Library DrawingThe CONNector

NOVEMBER 2000Volume 2 Number 4

ODE: Opening Doors to Everyone

ODE is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a solemn lyric poem. The issue of accessibility is a very serious matter. Not only should libraries and other places of public accommodation be accessible because it is the right thing to do, they must be accessible because it is the law (Americans with Disabilities Act). Physical and programmatic access to the wealth of materials and information inside the library must be achieved before a library can truly serve everyone.

What about the lyrical aspects of ODE? Increasing accessibility for people with disabilities to places and programs is music to the participants of this project. Within the public library community, services range from the artful addition of an elevator to the historic Wheeler Library in North Stonington to a signed story hour for children with hearing impairments at the Stratford Library.

Wheeler Library Wheeler Library
Wheeler Library in North Stonington made modifications to allow for access without detracting from the historical structure and design of the building partially funded with a State Public Library Construction Grant . Picture on right shows addition of an elevator to the back of the building.

The Connecticut State Library has two programs that support accessibility. State Public Library Construction Grants fund structural changes while Adaptive Technology Grants fund accessibility to library services. Many libraries have taken advantage of the opportunity to improve accessibility for patrons with disabilities. The Saxton B. Little Library in Columbia is one example, having recently been awarded a grant to purchase adjustable computer workstations and equipment to make its computer resources more accessible to persons with visual impairments. This year requests for Adaptive Technology Grants exceeded the availability of grant funds. The Connecticut State Library has shown significant leadership in its recognition of the importqance of providing assistive technology to meet the needs of all patrons and in its initiative to fund these projects. For further information, contact Gretchen Knauff, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, phone: 297-4342 or Carol Magliocco, Assistive Technology Training Center, 486-5076.

Some thoughts on Library Accessibility
Does your library:

If your library is not accessible to patrons with disabilities, do you provide services in an alternative manner?

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