Accessible Amherstburg Library History Revisited

As the Amherstburg library branch celebrates its 110 year history, I reflect on what it took to ensure it was accessible to everyone.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission Investigator noted the town remained silent throughout my ten-year campaign to make the Carnegie library accessible. The Ontario Human Rights Commission highlighted the case in its Annual Report and the town credited others with my accomplishment.

In addition to ignoring my accessibility requests, the town disregarded government funding initiatives that prioritized accessibility. When I questioned the marina, instead of changing the priority project to the library, the town withdrew its funding application.

In 2001, I requested that council include accessibility in the tender for library repairs; instead, the town donated $710,000 for a replica of the HMS Detroit, for which taxpayers incurred a 9% tax hike over a two-year period.

Today, it’s disappointing to see the Amherstburg library promote sponsoring businesses that may have accessibility issues: River Bookshop, Richmond Popcorn, Caffeine and Co., Panneteria. Screenshot of Essex County Library page. I do not shop local if I encounter barriers.

It should be noted that heritage buildings can be made accessible so everyone could equally participate, but it requires a commitment to universal design, inclusivity and human rights.

I commented and also emailed the library board to let them know that the Essex County Library website may have accessibility issues.