Nancy Campbell and Marian Walker: Urging Amherst Town Council to vote for Jones Library renovation  

  • Jones Library in Amherst. FILE PHOTO

Published: 11/26/2020 7:27:14 AM

The Friends of the Jones Libraries is an all-volunteer organization which, among other things, raises money for library programs that the library’s annual budget cannot cover. Some of these programs include: after school chess and gaming clubs, book groups, and summer programs in writing and other creative arts for students of all ages.

The Friends also sponsors the second-grade reader program, which provides every second-grade student in Amherst and Pelham with a library card, a tour of the library building and a free book to take home. Since the start of the pandemic, several of these library programs have moved online. Library staff adapted remarkably quickly to the new circumstances. But many of the library’s programs could not be offered online; they require human interaction and the use of a building.

When the pandemic recedes, these programs will return to a building that is ill-suited for the many services of a 21st century library. The library building has always been lovably quirky, and it has some extraordinarily beautiful architectural features, but it is slowly crumbling and wasn’t designed for expansion. It is inaccessible to many patrons, inadequate for the use and storage of the library’s collections and expensive to maintain. Rather than wait until a leaking roof turns into a collapsing one, we can take advantage of lower construction costs and state funding to prepare for our town’s growth and increased reliance on our tremendous library services. We enthusiastically urge the Amherst Town Council to vote in favor of the renovation and expansion project.

Nancy Campbell and Marian Walker, co-presidents, Friends of the Jones Libraries


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