Background

There are five main areas inside libraries that must be considered when building a new library, or remodeling an old one. They include: general provisions, reading and study areas, check out areas, card catalogs and magazine displays, and library stacks. These areas were designated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Section 8 within the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) covers libraries and what they must do in order to be in compliance (1).

Project description

The first main area deals with general provisions that the library must comply with in all areas of the library, which include, but are not limited to, reading and study areas, reference rooms, special facilities and collections, stacks, and reserve areas (1). This whole area deals with the entire section 4 under the ADAAG. Section 4 is entitled minimum requirements. The main areas covered in this section are elevators, toilets, and assembly areas. Areas used by employees must be designed such that those with disabilities can enter, maneuver within, and leave the area. Workstations must also comply with having fixed seating, and have tables that take into consideration that knee room must be 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep (2).

In the building there must be at least one passenger elevator that provides access to each level. In section 4.10 of the ADAAG, the elevators
Elevator entrances; in the public domain (17).
Elevator entrances; in the public domain (17).
themselves must follow a number of guidelines. They must comply with the ASME A17.1-1990 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (3). The elevators must have automatic operation that brings the elevator up to within 1/2 of an inch of the building floor. This self leveling feature will be automatic, and not dependent upon the user. Buttons to call the elevator will be 42 inches above the floor, and signage is needed to indicate that the button is used to call the elevator. Hall lanterns indicating the up and down movement of the elevator shall be installed 72 inches above the floor (4).


There shall also be braille plates installed at each elevator, 60 inches above the floor. Each character will be 2 inches tall. Elevator doors will open and close automatically, however if something is blocking the door, the doors will open immediately and stay open for at least 20 seconds until the obstruction is removed. Elevator doors shall remain open for a minimum of 5 seconds. Each elevator will have emergency communication devices installed. Two way communication units will have contact with an established outside point. This system shall not be voice activated, and will either be a speaker system with a built in microphone or a handset similar to a telephone (4).





Minimum dimensions of elevator cars; in the public domain (18).
Minimum dimensions of elevator cars; in the public domain (18).























Toilets will be in an accessible route, and will have a minimum depth of 56 inches. Standard toilets must be approachable from either the left hand side or the right hand side. Toe clearance must be 9 inches above the floor. Handrails in the bathrooms must be able to take a load of up to 250 pounds of force. Faucets shall be lever operated, pushable, or electronic in nature. If electronic, the faucet shall remain on for at least 10 seconds (5).
Toilets stalls - Rear wall of standard stall; in the public domain(19).
Toilets stalls - Rear wall of standard stall; in the public domain(19).



Assembly areas require a certain amount of wheelchair locations. If seating capacity is from 4 to 25, 1 wheelchair location is required. Capacity from 26 to 50, 2 wheelchair locations are required. Capacity from 51 to 300, 4 wheelchair locations are required. Capacity from 301 to 500, 6 wheelchair locations are required. Anything over a capacity of 500, 6 plus 1 additional wheelchair locations are required for every 100 seats in the room (6).








The second main area deals with reading and study areas (1). Here there is a choice for libraries to either provide five percent or at least one of each type of furniture. These types of furniture include fixed seating, study carrels, and tables. They must comply with section 4.2 and 4.32 of the ADAAG. Section 4.2 deals with wheelchairs. It briefly states that minimum width needs to be 32 inches, and that if an area needs to accommodate wheelchairs to pass each other that it needs to be 60 inches. In order for wheelchairs to turn around they must also have a minimum clear space of 60 inches in diameter. This section also defines that the minimum space on the floor to accommodate a wheelchair is an area of 30 inches by 4 8 inches. All floors and other surfaces must be clear of obstacles and other debris that might hinder the movement of a wheelchair. If there is such an area that allows forward approach, it must not be higher than 48 inches, and must not be lower than 15 inches. If the floor space allows parallel approach the maximum high side reach cannot be higher than 54 inches, and the low side cannot be lower than 9 inches above the floor (7).

Minimum clear width for two wheelchairs; in the public domain  (15).
Minimum clear width for two wheelchairs; in the public domain (15).


