Historic Library in Kensington Gets New Ramp, Moves Forward on Renovation Plan With County - by Aaron Kraut
The 123-year-old Noyes Library for Young Children is now accessible to visitors with mobility challenges, courtesy of a new ramp built by Montgomery County.
The exterior ramp is the first step in the Make MORE Noyes Campaign, a partnership between the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation and Montgomery County that is funding a major renovation of the historic library. A key goal of the renovation is to make the library not just compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, but a model of universal access. The proposed design will triple floor space within the historic building by finishing the existing attic space and completing a partial basement; all floors will be reachable via stairs and a Rapunzel-style elevator tower.
The opening of the ramp is especially poignant for Jan Jablonski, a longtime Noyes advocate and co-president of the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation. Jablonski, who has ALS, had not been able to visit Noyes for about three-and-a-half years. “I didn’t think I would get back into Noyes, but here I am,” said an obviously moved Jablonski as she reacquainted herself with the library. “The craftsmanship of the ramp is extraordinary, and children—all children—are going to love it.”
“What a major effect this addition will have on the lives of so many. I am very grateful to our Department of General Services for their excellent work to increase accessibility to our Noyes Library,” said Parker Hamilton, director of Montgomery County Public Libraries. “The new ramp will provide access for everyone to the unique programs and services offered at the library."
“The ramp is a great first step, but we have a long way to go,” said Sheila Dinn, co-president of the Noyes Foundation with Jablonski. “With the Make MORE Noyes renovation plan, we are setting a pretty high bar in terms of accessibility, to create the most welcoming environment for people with physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges. This ranges from two accessible family bathrooms, to choices of lighting and paint color that take sensory issues into account. We are also excited about Noyes having the space and resources to provide more early literacy programs and outreach."
Link to Bethesda Beat Article