School of Public Policy Capstones

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was signed into legislation by President George Bush. This was in response to claims that earlier protections left a void for persons with disabilities. ADA is a federal law that mandates compliance and is administered through the U.S. Department of Justice. There are five Titles of the ADA: Title I, the focus is employment protections; Title II, the focus is public services and transportation; Title III, the focus is public accommodations, Title IV, the focus is telecommunications, and Title V, miscellaneous provisions. This paper addresses Title II, public services in reference to public libraries and will be addressing only basic access. ADA compliance is important to a small town as it promotes social equality. Many small communities struggle with budget constraints when addressing ADA compliance projects. Nevertheless, lack of funding is not a valid reason for failure to comply with ADA.

In this paper five alternatives are examined: (1) status quo, remain with the current library, (2) the current library with ADA compliance measures, (3) the current library with ADA compliance measures and an expansion, (4) build a new library, and (5) build a regional library. All five alternatives were evaluated and compared to the following criteria: compliance with ADA regulations, equitable distributions, efficiency, costs, and political feasibility. After reviewing the analysis, it is the recommendation to build a new library. A new facility would be fully ADA compliant and would have modern conveniences and safety features. The library would have the ability to broaden its services. ADA accommodations increase social inclusion, which allows the library to create a more diverse community.

Political feasibility is going to be difficult, as this recommendation is the most expensive alternative. A new library is estimated at a cost of four million dollars. In order to obtain funding, the library should participate in the MBLC construction 50/50 or 60/40 matching grant. Even with the steep price tag, this is a better option, as the facility would meet the needs of the community for the next twenty years. To bring this recommendation to fruition, the residents need to be actively involved and need to have ownership in the process.