Past examples of this include those with non-profit experience including fundraising, grant writing and marketing, lawyers, and those who have facilities and human resources backgrounds. 

Anyone interested in learning more about serving as a member of the Forbes Library Board of Trustees is encouraged to contact Library Director Lisa Downing ( or 413-587-1016) or any of the current Board of Trustees of the library. Individuals from historically underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to run for office. More information is available on the library’s website at