December 29, 2017

Ski & Skate sale!

You know how when you read Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfeild you really wanted to learn to skate? And whenever you read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats you were always jealous of the little boy's red coat? Now's your chance to live out your literary dreams, Friends! Come to Crocker Farm Elementary School on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 5-6.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

And maybe, just maybe, among all the mittens and skis and boots and hats, you'll find a Hockey Sweater.

December 27, 2017

December 26, 2017

The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great Libraries

Hey Jones, what's yours?

Atlas Obscura asked some of their favorite libraries what the oldest item in their collection was. 

December 23, 2017

The Very Best Things About Reading Aloud with Kids

In their own words, here are a few things about the wonderfulness of reading to children that parents said. Perhaps during school break you can sit down, snuggle up, and read aloud, too.

December 22, 2017

Watson through the ages

While Sherlock Holmes is obviously the big name, this article takes a fun look at his television sidekick. Different Watsons in Pop Culture reminds us that Watson doesn't have to be white, male, or even human to still be Watson.

December 21, 2017

The Belle of Amherst in a new light

"I pretended to be Emily Dickinson on an online dating site and I found out that every guy wants to get with a famous dead poet."

December 20, 2017

*** Library Holiday Closing ***

The Jones Library and branches will close at
12 noon on Friday, December 22 and re-open at
9 am on Tuesday, December 26
in observance of the Christmas holidays.
Happy holidays to all!

How Much of a Grammar Snob Are You?

Are you the one silently judging the grammar of your co-worker in staff meetings? Does a little bit of you die inside when you hear someone use "myself" when they could just say "me?" Or maybe you're the opposite and beginning a sentence with a conjunction is just fine. (See what we did there?) Discover the true grammar you with this fun quiz.

Then maybe visit the library to check this out.

December 19, 2017

Need a holiday gift for a teacher?

The Friends can help.
We've got tote bags, tea, and this new community cookbook!
Swing by the Jones Library and check out our gifts,
all for $15 or less.

Caitlin Moran

author of Moranthology, writes that, "A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination."

In this season of thankfulness, the Friends would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Amherst public libraries.

December 18, 2017

The Last Black Unicorn

NPR has an interview with the author of The Last Black Unicorn (not to be confused with Martellus Bennett). If you have seven minutes to listen to the segment, you might enjoy it. Or you could just kick it old school and read it.

December 12, 2017

Public transportation and public libraries

Friends, the bus routes in Amherst may be changing. The MA Department of Transportation wants to hear from you. Please take this survey and let the DOT know what you think about their proposed changes.

Here is a message from the Town Planning Director about the proposed changes:

Hello everyone,

The Town of Amherst has been following the progress of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation project for improvements to the Route 9 corridor between Northampton and Amherst.  As part of this project MassDOT is exploring changes to the bus route of the B43 bus, which serves Northampton, Hadley and Amherst, including Smith College, UMass and Amherst College and businesses along Route 9, including the malls in Hadley.  The proposed changes are intended to improve traffic congestion and decrease travel time for bus riders between Northampton and UMass. 

However, the proposed changes would have a significant impact on Downtown Amherst, Amherst College, and businesses and institutions along University Drive.  See attached map for proposed route changes.  The red dots indicate the elimination of bus stops.

Consultants for MassDOT (Toole Design Group of Boston) are circulating a preference survey for riders of public transit and other travelers along the Route 9 corridor, to seek input on the preferences of people who travel along Route 9 between Northampton, Hadley and Amherst.  It is important that they hear from as many people as possible, especially people who currently ride the B43 bus.  

Please forward this link to those whom you think would be interested, including your employees, staff, students, administrators, board and committee members and residents. 

The current deadline for submission of responses is December 22nd, but we have requested an extension of this deadline.

Thank you for your help and participation in this important project.

Christine Brestrup

In case it helps, here's the actual survey link: Please share this with friends, neighbors, colleagues...

December 8, 2017

Holiday movies to put you in a holiday mood...

