Forbes Library Accessibility Advisory Board
Date 12 January 2024
Time 3PM
Attending: Dorothy Baker, Linda White, Ben Kalish, Molly Moss, Mary Biddle

  1. Public Comment
    1. Ben Kalish, on behalf of Anne Gancarz: The Chicopee Public Library will be hosting an exhibit of tactile art in May. 
    2. Dorothy Baker: chemically sensitive people don’t do well when some products are used in bathrooms and the bathrooms frequently smell bad. What is the status of the work to improve the air circulation, and could air purifiers or ionizer help in the meantime? Molly responded for the library: the city might be able to begin the work to improve ventilation in July 2024. The library has not yet considered using air purifiers or ionizers in the bathrooms and will investigate the possibility.
  2. Minutes of last meeting
    1. Addition to minutes of last meeting from Linda: A therapist  and parent of an autistic child said, “The loud fan may make events inaccessible for children with auditory sensitivity (such as children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing differences).”
  3. Announcements / updates
    1. Stipend for meeting attendees – continuing to emphasize this benefit
    2. Ben has created a list of books the library acquired last year with a focus on accessibility and disability. The list is not complete.Forbes Library New Books on Disability 2023.xlsx
    3. Follow up about sound in Community Room: The air purifier was added just prior to Covid. Before that, there were improvements to the sound system and the installation of sound-dampening panels on the ceiling. It is a difficult space since additional sounds are coming from other places (elevator, mechanical room, etc.)
    4. A new portable assistive listening system is available for loan. So far only the advisory board and the City’s Disability Comission have been informed–promotion will begin once more library staff have been trained in its use. The system consists of a portable FM transmitter, receivers, a microphone and mixer, various cables, etc. The system should be useful to anyone wishing to make a program more accessible to those who are hard of hearing.
  4. The selection of an Advisory Board co-chair was tabled due to low attendance.
  5. Dementia friendly status and initiatives with Dementia Friendly Northampton: Kathy Service is our contact for Dementia Friendly Northampton. Ideas currently being considered include:
    1. Reviewing the library’s physical layout with dementia in mind and identifying information to be shared with care partners.
    2. Promoting the availability of memory boxes in the CW MARS collection.
    3. Partnering with another organization to offer a workshop to build personalized memory boxes or to build a collection of memory boxes at Forbes.
    4. Providing training to staff on serving patrons with dementia.
    5. Creating programs for people with dementia and their caregivers.
  6. Other business
    1. More could be done to promote the availability of assistive listening systems. Forbes Library has assistive listening systems in the Community Room and Coolidge Room as well as a portable system that can be used at other small library programs and walking tours.