Jackson v. Queens Borough Public Library
On November 26, 2019, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Queens Borough Public Library, The Board of Trustees of the Queens Borough Public Library, and the City of New York, challenging the inaccessibility of Queens’ newest library branch, Hunters Point Library.
Plaintiffs Tanya Jackson and Center for Independence of the Disabled – New York (CIDNY) are suing to require the library to fix this unjust and discriminatory situation.
Under longstanding disability rights laws, newly constructed buildings must be made fully accessible to people with disabilities. Yet Hunters Point Library, which is an entirely new $41.5 million building constructed after years of in-depth planning, shockingly excludes persons with mobility disabilities from full and equal access to its services through reliance on stairs and other inaccessible features.
The barriers at Hunters Point Library are numerous:
- There are at least three levels completely inaccessible to persons with mobility disabilities.
- The children’s section contains multi-level wooden lounging and small-group meeting space inaccessible to children and caregivers with mobility disabilities.
- The upper level of the rooftop terrace—which provides with spectacular views of Manhattan’s East River—has no access for persons with mobility disabilities.
- There are long waits for the heavily-utilized single elevator, which does not even stop at every level.
- The stunning panoramic views are most visible from inaccessible staircases.
- The designated stroller “parking” areas block the path of travel from the elevator to some of the Library’s main features.
DRA’s goal is that the lawsuit will rectify the exclusion of people with disabilities by requiring Defendants to develop and implement a remedial plan to provide equal access to Hunters Point Library. The suit alleges violations of the federal and local civil rights laws designed to eliminate disability-based discrimination.