Franklin Hampshire Career Center Partners with Forbes Library for Satellite Services

The Franklin Hampshire Career Center and Forbes Library announce a partnership to provide Career Center satellite services at the Library. The Career Center will out-station staff on a weekly basis at the Library to continue providing Employment Services to job seekers in Hampshire County. Loss in federal funding is requiring the Northampton Career Center to merge its two full service career centers.

Lisa Downing, Forbes Library Director said “As the city’s public library, we are delighted to be able to provide a venue for the Career Center to continue offering core services in Northampton. We strive to support the community’s information needs in both traditional and innovative ways and this partnership will do just that. We see this as a way for the public to continue to have access to employment and training assistance that our community needs and will use it as an opportunity to introduce the library’s great services to an expanded audience.”

Career Center Executive Director, Teri Anderson, stated “We are excited to collaborate with Forbes Library on our first satellite service location in Hampshire County. Our overlapping mission, the generous use of space, and the easily accessible location all make the Library a good fit.” “We are grateful to the Library staff and board for welcoming us into their space. The Library satellite location will go a long way in retaining essential career services after the Northampton full service Career Center merges with the Greenfield office. Hampshire County residents that have difficulty getting to Greenfield should talk with Career Center staff. We will work with customers to find solutions to ensure they can receive services,” she said.

The Northampton office will close on August 25 and staff will move into the Greenfield office the following week. The Greenfield Career Center will be closed on Monday, August 28 for the move to take place. Full services will resume at the Greenfield Career Center on Tuesday, August 29. Out-stationed Career Center services will begin at Forbes the week of September 11th. Career Center Services to be provided at the Library include:

  • Mondays 9am-4pm: Assistance with Online Unemployment Claims – Mornings will be walk-in assistance on a first come first serve basis. Customers will be able to make appointments in the afternoon or walk-in if there are openings available.
  • Mondays and Wednesdays 9am-Noon: Career Center registration and online job search assistance in the Library Computer Area.
  • Wednesdays 1pm-2pm: Career Center Seminar introduction to Career Center services.
  • Thursdays 1pm-3pm in the Community Room: Workshops with rotating topics such as resume and cover letter writing, using LinkedIn, Online job applications, and interviewing skills.
  • Tuesdays once per month will be an information session to learn about subsidized job training programs and individualized career counseling.

Anderson also noted that Career Center Veteran’s employment services will still be available at various locations in Hampshire County. Veterans should contact the Veterans Employment Representative at the Greenfield Career Center.

Information about how to take advantage of Career Center services offered at Forbes Library can be found on the Franklin Hampshire Career Center website at: or by calling the Career Center at 413-774-4361. Event information will be posted on the Forbes Library website at:

Forbes Library to close summer Saturdays

Because of budget shortfalls this year, Forbes Library will close Saturdays from July 1st through September 2nd

We are often asked “Why Saturdays instead of another day of the week?”

Every day of the week is an important one to our patrons and we realize that Saturday closings are a hardship for many library users. However, financial realities meant that one day had to be chosen for closing and each day of the week is special to someone. There is no one overarching reason to choose Saturdays instead of a weekday. It is merely the least bad of all the unpleasant options.

The reasons Saturday was chosen:

  • Interlibrary loan deliveries come Monday through Friday and staff must be here to process the 600 to 1,000 items delivered daily. The library does not have the shelf space to store two days’ worth of ILL materials if the library is not open for patrons to pick up their holds each day that they are delivered.
  • Closing Saturdays saves money primarily by not paying staff those days. Saturday is the day with the fewest permanent, salaried employees working, therefore closing that day causes the least disruption to library employees’ schedules and maximizes personnel savings. It also allows us to close the building for 2 consecutive days and this saves on cooling.
  • Closing Saturdays in the summer is common for many libraries, because typically libraries are much less busy on weekends in the summer. Because Forbes and Lilly Libraries coordinate their schedules, our community will still have access to Lilly Library which is open 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday.

Agreement for Judgement between the City of Northampton and the Trustees of Forbes Library

On Thursday, June 29, 2017 there was a hearing before Judge Fidnick of the Hampshire Probate and Family Court about the Agreement for Judgement between the City of Northampton and the Trustees of Forbes Library. Both parties characterize the agreement as providing clarification on the original will of Charles Forbes by which the library was founded and a strong framework for both parties to work together going forward.