And maybe we'll even have some snow by then!

(Click on image to enlarge.)

November 15, 2017

Oscar Wilde fans

Plan a trip to New York City because we've got a walking tour just for you. Well, you and Dorian Gray. Check out this article on four places every Oscar Wilde fan must visit in Manhattan.

November 14, 2017

As you gear up for

the Friends of the Jones Library annual book sale THIS WEEKEND, you might be interested in reading this article: 13 Secrets of Rare Book Dealers.

Who knows what gems you'll find at the book sale on Friday or Saturday? But now you, dear Friend, will be armed with the foreknowledge that the book in your hand might be a true treasure.

November 10, 2017

November 9, 2017

Youngest winner of Australian Poetry Slam

Poetry doesn't just come in books. Or tucked into your brown paper bag of warm bread at The Hungry Ghost. Or delivered to your ears in the Goodwin Room at the Jones Library.

Sometimes? Sometimes a 12-year old reminds us to simply breathe in and breathe out. 

Through poetry.

November 8, 2017


If you know what it is, host a party!

If you don't know what it is, click here and then? Host a party!

November 3, 2017

Friends of the Jones Library Holiday Book Fair

The only thing better than a library book? The books you get to keep! (Um, without incurring library fines.)

Come one, come all to the Friends of the Jones Library Holiday Book Fair! Open to members-only on Friday, November 17, (6:30pm - 8:30pm) and Saturday, November 18, to the general public (9:00am - 1:00pm) at the Jones Library.

On Friday night, we'll have a Concierge Librarian available to help you make your selections. Especially knowledgeable in children's literature, the Concierge Librarian can help find something for all the smallest people in your life. Not a member of the Friends? No probs. Join on the spot. Memberships start at $15.

Saturday the book fair is free to everyone. But we can't guarantee that the No Cussing Club will still be somewhere on the tables.

Most books are priced at $1-2. All proceeds from the sale benefit the Jones, Munson, and North Amherst libraries.

Plus? The Well-Read Cook, a community cook book of your recipes, Friends! It's just arrived, hot off the press, in time for the sale. Between the cook book, library totes, tea, mugs, and t-shirts, your holiday gift-giving couldn't be easier!

And you can feel good about making the world a better place after having supported your Friends at our annual book sale. That? That's priceless.

November 2, 2017

Wanted! Used books!

The Friends would greatly appreciate donations of gently used books, CDs, DVDs, and puzzles for our annual book sale. Our book sale is Friday, November 17th, and Saturday the 18th. Drop them off before then in the Jones Library at the room with the Yo Yo Ma poster (in the Fiction section).

And hey, thanks, Friend.

November 1, 2017

Got wet books?

Maybe it was left out in the rain. Maybe it was dropped in the tub. 
We're not judging. 

We're here to help solve your soggy problem. 
This 3-minute video will have your book back to almost-normal in a flash.

Books 1, e-readers 0.

October 30, 2017

Bookstore Doubles as Vacation Home

Thinking of opening a bookstore? Want to take a couple weeks vacation in Scotland? Hey, you could combine the two!

In this Scotsman article, an American has created a two week AirB&B rental where guests live above the shop and run it for two weeks at a time. 

The Open Book, Friends. Check it out.

October 29, 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird... read by Amherst's middle schoolers. But if you're in 8th grade in Buloxi, Mississippi, you're out of luck. In this article, explaining why Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize-winning classic was taken off the school reading list, the vice president of the school board said, "There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books."

The book is on the Common Core curriculum as a text for 8th grade English Language Arts. It is also 21st on the American Library Association's list of most banned or challenged books in the last decade.

October 28, 2017

October 26, 2017

Step Inside to Discover the Home That Inspired Jay Gatsby’s World

For a mere $16.8 million, this Long Island home can be yours.

The Friends suspect the views from this room may show a green light on the dock across the water...

October 25, 2017

Why is the world so cruel?

Did you know there are butterbeer donuts in the world? 
Of course you did, you're a savvy bunch. 

