FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Does The Jones Library need renovation?
A: YES. The layout of the Library needs to be re-configured and infrastructure needs to be updated. For example, the lobby elevator as well as other areas in the building must be made wheelchair accessible. Wiring needs to be updated. HVAC systems heat and cool unevenly. The Atrium leaks. Restrooms are inadequate. Shelving must be made accessible. However, all of these upgrades could be made using the regular Town budget and Community Preservation Act funds. Chasing state grant monies for an expansion project Amherst DOES NOT NEED for its public library is NOT A BARGAIN.
Q: Does The Jones Library need more space to enhance programs?
A: YES and NO. More space is needed for some Library programs: Children and Teen Book collections and activities; Special Collections/Local History Archives; AV materials; English as a Second Language (ESL). However, enhancing these programs can be achieved through reconfiguring space and does NOT mean that an EXPANSION is needed.
Q: Can better use of The Jones Library's existing space meet these needs?
A: YES. Of the Library's more than 48,000 gross square feet (GSF), some 3,000 SF are now unused, underused, or used inefficiently. The unused, inefficient interior rooms could be reconfigured by a professional library space planner to create more space. If more space is needed beyond what could be accomplished by reconfiguring the interior rooms, construction could remain within the existing footprint through what is called an "in-spansion," or building higher. For example, by re-constructing a 2nd floor above the Adult Fiction Room (this second floor was removed during the 1993 expansion).
Q: In the Demolition-Expansion, would the Library's 1993 expansion be repurposed?
A: NO. In 2010, the Town finished paying for the 1993 expansion. The Demolition-Expansion calls for demolishing ALL of the 1993 brick addition. This demolition includes the Atrium and the Woodbury Room (the large, lower level meeting room) that was renovated in 2012 at a cost of more than $175,000.
The 1993 Addition to Jones Library (loan paid off in 2010).
Q: What would be the cost for the proposed Demolition-Expansion?
A: Approximately $49 million in total costs. The Trustees' Total Cost estimate of $35.6 million does not include interest on the debt, which is estimated at $13.4 million (assuming a 4% interest rate over 25 years). Even after subtracting a possible State construction grant of $13.7 million and $6 million from gifts and other potential sources of funds, this would still saddle Amherst taxpayers with $29+ million, nearly twice the $16 million figure quoted publicly by Trustees.
Q: Would the Demolition-Expansion increase the collections of books, DVDs, etc.?
A: NO. Along with no increase in collections, there is also no Technology Librarian, and no plan for hiring one in the Demolition-Expansion.
Q: Could a substantial RENOVATION be done within the existing footprint that would provide needed space?
A: YES. A renovation within the existing footprint is consistent with Amherst's values of repurposing and sustainability in reusing what was done well in the 1993 expansion. For example, replacing the leaking Atrium with clerestory windows would provide both natural light and a roof for the installation of solar panels. The need for a costly expansion requiring extensive demolition has not been substantiated. A cost estimate for a renovation within the existing footprint (as opposed to a list of deferred maintenance repairs) though repeatedly requested by SOL in 2016, has not been forthcoming. To this date, Trustees have not obtained an estimate for an architect-designed renovation within the existing footprint.
An example of clerestory windows that provide natural light and allow for solar panels.
Q: Would the proposed Demolition-Expansion renovate or expand the two branch libraries that are part of the Jones Library system?
A: NO. The two branch libraries, Munson Library in South Amherst and North Amherst Branch Library would remain untouched in the Demolition-Expansion. A comprehensive approach would significantly improve the Jones Library and also allow improvements for our two branch libraries as part of our town-wide Library System. The North Amherst branch library currently has NO accessible public restroom. Many find this unnacceptable.
North Amherst Branch Library Munson Branch Library in South Amherst