The Berkshire Athenaeum’s building is accessible and staff have worked hard to make our collections and services as inclusive as possible. We offer assistive technology, homebound delivery, and other programs to ensure everyone in the community can use the Library.

Building Accessibility

The Berkshire Athenaeum is an accessible three-story building. The main entrance at Wendell Avenue has a set of button activated automatic doors. There are handicap parking spaces in both the Wendell and Bartlett Avenue parking lots. There is an elevator for patron use at the east end of the library. Both the children’s bathrooms, located on the basement level, and the main floor bathrooms have accessible stalls.

Assistive Technology | Circulating

The Athenaeum’s circulating Assistive Technology is part of the Library of Things and can be checked out for one week.

  • Colorino | Point the colorino at any object and it will tell you what color it is. It can also help blind or visually impaired users detect where light is coming from.

  • iBill | A talking device that is used to identify money. It allows people who are blind or visually impaired to know what currency they are carrying. For more information about getting your own free iBill visit the U.S Bureau of Engraving and Printing or the Perkins Library.

  • Reizen Sports Glasses | Used for easier long-distance viewing, Reizen Sports Glasses have attached binoculars.

  • VictorReader Stream | A handheld media player for the blind and visually impaired that can play MP3, MP4, and EPUB formats. This device is perfect for listening to books or music and can also record. Learn more about VictorReader.

Assistive Technology | In Library Use

  • Job Access with Speech (JAWS) | Screen reading software, available on computers G and H on the Main Floor.

  • Large print keyboard | A computer keyboard with larger print keys available on Computer G on the Main Floor.

  • Optelec ClearView | This workstation is located on the main floor of the Athenaeum in our computer area. The desktop has the ability to magnify text, as well as settings for text-to-speech, adjustable contrast and brightness, and more. Ask for the Optalec ClearView control panel at the Reference Desk to access the device.

  • Optelec Hand Magnifier | Used to magnify text for short-term or spot reading.

  • Optelec Compact Mini Magnifier | A pocket magnifier with multiple uses, the Optelec Compact Mini has a built-in light and can take temporary photos for extended viewing. It also has four contrast options for easier reading.

Talking Books

The Berkshire Athenaeum offers Talking Books through the Perkins School for the Blind. This service is for people who are legally blind, cannot see well enough to read for extended periods of time, have a physical condition that makes holding a book difficult, or have been certified by a doctor to have a reading disability that is physically based.

Talking Books can only be played on special devices. Equipment and books are available for loan at no cost to registered patrons. For more information visit Perkins School for the Blind or call the Reference Department at (413) 499-9480 ext. 202.

Large Print Collection & Audiobooks

Large print books, CD audiobooks, and eAudiobooks are available for all patrons. The Athenaeum has an extensive collection and can also receive items via Interlibrary Loan.

Braille Books

The Athenaeum does not offer a braille collection, but other libraries in the CW MARS network do. A patron can request braille reading materials through Interlibrary Loan.

Homebound Delivery Service

To learn more about getting books delivered to you, apply for our Homebound Delivery Service.