Mobility scooters make Columbia Public Library more accessible

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 4:58 p.m. CDT; updated 6:47 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

COLUMBIA —Two new Amigo RD motorized mobility scooters will help Columbia Public Library visitors get to their next read.

"We purchased the scooters simply because Columbia Public Library is such a large building," said Elinor Barrett, Daniel Boone Regional Library associate director. "We have some patrons who can walk a ways, but to navigate a large building, it helps to have something else available. We thought this would be a way to help them use the library independently."

Mitzi St. John, Daniel Boone Regional Library public relations manager, said they're always looking for ways to better improve services at the library.

"We had seen it at other businesses and thought it might be a good way to assist patrons as they enter the building and allow them to move about the building more freely," she said.

Columbia Public Library is the only Daniel Boone Regional Library location with the scooters, Barrett said.

To use the scooters, library guests can page staff using the exterior call box — a fixture about the size of a piece of paper placed at the base of the outdoor ramp — or call 443-3161 before arrival, St. John said. A library staff member will meet the patron outside with the scooter and later escort him or her out. Barrett said a guest used the scooters Saturday and two others used them this week.

Barrett said the staff loves to help librarygoers. She said she hopes that people will use the scooters and give feedback.

A $5,360 Library Service Improvement grant funded the scooters. The grant was awarded to the library as part of the annual Library Services and Technology program through the Missouri State Library, according to a news release. Previoulsy, the library received grants for all three locations to purchase e-readers for library users to test, as well as funds for summer reading programs, St. John said.

Only a photo ID is needed to check out a scooter. Wheelchairs and rolling walkers were already available at the library.

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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