Northampton Arts Council

The Northampton Arts Council is an organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Self-Service at Forbes Library is Underway

Forbes Library began offering a self-service check out option at the main desk in August. To date one-third of all adult circulation transactions are being handled through the new self-service kiosks. Patrons are responding positively to the new option which has proven to be quick and easy to use. The library is anticipating a further increase in usage now that non-book formats like DVD and books-on-CD on hold for our patrons are also available on the public holds shelf which was launched at the same time. The public holds shelf utilizes a coded identity system to protect the anonymity of patrons, and items are shelved spine down when feasible to further protect privacy. Patrons have the option to request that their code be changed as well as request that items are held behind the circulation desk. You can learn more about the new service through the FAQ page available on the library’s website,

The library introduced self-service check out to provide better customer service. The library had 60,000 more visitors last year than 10 years ago and inter-library loan (ILL) is popular among the library’s patrons. Last year the library received 40,000 items from other libraries for patron holds. Circulation overall has remained strong including a 5% jump in the number of books being borrowed last year over the previous year.

The library has also expanded its services to include a larger calendar of programs for patrons of all ages, a satellite office of the Franklin Hampshire Career Center, and vastly increased the amount of community outreach it is conducting all while maintaining level staffing. This summer the library reopened on Saturdays for the first time in 10 years which is something the community asked for. “We are very proud of our ambitious service model. We have made it our mission to remain relevant by continually reevaluating our services and increasing our reach to underserved and vulnerable populations,” said director Lisa Downing.

Self-service options raise questions about work force reduction efforts. The administration assures the public that this is not the case at Forbes. “Staff time freed up through self-service will be reinvested in meeting the goals of the library’s strategic plan,” said Downing. The plan was written last year based on extensive community feedback and can be viewed on the library’s website,

Writer in Residence Reading Series #2

WHAT: Our Work and Why We Do It
WHEN: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 7:00 PM
WHERE: Coolidge Museum, Forbes Library, 20 West St, Northampton MA

Our Work and Why We Do It is the Forbes Library’s new Writer in Residence reading series, which debuts on Wednesday October 17. This series is interested in exploring the ways in which the written word may create and sustain social worlds through inquiry, practice, experimentation, story and lyric. The dynamic of the public library, open and variegated in its uses, is the ideal space for these questions, as it can so directly reflect the desires of a community that contributes to it’s thriving, operating as an archive of those needs. Regardless of genre, this series believes in the potential for deliberation that writing may produce, a space within the information saturated world we share where we might consider possibilities and deeper questions just beyond what we know.

The series features writers of prose, poetry, nonfiction, and memoir, and beneath these broad categories, constellations of subgenres and forms. The series is motivated by an interest in understanding how writing relates to work, to a sense of a collective project that seeks to respond to the political and social forms that produce it. Against dithering, the series hopes to affirm the role of creative written work as a measure of response to the exigencies that shape our world.

Art Middleton is a writer, educator, and parent interested in exploring the experience of work, time, care, and community, themes that have shown up in his zines, fiction, prose, performance, and curation. His work has been published and performed in many independent presses and spaces, most recently a collaboration with poet Nicole Trigg in the zine Macaroni Necklace out of Oakland, CA. In 2011, he organized the Magic Child Repository, a gallery exhibit celebrating small press and handmade book culture in Providence, RI. Informed by his experience as a nursing/personal assistant, adjunct professor, and food service employee (a wide but not entirely tangential resume), his fiction draws from the mundane and the everyday to ask questions about how individuals orient themselves in history and place. He currently works as a writing instructor and English lecturer with a focus on utopian longing in politics and literature.

You can read a June 2018 Daily Hampshire Gazette article, “Forbes Library’s new Writer in Residence took a winding path back home,” about Art here.

