Product Catalogue
Home > News > Albright Memorial Library to add an elevator
Albright Memorial Library to add an elevator - 2012-10-24

Albright Memorial Library to add an elevator

After nearly 60 years of plans sitting on the back burner, Scranton Public Library Director Jack Finnerty announced the Albright Memorial Library will be installing an elevator to make the library more handicapped-accessible.

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 Mr. Finnerty started to literally "think outside the box" and install an elevator outside in the rear of the building.

"We looked at all possibilities, and trying to put it inside was more problematic than putting it outside," Mr. Finnerty said. "It also really won't even be visible from the street so it won't detract from its classic beauty."

The elevator will allow patrons with disabilities to access the second floor, which includes periodicals. Previously, when disabled patrons requested to look at the second floor's microfilm holdings, two people had to carry the film reader down.

"It was very labor-intensive," Mr. Finnerty said. "It was not a totally satisfactory solution for the patron."

Keith Williams, a community organizer at the local Center for Independent Living, said the addition of an elevator at the library is "welcome news."

"This elevator will open up access for people who before might have been customers, but maybe ordered their books by mail," Mr. Williams said. "Now if they want to get the actual feeling of taking a book off the shelf or checking the selection in the music or DVD section, they will be able to have the opportunity - just as the public has had all these years."

As Mr. Williams has arthrogryposis, a neuro-muscular disability that leads to a lack of muscle control, he is looking forward to the elevator as both an advocate for CIL and as a private patron.

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. Williams said that is fine, so long as disabled patrons are still able to access the library.

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.