Somerville MA libraries Federal Settlement Agreement May 2013
Somerville Public Library
Complaint No. 01-11-4012
Section 302 Resolution Agreement
In order to voluntarily resolve the allegations in the above-referenced complaint filed with the
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), pursuant to Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its implementing regulation at 28 C.F.R. Part 35
(Title II) during the investigation of Complaint No. 01-11-4012, against the Somerville Public
Library (Library), the City of Somerville and the Library agree to implement the following
I. Policies and Procedures (28 C.F.R. Section 35.106 and 160)
A. By July 1, 2013, the Library will designate an ADA Coordinator to address access issues
that arise at the Library.
B. By July 1, 2013, and on an ongoing basis thereafter, the Library will review and adjust its
programs to ensure that any unique programs that are offered only at the West Branch will also
be offered at the accessible Central or East sites.
C. By July 1, 2013, the Library will ensure that its monthly Event Calendar includes a notice
statement that explains that individuals with disabilities seeking accommodations to attend
events should contact the ADA Coordinator or some other person designated by the Library who
will arrange for the accommodations. The Library will also specifically include this statement,
on an ongoing basis, in announcements concerning any programs held at the West Branch
D. The Library will revise its grievance procedure to clarify that an individual need not
exhaust his or her administrative remedies at the local level before filing a complaint with a state
or Federal agency.
II. Web-site Accessibility
A. By June 1, 2015, the Library will update its web-site to provide tags to all of the
information concerning compliance for persons with disabilities and will correct the inaccurate
tags that are on the site.
B. By June 1, 2015, the Library will develop a web-site accessibility plan to address access
issues regarding other resources on its web-site.
III. Accessibility (28 C.F.R. Section 35.150 – unless otherwise noted)
To ensure that the programs offered in the Central and East branches are accessible to persons
with disabilities, the Library shall complete the following alterations by June 1. 2015:
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1. Remove the one inch threshold to access the curb ramp from the accessible parking space
and reduce the slope of the curb ramp to the accessible route into the Library to no more than a
one inch rise for every twenty inches in length.
2. Reduce the pressure to open the women’s restroom door to no more than five pounds of
3. Provide shielding on the hot water pipes under the sinks in both the men’s and women’s
4. Provide raised letter or Braille signage adjacent to elevator call buttons on all levels.
5. Remove wastebaskets and other objects that protrude into access aisles to ensure that
there is at least 36 inches of clear space on accessible routes within the mezzanine and balcony
levels of the Library.
B. East Branch
1. Repair the lower portion of the entrance ramp so that it has a rise of no more than 1 inch
for every twelve inches in length. (See 28 C.F.R. Section 35.151 – ramp is 2009 construction)
2. Add a second grab bar in the restroom behind the toilet and mount it parallel to the floor
at 34 inches high.
3. Remove wastebaskets and other objects that protrude into access aisles to ensure that
there is at least 36 inches of clear space on accessible routes within the branch library.
A. By December 1, 2013, the Library shall provide OCR documentation demonstrating that
it has designated a Library ADA Coordinator, reviewed and adjusted its programs to ensure that
any unique programs are made available at the Central or East sites, included an appropriate
notice statement for individuals with disabilities in its monthly Event Calendar and in all West
Branch program announcements, and revised its grievance procedures, in accordance with items
I(A-B) of this agreement.
B. By December 1, 2013, the Library shall provide OCR an interim report, for OCR’s
review and approval, describing its plan to address web-site access issues, as required by item
II(B) of this agreement, and describing its plans and efforts for the timely completion of the
alterations required in items III(A) and (B).
C. By June 1, 2015, the Library shall provide OCR a final report, documenting completion
of the alterations required in items III(A) and (B).
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D. On or before December 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015, the Library shall provide OCR a
report documenting its continued compliance with items I(B) and I(C), and its implementation of
its web-site access plan in accordance with II(B).
The Library understands that OCR will not close the monitoring of this agreement until OCR
determines that the Library has fulfilled the terms of this agreement and is in compliance with
the regulations implementing Title II, which were at issue in this case. The Library understands
that by signing this agreement, it agrees to provide data and other information in a timely manner
in accordance with the reporting requirements of this agreement.
Further, the Library understands that during the monitoring of this agreement, if necessary, OCR
may visit the Library, interview staff and visitors, and request such additional reports or data as
are necessary for OCR to determine whether the Library has fulfilled the terms of this agreement
and is in compliance with the regulation implementing Title II at 28 C.F.R. Sections 35.150 and
35.151, which were at issue in this case.
The Library understands and acknowledges that OCR may initiate administrative enforcement or
judicial proceedings to enforce the specific terms and obligations of this agreement. Before
initiating administrative enforcement, or judicial proceedings to enforce this agreement, OCR
shall give the Library written notice of the alleged breach and a minimum of sixty (60) calendar
days to cure the alleged breach.