Two anonymous, one-time challenge grants, one of $3,000 and one of $1,000, sparked a coordinated community fundraising effort that will reopen Amherst’s Jones Library on Friday afternoons through the end of next June.
Library supporters from Amherst and surrounding towns including Easthampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, and Whately ate enough barbecue at The Harp Irish pub in North Amherst on Sunday, October 3, to match both challenge grants, with contributions still coming in.
FY2010 budget cuts had closed the Jones from 1 – 5:30 p.m. on Fridays. While library Trustees hope to reopen as soon as this coming Friday afternoon, October 8, it will depend on staff availability.
The generosity of many Amherst organizations and individuals made this possible. Harpo at The Harp and his expert waitstaff provided luscious barbecue. ACTV, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Amherst Bulletin, Collective Copies, Food for Thought Books, Friends of the Library, Hastings, and WMUA provided various types of publicity and ticket sales.
Library staff at the Jones, Munson Memorial, and North Amherst libraries sold tickets and provided other support. Library trustees held a phonathon.
Alpha Tau Gamma fraternity of the Stockbridge School, UMass, moved a huge tent from the Amherst Common and set it up at The Harp, as well as constructing the stage. The bands of Bobcat O’Galahan and the Thundercats; Dan Kaplan and the No-Nos, and and WildCat O’Halloran provided continuous entertainment.
Elected officials not only attended but even staffed the grill along with William Mitchell of the Stockbridge School.
This wonderful effort is still insufficient to make up FY2010 cuts of more than $70,000 to the budget for books, DVDs, and other materials.
The libraries look forward to continued community support, so that they can continue a high level of service to our community.