Photography Blitz Aims to Capture Images of Contemporary Northampton

48-Hour Local History Project Seeks Community Participation
Friday, May 2 through Saturday, May 3, 2014

This collaborative activity is a great educational opportunity for parents, families, and educators because it presents contemporary daily life and daily tasks as being significant (both now and to future generations), and can imbue participants with a sense of appreciation for, and pride of, the place the live, work & travel to.

Does your family live in or near Northampton, Massachusetts? Do you have any favorite buildings in town? How about any spots where a treasured memory was made? And, over the course of your time in the area, how have you seen Northampton changed? A free public art project called “Midnight to Midnight” wants to know how YOU would answer these questions (and more)! From 12:01am on Friday, May 2nd through 11:59pm on Saturday, May 3rd, all are encouraged to use photography to document aspects of Northampton that they feel are significant. A collaboration between Historic Northampton Museum, the Forbes Library, and the Northampton Camera Club, this two-day event seeks to create a digital record of the city as it is today, in 2014. Each image submitted will build up a virtual archive of images and information about our present-day Northampton – a story told from many different perspectives and with a variety of photographic tools and techniques. While it is important and exciting simply because it is an accessible, collaborative project organized by three local organizations for anyone wishing to participate, the underlying goal is to foster a sense of connection to the people and places of Western Massachusetts, and an understanding of the larger community that Northampton contains.
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Edible Books Connect Culinary Arts & Literature

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 6th this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play!

If you could make a piece of art that describes your favorite book, what would it look like? If you created a food whose flavor matches your family’s favorite story, what would it taste like? And what do you think would happen if you combined your art piece with the book’s perfect flavor match? Create a real-life edible artistic masterpiece – just like you’ve imagined! – by participating in Forbes Library’s event, Edible Book Northampton!

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Edible Books Encourage Creative Free Play in the Kitchen

The Edible Book: A Benefit for the Friends of the Forbes & Lilly Libraries

Edible Book events have been held worldwide since 1999! This is the Forbes and Lilly Libraries 6th annual event. Registration deadline is April 16th and the event takes place on April 22nd at the Florence Civic Center.

The Forbes and Lilly Libraries are holding their Edible Book event on Sunday, April 22nd this year, an annual event that crosses culinary arts and language arts with creative free play! And April vacation week is the perfect time to start thinking with your kids about participating and supporting our local libraries!

What is an Edible Book? It’s exactly what it sounds like – community members create their own edible versions of their favorite books (fiction & non-fiction)!  Previous years’ entries have included Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar made out of cookies and the Audubon Book of Birds featuring shortbread avian specimens.

Edible Book events have been held worldwide since 1999 and pays tribute to French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s book The Physiology of Taste!  The event is an opportunity for families to celebrate reading together, as well as an opportunity for creative free play via culinary arts.  

If your family doesn’t want to enter, you can still attend the Edible Book event to check out others’ entries!  All entrants will get a ribbon, and there will be prizes in multiple categories.  The event will take place on Sunday, April 22nd from 2-4pm at the Florence Civic Center, and admission is $5 (kids 10yo and under are free) and goest towards supporting the Forbes and Lilly Libraries.  For more information, call Bonnie at 413-584-7482 or email Registration deadline is Monday, April 16th.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Betsy Roe

Spanish Speaking Story Time and Playgroup in Northampton

Cuenta Cuentos y Amiguitos Nuevos

The Forbes Library will be hosting a free biweekly Spanish story time at 9:30am on Fridays beginning Jan. 13th followed by an informal Spanish speaking playgroup at 10:15am for families with preK children.

The Forbes Library writes:

Cuenta Cuentos con Paula García/Story Time with Paula Garcia

Vengan y disfruten de literatura infantil en español para niños de 1-4 años. A partir del 13 de enero nos reuniremos en Forbes Library cada dos semanas a las 9:30am.

Come and enjoy the Forbes library’s first Spanish story time with Paula Garcia where children ages 1 -4 can come and enjoy children’s literature in Spanish. Meeting time: Fridays at 9:30am biweekly beginning January 13th.

Amiguitos Nuevos/New Playmates

La Biblioteca Forbes está orgullosa de ofrecer “Amiguitos Nuevos”: Un grupo informal para que niños de 1 a 4 años jueguen y disfruten. Nuestro propósito es ofrecer un espacio alegre para que niños de habla hispana o abiertos a aprender español y sus familias, vengan a jugar, realizar proyectos o cantar en este idioma. Disfrutaremos de nuevas amistades y distintas culturas. A partir del 13 de enero, 2012, el grupo se reunirá dos viernes al mes a las 10:15 am. Este espacio tendrá lugar después de un cuenta cuentos que empezará a las 9:30 con Paula García.

Forbes Library is proud to host, “Amiguitos Nuevos” an informal Spanish speaking play group for toddlers ages 1-4. The purpose of this playgroup is to offer a friendly space for Spanish speaking children and their families to come and play, make art projects, and sing songs while celebrating culture and friendship. The group will meet biweekly on Fridays at 10:15 am beginning January 13, 2012. The playgroup will follow “Story Time with Paula Garcia” a Spanish story time which takes place at 9:30 am.

