BY TRONE DOWD
Tuesday afternoon, state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Far Rockaway) announced that the Queens Library Baisley Park Branch is set to receive long overdue amenities that will give disabled members of the community a chance to access the library and all of its offerings with ease.
Sanders was joined by community leaders, Friends of Baisley Park Library and representatives with the Queens Library, unveiling the $494,548 that has since been allocated to redesign and reconfigure bathrooms and the library’s overall layout to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act which was put through in 1990.
“We’re about to take a library that has been an oasis of knowledge for many different people and open it up to even more people,” Sanders said. “Sadly, this library was built at a time when we didn’t think about making sure that the disabled could utilize this space also. So, we are going to straighten that out. They are part of our family too, and we want to make sure that everybody in our family is allowed in. We are going to take away every impediment that has prevented the disabled from coming to this library. We as a society have pledged that we are not going to handicap the disabled.”
Sanders said that he had a special connection with local library as it played a significant part in his own upbringing.
“Most of my education came from a library,” Sanders said about his early childhood. “I learned about the world and traveled through books, and was able to speak to anybody in any place about anything thanks to the books I read. And I want my friends and my neighbors and my bosses who may be disabled to have those same opportunities. As a state Senator my role is to get up into Albany to shake the tree and make sure that any money that needs to be released are released and target my community.”
Sanders thanked the staff of the Baisley Park Branch, as well as CEO and President of the Queens Library Dennis Walcott, Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-South Jamaica) and Borough President Melinda Katz who put forth some of the funding for the project.
Kelvin Watson, who attended on behalf of Walcott said, “We appreciate the investment in our libraries because it has a fond impact on our communities and the lifelong learning that we provide through our books and the programs and services that we have. We need to modernize ourselves in order to become the world class facilities that we can be.”
“This is a very exciting time for me a resident, for the young people in the community and for the people that patronize this institution,” said Kevin Livingston, founder of local nonprofit 100 Suits for 100 Men. “This has been needed for a mighty long time and I’m happy to finally see these renovations that’s about to come here.”
The funding for the project will finalize next Spring. Work on the renovations is scheduled to begin shortly afterward.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, email@example.com or @theloniusly