Inanna Balkin: Students make case for a ‘Yes’ vote

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Amherst would feel ‘empty’ without the library

I am Inanna Balkin, a seventh grader at Amherst Regional Middle school. The library is an active part of my life; I read the books from the library, and my family does as well. Without the library, we would have an extreme lack of reading material. Without the library, Amherst would feel empty.

The library is a place that everyone can come to and everyone belongs in. It is full of resources that many people use everyday. At least 442,000 people borrow from the Jones Library every year. The computer workstations are used at least 25,000 times, and the meeting rooms are used 1,000 times.

So many people use the library, yet, there is so much it could improve on. Doing the renovations would not only make it more environmentally friendly, but also make it much more accessible, and grow its resources. It would also preserve the special collections stored in the library.

As a middle schooler, I can say that once the colder weather comes we will badly need a place to hang out after school. Especially one where we don’t have to spend $5 on bubble tea. The library renovation would give us this much-needed teen room. It would give kids who don’t have any space at home somewhere to relax.

If we reject this grant, the next opportunity we have to accept it will most likely be in three to seven years. Even then, the grant process will be more competitive, therefore making it harder for us to receive the grant again. Although you could vote to just do basic repairs to the library, the cost to repair the library is between $14.8 and $16.8 million. On top of that, these repairs would not be covered by the grant. If we chose to only do the repairs, the library would not be more sustainable, whereas doing the entire modernization would.

Will you, the voters of Amherst, listen to our voices, and vote “Yes” for the Jones Library renovations? The library gives us so much, we must give back to it.

Inanna Balkin

Amherst Middle School

This letter was co-signed by students Cora Chalif, Stella Stroud, Elena Denno, Aliya Morales Fernandez, Milo Goffredo, Eleanor Rasche and Holden Stearns.