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News Release - January 21, 2010

Change in Accessible Public Programming for North Beach Library

Contacts:Marcia Schneider, Communications, San Francisco Public Library (415) 415 557-4252
Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282 mjeffers@sfpl.org
http://twitter.com/SFPLNews

Change in Accessible Public Programming
for North Beach Library

Effective Jan. 19, all public programs for children and adults at the North Beach Branch Library, 2000 Mason Street, will be relocated to the Joe DiMaggio Playground Clubhouse at 661 Lombard Street (near Columbus between Mason and Powell) in order to make them fully accessible to all users. The Clubhouse is made available for library programs thanks to the generosity of the Recreation and Park Department.

The North Beach Branch is the last neighborhood library branch to be replaced or renovated as part of the 2000 Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP). Built in 1959, it is a three-level building which contains no elevators, ramps or accessible staff or public restrooms. During a recent re-evaluation of library facilities, the Mayor’s Office on Disability notified the library that federal and state laws as well as City policy mandate that publicly provided programs and services must be accessible to everyone, including people with physical disabilities. Therefore, the Library is unable to offer unique programs at the current inaccessible facility without excluding patrons with mobility disabilities.

A small number of programs that are replicated at other nearby accessible locations will continue to be offered at the North Beach Branch. Patrons requiring wheelchair accessibility can access these programs at the Marina and Chinatown branches.

John Paul Scott of the Mayor’s Office on Disability commends the Library’s efforts to provide the public with accessible branch libraries: “Thanks to the Branch Library Improvement Program, all libraries, with the exception of North Beach, are fully accessible, or are in bid or construction to make the facilities accessible. The North Beach branch has substantial barriers for people with mobilities disabilities. In order to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we recommended that public programming be provided or relocated to an alternative, accessible location until an accessible library can be provided in the North Beach neighborhood.”

City Librarian Luis Herrera expressed his appreciation to Supervisor David Chiu for his leadership role in making continued library programming possible at the Clubhouse.

“We are especially thankful to Supervisor Chiu for bringing us together with our colleagues from the Recreation and Park Department to provide this space for the very popular and well attended programs sponsored by the North Beach Branch Library,” said Herrera.

The North Beach Branch offers a wide range of public programs, including pre-school storytime, baby rhyme time and toddler tales, as well as special performers and storytellers for children. Adult program offerings include readings by local poets, literary and participative theatrical programs. Without an alternative accessible location, the only lawful option would be to discontinue all programming until the new library is complete.

For more information about North Beach Library’s public programs, see program listings at http://sfpl.org/news/events.htm.

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