Forbes Library Disability Advisory Board
September 28, 2022


  • Ben Kalish, Librarian
  • Mary Biddle, Librarian
  • Mary Jo Stanley
  • Dorothy Baker
  • Barbara Black

Website Progress

We are currently in the implementation phase for changes approved during the first round of testing and feedback. Additional feedback is still welcome. Barbara volunteered to do testing and feedback with a screen reader. Ben will send an email to Barbara to arrange for testing.

Strategic Plan – Survey and Focus Groups

A survey to help guide the strategic plan is available online at forbeslibrary.org/survey. Large print surveys are also available on paper at the circulation desk. Any other format (ex. Braille) can be provided upon request.

Focus groups have not yet been scheduled but the members of this group are encouraged to join in. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Stipend for meeting attendees 

The trustees have approved funding for this fiscal year (through June 2023) to offer all members participating in advisory group meetings a $40 stipend for each meeting attended upon completion of a W-9. Members may opt out of the stipends by not completing the W-9.

Stipends are being offered to offset transportation, child care, loss of wages for time away from work, or other costs that advisory group members may incur as a result of their attendance at these meetings. It is also being offered in recognition of the expertise and/or lived experience that members are sharing for the benefit of the library.  Everyone, except staff who are already being paid for their time, is eligible for this stipend. Contact Ben for more information.

Accessibility comments and concerns

No comments from the group at this time. Ben invited folks to contact him with concerns at any time. Alternatively folks can email accessibility@forbeslibrary.org.

Reconsidering the name of the board

The board has had its current name since it was created as part of “Serving People With Disabilities Grant”. A proposal to change the name was discussed. After some discussion the members present decided to change the name from Disability Advisory Board to Accessibility Advisory Board. Ben, Mary Jo, Dorothy, and Barbara will collaborate on a press release announcing the name change which will be sent to the Gazette, the Conz Street Chronicle (the newsletter for the Senior Center) and Northampton Neighbors.

Should there be a public list of board members?

The library’s other advisory board, the Racial and Social Justice Advisory Group has a published list of Committee Members, whose names are listed on the Forbes Library website. Advantages of having a list of members include giving the community more folks to approach with questions about the board, demonstrating community commitment, and potentially encouraging new members. Ben will follow up with folks who have attended a meeting in the past year to ask whether they would like to be publicly acknowledged as members of this board on the website.

Promoting the board

We will take advantage of the name change as an opportunity to promote the board, as outlined above. There was no further discussion.

Meeting ended at 4:40pm.