Friday, October 14, 2011

Morton Grove, IL Library Addresses Accessibility, Transparency Issues : Oct 2011

Board members continue to try to clear the air.

Ever since news broke of the previous Morton Grove Library board violating the Open Meetings Act, the new library board has been trying to turn the page toward a fresh start.

At last night's board meeting members continued to discuss various topics focusing on how to make the library a more transparent and accessible place for patrons.

Complying with accessibility standards

Board member Paul Berg said troubleshooting has begun regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for the library.

ADA lists various standards for building designs in order to assist those with disabilities including wheelchair ramps and accessible routes.

The library currently doesn’t meet certain accessibility code standards for those with disabilities. Berg said the library will work with an outside consultant to determine the scope of work and a timeline for the project, which is still in its infancy.

“Obviously nothing is in cement,” he said. “We are just starting the proposal.”

Resident Laura Frisch voiced her concern about the library’s current lack of accessibility during the public participation portion of the meeting.

“My mother is wheelchair-bound and she lives in Morton Grove and she couldn’t come to activities in (the Baxter Room). She couldn’t access 90 percent of the non-fiction books that are here in the library. I do appreciate that circulation and reference is wonderful about getting books for people," she said. “But it’s still a matter of we’re living in the 1970s, early 1980s, in this library for accessibility.”

Berg said it would cost an estimated $4.1 million dollars to get the building up to Illinois Accessibility Code standards.

Library appoints FOIA officers

Board members approved the appointment of Natalya Fishman, head of Reference Services, and Kevin Justie, interim co-director, as library Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officers. Both Fishman and Justie will "receive Open Meetings Act training from the Illinois attorney general.”

At last month's board meeting Justie noted that the library also made FOIA request information available on the bulletin board and on the library's website.

Recently Patch obtained a series of papers through a FOIA request regarding issues with the previous board. The papers allege that previous board members had a “scheme” to hide a tax increase so that the library could fund a new building.

Also during the meeting, the board adopted a email and record retention/destruction policy. The policy requires that all library-related emails between personnel be retained for one year.

New Head of Youth Services

Board members announced their new head of the Youth Services Department Ann Finstad. Finstad previously served as a children’s librarian at the Winnetka Public Library. She started her position at the Morton Grove Public Library this past Monday, Oct. 10.

Stay tuned to Patch for more information on the Morton Grove Library board.

#Source: Morton Grove Patch By Collin Czarnecki Oct 2011