Around Town

Athenaeum has August offerings for all ages

WESTFIELD-While the Westfield Athenaeum’s summer reading challenge is winding down, there are still several programs this month to entertain local residents of all ages.

“We had 65 adults, 44 teens, and 124 kids participate in the challenge which are great numbers considering this is the first year we did summer reading online,” said Olivia Eberli, youth services and young adult librarian, noting the last day of the challenge is Aug. 7.

The summer reading theme was “Imagine Your Story,” and focused on fairy tales, mythology and folk tales. Highlights of the summer program included a Fairy Tale Trivia Night, workshops on writing “fractured fairy tales,” which is often a twist or modern re-telling of a classic fairy tale, and performer Jeff Belanger did a virtual program on “New England Legends” which featured ghost stories and tall tales.

Area residents are encouraged to participate in the Westfield Athenaeum’s LEGO castle challenge now through Aug. 16. Olivia Eberli, youth services and young adult librarian, created her own castle to provide ideas to participants. (OLIVIA EBERLI PHOTO)

“While this summer reading has been different, everyone has been grateful that we have even had it at all,” said Eberli. “We can’t wait to get started planning events for the fall.”

Programs this month are also varied and include an intergenerational writing class, led by Gretchen Hohmeyer, digital services and children’s librarian. She has bachelor degrees in English and Writing, and a master’s in Children’s Literature.

“I have taught writing classes to ages kindergarten to adult and had short stories published in fiction and travel magazines,” said Hohmeyer. “I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen and haven’t stopped since.”

Hohmeyer, a second generation German American, has a family love story she says “sounds almost too much like fiction to be true.”

“I hope to help other families weave together the stories of their families through this workshop,” said Hohmeyer.

Hohmeyer’s workshop is slated Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. and participants can sign up by visiting

“There is no story more personal than the story of your family,” said Hohmeyer. “We will explore how to write family biographies as well as connect narratives across generations.”

Also starting this week is a Bookworms program for children in first and second grade, in partnership with Paula Hebert-Pike of the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Program.

“Over Zoom, we will read a book, talk about it, and do a craft,” said Eberli, noting each meeting will feature a different book and the first eight children to sign up will receive a copy of the book to keep.

Bookworms sessions are slated Aug. 6, 13, 18 and 20 at 10 a.m. To sign up, visit

For anyone who enjoys working with LEGO bricks, a LEGO Castle Challenge is underway through Aug. 16.

“We are challenging people of all ages to create their own castle using LEGO bricks,” said Eberli. “It can be big, it can be small, make it totally your own.”
Participants making castles are asked to take a picture of one’s creation and tag it on Facebook (@westath), or send the photo to [email protected] to have it posted on the Athenaeum’s Facebook page.

The last of the special August programs is “Storytime with Miss Mary,” slated Aug. 27 at 10 a.m.

“Join Miss Mary over Zoom to hear a story, sing some songs, and do finger plays,” said Eberli, noting Mary Reagan, assistant children’s librarian, is “Miss Mary.” For registration details, visit

To Top