We headed to the city of Quincy yesterday to do a wheelchair accessibility review of Thomas Crane Public Library which is the main Public Library in Quincy and located on Washington Street right across the street from the Quincy Main Post Office that we found to be very wheelchair accessible.

The Thomas Crane Public Library is in the Old Colony Library Network (OCLN). There are designated handicapped parking spaces in the parking lot at this library. The library consists of four connected buildings that are set in a beautiful park like environment. The grounds were designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, one of most famous landscapers who also designed NYC central Park.

The oldest building is the Richardson Building and it is a National Historic Landmark which opened in 1882. The second building is the Aikin addition which opened in 1908. Then the Coletti building was erected in 1939 and the newest edition is called the CBT which opened in 2001.

Richard Bertman is the architect whose Boston firm Childs, Bertman and Tseckares (CBT) designed this newest edition and renovated the older buildings to ensure they are accessible to all. There are very wide cement sidewalks throughout the entire park like landscape and are very easy to wheel your wheelchair on. The older buildings at this library have stairs at their main entry doors so the entrances are not wheelchair accessible but can be accessed once in the Library.

To the right of the older Richardson Building is a wide cement slopped sidewalk which leads to the main entry door of the new CBT building which is where the wheelchair accessible entrance is located.

There is an automatic door opener at the entrance of the library. Once inside there is a Children’s Library to the right. The Atrium is in the center and here there is a large map of the library which shows what services are located on each floor. The Atrium has wheelchair accessible tables.

A Cafe is located on the left side of the Atrium and it is open Monday-Thursday from 11:00-7:30 and Friday & Saturday from 11:00-5:00. The Cafe on this level is very wheelchair accessible. There is a nice sloped ramp on the side of the Cafe made of the same floor leading to the inside of the café. The counter where you order something to eat or drink is very wheelchair accessible and is of good height for my wheelchair. In the rear of the Atrium there is a large meeting room, which has a sign on the door that states, ‘Assisted Listening Available Here. Ask for a Sound Mate’.

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The elevator is located in the left rear area of the Atrium. Ric, Tony, my mom and I took this elevator up to the First level. On this level you will find the main Circulation Desk, an Information Desk, plus more. We asked a nice Librarian if they had any services for the disabled and she was happy to tell us they do have specialized services and these services are located on the second level.

We started to head to the elevator and there is room off to the right which has Video’s, DVD’s and CD’s so before going upstairs we went into this room. There a large artistic sculpture that is a hands on display and is easy for one in a wheelchair to touch. This sculpture is made of steel and has pedals like a bike and can move to make storm like sounds. The sign on the base of this sculpture says that artist is Richard Bertman and the name of this sculpture is called ‘Rainmaker’ and was donated by the artist Rich Bertman in 1985. He is also the main architecture who designed the new addition and renovated the library.

Located off this area is also a Copy/Telephone room and Exhibit Room and Multi Media Video Room. All areas are easy to access in a wheelchair and all exhibits are placed at a good height for one in a wheelchair to view. We stopped to look into a glass display that is wheelchair accessible and I looked it over it was a display of Children’s Chinese Hats. We then headed back to the elevator and went up to the second floor.

Once on the second floor we saw a lot of computer desks and all are wheelchair accessible. Every desk and computer we saw in the library is wheelchair accessible. There is a room with a glass wall that had a sign that “THIS ROOM IS RESERVED FOR THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED”. There is also is sign that says that the Lions Club donated this room for visually impaired visitors! I am visually impaired so I really appreciate what the Lions Club donated.

We went to the reference desk and asked Hope Brand, a very nice Reference Librarian about all the disability services this Library offers. Hope told us that the Librarian who specializes in the Disability Services was not in but she was kind gave us much literature on the special services this Library has for disabled.

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Hope gave us literature on all the Special Disability Services that are available at this library for the deaf or hard of hearing, the blind or visually impaired, those with mobility or orthopedic impairments, those with learning disabilities plus many other services. The Library also offers an ‘Outreach on Wheels’ program. This program provides delivery of library materials those who are homebound due to illness, disability or age.

Hope then took us into the special room with the computers for the physically challenged. There are 2 computers in this room at wheelchair accessible desks. The screens are both LCD flat monitors that are easy for me who is visually impaired to see. I especially liked the key board for it is black with bright yellow keys making it easy for us who have vision problems to see.

On this computer was the Kurzweil software that converts printed word into speech. I was really happy to see this program and I have only seen this at the Plymouth Library. The computer also has magnifying software and other assistive technology.

We went back out the references desk to speak with Hope again. She told us that this Library also has a hand held magnifiers and Braille books and Large Type Books and Magazines as well as Talking Books. The Talking books are from the Perkins School for the Blind. Hope gave us a lot of pamphlets with tons of information on the library. One of the brochures stated that the City of Quincy began to explore ways to enlarge the library and make it handicapped accessible back in the 1990s when the passage of the American Disabilities Act was signed into law. My friends and I are really impressed with the City of Quincy for they really care about making everything Accessible to All!

Hope also explained that all the buildings are connected and even the Historical Richardson Building can be accessed from the newer CBT Building. Hope kindly showed us the Historical Richardson building before left. To get to the Richardson Building we took another elevator down to the first level. We stopped again at the Circulation Desk to take a picture of the wheelchair accessible counter at this desk. My wheelchair fit perfect at this counter. We then walked though the Multi Media Room that led to a nice connection hallway that lead us to the Richardson Building.

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The Richardson Building is a Historical Landmark and we were impressed by its beauty and architect. The wooden walls, wooden floors and wooden ceilings were all in amazing condition. There are many beautiful stain glass windows and beautiful large fireplace. The Richardson Building is now used as a Reading Room.

The Richardson Building was designed by Henry H. Richardson in the Romanesque style. Henry Richardson is a famous architecture. The Library was named after Thomas Crane. Thomas Crane lived in Quincy for many years and was a leader in stone contracting business and became very wealthy. His wife and son, Albert Crane donated the land and money to the City of Quincy to build the Public Library in memorial of Thomas Crane. We thanked Hope for showing us around and told her how very impressed we were that this Library is so very wheelchair accessible.

Before we left we decided to check out the rest rooms and were amazed by the automatic door openers to the restroom. All the restrooms in this Library are wheelchair accessible. They have all ADA required safety grab bars and accessible sinks that are a good height for my wheelchair. The sinks have the ADA required protective covering around the pipes underneath.

We took a different elevator to the Ground Level and we ended up in the Children Library. The Children Library is also very wheelchair accessible. It has a Tropical Jungle Theme. There is a large wooden monkey that one can put their face in a hole in the monkey’s face. It wasn’t accessible for my large wheelchair but would be accessible for a child’s wheelchair. Ric put his face in the monkey’s face since I couldn’t do it.

I give Thomas Crane Public Library FIVE STARS PLUS for wheelchair accessibility and for all the specialized programs they offer to the disabled. The Library is fully accessible to all. Every aisle is wheelchair accessible; there are automatic door openers on all doors; every restroom is wheelchair accessible; every desk is wheelchair accessible as well as every computer terminal. I also give Hope Brand FIVE STARS for her kindness and for all of her time that she spent with us to show us this beautiful Library.