Kent County, MI — Kent District Library is pleased to be the first recipient of the Community Champion Award presented by the Disability Advocates of Kent County. KDL was recognized as an organization that acknowledges and shares the value of accessible spaces by creating inclusive environments for all individuals. KDL completed Accessibility Audits at all 18 branches plus the KDL Service Center. Staff members were also trained in disability decorum.
KDL officials realized that basic accessibility might challenge or hinder someone from taking advantage of all that the library system offers, and they sought out the expertise of the Disability Advocates of Kent County and requested in-depth assessments of all 19 KDL facilities, from both the customer and employee standpoints. Accessibility improvements have been made and will continue in the coming months.
Although all the locations scored well, the Kentwood and Byron Township branches stand out as having excellent accessibility.
“We are pleased to have done this evaluation and stand beside the Kent District Library as they walk along this path of improvements,” said Christine Morse, Community Relations and Education Program Manager at Disability Advocates of Kent County. “Often, it is a matter of a slight modification which makes a big difference in the level of accessibility, and we are here to coach and guide these changes of improvement.”
“It’s just a good feeling to be part of an organization that proactively seeks opportunities to do the right thing,” said Kimberly Schweibert, HR Generalist at KDL. “In this case, we wanted to make sure that the great things that KDL offers are available literally to everyone in Kent County, and to our staff, as well.”
Disability Advocates of Kent County has over thirty-three years of experience in working with local municipalities and businesses on improving the accessibility of our community. Past projects include reviewing construction documents for Rivertown Crossings Mall and the Van Andel Arena, and performing site assessments for the City of Walker and the Kent County Health Department.
Kent District Library is a public library system operating 18 branch libraries. KDL serves nearly 400,000 residents of 27 governmental units, comprising most of Kent County, Michigan. KDL is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by millage dollars and private donations.