The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Community Service Club Restores Town Library

Williston+students+after+helping+out+at+the+Emily+Williston+Library.+Credit%3A+Sophia+Schaefer.+
Williston students after helping out at the Emily Williston Library. Credit: Sophia Schaefer.

Williston students after helping out at the Emily Williston Library. Credit: Sophia Schaefer.

Williston students after helping out at the Emily Williston Library. Credit: Sophia Schaefer.

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On Thursday, December 28, most Williston students were at home. It was winter break, and they were with family, friends, or working on their homework due when they got back. However, six students, all members of the Community Service Club, were instead braving the -4-degree temperatures to move books back into the now-renovated Emily Williston Library.

The library, named after the co-founder of Williston Academy, is not technically a part of campus—although members of the club couldn’t turn down the offer of helping.

“It’s always nice to help out,” said Rachel Burke ’19. “Who doesn’t want to help out a library?”

After senior Sophia Schaefer’s mom told her about the Facebook post by the library’s director Nora Blake, she knew it would be a great opportunity for Williston’s Community Service Club.

“It’s good for us to help the community,” she said. “Especially because this cause is so closely intertwined with Williston’s history and it is so easy for us to help.”

Senior Caroline Channell was excited to help when Sophia texted her over break. “I am very fond of libraries, so I was happy to help out, especially during [the] holiday season,” she said.

Unlike her other high school years, Caroline isn’t an official member of the club because of her busy schedule, but loves volunteering when she can and believes that the club is an important part of Williston.

“The Community Service Club is very important on campus because you do not have to be a part of it to participate and be an active citizen in the community beyond Williston.”

Caroline concluded, “Even if that just means donating a can to the food drive, everything helps!”

The library has been closed since September 16, and has spent $400,000 on renovations, funded by the private nonprofit Public Library Association of Easthampton.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the library has a new circulation desk, along with an area designated for teens, with young adult novels and some recliners for teens to hang out. They are also planning to introduce a video game section.

Blake also added that the library is considering starting a teen game night to attract more young people.

The changes are not just cosmetic, however. She told the newspaper in September that they found serious problems in the building’s foundation.

Head of School Robert Hill III serves on the library’s Board of Directors, “by dint of being head of school.”

He added, “I take an active role as time allows, believing that the School should have as much of a presence in town as possible—and we do given all the volunteering done by members of our faculty and staff over the years.”

Hill also has a role on the investment team.

According to Rick Teller, Williston’s Assistant Librarian and Head Archivist, the library was named in honor of Emily Williston on the 125th anniversary of when she paid for it.

“Good old Sam and Emily were leading philanthropists in their time, and their scope was not just local, I believe,” Hill said. “Anyway, they supported all things educational and obviously Emily took care of the library for the town of Easthampton.”

The library is expected to open in late January or early February, and until then they will be in their temporary space at Eastworks, which the building’s owners provided for free.

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Community Service Club Restores Town Library