Amherst town councilors make their case for Jones Library project

Thursday, October 07, 2021

We are the Amherst town councilors who voted for the Jones Library. Our vote allows the town to borrow the money necessary to move the library expansion and renovation project forward and we urge you to affirm our vote and vote “Yes” on Nov. 2.

Our job as councilors is to serve the residents, do our research and vote in the best interest of the town, its residents, and its priorities.

A “Yes” vote addresses our climate action priorities by getting rid of the fossil fuel heating system and dramatically improving the energy efficiency in one of our most used and largest public buildings.

A “Yes” vote addresses social justice in our society — by providing sufficient space for programs that serve the less privileged among us — those that have no home, those that don’t speak English, those that don’t have a computer or broadband internet at home, and those that have trouble navigating stairs and other barriers to access.

A “Yes” vote is financially prudent with an eye to the long term. The cost to the town for this project is nearly identical to the cost the town would incur only to make it accessible and repair the mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems, all while continuing to use a fossil fuel heating system, failing to improve energy efficiency, and failing to provide spaces for our most vulnerable residents.

A century ago, the Jones Library trustees had a vision of a library that would be more than just a warehouse for books. The building would look and feel like a home. It would welcome and support residents’ desire to learn, not just from books, but from each other. The building would welcome performers and speakers. It would be a building for learning, and a building for community.

And 95 years later, the vision is still alive — a place visited by our residents almost 300,000 times a year to learn, to relax, to socialize, and to be part of our community. It is our living room, office, library, and entertainment space — a place to find books, a place to learn a new language in a new country, a place where a parent and child new to town can meet other families, a place where a resident who has no home can spend a day out of the cold or heat, a place where people can be less lonely and socialize with others, a place where a student can study without distraction or where teens can work on group projects without the worry of being judged by the size and condition of their own homes, a place where someone without a computer or broadband at home can search for and apply for a job, and a place to enrich yourself culturally without needing to spend money.

The Jones is a second home for our residents. And, 100 years later, that home needs to be upgraded and expanded to be able to meet these needs for the next 50 years. A “Yes” vote ensures this can happen, while a “No” vote will neither address climate action nor social justice issues, but will still cost the town nearly the same amount of money.

We urge you to vote “Yes” on Nov. 2.

Alisa Brewer


Mandi Jo Hanneke


Andrew Steinberg


Pat De Angelis

District 2 Councilor

Lynn Griesemer

District 2 Councilor

Dorothy Pam

District 3 Councilor

George Ryan

District 3 Councilor

Evan Ross

District 4 Councilor

Steve Schreiber

District 4 Councilor

Shalini Bahl-Milne

District 5 Councilor