Writer in Residence Reading Series #1

WHAT: Our Work and Why We Do It: Arch Optimism
WHEN: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 7:00 PM
WHERE: Coolidge Museum, Forbes Library, 20 West St, Northampton MA 

In “Please Stand Still the Doors Are Closing” the poet Anne Boyer writes of and as a radical writer who, “will fail to produce what we should, or to write or speak articulately enough, to reason clearly enough, to be always right, to be thoughtful or expansive enough, to be responsible at our work’s distribution…[but] we brave our errors in thought for the possibility that to see them demonstrated will allow others to get toward a rightness we missed.” This sense of getting toward something at work is the theme for this evening’s reading, featuring three writers whose work—restless, sagacious, funny, skeptical, hopeful—captures this essence uniquely.


Arda Collins is the author of It Is Daylight, which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. She is Special Issues Editor for jubilat and teaches at Smith College.

Rachel B. Glaser is the author of the novel Paulina & Fran, the story collection Pee On Water, and the poetry books MOODS and HAIRDO. She was recently named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. She lives and writes in Northampton, MA.

Zoe Tuck was born in Texas, became a person in California, and now lives in Massachusetts, where she is an MA-PhD student at Umass Amherst. She co-curates the But Also house reading series, and co-edits HOLD: a journal. Zoe is the author of Terror Matrix, and is working on a new poetry manuscript and a critical book of trans poetics.

Steve Herrell “Ice Cream and Me”

WHAT: Northampton Neighbors' Speaker Series: Steve Herrel
WHEN: Wednesday, October 24, 2018, 5:30 -7:30 PM
WHERE: Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton

What’s better than hearing Steve Herrell talk about his forthcoming book ICE CREAM AND ME?
How about enjoying a delicious cup of Herrell’s ice cream - complements of Steve -
following his presentation at Northampton Neighbors’ Inaugural Speakers Series.

Free. Open to the public.

Please let us know if you’re coming so we have enough ice cream!

RSVP Today to the Senior Center
(413) 587-1228

The Northampton Neighbors Speaker Series, with the support of the Northampton Senior Center, will feature prominent local and regional personalities whose presentations will entertain and challenge us. Events will take place regularly throughout the year. Hope you can join us.

Saturday Night's Main Event

WHAT: Saturday Night's Main Event
WHEN: Saturday, November 3rd, Doors @ 7pm, Jokes @ 8pm
WHERE: 13th Floor Music Lounge, 99 Main St, Florence MA

Downtown Trick-or-Treat

WHAT: Downtown Trick-or-Treat
WHEN: Wednesday, October 31, 3-5pm
WHERE: Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street, Northampton MA

Our annual downtown trick-or-treat celebration is happening on Wednesday, 10/31 from 3-5pm.  We are hoping for beautiful weather and lots of trick-or-treaters!  If you are interested in ordering bulk candy, Captain Candy is again offering bulk purchases - please click here for additional information.

Request for Proposals to Performing Artists!

O come all ye faithful be part of Eggtooth Productions’ 3rd Holiday Spectacular!
Submissions due by November 15, 2018 to

Eggtooth Productions & Mr Drag and Karl are now taking submissions for participation in the Third Holiday Spectacular on Dec. 14 and 15, 2018.  Performances must be holiday themed.  This can be from any holiday which happens at the end of December including Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, etc.  In fact, we encourage diversity!  Performances will be limited to 5 minutes (1 song) for a musical/dance number and 3-4 minutes for a spoken word/other performance.  Try to keep submissions upbeat (remember we are trying to keep it light and entertaining and holiday feeling for the audience), but we will accept some sentimental holiday numbers.

The concept is simple.  Mr Drag and Karl will be hosting.  The set will look like Mr Drag’s living room.  Everyone will be coming on as guests of Mr Drag and Karl and will be performing at their home just like an old TV holiday special.  He may invite the guests to sit on his couch and chat before or after their number.  There is an opening number being performed by Mr Drag, Karl and the Karl-a-like dancers.  Lori Holmes-Clark will be choreographing. There will be a finale.  Anyone interested in the finale, will have to agree to two rehearsals prior to tech.

If interested, please include your name, contact info a brief description of your performance, limited to 3-5 sentences.  Also, if you are interested in being a part of the finale, being interviewed by Mr Drag or being one of the Karl-a-like dancers please mention that in your submission.

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