There is a piece of legislation that is very important to anyone who is disabled or has mobility issues – the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law requires any new construction of buildings to have ramps, elevators, commercial stair lifts, etc. installed where needed. While every local area has its own building codes and restrictions, older buildings of historical significance can be exempt from updating their accessibility, but some are making efforts to ease mobility nonetheless.
One such institution is the Albright Library in Scranton, PA, which is planning to install an elevator after more than six decades. The Times Tribune has the story and says that the building itself was the reason for the delay:
“He said the difficulty in installing an elevator has been the need to rework some of the architecture of the building, completed in 1893. The solution came when [Public Library Director Jack] Finnerty started to literally “think outside the box” and install an elevator outside in the rear of the building.”
The article says that the second floor of the library will now be accessible to disabled and elderly patrons, who have not been able to access the wealth of periodicals located there. The visibility is one of the benefits of the innovative placement of this elevator – the library director says it will not be seen from the road. This is important to the architecture of the library, which is considered historic. The only drawback to this project is the hefty price tag:
“Mr. Finnerty said construction is slated to finish in mid-December. Until then, disabled patrons are asked to use the Children’s Library entrance because the ramp leading to the first floor had to be taken out. Mr. Finnerty said the $496,000 needed for the library elevator project has been taken out of the John J. Albright Fund, which can only be tapped for the physical needs of the Albright Memorial Library.”