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Williston Library moves into new digs — with help

  • Caroline Channell, 17, carries a box into the newly renovated youth and teen space of the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton. The students, all members of the Williston Community Service Club, were there volunteering. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Sophia Schaefer, 18, and Rachel Burke, 17, put together shelves in the newly renovated youth and teen space of the Emily Williston Memorial Library. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Rachel Burke, 17, and Sophia Schaefer, 18, put together shelves in the newly renovated youth and teen space of the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton. The students, all members of the Williston Community Service Club, were there volunteering. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jonathan Schmidt, the youth services librarian at the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton, helps Rachel Burke, 17, and Sophia Schaefer, 18, put together shelves in the newly renovated youth and teen space. The students, all members of the Williston Community Service Club, were there volunteering. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS



Staff Writer
Sunday, January 07, 2018

EASTHAMPTON — Six teenagers from the Williston Community Service Club worked for two hours in frigid temperatures Thursday, lugging cardboard boxes filled with heavy books down the stairs into the Emily Williston Memorial Library basement. Together, they emptied a storage container parked outside.

“It’s always nice to help out,” said Rachel Burke, 17, a junior at Williston Northampton School. “Who doesn’t want to help out a library?”

The students came together during their winter break in response to a call put out on Facebook by the library director, Nora Blake.

The library staff needed help to move back into the 136-year-old library building, now that basement renovations and foundation repairs have been completed. One of the students’ moms saw the Facebook post.

“It’s good for us to help the community,” says one of the club leaders Sophia Schaefer, 18. A Northampton resident, she’s never been to the Easthampton library before. She said she’s impressed with the renovations and might consider coming for another visit.

The basement has a new circulation desk. There is a new teen area with a selection of young adult novels. After the dust settles and the library reopens, the staff will introduce a video game selection. The space will also be outfitted with a few recliners, where teens can hang out, study and read.

“It’s great that it’s renovated and it’s good for the community,” Burke says.

Blake said the library staff might also consider hosting a teen game night, with hopes to attract more young people.

The renovations, which cost about $400,000, were funded by the private nonprofit Public Library Association of Easthampton. Five Star Building Corp. of Easthampton managed the work, which also included updating the basement bathrooms.

“It’s a much better environment,” says Blake.

The library is expected to reopen in late January or early February, says Blake.

Until then, visitors are welcome to come to the library’s temporary location in the Eastworks building in Easthampton. There, people can browse a limited collection of books, CDs and DVDs. Internet access is available, along with computers, a printer and fax machine.

Eastworks donated the space. “It was difficult to close the library, but we were lucky we had so much support,” said Blake.

Big E’s Supermarket let the library use one of its trucks for free, and the Westfield company DIY Mobile Box donated a few storage containers so that many boxes could be loaded and moved at once.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community,” said Blake.

Those who want to volunteer to help unload books at the Emily Williston Memorial Library can contact Library Director Nora Blake at 413-527-1031.

The library’s temporary space is at the Eastworks building on the first floor, suite 142, right across from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Library hours have also changed temporarily. Open hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m

Lisa Spear can be reached at Lspear@gazettenet.com.

Editor’s Note: The captions for the photos with this story were changed on Jan. 7, 2018, to correct the names of those pictured.