Ironically, some of the best arguments for voting No on the Jones Library project come from a large postcard from the Jones Library. It was sent to all Amherst residents and outlines how the Jones is functioning in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, presenting an impressive array of free services using the internet. In fact ,the services are so attractive that they can easily be substituted for a large part of the proposed demolition/expansion approved by the library trustees and town council. The postcard’s futuristic services will provide exceptional aids for all patrons including: filling requests for books for pick up and even home delivery; get help from a librarian by phone or on-line; get ESL and citizenship help; print from home for free; get unlimited internet for free; download e-books; and much more.
The future points to the use of ever-expanding electronic technology, where library users will be very pleased to have a vast array of aids at their finger tips. It must be admitted that most of us already have too many projects demanding too much of our time and an electronic library will be a real help for busy people.
If voting No on November 2 wins, the Jones needs to get funding from the Mass Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for the kind of upgrading the Jones has neglected for decades. There is a hurdle to be overcome. The MBLC will only provide funding for projects which increase the size of the library. Our answer must be the minimal increase in space allowing for State MBLC funding. Finally, with reduced library spending, the Amherst Schools’ building project will be the Town’s top priority, as was shown in polling of the public.