Forbes Library, the public library in downtown Northampton, has been awarded a two year grant to improve library services to people with disabilities. The project is being funded through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners with funds from LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act), a Federal source of library funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  With the help of the grant, Forbes Library will provide equipment, software, staff training, and public programming so as to enhance services to patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have vision difficulties. The library will also create a new disability advisory board to increase communication between the library and people with disabilities.
A recent American Community Survey estimated that 7.2% of Northampton residents live with a disability including 5.3% with hearing difficulty and 5.7% with a vision difficulty. Forbes Library has made building and grounds improvements during renovations to improve physical access to the library. Most recently the library has completed fundraising for a handicapped access elevator to be installed in the front entry to provide reliable access into the building.  “The library is committed to providing services to all of its residents and we feel the time is right to address improvements to the services to people with disabilities”, said Janet Moulding, Library Director.

Among the specific objectives for this grant are to make library programs more accessible to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing; to improve customer service at service desks to  people with disabilities; increase community awareness of library services available to people with disabilities; and to create and maintain an ongoing relationship with the disability community in Northampton.

The grant project will begin this October and be completed in 2016. The library will be collaborating with area agencies and individuals. If you are interested in learning more about this grant or have suggestions please contact Lisa Downing, Assistant Director at 413-587-1017 or by email at