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Tamson Ely: Says state supports Jones Library project


Sunday, July 30, 2017
Says state supportsJones Library project

The editorial “Hadley, Amherst face library decisions” in the Bulletin and Gazette (July 28) about the state-funded library construction grants focused attention on the importance of libraries, their challenges and the communities they serve. I am appreciative of this attention to libraries.

However, the characterization of the library situation in Amherst is seriously misleading and does a disservice to readers. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) did not “put the brakes” on the Jones Library project as the editorial states. On the contrary, the grant submitted by the Jones Library was approved,

The nine library grants awarded this month, including Hadley, will go forward pending town or city approval. The same is true for the 22 public libraries statewide — all approved and placed on a wait list, including the Jones which is ninth on the list. Libraries on the wait list may not receive their grants for several years, but they are slated to receive them when more state funding becomes available.

I have worked in libraries for 38 years and served on MBLC committees and now serve as a trustee of the Jones Library. The letter we received from the MBLC congratulated us on the approval of the grant for the main library and the services needed there. As the editorial noted, there will be many open meetings in Amherst for more community input, but in order to receive MBLC funding there are certain fixed requirements that are part of the approved grant, among them the size of the proposed renovation/expansion.

I hope the editors will pay closer attention to the facts and not rely on statements made by those opposed to the project, who have asserted that placement on the waiting list was a rejection. This is fake news here in our own Valley.

As a longtime subscriber to the Gazette, I am deeply disappointed in the impression the editorial left, namely that the MBLC was not supportive of the Jones grant. The MBLC clearly approved the Jones Library grant and the record needs to be set straight.

Tamson Ely

Amherst

The writer is a trustee of the Jones Library.