Section 4.32 of the ADAAG deals with fixed and built in seating and tables. Fixed seating cannot overlap knee space by more than 19 inches. Knee space at tables must be at least 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. The tops of the tables must range from 28 inches to 34 inches, which is measured from the floor. These measurements when provided for children are almost the same, except that the tops of tables must range from 26 inches to 30 inches from the ground. Also, knee space must be at least 24 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep (8).

Also under the reading and study areas section 4.3 of the ADAAG applies, which deals with accessible routes. The main idea in this section is that routes must be clear of debris, and easy to access. All doors must be at least 32 inches wide. Minimum clearance for head room in these areas is 80 inches. Much of this section deals with exterior design specifications, and for this paper we are only looking at interior design specifications (9).

The third main area is that for check out areas (1). There must be at least one lane at each check out area that complies with section 7.2(1) of the ADAAG. Also, if there is any traffic control devices or security gates, they must comply with section 4.13. Section 7.2(1) states that counters that provides service to the public must be at least 36 inches long, and cannot be higher than 36 inches (10). It must also comply with the accessibility routes that were outlined in section 4.3 of the ADAAG above (9). Section 4.13 of the ADAAG deals with doors and their specifications. Doors will have a minimum opening of 32 inches, and open to 90 degrees. Door handles and knobs, as well as other devices used to open or shut doors also have their own areas of compliance. They must be in such a shape which is easy to grasp, as well allowing the wrist to bend or twist in such a way that the door can be opened easily. This hardware must be on both sides of the door (11).
Clear doorway width and depth.  Maximum doorway depth; in the public domain (14).
Clear doorway width and depth. Maximum doorway depth; in the public domain (14).

Automatic doors are also a key concept of this section. If this type of door is used, it must comply with ANSI/BHMA A156.10-1985. This is the American National Standard for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors. These types of doors are mainly classified with how much force it takes to activate the doors. Doors can be opened by some sort of mechanism usually consisting of a button or a floor mat. Most of these doors open slowly and allow for manual opening as well (12).

The fourth main area deals with card catalogs and magazine displays. The aisles between these areas have several different regulations. Since most card catalogs are computerized these days, these rules will apply to magazine racks and shelving. There must be 36 inches between the aisles. The shelves cannot be higher than 54 inches, but 48 inches is the preferred height. Other specifications will comply with section 4.2 of the ADAAG as discussed earlier (1).





Minimum Dimensions of Library Stacks; in the public domain (13).
Minimum Dimensions of Library Stacks; in the public domain (13).




The final main area discusses the library stacks (1). Clearance between library stack aisles relates to section 4.3 of the ADAAG as discussed earlier. Preferred clearance is 42 inches. Shelf height in the library stacks is unrestricted, but must be at least 36 inches (9).











Highand low - side reach limits; in the public domain (16).
Highand low - side reach limits; in the public domain (16).















In conclusion these are just the basics when covering libraries and their relation to the ADAAG. Each section covers dozens of pages, and including every single detail in a report of this length wasn't feasible. Each of the sections that apply to libraries have been condensed and broken down to really get at the root of each area to see how they relate to libraries.

Links

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)
Standards Referenced by ADAAG

References

(1) ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). September 2002. <http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm>. Section 8.
(2) Ibid. Section 4.
(3) Standards Referenced by ADAAG. <http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/referenced-standards.htm>. ASME A17.1-1990.
(4) ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). September 2002. <http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm>. Section 4.10.
(5) Ibid. Section 4.17.
(6) Ibid. Section 4.1.3(19).
(7) Ibid. Section 4.2.
(8) Ibid. Section 4.32.
(9) Ibid. Section 4.3.
(10) Ibid. Section 7.2(1).
(11) Ibid. Section 4.13.
(12) Standards Referenced by ADAAG. <http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/referenced-standards.htm>. ANSI/BHMA A156.10-1985.
(13) ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). September 2002. <http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm>. Figure 56.
(14) Ibid. Figure 24e.
(15) Ibid. Figure 2.
(16) Ibid. Figure 6b.
(17) Ibid. Figure 20.
(18) Ibid. Figure 22.
(19) Ibid. Figure 30c.