Mines of knowledge: Special libraries

Thursday August 30, 2012

Included among the 70 Berk shire County libraries listed with the Massachusetts Board of Library Com mis sioners are nine libraries categorized as "special." These are libraries with materials on specific topics.

For example, Kathleen Adams manages a part-time library at MRA Laboratories Inc., located at 15 Print Works Drive in Adams. MRA Lab oratories is a manufacturer and supplier of formulated ceramics used for their unique electrical properties, specifically dielectric materials.

"It's pretty much a technical library," said Anton Polotai, a senior scientist at MRA Lab oratories. He took a phone call from The Eagle for Adams, who was off that day.

He said the lab library has between 20,000 and 30,000 books and journals relating to the fields of technology, electronics and chemistry. Some of the materials were acquired through the former Sprague Electric Company. The MRA lab library also has electronic subscriptions to current journals and offers an inter-library loan service.

"We provide people the service to find information in these specific fields," Polotai said.

Similarly, the American Ins titute for Economic Re search, located at 250 Division St. in Great Barrington, has about 25,000 volumes in its economics library.

Several local museums and hospitals also have libraries relating to their respective fields which are open to the public and/or researchers.

Off the MBLC list, there are several other kinds of unique lending collections in the county.

Temple Anshe Amunim at 26 Broad St. in Pittsfield has its Julius & Rose Adler Mason Library, stocked with more than 2,500 titles covering Jewish history, music, fiction and more. It also hosts a book club.

Sheep Hill on Route 7 in Wil liamstown has a lending library with materials such as field guides and gardening manuals.

Beyond the traditions of book lending, other places lend other things.

The Northern Berkshire Early Intervention program at 25 Marshall St. in North Adams has a Toy Library which is open to families with children.

United Cerebral Palsy at 208 West St., in Pittsfield has a lending library with assistive devices and toys for people with disabilities and special needs.

And the Center for Eco Technology, at 112 Elm St. in Pittsfield loans energy saving guides, curriculum materials and even wattmeters.

Berkshire Museum

Collection of art history, natural history and other resources

39 South St., Pittsfield

For information, call the museum at (413) 443-7171

Berkshire Law Library

Courthouse, 76 East St., Pittsfield

Monday to Friday,
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

(413) 442-5059

Chapin Rare Book Library

Rare books and manuscripts

Southworth Schoolhouse, Southworth Street, Williamstown

Reading room hours Monday
to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Clark Art Institute

Library of art history

225 South St., Williamstown

open to the public Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Hancock Shaker Village

Amy Bess and Lawrence K. Miller Library of 13,000 primary and secondary manuscripts and more.

Routes 20 and 41, Pittsfield

Open to all, by appointment.

(413) 443-0188

Jacob's Pillow dance archive

Correspondence and history of the festival and its dancers, film, audio and scrapbooks

358 George Carter Road, Becket

Outside the festival season, open year round by appointment: (413) 243-9919, ext. 150

Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell archives and library on the art of illustration

9 Route 182

Open to all by appointment


-- Berkshire Eagle Staff


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