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Dayton Metro Library unveils universal changing tables

Dayton Daily News - 10/19/2023

Oct. 18—Dayton Metro Library unveiled the first universal changing tables — long benches that can be used to assist in changing the clothing of a person who has mobility issues — to be installed in public buildings in Montgomery County.

"We know that libraries are important to people with disabilities and those with mobility challenges, and we want to have restroom facilities that meet their accessibility needs," said Dayton Metro Librarian executive director Jeffrey Trzeciak.

The Main Library's changing table is located on the building's second floor, in a hallway next to the elevators, while the Huber Heights branch table is located in a family restroom near the children's section.

Patrons with mobility needs who want to use the changing tables are asked to check in with the library's help desk, where an employee will help clear out the restroom facility of other patrons to allow for privacy.

Both tables were installed through a collaboration with the Montgomery CountyBoard of Developmental Disabilities Services and Changing Spaces Ohio, an organization advocating for accessibility.

Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Dr. Pamela Combs said the changing tables benefit a large population in the community: people with disabilities, people who are aging and even people who are injured and have mobility concerns, among many others.

"These tables will be a game-changer for many people with disabilities, their families, and their friends throughout our region," Combs said.

Changing Spaces Ohio and Montgomery CountyBoard of Developmental Disabilities consultant Jennifer Corcoran has helped lead the charge for universal changing tables over the last decade.

Her son, Matthew, uses a wheelchair and requires total care. She said without universal changing tables, families are forced to help their loved ones by changing them on cold and dirty restroom floors or by changing them in their vans — neither of which provides privacy and dignity.

"This is going to impact so many people," she said. "And really, it's just perfect."

The library purchased the Huber Heights table and used funds provided by the Montgomery CountyBoard of Developmental Disabilities through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Combs said the developmental disabilities board was awarded $150,000 in ARPA money to go toward universal changing tables. The agency is hoping to install several more tables in large public spaces.

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(c)2023 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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