Forbes Library Accessibility Advisory Board Minutes
Date 24 May 2023
Time 3PM


  • Ben Kalish, Library Staff
  • Molly Moss, Assistant Director
  • Mary Biddle, Library Staff
  • Dorothy Baker
  • Barbara Black
  • Mary Jo Stanley
  • Linda White


A $40 stipend is available for meeting attendees. This is to help cover the cost of missed work, travel to the meeting, childcare, etc.  Fill out an I-9 with the library to receive this stipend. Let Ben know by email at bkalish@forbeslibrary.org or accessibility@forbeslibrary.org

Public Comment

  • Linda White: Takes her grandson to the community room for programs and finds it difficult to hear, especially when there are a lot of voices in the room; she speculated that the air filter may be creating too much noise. The loud fan may make events inaccessible for children with auditory sensitivity (such as children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing differences).
  • Dorothy Baker: appreciate the air filter, which benefits those with chemical sensitivities, but confirmed that noise was an issue.
  • Barbara Black: It’s tricky to balance the different needs. Great to have the air purification system but the noise makes it difficult to hear.
  • Ben Kalish: Sound from the nearby elevator and boiler room have long been a problem in the Community Room. Ben promised to follow up about possible improvements to the room.

Announcements / updates

  1. Bathroom accessibility grant is moving forward. It is being sent out to bid. The improvements will all be part of the same project:
    • Removing the thresholds
    • Adding accessibility buttons to the doors
    • Adding ventilation
  2. Trustee election this fall
    • Three positions open for election; only one incumbent
    • Only two sets of papers have been filed
    • Need to be a resident of Northampton and eligible to vote AND need to get 50 signatures of support 

Board Structure Update

The Committee recommended that library management accept the draft Charge and Structure.

Other business

  • Discussion of Community Room’s acoustical issues. When there are children around a table, it is very difficult to hear. When speakers are presenting, they are urged to use microphones.
  • Regarding the Mill River presentation, the live captions during the presentation weren’t so good and during the Q&A, it was very hard to hear audience members asking questions. The best practices are for the speaker to repeat the question using the microphone or the pass a microphone to the audience member. Ben will follow up with library staff about how to encourage compliance.
  • The sidewalks near the library, both between the South Street intersection and on the Green Street side of the library , are bad and getting worse. The library encourages citizens to complain to the city about it.

Meeting Adjourned

The meeting adjourned at approximately 3:40 PM.