A Day at the Forbes Library Children’s Department

Back and Better Than Ever: Children’s Department at the Forbes Library

The Forbes Library new Children's Room reopens after a brief closure to install new carpet, a new circulation desk, new furniture and new technology! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Make no mistake that spring is coming, but until it stays over 55 for four days in a row, my body will continue to believe it is winter. We all have our winter routines. Just recently one of ours was disrupted by the temporary closure of the Forbes Library Children’s Room in Northampton, MA.

The library is one of our regular haunts. In winter we crave routine destinations that are close to home. We want the coziness of home without having to look at the same four walls. For this we walk over to the Forbes Library, where they have been raising funds to refurbished their children’s library for as long as we have lived here. This past weekend we made our first pilgrimage over since they layered on the fresh paint.

When we arrived, the kids made a dive for the toddler toys they miss at home, while I look for books. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

When we arrived, the kids made a dive for the toddler toys they miss at home, while I look for books. Then they skipped over to the drop-in art table while I looked for more books. Henry will color for hours and Theo loves the puzzles and blocks. My oldest son, Isaac, disappeared into the youth lounge, with its new comfortable chairs and an entire wall of magnetic poetry. We will reel him out when it is time to leave. — The kids color and then take a trip to see the fish. They make conversation, as is their way, wherever we go. I ask for early reader help from one of the librarians – this mother’s quest to keep her boys reading is going well so far. Our stack of books piles high and lands heavily in our blue flowered library bag.

The kids color and then take a trip to see the fish. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

As we pack it up for today, Isaac checks the events calendar for things involving Lego’s, chess games, a book group for kids his age. As we exit the library, the air outside is cool, but the sun is bright. It is the in-between time. My boys will play in the mud this afternoon but as the sun sets, it will be hot baths and settling in with books in their pajamas while my husband and I toss dinner together. Routines are pleasant. They give us room to adventure and room to relax.

Thanks to our library, we are reading Flat Stanley, Ginger Pye and Harry Potter. What are you reading at your house these days?


Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Diamond Bridge: Locally Made, Locally Played

Diamond Bridge: Locally Made Board Game

Come play Diamond Bridge at the Forbes Library in the Community Room on Monday, May 24th at 7pm. Free and open to the public. (Pictured here: Andy Grant holding his locally made board game, Diamond Bridge)

If you’ve ever dreamed about creating a board game and then decided it’s not possible to compete with Milton Bradley, take heart. Andy Grant, who moved to the Pioneer Valley a few years ago, not only created Diamond Bridge, he also had it produced…yes…locally…by the United Paper Box Company in Holyoke, MA.

Andy and friends will demonstrate how this fascinating game is played at several local gatherings, including the Forbes Library in Northampton on Monday, May 24th, to which you’re invited as a participant or an onlooker.

Diamond Bridge is a strategic board game for two to four players ages 8 and up. Andy Grant explains that, “Diamond Bridge is in the lineage of a game invented by Piet Hein in 1942 at the University of Copenhagen. In 1948, a similar game was introduced at Princeton University by John Nash, a Nobel Laureate mathematician and subject of the book, A Beautiful Mind. Reading a description in the book inspired me to make a board to play at home with my children.

The board has a diamond-shaped grid, four corner pits and gems of two colors. Users say, “It’s Zen-like.” “The blue and green remind me of flowing water.” “It doesn’t take a lot of instruction. The learning happens as you play the game.”

“In recent years, I developed a series of prototypes and an updated set of rules based on extensive play testing. My box design and name, Diamond Bridge, reflect a core strategy of visualizing diamond shapes to span across the board. The game concept is basic-players try to bridge sides of their color. It’s fun to play ‘right out of the box.’ For the serious player the complexity of Diamond Bridge soon becomes apparent. Mastering the game requires a sense of balance, spatial reasoning and sustained focus. Enjoy!”

Come play Diamond Bridge at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA on Monday, May 24th at 7pm. This program is free and open to the public and will meet in the Community Room.

Cartoon-a-Palooza: Fundraiser of the Forbes Library Children’s Department

Click Here Listen to PSA

Cartoon-a-Palooza: May 23rd in Northampton

Mark your calendars for Mo Willems’ Cartoon-a-Palooza on May 23rd, 2010 at 2 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA.  An afternoon of award winning animation to benefit the Forbes Library children’s department.

The Forbes Library Children’s Department was last spruced up 18 years ago and the space is showing wear. The paint is peeling, the carpets are fraying, even the bookshelves are collapsing. The homework center is sorely lacking adequate study space and the technology available to help the library’s young adult patrons stay academically competitive is sorely lacking and out of date.

As part of the fundraising effort, the library will be having an afternoon of award winning animation by Mo Willems on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 at 2pm at the Academy of Music called “Cartoon-a-Palooza”. This family show will present a screening of a collection of his animated cartoons ranging from early Sesame Street and Nickelodeon shorts to the Carnegie Award winning animated adaptations of his beloved picture books, including the world premier of The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog!

