Statement of Support: ESL Students

We are students at the Jones Library ESL Center. We come to the library frequently to practice English and attend events. Many of us meet with one-to-one tutors here. We enjoy reading materials here, we study here, we meet friends here, and we bring our children to explore the resources here. Although it is crowded at times, we love the library and we think it helps to make Amherst a good place to live.

We are happy to learn that there are plans to expand the library building and make it easier to use. This will make the experience better for the newcomers who arrive in Amherst in future years.

ESL Letter of Support (PDF)

Statement of Support: Amherst Regional Public School Librarians

To Whom It May Concern:

As the five school librarians for the Amherst Public Schools and Amherst Regional Public Schools, we are writing in support of the proposed renovation and expansion of the Jones Library. We know that libraries have a significant and measurable impact on student learning and achievement. Since the public libraries offer our students critical print, digital, and community resources after school, on weekends, during school breaks, and over the summer, the Jones Library supports our own students’ learning and achievement. We believe that the proposed renovation and expansion will have an impact on our students and their families in the following ways:

  • The proposed expansion of the Children’s Room will allow the entire collection to be easily accessed in one space and will provide adequate room for family programming such as story times. Currently, the space cannot support the increasingly high demand for circulation and programming and the staff cannot properly supervise children using computers.
  • The proposed expansion creates a safe, inviting, and supportive environment for teens to work individually or collaboratively on academic or extracurricular projects of interest.  The current “teen corner” in the basement of the library is small, unappealing, and not visible for supervision.  At this time there are no computers dedicated for young adult access and demand exceeds the need.
  • Many of our children come from families that speak English as a second language. The proposed expansion and renovation will create a space to serve those families with an ESL program that supports our work in the schools.  The current space in the basement is cramped, not easily accessed, and cannot meet the demand for English language learner services.
  • Many of our families do not have access to computers and/or the internet at home. The proposed expansion of computer workstations will help to address this gap in our families’’ digital access.
  • The current layout of the Jones Library is confusing and difficult to navigate, with two elevators and staircases that individually do not access every floor.  People with disabilities, parents using the library with young children, and new patrons are especially challenged in navigating the library’s resources efficiently.  The renovation will allow all users to feel welcome and access all areas of the collection more easily.

For these reasons, we support the renovation and expansion of the Jones Library.

Susan McQuaid, Crocker Farm librarian

Leslie Lomassan, Amherst Regional High School librarian

Fran Ludington, Fort River librarian

Peter Riedel, Amherst Regional Middle School librarian

Susan Wells, Wildwood librarian

Statement of Support: Amherst’s Institutional Librarians

We are pleased to voice our enthusiastic support for the Jones Library’s renovation/expansion project.

The Jones Library is a vital complement to our institutions, not a redundant competitor.  As professional librarians, we are especially aware of the critical importance of libraries that serve all of the residents of a town – e.g., children, teens, those without computers, learners of English, those interested in local history, and the casual as well as the serious reader.

The Jones Library is a fundamental piece of the infrastructure that maintains the robust intellectual, cultural, and civic life for which this Town is known.  It should be a pre-eminent example of its kind.  But the Jones is currently at capacity, and unable to fulfill its mission to serve everyone.  The vigorous pursuit of the Jones’ programs should be of high importance to us, and it needs a facility that will allow it to achieve that standard.

Bryn Geffert
Librarian of the College
Frost Library
Amherst College

Jennifer Gunter King
Harold F. Johnson Library
Hampshire College

Simon Neame
Dean of Libraries
University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Statement of Support: The Literacy Project

The Literacy Project supports the Trustees and staff of the Jones Library in their efforts to renovate and expand, to make the library services more inclusive and accessible. We are pleased and proud to be included as a partner in the Jones Library renovation plans. The Literacy Project shares a mission with the Jones of supporting reading and literacy. This makes the Jones Library a perfect home for our adult students who are typically nontraditional library users.

The Literacy Project is a small local nonprofit with classrooms in Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield, Ware and Orange. We offer free classes to adults in reading, writing, math, high school equivalency and college readiness.  Adult students work at their own pace in small, comfortable classes, with guidance from staff instructors and support from volunteer tutors. Students of all ages, from 16-76, study with The Literacy Project to reach their goals, whether it’s passing the high school equivalency exam, preparing for college and careers, or simply discovering the joy of reading.

The Literacy Project aims to keep the doors of opportunity open to all, to provide free access to education to adults who need a second chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. What better place to do this work than at the Jones Library.

Submitted by
Judith Roberts
Executive Director
February 24, 2017

Statement of Support: The Amherst Historical Society and Museum

The Amherst Historical Society and Museum supports the expansion and renovation plans of the Jones Library. The two organizations are neighbors on Amity Street and our buildings, although not related institutionally, share space that enhances both structures and the experience of visitors to Amherst. Of greater importance, however, is the outcome of lengthy discussions in 2009 and 2010 that suggested that the two institutions should cooperate more fully. We anticipate, for example, that the expanded Jones Library will have storage space dedicated to the Historical Society’s more delicate collections such as textiles, paintings, and works on paper. We hope too that there will be exhibition space that will enable members of the public to see Historical Society objects in  ways that the mid-eighteenth-century Strong House precludes at the present time.

Another aspect of the building plan that the Historical Society supports is expanded public meeting space, something that is in short supply in Amherst, at least at no cost to residents. It is often difficult to schedule events because of so much demand. The Historical Society holds its annual meeting and lectures in the Jones Library; the Historical Society does not have sufficient space for our own membership and has no plans for an addition to accommodate large events.

The residents of Amherst deserve a public library that is easy to navigate, fully accessible, and user friendly. The staff and collections are great assets to the Town; they and the residents deserve a building to match.

Georgia B. Barnhill
President, Amherst Historical Society

Statement of Support: Burnett Gallery Committee

The Burnett Gallery provides a community space to display the work of artists and craftspeople from Amherst and nearby towns. Exhibits have shown abstract and representational art, as well as work with strong topical interests. Individual and group shows include works of high quality but without the reputation or resources that would enable them to exhibit at museums or commercial galleries

The Burnett Gallery Committee supports the Trustees and staff in their efforts to renovate and expand the Jones Library to meet the needs of future library patrons. Adding program space and renovation of existing areas will enable the Jones Library to offer exciting programs and opportunities to the residents of Amherst. Replacing building infrastructure, including the elevator and HVAC, will improve access for all patrons and assure the preservation of the collection and the comfort and safety of the patrons.

It is exciting to support a renovation/expansion that is both respectful of the history of the Jones Library building and carefully planned to meet the needs of future patrons.

Statement of Support: Friends of the Jones Libraries

The central purpose of the Friends of the Jones Library System is to sustain the Jones, Munson and North Amherst Libraries, to focus attention on library services and needs, to stimulate library use, and to strengthen library resources and services. In the words of Lewis Mainzer, we recognize that “libraries don’t stand still.” As library users’ needs change, so must the library change.

In this spirit, the Friends of the Jones Library System support the Trustees and staff in their efforts to renovate and expand the Jones Library, to make its services more inclusive and accessible while preserving the building’s historical architectural features.

The Friends applaud maintaining the meeting room names “Woodbury Room” and “Goodwin Room” in honor of special Friends of the Library.

Approved at the Friends of the Jones Library System Board meeting on December 5, 2016.