Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And Springfield-greene County Library District, Springfield, Missouri

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-43-141

BACKGROUND

A. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice ("Department") against the Springfield-Greene County Library District of Springfield, Missouri ("Library"). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complaint alleges that the Library's Midtown Branch is not accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. The Library denies these allegations, but acknowledges its responsibility to provide reasonable access and services to persons with disabilities.

The Department expanded the scope of the investigation to include the Library's compliance with the following title II requirements:

  • to conduct a self-evaluation of its services, policies, and practices by July 26, 1992, and make modifications necessary to comply with the Department's title II regulations (28 C.F.R. Part 35), 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.105;
  • to notify applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons of their rights and the Library's obligations under title II and the Department's regulations, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.106;
  • to designate a responsible employee to coordinate its efforts to comply and carry out the Library's ADA responsibilities, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.107(a);
  • to establish a grievance procedure for resolving complaints of violations of title II, 28 C.F.R.ァ 35.107(b);
  • to operate each program, service, or activity so that, when viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.150, by:
    • delivery of services, programs, or activities in alternate ways, including, for example, redesign of equipment, reassignment of services, assignment of aides, home visits, or other methods of compliance or, if these methods are not effective in making the programs accessible,
    • physical changes to buildings (required to be made by January 26, 1995), in accordance with the Department's title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.151, and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design ("Standards") or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards ("UFAS");
  • to ensure that facilities for which construction or alteration was begun after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, in accordance with 1) the Department's title II regulation and 2) the Standards or UFAS, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.151;
  • where the Library communicates by telephone, to communicate through a telecommunications device for the deaf ("TDD"), or other equally effective telecommunications system, with individuals who have hearing or speech impairments, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.161;
  • to provide information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Library's accessible services, activities, and facilities, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.163(a);
  • to provide signage at all inaccessible entrances to each of its facilities, directing users to an accessible entrance or to information about accessible facilities, 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.163(b).
  • The Department limited its review to the Library's Midtown Branch.

B. JURISDICTION

  1. The ADA applies to the Library because it is a "public entity" as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12131(1).
  2. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the compliance of the Library with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. ァ 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.

REMEDIAL ACTION

    The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Springfield-Greene County Library District, Springfield, Missouri. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, and without the admission of any liability, the parties hereby agree as follows:

  1. In consideration of the terms of, and consistent with, this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter regarding the areas covered by the Remedial Action provisions of this agreement.
  2. The Parties agree that the technical requirements and, where appropriate, the scoping requirements of the Standards are used as a guide in this Agreement for the Remedial Action to be undertaken by the Library. This Agreement is not an admission by the Library that the Standards are valid or enforceable in whole or in part. The Standards appear at 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A.

A. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

  1. Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will train its employees who interact or communicate with the public or who maintain facilities, regarding the Library's responsibilities under the ADA, such as responding to inquiries from individuals with disabilities who require accommodations to participate in Library programs or services.

B. PHYSICAL CHANGES TO ALTERED AREAS

    The site plans and architectural plans for the alterations to the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library were submitted to the Department. To insure that the altered areas are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, the Library shall make the following adjustments to the planned alterations before the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library is reopened. Cites are to the Standards.

  1. Ramp
    1. Handrail extensions shall be provided at the bottom and top of the ramp. Standards ァァ 4.1.2(1), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.3.7, 4.8.5.
    2. The top of the handrail gripping surface shall be mounted between 34 and 38 inches above the ramp surface, and the diameter of the handrail shall be between 1ï½¼ and 1ï½½ inches (these specifications were not indicated on the site plan). Standards ァァ 4.1.2(1), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.3.7, 4.8.5, 4.26.2.
  2. Circulation Desk 120
    1. The circulation desk shall have a portion of the counter that is at least 36 inches in length with a maximum height of 36 inches (this specification was not indicated on the architectural plans). Standards ァァ 8.3, 7.2(1).
    2. The height of the new book drop shall not exceed 54 inches if a side approach method is provided or 48 inches if only a front approach is provided. Standards ァ 4.2.5, 4.2.6.
  3. File Room 106
    1. Visual alarm signals shall be provided in the file room. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.28.
  4. Study Room 108
    1. The door hardware shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.9.
    2. Visual alarm signals shall be provided in the study room. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.28.
  5. Women's Toilet 114 and Men's Toilet 115
    1. Signage with braille and raised letters shall be provided. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(16)(a), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.
    2. The height of the door threshold shall not exceed ス inch; the door hardware shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate; door closers shall be adjusted so that, from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move from a point 3 inches from the latch, measured to the leading edge of the door; and force required to open the door shall not exceed 5 pounds of force. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.8, 4.13.9, 4.13.10, 4.13.11.
    3. The rear toilet grab bar shall be at least 36 inches long. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.22.4, 4.16.4.
    4. The toilet paper dispenser shall be mounted no less than 19 inches high to the center line of the roll. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.22.4, 4.16.6.
    5. The designated accessible toilet rooms shall be identified with the Universal Symbol of Accessibility. Standards ァァ 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.1.2(7)(d).
    6. Visual alarm signals shall be provided in the toilet rooms. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.28.
  6. Baby Changing 125
    1. Door D46 on plan SU-28 dated 6-19-00 shall provide at least a 32 inch clear opening width. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.5.
    2. The Library will provide a lavatory with a clearance of at least 29 inches above the finish floor to the bottom of the apron. Standards ァ 4.19.2 and Figure 31.
    3. The height of the door threshold shall not exceed ス inch; the door hardware shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate; door closers shall be adjusted so that, from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move from a point 3 inches from the latch, measured to the leading edge of the door; and force required to open the door shall not exceed 5 pounds of force. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.8, 4.13.9, 4.13.10, 4.13.11.
    4. A 5'-0" diameter or t-shaped turning space shall be provided within the baby changing room. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.2.3, 4.22.3.
    5. A portion of the baby changing counter shall provide required knee space. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(18), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.32.3.
    6. The baby changing counter is 36 inches high. A portion of the counter shall be between 28 and 34 inches high. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(18), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.32.4.
    7. Visual alarm signals shall be provided in the room. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.28.
  7. Toilet 124 located in the Children's Room
    1. The Library will remove Door D47 on revised plan SU-28 dated 6-19-00 from the toilet room so that it will not swing into the clear floor space of the lavatory or changing table of the Baby Changing Room 125. Standards ァ 4.19.3.
    2. The Library will remove the lavatory in Toilet Room 124 and utilize the lavatory in the adjoining Baby Changing Room 125, as discussed to provide more room in the toilet room.
    3. Visual alarm signals shall be provided in the toilet room. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.28.
  8. Study Room 219
    1. The door hardware shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate; door closers shall be adjusted so that, from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move from a point 3 inches from the latch, measured to the leading edge of the door; and the force required to open. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.9, 4.13.10, 4.13.11.
    2. Directional signage shall be posted outside the door indicating the location of the accessible study room. See Standards ァァ 4.1.2(7), 4.30.7.
  9. HC Study Room 218
    1. The door hardware shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate; door closers shall be adjusted so that, from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move from a point 3 inches from the latch, measured to the leading edge of the door; and force required to open the door shall not exceed 5 pounds of force. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.8, 4.13.9, 4.13.10, 4.13.11.
  10. Adult Fiction Room 215
    1. Door D62 is a double leaf door located within an existing opening. Each leaf is 30 inches wide. The Library will install magnetic hold opens for Door D62 so that the doors will be remain open at all times except in the event of an emergency. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.4.
  11. In addition to making the above changes, the Library will also ensure that the altered areas of the library are on an accessible route. Standards ァ 4.1.6(2).

