Library Stop: Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Until this weekend, we’ve had a mild winter here on the Connecticut shoreline. The one substantial snowfall I rejoiced over melted within days, and a couple weeks ago I felt the need to see some snow. There was only one way to go — for an afternoon drive, anyway — and that was north. I decided to head toward Amherst, MA to visit Emily Dickinson’s grave. After I paid my respects and before turning towards home, I headed to the local public library and bumped into Robert Frost.

According to a quick search, The Jones Library is the closest public library to West Cemetery. The library is currently closed to the public due to the pandemic but luckily, it was still light enough to take some external photos.

Jones Library, Amherst, MA

The Jones Library was incorporated in 1919 after a bequest from Samuel Minot Jones. The building was designed to look like a residence and opened on November 1, 1928.

The front door of the Jones Library in Amherst, MA

A close-up of the front door. I love the white, angular framing against the richness of the natural field stones. It’s great to see the Black Lives Matter banners. Notice the plaque to the left of the door.

A peek inside the front door of the Jones Library, Amherst, MA

A peek inside the front door.

Robert Frost Literary Landmark, Jones Library, Amherst, MA
Literary Landmarks Register plaque.

This is the part where I “bumped into” Robert Frost. The Jones Library is on the Literary Landmarks Register due to its association with the poet.

The plaque reads,
“‘To the Jones Library
my first series collector and
longtime friend under Charles Green.’
Robert Frost”

and under that:
“In recognition of the Jones Library’s early relationship with Robert Frost, American poet and Amherst resident, this site is dedicated as a Literary Landmark by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations.”
Dated October 24, 2009

Left from side view of the Jones Library, Amherst, MA
A wide-angle photo of the front left side of the library. As I’ve written in earlier posts, I don’t like the distortion of these iPhone wide-angle photos, but they are good for capturing a large building. From this perspective, you can see how the yellow section bumps out. Just to the right, out of site, are some parking space.
Right backside of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

The left side of the library, taken from the parking lot. Those dormer windows with globe designs are delightful. The world is yours inside your local library!

Receiving - Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Brick meets field stone. Three doorways huddled together in such close proximity conveys a sense that a lot of activity happens here.

Backside of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

A view of the back of the library. You can see the edge of the receiving door eave to the extreme left. I wonder what those barn doors are for? There’s also another entry for patrons in the back, notice the porch’s white pillars.

Quoin detail, Jones Library, Amherst, MA
Quoin detail. Quion is the architectural term for the corner of a building that has an interlocking stone pattern (these can be structural or simply decorative).
Star bolts, Jones Library, Amherst, MA
Star bolts with light.
Star bolt detail, Jones Library, Amherst, MA
Star bolts such as these usually are not decorative. They strengthen brick walls and prevent buckling.
Middle section of backside of Jones Library, Amherst, MA
A row of dormer windows on the back are a nod to but don’t exactly match the side dormers in shape and don’t have the globe detail, but they do look functional. The library was renovated in the late 1960s and an addition was added in 1993. Perhaps this was part of the addition.
18th Century Garden behind the Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Just behind the library is an 18th Century Garden plot maintained by the Garden Club of Amherst.

18th Century Garden behind the Jones Library, Amherst, MA

A view of the 18th Century Garden in winter slumber. I look forward to returning in the summer — please may all libraries be open by then — to check out the garden in all its glory.

Brick facade, back of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

This is the back, right corner of the library. It doesn’t have the quion support or detail from the other corner of the building, so I’m guessing this might be part of the new addition? That half-circle window at the top mirroring the globes of the side dormers is gorgeous.

This is a Google satellite image of the library. Isn’t this amazing?! It looks like there’s an internal courtyard inside the library. I’m assuming this is great for daytime reading. From this shot you obviously see the size of the library. What looks like a charming village library from the street is actually a rather large compound. They house some special collections.

(Side note: A neighbor of mine has a camera drone and, I won’t lie, after seeing this library image, I had a brief thought of getting one. But, ultimately, I do think they’re a bit creepy and horribly invasive).

Right backside of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

The other side of the library, looking from the back toward the front. There are matching dormers with globe windows! Maybe this isn’t the addition? Or maybe the entire back of the library, including the other side, is the addition? Hmm, now I really have to go back and talk with a librarian about the history of this intriguing library architecture.

Library worker pushing book cart, Jones Library, Amherst, MA

A peek through the window at the side emergency exit shows a library worker pushing a library cart. I know I’m not the only one who misses the whooshing of library cart wheels while working at a library table or browsing the shelves.

Peek into the stacks, Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Another peek through a window, looking into the nonfiction section. Like a kid looking into a candy store.

Ultra-wide photo, Jones Library, Amherst, MA

Another wide-angle photo. This one is of the left side of the library from the front.

Left front of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

This photo take from the same position as the one above without the wide-angle.

Left front of Jones Library, Amherst, MA

A direct photo of the left from of the library. It does look like a cozy New England dwelling.

This map above is actually taken from Google maps. I’ve never seen a library mapped on Google like this. I checked my local library and such a map is not associated with it. This map is why I knew I was looking into the nonfiction section in one of the photos above.

Three public libraries serve Amherst. Jones is the main library and there are two branches: the North Amherst Library and the Munson Memorial Library in south Amherst.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos of the Jones Library. Their website is linked below.

Jones Library
43 Amity Street
Amherst, MA 01002

P.S. I began this post with a lament about missing snow this winter and am happy to report my town is currently under a winter storm warning with 11-16″ predicted. Fingers crossed.

If you enjoyed this post, check out more of my library stops and visits here:


  1. What a marvelous hodgepodge of a building. I miss those American libraries for sure! May they reopen when it’s safe and bustle again with great activity and renewal.

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