National Library Week is not until the middle of April, but I'm celebrating it this week with a column highlighting some cool library programs for families.
First up on Friday night, March 21, head to Great Barrington from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. for an evening of star-gazing at the Mason Library. A word about the Mason Library: I became familiar with this library during my time working for the Girl Scouts, as it was a good central location to meet with volunteers in South County. I have found the atmosphere, accommodations and staff to be wonderful here. As a bonus, whenever I visited the Mason Library, I would run into a cousin of mine who nannies for two kids who love to hang out there. Other than these chance encounters, I rarely see this cousin, as our mothers had a falling out years ago, so when I think of the Mason Library, I think of her, which is a nice thing.
Back to the program ... Rick Costello returns with his "super duper-sized" telescopes for an evening of planet gazing and learning about light speed, supernovas, dwarf stars and more. There will be hot chocolate and a spacey craft to keep the younger ones occupied. Register each person for the telescope viewing at 413-528-2403 or http://gblibraries.org.
Next up, on Saturday morning, March 22, visit the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield with the little ones for a Wee Reads Beach Party from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Visitors to library will hear stories, participate in craft activities and enjoy a snack. The activities are recommended for preschoolers and toddlers; for more information, pittsfieldlibrary.org.
A word on this library: As a Pittsfield native, this is the library I grew up in - back when there were still card catalogues, back before the Internet. I was remembering these days fondly recently when I started volunteering at my daughter's school library two hours a week. My first day volunteering, the librarian asked me if I was familiar with the Dewey Decimal System. I have to admit my mind went momentarily blank. The what? Oh, right, the little numbers on the spines of books ... yes, exactly, I remember those numbers from the Berkshire Athenaeum when I was a teenager. Sure. (I am, by the way, finding that reshelving books at the school library is a very calming experience. When life is chaotic, 614.92 still comes after 614.86. I had the same experience recently while spending an hour helping to organize shelves of the Williamstown Food Pantry. When life is chaotic, all of the peanut butter still goes together next to the jelly.)
The last library event is the fourth annual Spring Tonic at the Lenox Library, set for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. This is a celebration of all things locally grown, featuring local growers, CSA share sign-ups, farm samples, healthy information and conversations. For the kids, there will be an activity from 1 to 4 p.m. where they can plant seeds and decorate their own peat pot container. For more details visit lenoxlib.org.
What can I say about the Lenox Library? It's a lovely building in a lovely town, though my strongest association with this library is less then lovely: It involves freaking out upon finding red ants crawling all over my toddler's legs when I was changing her diaper on the grass across the street from the library while visiting their book sale several summers ago. I was not a huge fan of the ants but I am a big fan of that outdoor book sale. In fact, I'm just a big fan of libraries in general. Free Internet, free books, free programs ... what's not to love?
Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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