Central Pratt's doors too heavy for handicapped visitors

Watchdog

Until renovations, security guards are supposed to open them

  • "Those doors are pretty heavy," concedes a spokeswoman for the Enoch Pratt. Security guards are to open them as needed.
"Those doors are pretty heavy," concedes a spokeswoman… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
February 14, 2010|By Liz F. Kay | liz.kay@baltsun.com

The problem: A library's doors are too heavy for people in wheelchairs to open.

The backstory: The Enoch Pratt Free Library system was founded with the goal of providing patrons access to books regardless of race or class.

But a reader contacted Watchdog about a barrier far more basic: the door.

The reader called Watchdog to report that the doors to the Central Library on Cathedral Street are too heavy to open. The reader, who rides a motorized scooter, could not be reached for this article.

The reader stated that the security guards stationed at the main doors are supposed to open the doors for people in wheelchairs or scooters, but they rarely do so.

He asked whether a button could be installed that would automatically open the door, or even a motion sensor.

Watchdog called Pratt Library spokesman Roswell Encina, who agreed the door was a problem.

"It's not the first time we've heard that," Encina said. "We understand the frustration. Those doors are pretty heavy."

All of the newer branches have electronic buttons, he said. Library officials are considering installing a similar device at the Central Library when they renovate the building, which they hope will start within two years, Encina said.

Until then, however, security guards will be reminded to open the doors for patrons. Hopefully, other patrons will be more considerate and open doors as needed, too, Encina said.

"For now, the door is the best access to all our patrons in wheelchairs and scooters," the spokesman said.

Who can fix this: John Richardson, operations manager, Enoch Pratt Free Library. 410-396-7555. City residents should call 311 to report problems.


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