NORWELL MARINER – The new elevator at the James Library and Center for the Arts is now up and running.
The elevator, installed in October, is one of a number of updates to the library as part of its Arts for Everyone Campaign.
Two new handicap parking spots (one for a van and the other for a car) have been put in place at the front building, a sloping pathway providing accessibility to the library’s side entrance with an electronic push button for the door, a fully-accessible bathroom, new railings have been installed and a staircase has been reconfigured at the back of the building leading from the first to the second floor.
The library also has more storage space thanks to the renovations to the space.
In 2014, members of the public and the library’s board started a Strategic Planning Process and identified a need for the library was access to the building.
The building that the library inhabits, located at 24 West St, was built in 1874.
“We have a lot of seniors and people with different ambulatory issues who love to come and listen to great music and see the art shows but they couldn’t access the art gallery or the music hall,” said Executive Director Megan Ward.
The Arts for Everyone Campaign was launched last October with a three-year plan in mind, but due to support from the community and outside organizations, the $450,000 for the campaign was raised in a year.
The Bloomwhistle Charitable Fund set up a Matching Challenge up to $200,000 to raise funds.
All donations under $1,000 were matched by a 2:1 ratio and any donations over $1,000 were matched on a 1:1 ratio.
The Cordelia Family Foundation has also provided the James with a number of grants for seniors in the community, allowing the library to provide a number of free tickets to library events.
“We are able to offer seniors free tickets, for example the house tour, we had 86 seniors attend that didn’t have to pay out of pocket,” said Ward. “That’s money that they could be spending on their lighting or their food or transportation. Without these supporters we wouldn’t be able to do it.′
To learn more about the Arts for Everyone Campaign visit jameslibrary.org/arts-for-everyone/.
By Kate Walsh