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To make libraries more accessible to people with disabilities and to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), libraries are planning their spaces with accessible library furniture.

ADA and Your Library

Newly constructed libraries, as well as those undergoing renovations, have been required to meet the guidelines established in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design since 1992. These guidelines require that furniture can be accessed by library patrons in wheelchairs, or by those who require the use of seeing-eye dogs.

The standards stipulate that the minimum amount of knee space required for people in wheelchairs sitting at tables or counters is 27 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. Accessible tables and counters should sit 28 to 34 inches above the ground. Magazine displays must also comply with height requirements, with a height of 48 inches preferred.

According to the ADA, libraries must have a minimum of 5 percent or at least one table, desk, study carrel, or seating area that complies with the standards.

Libraries can purchase the minimum amount of fixed accessible furniture that complies to ADA standards, or they can buy height-adjustable furniture. Height-adjustable furniture ensures the library meets ADA standards, but can also be used by people without disabilities. Height-adjustable tables, desks, and study carrels can be raised or lowered by a manual winding handle or by a motorized mechanism, ensuring a comfortable work space for all patrons.

Modular ADA counters can also be added to circulation desks, providing just the right height and knee space to comfortably accommodate wheelchair users.


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Accessible Library Furniture