The full text of the agreement can be found on the library’s website.

Hamptons + Holyoke Read: Orange is the New Black

For Immediate release.

February 22, 2017 – Five communities are coming together during March and April in a new partnership called Hamptons + Holyoke Read. The inspiration for this multi-community initiative is the book Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman, popularized by the Netflix series. Spearheaded by the public libraries in Holyoke, Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton and Westhampton, Hamptons + Holyoke Read is sponsoring dozens of events exploring incarceration through discussion, art, film and lecture. Community partners for this project are wide reaching including Holyoke Community College, Historic Northampton, Wistariahurst, Prison Policy Initiative and UMass Amherst Public History Program.

Originally published in 2010, Orange is the New Black tells the true story of the author, a Smith College graduate, who served a 15-month sentence in a federal women’s prison for drug trafficking. Although the book and to a larger extent the Netflix series give a narrow and often unrealistic view of prison life, the organizers of Hamptons + Holyoke Read are using this book as a jumping off point to encourage community conversations about pervasive issues of mass incarceration affecting our communities and our nation.

There are currently 2.2 million people serving time in the United States, which represents a 500% increase over the last 40 years according to the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. In Massachusetts alone there are nearly 20,000 people currently serving time. The State Senate will be discussing three important criminal justice related bills this year and nationally prison policy is receiving lots of attention. “The topics raised by this year’s community reading event are extremely timely and important. Participants will have the opportunity to increase understanding and foster conversation about the past, present and future of prison and its impact on our society,” said Lisa Downing, Hamptons + Holyoke Read Co-Chair.

Copies of Orange is the New Black are available to borrow from the participating libraries. For a complete list of events and exhibits please visit

Concurrent with Hamptons + Holyoke Read, the national exhibit States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories is coming to Holyoke and Northampton during the month of March. For more information about the exhibit and related programs, please visit

Food for Fines in January

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.

Friends of Forbes Library Red Sox Raffle

Friends of Forbes Library Red Sox Raffle 2016

The Friends of Forbes Library is raffling off tickets for the September 13th game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles! One lucky winner will get 2 tickets to the game and a Red Sox Hat.

Tickets are available at library any time up to the drawing before the July 13th concert.

Tickets are 2 for $5 and 6 for $10.

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

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

Forbes Library selects new Writer in Residence

Naila Moreira

Naila Moreira

Forbes Library has selected Naila Moreira as its new Writer in Residence. Ms. Moreira will begin a two year term in July succeeding Susan Stinson who has held the post for five years.

The Writer in Residence is a professional writer who furthers the library’s fundamental mission by volunteering approximately five hours each week creating, offering and promoting library programming. The intention of the WIR program is to further the engagement between the library and the community’s writers and readers. Forbes Library is unique among public libraries to have a Writer in Residence. “We are so fortunate to live in an area with such a rich literary community. Having a Writer in Residence at the library allows us to reach out to the writers as well as to readers in our community in exciting and meaningful ways,” said Lisa Downing, Assistant Director.

Naila Moreira is an essayist, poet, and science journalist.  Her work frequently focuses on themes of science and nature, drawing on her past experiences in the sciences, including her doctoral work in geology.  Her articles and essays, including nonfiction for children, have been published in numerous venues, including The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, Science News, The Common Online, and Science News for Students. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Gorgeous Infidelities, an art book published by Impossible Dream Editions in collaboration with internationally recognized photographer Paul Ickovic.  She works at Smith College as a lecturer in the English Department and a writing instructor in the Jacobson Writing Center, and teaches a science and nature writing course for high school girls in Smith’s Summer Science and Engineering Program.  She recently completed her first children’s novel and is at work on a novel for adults. You can learn more about Naila on her website, and follow her on Twitter (@nailamoreira) or on Facebook (naila.moreira).

Susan Stinson will receive the Twenty-Eighth Trustees Award at a public awards ceremony on Saturday, May 30 at 2 PM at the Forbes Library in recognition for her exceptional volunteer service.