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North Plains Public Library Receives $20,000 Accessibility Grant

ALA Transforming Libraries GrantThe North Plains Public Library has been awarded a $20,000 grant as part of Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an initiative by the American Library Association (ALA) aimed at improving accessibility and services for individuals with disabilities in small and rural communities. 

As one of 310 libraries chosen to participate in this second round of these important ALA awards, this grant will enable the North Plains Public Library to implement several initiatives to enhance accessibility for residents with disabilities. The primary focus of the project is to improve wayfinding and accessibility inside and around the library. Currently, individuals with disabilities face challenges navigating the library independently, particularly those with vision impairments. The grant will support the implementation of inclusive wayfinding features such as high-contrast tactile signage, auditory beacons, and braille maps. 

In addition to wayfinding improvements, the grant will fund the hiring of a program manager consultant with lived experience as a disabled individual. This consultant will work closely with library staff to identify and address shortcomings in wayfinding and ensure that individuals of any ability can navigate the library space with ease. 

"We are proud to be chosen again for this amazing opportunity which will allow us to further our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility in our community," said Robin Doughty, Library Director of the North Plains Public Library. "Improving accessibility within our library is essential to ensuring that all members of our community feel welcome and have equal access to library resources and services." 

Residents with disabilities will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback on the project through community conversations hosted by the library. These conversations will help shape the implementation of accessibility features to best meet the community’s needs. 

If you are interested in participating in the community conversations or would like more information about the project, please contact Robin Doughty at robin.doughty@northplains.org or visit the North Plains Public Library website. 

In the first round of the ALA Libraries Transforming Communities grant awards in 2023, North Plains received $20,000 which transformed the public computer stations into adaptive stations equipped for users of all abilities, additional adaptive equipment for check-out with a library card, and sensory-friendly storytime supplies and kits.  

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has been instrumental in redefining the role of libraries in supporting communities. By providing resources and support to libraries across the country, ALA to create more inclusive and accessible spaces for all individuals, regardless of ability. 

Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). 

The North Plains Public Library is a proud member of the Washington County Cooperative Library Services network and offers something for everyone.