Molly Turner: Agrees on rethinking Jones Library project

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Agrees on rethinking Jones Library project

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners did not award a grant for demolition and construction this year for the Jones Library.

I agree with Sarah McKee as she writes in her July 21 guest column (“Must rethink Jones Library project”) that we, as a community, would do well to rethink the library project with a “townwide participation and … perspective.”

She, along with many other thoughtful and smart community members, and with Town Meeting members who voted not to apply for the state funding, have been thinking long and hard, for over a year, about how the Jones Library system can progress through the 21st century. This pool of community study and wisdom holds important ideas. The task now for the trustees is to devise a way to access this valuable thinking.

One issue that was presented at the annual Town Meeting, by a Town Meeting member, was the need for building responsibly with the environment as a stakeholder. We have buildings in Amherst and throughout the Valley that are meeting requirements for greener construction standards set by three green building institutions.

The U.S. Green Building Council certifies buildings through the LEEDS program. Architecture 2030 and the Living Future Institute are two other organizations that could help the Library trustees and the town in planning a greener building.

I believe many of the activists who have participated in this debate would like to come together with the trustees in a new atmosphere of mutual respect and open-mindedness to rethink the library together, including consideration for all three Amherst libraries, 21st-century environmentalism and a program of library services appropriate for the unique community of Amherst.

Molly Turner