I’ve been asked to review the Libraries in Massachusetts by a person at the State Board of Library Commissioners who oversees the grants to Libraries to improve services for people with disabilities. I decided to start with the libraries in my area. The Taunton Library is only ten minutes from my home. I wanted to check out the Taunton Library to see how wheelchair accessible it is for it is considered an historic building as well. The entrance to the Taunton Library is located on the side for the people with disabilities (only steps in the front) and you have to enter by going down a ramp on the side of the building that takes you to the children’s section floor of the Library. There are no automatic doors to get into the building. Once on the bottom floor of the Library you can take an elevator to the other levels. The elevator is of an average size. The main level of the Library has some areas that have one step but this one step prevents us in wheelchairs from getting to lots of books and information that are in that area. You can go to the desk and ask a Library Technician to help you get any items you need in the inaccessible areas. The Library technicians were helpful and helped me get a card for this Library and other Libraries hooked up to this network.
The computer on this level that was open was not easy for me to use as the table wasn’t big enough for my chair and I had trouble using this computer. The Taunton Library does not have the great set up and program for the disabled that the Plymouth Library does. *See my review of the Plymouth Library for more information on the computer with the Kurswell program at the Plymouth Library*. I went to the top Level of the Taunton Library and again there was one section that I couldn’t get to as there was one step to get to some books and sections. Some aisles were just wide enough for my chair to go down but, tight and some aisles were hard to turn my chair around in at the end of those aisles. I did need to use the restroom and it was in the back and wasn’t easy to get into the door as it was very narrow. The restroom did have a handicapped stall and it did have the safety bars for us who need them.
I give the Taunton Library ONE STAR. The Taunton Library has a lot of accessibility issues. In order to earn the other Four Stars they would need to install automatic doors, widen the aisles that are too narrow and hard to get wheelchairs down, make all the ends of the aisles wide enough for wheelchairs to turn around to go down the next aisle, without having to back all the way out of each aisle. They would also need to install ramps for the areas that have the step so wheelchairs can get to all areas of the Library. It would also be nice if they get a bigger table that would accommodate a wheelchair for the computer and installed the Kurswell Program (or one like it) for the disabled like me who need a program like this.