New Jones Library trustee appointed

  • Jones Library

Staff Writer
Published: 12/13/2016 12:09:44 AM

AMHERST — An enthusiastic champion of the proposed project to expand and renovate the Jones Library will fill a vacancy on the trustees’ board.

Alex Lefebvre, of 52 North Prospect St., received all 10 votes from the five members of the Select Board and the five remaining trustees at a joint meeting Monday.

"I’m very excited and ready to embark on a lot of work," Lefebvre said, after being chosen over three other residents who were interviewed for the position that became available following the death of trustee Michael Wolff last month.

Lefebvre, a retired account executive for an insurance intermediary, will serve until the March town election, when she can take out nomination forms to run for the three-year seat. The election will include one other three-year seat, currently held by Christopher Hoffmann, and a two-year position held by Lee Edwards.

Two of the other three applicants for the position, Kitty Axelson-Berry, 89 Stony Hill Road, and Terry Johnson, 15 Teaberry Lane, both expressed reservations about the building project, while the final candidate, Nikki Lloyd-Kimbrel, 35 Triangle St. said she could support an expansion.

But no candidate endorsed the project as vigorously as Lefebvre, who said she would immediately help promote the expansion through a marketing plan, and inform the community of the excitement for a building that will have an enlarged dedicated space for children, and an area for young adults.

"I would argue the vibrancy and progress of a library directly impacts the vitality of a town," Lefebvre said.

Her first tasks, she said, will be to get up to speed on the project and assist with the start of a capital campaign.

Lefebvre already volunteers at the English as a Second Language program housed at the Jones. 

"My real passions are serving the needs of the underserved population, whether ESL, people in poverty or children," Lefebvre said.

Axelson-Berry said her main concern in running is to preserve the library from the current expansion and renovation project being proposed.

"I'd say I'm a candidate who will ask questions and provide a reality check," Axelson-Berry said.

She said she worries about losing the home-style feel of the historic building and turning the Jones into a glass and steel, institutional style building.

Johnson, a former fifth and sixth grade teacher at Mark's Meadow School, said she can't support the current plan, which is wasteful because it would mean demolishing the early 1990s expansion and some of the original 1928 building.

"The things most disappointing about this plan are not enough of the original L are being kept," Johnson said.

Lloyd-Kimbrel said she loves libraries and wanted to continue the legacy of Wolff, for whom she worked as a personal and research assistant.

"Without a library, a town does sort of lose its soul," Lloyd-Kimbrel said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

 




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