The Friends are bereft to discover 
they're only available at Sugar Shacks though. 
Closest Sugar Shack? 390 miles south in our nation's capital.

Perhaps Glazed Doughnuts will hear our plea...

October 23, 2017

Not just actors...

... but authors as well. Here are six books by people 
you may only have known from the silver screen. 

And only one of these books isn't in the library system.

October 22, 2017

Play your uke!

Easy songs, laid back instruction, and a lot of fun.
What more could you want?

Well, of course other than this...

Conscience of a Conservative

Check out this excerpt of a recently published book 
by Arizona Republican Jeff Flake

By the way, Conscience of a Conservative is in our library system, 
if this excerpt sparked further interest...

October 21, 2017

Sylvia Plath’s Collected Letters, published last month

The cover of the US version:

The cover of the UK version:

In a Guardian article, one Plath scholar decries the cover of the second version.

"These are the images that publishers think best represent Plath, an internationally recognized poet and novelist, an icon, an alleged victim of domestic abuse, a single mother, a person with mental illness and a person who killed herself. Why is her work, so heavy with symbolism and myth, which documents the frustrating consequences of transgressive womanhood, marketed with so little thought and respect?

"Presenting female writers as sexualized and frivolous diminishes their intellectual credentials, tarnishes their work as slight, not to be taken seriously."

Read more here.

October 20, 2017

Interactive workshop for Baby Boomers

Books, Blacks, and Bigots

A recent blog entry by American sociologist James Loewen, entitled Books, Blacks, and Bigots, looks at who attends book signings, who goes to book stores, and generalizing along racial and sexual lines.

"If Puerto Rico Means Anything To You, You Have To Step Up."

“Break a vase, 
and the love that reassembles the fragments 
is stronger than that love 
which took its symmetry for granted 
when it was whole.”

Ever since he came to Amherst as part of our On The Same Page program in 2013, the Friends have had a soft spot in our hearts for Junot Diaz. Last month he spoke up about a part of our country that desperately needs our help right now.

October 19, 2017

October 18, 2017


Pablo Neruda poetry discussion.


Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Prize in Literature

It ain't him babe, no no no, it ain't him they were lookin' for. 

Last October, "The Nobel Committee outraged much of the literary world by announcing Bob Dylan -- singer, songwriter, and (we suppose) poet -- as that year's winner of the prize in Literature...The Nobel Committee could hardly have selected a better winner to wash away the embarrassing awkwardness of last year's prize."

The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go author Kazuo Ishiguro won this year's biggest literary award. And thus, "Today belongs to Ishiguro, a profoundly thoughtful storyteller and exquisite writer -- and, for the Nobel, a perfect reset."

October 17, 2017

October 9, 2017

The 2nd annual International Beer and Pizza Day

In honor of this momentous day, International Beer and Pizza Day, the Friends highly recommend you check out B is for Beer and Pete's a Pizza. Enjoy your books with a cold brew and a hot slice.

Isn't this a glorious country?

October 6, 2017

Well, this is obviously a brilliant book

"I'm just no good at rhyming.
It makes me feel so bad.
I'm just no good at rhyming,
And that's why I am blue..."

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming is a new book of poetry that's completely unconcerned with "the rules." Author Chris Harris hopes to inspire kids with all you can do with words. "I remember reading and seeing some of the most formative books and TV shows and movies when I was growing up -- things like The Phantom Tollbooth and even Monty Python -- and thinking, oh, my gosh, I never knew I could do that. I never knew that someone could do that. I wonder what else I can do? And I would love it X number of kids read this and also said, wow, I didn't know you could do that. I wonder what else I can do?"

October 4, 2017

“Hey, those are exactly my sentimonies.”

They're so bad they're actually brilliant.

Or should that be, there brilliant?
Their brilliant?

October 3, 2017

Game of Thrones video

This five-minute animated GOT clip (from the extras you get on the upcoming Season 7 DVD) contains NO SPOILERS and is fun to watch.