The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

New Children's Book Fund Established at Forbes Library

The Trustees of Forbes Library have established the Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund in honor of the beloved Bridge Street School teacher. The fund was established with a gift of $50,000 from Dr. Melvin Hershkowitz, Marie’s father.

Forbes Library’s children’s department is a crucial community resource that supports early literacy and a lifelong love of learning and libraries for the kids, families, and teachers in our community. This year, as part of a state mandate, Forbes Library will spend $20,300 on books and other materials necessary to meet the needs of kids and teens. Despite book budget cuts, circulation in our Children’s & Young Adult Department grew by 15% last year, totaling almost 100,000 items. Part of this growth was a result of our expanded outreach to schools and other organizations that serve youth in our community.

The library established its first book funds early in the library’s 125-year history and have added additional funds as opportunities have arisen through the years. Interest from these funds—along with donations and grants—are the sole source of funding for our book budget. Unfortunately, these funds are not keeping pace with spending increases. “A community of our size deserves a well-funded children’s department. We are seeking ways to improve sustainability for our annual book budget, and that’s why we are so grateful for the establishment of this new fund. With proper funding, we won’t have to worry about the future of our children’s book budget,” said Russell Carrier, President of the Forbes Library Board of Trustees.

The trustees plan to grow the fund to $100,000 over the next few years. “We are so grateful to Dr. Hershkowitz for his generosity. This fund will allow us to purchase about 90 children’s books from the interest of the fund in the first year and this number will continue to grow as the fund grows leaving a lasting legacy in Marie’s honor,” said Lisa Downing, Library Director. Books purchased with the fund will be identified with a book plate bearing the name Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund along with a line drawing of a greyhound, one of Marie’s favorite animals.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Marie Hershkowitz Memorial Children’s Book Fund should contact Lisa Downing, Library Director, at, by calling 413-587-1016, or by visiting the library’s website.

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