friends logo


The Friends have improved Athenaeum library services with these recent purchases and services. Enjoy an overview of the Friends many contributions.

New combination water fountain/water bottle refilling stations installed in both the Children's Library and on the Adult level. Note the green ticker tracks how many waterbottles have been saved from landfills. (July 2017)

water bottle refill station, human right hand holding bottle under dispenser close up of same water bottle refill station but showiing counter which shows 112

An Orion Star Blast Altazimuth Reflector Tabletop Telescope was purchased by the Friends and is available for take-home use. Have a passion for gazing at the night sky? That and your library card is all that's required. Stop at the Children's Library desk for more details. (May 2017)

A selection of Sensory Tools were purchased for the Children’s Library to provide toys with the needs of children on the autism spectrum in mind. The collection includes fidget toys and related items for in library use. Fidget toys, shaped as small frogs, balls or other simple configurations can be calming and alerting, promoting focus and concentration, decreasing stress and increasing tactile awareness. Soft and cuddly weighted plush snakes are filled with beads and can be hung on a child’s shoulders or coiled in their lap, providing calming pressure. (March 2017)

- A Courtesy Charging Station, installed in the library’s Food Zone, provideing 8 charging connectors (2 Apple Lightning; 2 Apple 30-pin; 3 micro USB; and 1 mini USB) for patron self service charging of phones and other personal devices.

charging station with student

- New toy trucks for the Children's Library.
Athenaeum grounds with tree and new plants

Professional landscape improvements were made to areas surrounding the library (Summer 2014)

Athenaeum grounds with tree and new plants

Bartlett Avenue median strip landscaping

North side exterior of Athenaeum grounds with  new shrubs

-A new Auditorium stage curtain was purchased (Cost: $2,377) by the Friends to replace the previous curtain, original to this 1974 building and well beyond its serviceable years. (Summer 2012)

auditorium curtain

florian with curtain

-The Friends supported the Call Me Melville summer arts program with special childrens' programming. (July/August 2012)

joanne spies child at spies program

- New toys for the Children's Library: zoo animals; dinosaurs; magnetic letters; and large, colorful snap-together beads. (October 2011)

children's library toys

- A nook color available to library patrons for one-week loan. (September 2011)

nook color

- A freshwater aquarium for the Children's Library. (September 2011)


aquarium fish

- With a grant from the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, a special committee under the Pittsfield School Department developed a cross-discipline, multi-grade curriculum for the 250th Anniversary of Pittsfield. Available through the School Department's website, classes and school have used this curriculum in many creative ways during the first half of 2011.

- Benches at both library entrances for the comfort of patrons waiting for a ride, enjoying fair weather, or making use of the Athenaeum wifi service.


- A professional portrait of the Athenaeum was commissioned from local watercolorist Marge Bride.

.berkshire athenaeum watercolor portrait

- Flowers are planted annually on both library Reading Terraces and at the Athenaeum's Main Entrance.


- The Athenaeum's piano is routinely tuned.

- Seasonal floral arrangements greet visitors at the Main Entrance.
floral arrangement

- Computer Mounts were purchased for the Children's Library service desk, allowing staff to better serve young patrons.

- Wall-mounted outdoor ashtrays installed to minimize litter.

- Die cuts purchased to enhance Children's Library craft programs.

- Three current models of eBook readers purchased (Amazon Kindle; Barnes & Noble nook; and Sony Reader), as well as eBook titles.

- Shopping baskets provided for patron convenience in selecting items.

shopping baskets

- The Friends are a Supporting partner of Pittsfield's 250th Anniversary celebration.

- Major financial and programming support was provided for 2011 Pittsfield Reads! community reading project.

- The Friends fund the Museum Pass program, providing free passes to library borrowers for over a dozen local venues.

- A pair of leather wing chairs were chosen for the Children's Library to enhance the comfort of parents reading with their little ones.

childrens library chair

- The Friends purchased a redesigned Reference Desk suitable for contemporary service needs.

reference desk

reference desk

- A water cooler made available for Staff Lounge.

- Refreshments provided for various library programs and meetings.



      Updated October 2018