North Amherst Library building project underway

  • Work has begun on an addition for the North Amherst Library, seen in January 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, August 08, 2022

AMHERST — As construction on an addition to the 1893 North Amherst Library building gets underway, many of the materials from the branch library are now in a temporary spot at 81 Cowls Road, where operations will take place until next spring.

While the exact date of reopening for the branch library is not yet known, George Hicks-Richards, facilities supervisor for the Jones Library, told the Buildings and Facilities Committee last Thursday that most of the work, including assembling shelving, installing phones and getting information technology service connected, is complete.

Hicks-Richards said the final aspects of the work include installing signs and putting in the book drop. 

“We’re excited to open,” said Library Director Sharon Sharry, adding that staff is looking forward to working from the space.

In particular, Sharry said the temporary site, in a building at North Square Apartments, will lend itself well to what will be called Mill District Storytime.

During the construction project and use of the temporary site, Sharry said the library will maintain the same hours, including being open Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The library remains closed on Thursdays and Sundays.

District One Neighborhood Association member Meg Gage, who pushed for the relocation, said she is pleased that books and materials are not being moved to the Munson Library in South Amherst, as had been planned earlier.

“We appreciate how temporarily locating the library in The Mill District will help this young part of old North Amherst become better known and appreciated,” Gage said.

The neighborhood association may put on events to make the public aware of the library’s presence.

The space was donated by W.D. Cowls, whose  Community Development Director Arthur Haskins oversaw the buildout of the space, which includes full accessibility and a public bathroom.