The Simon Fairfield Public Library has stood in downtown Douglas since 1903, providing the community a storehouse of knowledge, a forum for education, and an anchor to the literary world. For over 20 years, the Trustees of the Library have been engaged in an uphill struggle to obtain the funding and public support necessary to make accessibility renovations. We have been through many iterations of ideas, proposals, sketches, and plans over the years, but everything boils down to four key aspects:
- An entrance to the building that is accessible.
- Code-compliant paved parking connected to the accessible entrance.
- An elevator to provide access to both floors.
- An accessible public restroom.
A phased approach that spreads the cost of construction out over time isn’t feasible as none of these aspects are of any value without all of them. What path we take is dependent on how much money we have.
A fully paved parking lot, accessible addition, and remodel of the interior of the building to get the maximum use possible was estimated at $2.3 million in 2015. This project is all drawn up, planned out, and ready to go as soon as funds materialize.
Paving two spots, putting in a bathroom, cutting a hole in the floor, and installing a LU/LA lift could be accomplished for $310,000 according to a plan from 2017, though this would entail losing functional space rather than gaining any.
Regardless, 20 years is too long. Children with disabilities have been born, grown up, and entered their adult lives without access to their public library since proposals started bouncing around committees in 2000. Let’s make this happen by removing the money barrier that has continually stymied progress. Contribute to our Building Fund today so that the patrons who need the library the most can get into it tomorrow.
Please consider sending a check to the Douglas Library Interest Building Fund to P.O. Box 607 — Douglas, MA 01516.
Thanks for Reading,
Justin Snook, Director