All proceeds from this one-time only, special event will go directly to improvements and renovations to the Forbes Library’s Children’s Department. Mo will be on hand to answer questions and sign limited edition Forbes Library posters featuring the New York Bestselling duo Elephant and Piggie.

Tickets are available at the Forbes Library, 20 West Street, Northampton or online or at the Academy of Music. For more information contact Jude McGowan, Children’s Librarian, 413-587-1010 or

Children’s Used Clothing Swap/Sale to Benefit Forbes Library

Karen Hidalgo of Northampton, MA is organizing a children’s used clothing swap/sale to benefit the Forbes Library on March 27th. Here’s more info she would like to share:

It is called a swap because hopefully a lot of the same people will donate clothes and accept clothes but please feel free to do just one or the other, or both.

Donating Clothes
Collecting donated clothes March 1st to March 25th in the Children’s Department at the Forbes Library, sizes newborn to 6X and maternity. Clothes should be free of stains and tears.

Clothing Swap/Sale
Saturday March 27th 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Forbes Library Community Room. Suggested Donation to Forbes Library Children’s Section: $5-$15 for a bag of clothes

Volunteers Wanted
Setting up 11:30 to 1:00 on March 27th. Checking in patrons in half hour or hour shifts, 1:00 to 4:00 March 27th.
Clean up 4:00 to 5:00 on March 27th. Dropping off clothes to the Survival Center and/or Goodwill in Northampton at your convenience

If you have questions or would like to help please contact Karen Hidalgo at 413-341-3764 or email

Donate Your Old Laptop to Forbes Library in Northampton

Photo credit: presta.

Lisa Downing, Assistant Director at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes:

Did you know that the library lends laptops to patrons for in-library use? This program was instituted a few years ago and continues to be a very popular service for patrons. The program runs through the generous donation of laptops from the community. A patron can check out a laptop for up to two hours and use it anywhere in the building utilizing the library’s wireless network. This program has greatly expanded computer access for patrons but we are finding that by the middle of the afternoon we have more people asking than we have laptops to offer. If you have recently upgraded your laptop or are planning on doing so, consider donating your old laptop to Forbes Library.

Laptop must power up and have at minimum:
900 mhz CPU
512 meg RAM
10 gigabyte hard drive
ability to run Windows XP or better

When you donate, we will provide you with a receipt of goods for your tax return. Our technician reformats the laptop’s hard drive to remove any information that you have stored so your privacy is completely protected. Contact Lisa Downing at, call 587-1017 or just drop it off at the circulation desk. Thank you!

Forbes Library Seeks First Night Posters

Lisa Downing of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes:

Calling all Pack Rats and Collectors!

Later this year, First Night Northampton will reach its 25 year anniversary milestone! It’s hard to believe! Forbes Library would like to build a collection of all the various posters that have heralded in this wonderful tradition for the library’s Special Collections. Not only do these posters depict important works of art, but they are also vital to keeping a record of the performing arts in the Northampton area for the past quarter century.

If anyone has any old First Night posters they would like to donate to the library, please contact Katie Krol at 413-587-1013 or

Food for Fines

Lisa Downing of the Forbes Library (Northampton, MA) writes:

Forbes Library will be holding a “Food for Fines” program from Monday, January 5th through Saturday, January 17th, 2009.

Support your local community, clear your library account and return our books to circulate to others!

During this time, patrons may pay any overdue fines on their account with a donation of 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 Hampshire County [including Northampton and many Hilltowns].

High demand food items are non-dairy milk, cereal, crackers, canned fruit, peanut butter, tuna fish, hearty winter canned soup, macaroni and cheese, pasta and sauce, beans, and rice.

Suggested donation is one item for each $1 waived in fines.

19th Annual Giving Tree in Northampton

Jude McGowan of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes:

Please help us to make the holidays happy for children who are less fortunate than our own. Tell all of your friends and relative… we need your help! More families have registered for assistance this year than in any previous year. Thank you!

  • 19th Annual Giving Tree
  • November 27 – January 4
  • For children ages birth-16

Sponsored by the Forbes Library Children’s Department to benefit Hampshire County United Way Agencies

Gifts should be New or in Excellent Condition and should NOT be wrapped.  Gifts may be dropped off in the Children’s Department at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA between November 27 – January 4 on:

  • Mon 9-6 Tues
  • Thurs 1-5
  • Wed 9-7
  • Fri & Sat 9-5

Contact: Jude McGowan @ 587-1010

Send Hilltown Families your events or post them on our “Suggest an Event” page.

Local Program Applications Wanted for NOHO Library

Forbes Library Seeks Applications from Community Member for Future Programming

Forbes Library in Northampton, MA, has an active schedule of programs including lectures, workshops, classes, discussions, and more. We are seeking applications from the community for future programs. Do you have a special skill, body of knowledge, or other discussion topic to share with the community? Please consider applying to present a program at the library. Programs are generally offered on Monday or Wednesday evenings but can be given any time the library is open. Read the rest of this entry »

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