I appreciate the time and effort our Jones Library Trustees and staff members have invested in visioning and planning for a new library. Unfortunately, the designs the Trustees are proposing are now obsolete. Their proposal for a larger updated library was designed Pre-Covid. We are now at a point where we need to pause and rethink their Pre-Covid designs. Bigger does not always mean better.
The Coronavirus has impacted our daily lives and it will for many more years to come. We do not yet know what our post-COVID life will be like or what our future public library needs will be. Even with vaccinations, it could be years before we will feel comfortable again gathering next to each other inside for a lecture. Will we still be required to keep six feet away from each other? Does the present building designs account for the possibility that each computer station will need to be kept six feet apart? Simply making the building one-third bigger, using plans drawn up before the pandemic, is short-sighted.
The worsening COVID-19 pandemic demands that we reconsider the designs for the Jones Library. We do not know what lies ahead. It is time to push the pause button and use this time to get a better grasp of what our new, post-pandemic normal is before committing tens of millions of dollars for a future whose needs are still unknown, and a library that will be obsolete before it is even built.
Bonnie MacCracken is a resident of Amherst