C. PHYSICAL CHANGES TO EXISTING AREAS

    The Library shall modify the following existing features within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement to ensure that the programs offered at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, when viewed in their entirety, are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

  1. Parking
    1. At least one van accessible space shall be provided. Standards ァ 4.1.2(5).
    2. Each of the five designated accessible spaces shall have a demarcated access aisle as required by the Standards and as shown in plan SU-33r dated 7-5-00. Standards ァ 4.6.3.
    3. Signage displaying the International Symbol of Accessibility will be provided to reserve the designated accessible spaces. Standards ァァ 4.1.2(4), 4.6.4.
    4. The slope of the designated accessible parking spaces and the access aisles shall not exceed 1:50 in any direction. Standards ァ 4.6.3.
  2. Exterior Route
    1. The slope of the curb ramp shall not exceed 1:12. Standards ァ 4.7.2.
    2. The slope of the sidewalk shall not exceed 1:20 and the cross slope shall not exceed 1:50. Standards ァ 4.3.7.
  3. Vestibule 128
    1. The highest operable part of the telephone shall be between 9 inches and 54 inches above the floor. Standards ァァ 4.2.6, 4.31.3.
  4. Men's Toilet 031
    1. Signage with Braille and raised lettering shall be provided to identify the room as a toilet room. Standards ァァ 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.
    2. Directional signage shall be provided indicating the location of the designated accessible toilet rooms. Standards ァァ 4.1.6(3)(e)(iii), 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.
  5. Women's Toilet 023
    1. Signage with Braille and raised lettering shall be provided to identify the room as a toilet room. Standards ァァ 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.
    2. Directional signage shall be provided indicating the location of the designated accessible toilet rooms. Standards ァァ 4.1.6(3)(e)(iii), 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.
  6. Toilet 213 and Toilet 208
    1. Signage with Braille and raised lettering shall be provided to identify the room as a toilet room. Standards ァァ 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6.
    2. Directional signage shall be provided indicating the location of the designated accessible toilet rooms. Standards ァァ 4.1.6(3)(e)(iii), 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.
  7. Community Room 207
    1. Door D60 is a double leaf door located within an existing opening. Each leaf is 30 inches wide. The Library will install magnetic hold opens for Door D60 so that the doors will be remain open at all times except in the event of an emergency. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.4.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

  1. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at 90 and 180 days after the effective date of this Agreement, and thereafter at yearly anniversaries of the effective date, subject to paragraph 32 hereof, the Library will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the Library has taken pursuant to this Agreement. Reports will include photographs, architectural plans, notices published in the newspapers, copies of adopted policies, and proof of the efforts to secure funding/assistance for structural renovations.
  2. If at any time the Library desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
  3. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will so notify the Library in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Library, it may institute a civil action in federal district court directly to enforce title II or to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
  4. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
  5. In the event that the Library fails to comply in a timely manner with any deadline in this Agreement without having obtained the prior written agreement of the Department for a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, the Department may institute a civil action in federal district court directly to enforce title II or to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
  6. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the Library or the Department on request.
  7. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  8. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Library's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  9. This Agreement will remain in effect for three years from the effective date of this Agreement, or until full compliance with this Agreement by the Library has been achieved.
  10. The person signing for the Library represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Library to this Agreement.

For the Springfield-Greene County Library District:

____________________________________      Date:____________
Annie Busch, Executive Director
Springfield-Greene County Library District

For the United States:

BILL LANN LEE,
Acting Assistant Attorney General
for Civil Rights

By:____________________________________      Date:____________
   JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
   L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
   NAOMI MILTON, Supervising Attorney
   AME EDUARDO, Investigator
   Disability Rights Section
   Civil Rights Division
   U.S. Department of Justice
   P.O. Box 66738
   Washington, DC 20035-6738

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Updated August 6, 2015

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