SSL Access helps the National Library of Scotland provide for readers with disabilities

SSL Access helps the National Library of Scotland provide for readers with disabilities

The National Library of Scotland may have a heritage dating back over 300 years, but its modern outlook places it in the vanguard of organisations providing services effectively to users with disabilities.

SSL AccessThis has most recently been demonstrated by the instalment of a vertical platform lift at the entrance of the library to help visitors with disabilities better negotiate the stairs. The work was carried out by SSL Access, one of the country's leading specialists in sourcing, fitting and maintaining access equipment.

The project has been so successful that a second lift is on order and is due to be installed in the coming weeks.

With over 14 million items in 490 different languages, the National Library of Scotland is the country's undisputed knowledge centre. It adds a further 320 000 items to its collection each year and ensuring access is open to all is a driving priority for the organisation, which will be opening a brand new, user-friendly Visitor Centre later this year.

Formally constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1925, the institution had effectively been a national library since well before this date due to the legal right granted under the 1710 Copyright Act to claim a copy of every book published in Britain.

When considering modifications, the ornate entrance to the National Library of Scotland's George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh required a sympathetic approach.

Marble floors and walls demanded a sense of craftsmanship when it came to fitting the lift, while choosing one that was both functional and appropriate for its surrounds was an important aspect of the process.

To ensure the National Library of Scotland had every assistance in making the correct decision, SSL Access organised a visit to Terry Lifts in Knutsford, the firm that supplied the Melody 2 lift.

A further visit was arranged to a site in London to see one of these lifts in situ, allowing representatives from the National Library of Scotland to get a real feel for how things would turn out back in Edinburgh.

Angus Pattison, Private Building Consultant at the National Library of Scotland explained: “Allowing the public proper access to our services is essential and the new lift helps us to do that. It was also important to get the right piece of equipment so that it would work effectively for visitors and not look out of place in the entrance to the building.”

He added: “We are delighted with the way things have turned out and would have struggled to achieve such a good result had it not been for all of the help we have received from SSL Access.”

SSL AccessMarc Barry, Director at SSL Access said the project had been meticulously planned. “Dealing with historical buildings there is always a certain amount of thought that has to go into getting the look and feel of the installation right, as well as making sure it is fit for purpose. Things have really turned out well and we are delighted to have played our part in making one of Scotland's most important buildings accessible for everybody.”

Under longstanding legislation people with disabilities have the legal right to be able to access the same level of services as anyone else in the community, although many public and private organisations still fall short of their obligations.

Mr Barry added: “The new lifts are only part of the overall programme that the National Library of Scotland has put in place to improve access for users with disabilities. Unfortunately not everybody takes their responsibilities so seriously and in many aspects of their life people with disabilities still struggle to get the support and help they are legally entitled to.”

For further information, please contact SSL Access on 0141 551 0807 or visit the website below.