Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 unneeded library expansion project is NOT a bargain.
Replacing the leaking Atrium in the
1993 addition with clerestory windows (example shown in photo) would provide both natural light and a roof design that would allow the installation of solar panels. This is just one example of a creative renovation that would make demolition unnecessary.
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 interior space and using other space in town 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 an "in-spansion," or building higher.
Q: In the Demolition-Expansion, would the Jones Library's 1993 expansion be repurposed?
A: NO. While the Town finished paying for the 1993 expansion in 2010, the Demolition-Expansion calls for demolishing ALL of the 1993 brick addition in addition to parts of the original historic structure. This demolition includes the Woodbury Room (the large, lower level meeting room) that was renovated in 2012 at a cost of more than $175,000.
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). After subtracting a possible State construction grant of $13.7 million and $6 million from gifts and other potential sources of funds, this Demolition-Expansion would still saddle Amherst taxpayers with at least $29.5 million, nearly twice the $16 million figure quoted publicly by Trustees.
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 the values of repurposing and sustainability in reusing what was done well in the 1993 expansion. The need for a costly expansion requiring extensive demolition has not been substantiated. Starting in 2016, a grassroots group, Save Our Library ( SOL) requested a cost estimate for a renovation within the existing footprint (instead of a deferred maintenance repair list). To this day, Library Trustees have not obtained an estimate for an architect-designed renovation within the existing footprint.
Q: Would the Demolition-Expansion increase the collection of books, DVDs, etc.?
A: NO. The Jones has already begun to discard books in its collection in anticipation of the Demolition-Expansion which provides for no increase in collections. There is also no Technology Librarian, and no plan for hiring one in the Demolition-Expansion.
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 Memorial Library in South Amherst and the North Amherst Branch Library would remain untouched by the Demolition-Expansion.
North Amherst Branch Library
A comprehensive approach to a renovation would significantly improve the Jones Library and also allow some 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 the lack of a public restroom unacceptable in a public library.
South Amherst's Munson Memorial Library