Jones Library Building Project

UPDATE: On July 13, 2017, we learned that 9 libraries were awarded a construction grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for FY2018, and 24 libraries were placed on the wait list. The Jones Library is 9th on the wait list. (See the MBLC’s Press Release for more information.) This is excellent news for Amherst as it will give us plenty of time to work with the community to determine its design priorities. We look forward to the next stage of this process. Please stay tuned for further details.
We have submitted our 2016-2017 MBLC Construction Grant Round Application (PDF)!

See our Deferred Maintenance Estimate (PDF).

See also our updated Space Needs Table (PDF), Key Milestones (PDF), our application designs and renderings (below), and our mailing to Town Meeting – Narrative (PDF), Floor Plans (PDF).

Many thanks to the Amherst Historical Society (PDF letter), the Friends of the Library (PDF letter), the Burnett Gallery Committee (PDF letter), the Literacy Project (PDF letter), Amherst's institutional librarians (Amherst College, Hampshire College, and UMass Amherst; PDF letter), Amherst's public school librarians (PDF letter), and our ESL students (PDF letter) for their support of our project.

Grant Application Designs

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5


  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
Thank you for your interest in our building project.

We hope to improve the safety, efficiency, and user-friendliness of the Jones Library, while also restoring our original 1928 building and honoring our past. We invite you to help us brainstorm the future of our library!

To learn more about this project, follow the links below:

Reasons to expand our Children's Room (Part 1) – with Head of Youth Services Mia Cabana.

Reasons to expand our Children's Room (Part 2) – with Head of Youth Services Mia Cabana.

Reasons to expand our Interlibrary Loan space.

Reasons to expand our Special Collections space – with Head of Special Collections Cynthia Harbeson.

State Grants & Timelines

In January 2014, the Jones Library applied to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for a Planning & Design Grant — the first step toward a building renovation and expansion project. In June 2014, the MBLC awarded Amherst a $50,000 grant.

We hired Finegold Alexander Architects to deliver a completed set of schematic drawings — as well as a cost estimate — for a renovated and expanded library building by October 2016. We submitted an application for an MBLC Construction Grant in January 2017. We expect to learn whether or not we've received the grant in July 2017.

See a more detailed Project Timeline (PDF). See Key Milestones for our Building Project (PDF).

Designs & Related Documents
For more information, see also: Board of Trustees Meeting Agendas & Minutes (in particular: Buildings & Facilities Committee, Feasibility Committee, and Design Subcommittee).

In the News

Video of Design Subcommittee Meeting (July 19, 2016)

Video of Building Forum (June 28, 2016)

Video of Building Forum (May 10, 2016)


Draft Designs

Our architects have created initial design drafts. These are by no means final drawings! Click the diagrams below to open up a larger PDF version of these designs. Additional information can be found in the Jones Library Building Program (Revised July 12, 2016) (PDF).

Update: These initial designs have been revised. Please see the most recent presentations by Finegold Alexander Architects (under Related Documents), which include updated designs.

Massing Models

To help people visualize the project, our architects have created two "massing models." These are by no means final drawings! These illustrations show the relationship of the building on its surroundings. (Click the diagrams below to open up a larger PDF version of these models.)

  • Option one shows no re-zoning, and no sale of land. Thus the Library would expand onto its property only.
  • Option two shows successful re-zoning, and a Library expansion closer to the Strong House, making collaborations easier, such as the sharing of artifacts and documents.
  • The third drawing shows the elevations. Whether we expand onto only our property, or use a small portion of the Historical Society’s property, we plan to go no higher than three stories.
Update: These models are outdated. The Library is planning to expand onto its property only.