Berkshire Athenaeum Announces a New Space: The Food Zone

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, announces the opening of a newly refurbished space designed to accommodate those who want to bring food or drink into the library. Dubbed “The Food Zone” or “FZ” the main floor space at the Northwest corner of the library has been outfitted with appropriate seating, tables, additional electrical outlets, and tile flooring.

The undertaking followed an experiment conducted last November and December when the Athenaeum allowed patrons to have food and drink in the library and surveyed patrons for their opinion on making a permanent change. Library visitors were supportive of the concept, by a five to one margin.   Library Trustees authorized a staff committee to work with an interior designer in identifying a suitable location and selecting furnishings. Library Director Ron Latham observes, “While the Athenaeum, like many public libraries, has had a long-standing No Food or Drink policy, today’s library users have different expectations. The Food Zone is designed to accommodate those who might want a coffee or bit of food, while still keeping the library’s book collection safe from spills.”

In concert with opening the new Food Zone, the Athenaeum is also making much of its magazine collection available for borrowing. While current magazine issues will continue to be limited to library use only, earlier issues of magazines on the Main Floor and in the Children’s Library will be available for check out. Serials Librarian Andrea Puglisi remarks, “We have such a lovely variety of subscriptions on so many topics. Results from our most recent Magazine Survey showed patrons would like to take the older issues home to read.” Patrons wanting to check out magazines can do so by presenting their library card, following the same procedure as borrowing other library materials.