Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things They Did Not Teach Me in Library School #2

I made my first foray into listing all the Things they did not teach me in library school (ttdntmils), here.

So, things they did not teach me in library school, #2:

The Americans with Disabilities Act Makes TTDNTMiLS #1 really hard

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and subsequent revisions, was and is in many ways a groundbreaking piece of legislation that makes life much, much easier and fulfilling for people in wheelchairs, with walkers or with other physical limitations due to illness, injury or birth circumstances. But it does make configuring a public building much more challenging, a fact that was brought into sharp focus for me after our new toilet paper dispensers arrived.

Why, you may ask? Well, here's why (click on the picture to see a larger, clearer image):
As you can see, the dispenser must be either below or above the grab bar mounted on the side wall of the stall. If you mount it below the bar, it must be at least 19 inches off the floor, must still provide access to the grab bar (at least one inch of clearance), and can't be more than 36 inches from the back wall. Plus, it is really difficult to reach because it is too low.

If you mount it above the bar, it must be mounted at least four inches above the bar and it is nearly at eye level and is impossible to miss. Of the two options, we decided that above the bar was preferable, but these types of both practical and aesthetic considerations were never, ever mentioned in library school.

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