Albert Church Brown library receives handicapped access grant

Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China Village.

by Mary Grow

The China Library Association (CLA) has received a $10,000 grant to improve handicapped access at the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China Village.

Librarian, Miranda Perkins, and CLA president, Louisa Barnhart, shared the news early in March.

The grant is from the American Library Association (ALA), under a program called Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Accessible Small and Rural Communities.

The goal is to “begin or continue projects that will improve library access for thousands of library users,” a March 4 ALA letter says. Typical projects make it easier for residents with physical or intellectual disabilities to use library services.

Gerry Boyle, speaking for the CLA’s building committee, said the money will support the trustees’ handicapped access plan, which starts with “a symmetrical handrail and half wall to the front of the building,” connecting to a platform in front of the front door, level with the floor inside.

There will be a ramp, built to Americans with Disabilities standards, on the south side of the platform and steps on the north side. “An electric door is on the wish list,” Boyle added.

Interior renovations are to include widening doors to allow wheelchair access and, in the future, a handicapped-accessible bathroom and an emergency exit with a ramp, tentatively from the south side of the ground floor.

Barnhart credited assistant librarian, Karel McKay, with helping the trustees investigate grant possibilities. McKay, Barnhart and CLA treasurer Thomas Parent developed the application; Barnhart is the grant administrator.

“We are delighted everyone will be able to access community and library services,” Barnhart said.

According to the March 4 ALA letter, the grant was part of $3.6 million the organization awarded to 310 small and rural libraries in 45 US states. The letter said 62 percent of the libraries receiving grants serve communities of fewer than 5,000 people.

Fifteen other small Maine libraries, scattered all over the state, received grants similar to China’s. This was the second round of these grants; a third round opens in the fall.


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