Ted White: ‘The Jones’ is a gem as it is

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

As the world changes before our very eyes, and our local needs also shift, the misguided proposal for demolition and expansion of our own Jones Library becomes a more and more unsavory idea.

This plan has never gained the public support that such a massive and expensive public project must have and it would destroy a significant section of the gorgeous Kinsey Memorial garden behind the library. The Jones is a gem as it is — and deserves interior updating and improvements, but not a vast project like is being shoved at the public. Current uses of some of the smaller rooms within the Jones could be switched around to great effect to make the most of the existing space.

In addition to the wonderful resource that the Jones Library already is, our small town of Amherst also has the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass, which is the third tallest library in the entire world! The Du Bois is available for public use, along with Amherst College’s Frost Library and Hampshire’s Johnson Library and many residents take advantage of this. There’s also our wonderful small branch libraries, North Amherst and Munson, which deserve more investment.

With all the preexisting library space in town, we don’t need more. What we do need is to keep what we have vibrant, well-maintained and staffed by well-paid employees for years to come. The Jones library expansion is a bad idea.

Ted White