Library’s elevator stops working, staff organizing access alternatives to various parts of the building

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The elevator at the Bartholomew County Library has stopped working, resulting in staff scrambling to allow access for patrons who use it to access various departments on different floors in the building.

Library officials said that as of 6 a.m. Friday, the elevator was out of service. After continued troubleshooting efforts and trained technician inspections, library staff said the “original-to-the-building” structure was not able to be fixed and had to be replaced.

In a statement, library officials said this puts “a significant strain on our ability to provide an accessible experience for all. Every effort is being made to accommodate for this unforeseen change until a new elevator can be installed.”

The outage restricts the library’s ability to provide ADA-compliant access to the library’s lower level and mezzanine. As a result, library officials have closed all meeting rooms, including the Red Room and Conference Room, entirely.

Those with reservations for these rooms will be notified and the library will not accept new requests until a new elevator is installed. Library officials said they are reaching out to community partners in an effort to generate a list of alternative locations for those who had planned to use the meeting spaces at the library.

Library internal programming will have changes as well, library officials said, and some will have to move to a community partner location.

The former Indiana Room, now known as the Main Level Meeting Room, will be a central location for many library programs, and staff members are looking into options to create sheltered, accessible spaces on the library plaza.

The main staircase will remain open from the main floor to the lower level until flooring work begins in that area beginning the middle of April. At that time, the outside entrances will need to be used to access the different levels.

Families who rely on the elevator to access the children’s department are asked to reach out to library staff about materials and resources while the elevator is being replaced, library officials said.

The library is also planning to have a handicap-accessible porta-john placed outside the building early next week for those who cannot take the stairs to restroom facilities.

The library expressed its apologies for the inconvenience and staff members said they are doing everything possible to assist patrons. They ask anyone who needs assistance accessing the library without the elevator and has questions to call 812-379-1266 or email [email protected]

For more on this story, see Sunday’s Republic.