June 2012 Archives

Special Monday, June 18 Edition

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We got a few important public service e-mails today that I want to call attention to:

Lion Cash Machine:
From Ann Snowman -
We now learn that the LionCash machines in the library have been disconnected, apparently in preparation for removal.  Remember, visitors may obtain LionCash cards and instructions for adding funds to both LionCash and resident borrower cards at the Commons Services desk.

LionCash or VTS (Value Transfer Stations that dispense debit-type cards) machines are being phased out.  They are an outmoded technology that has reached the end of their lifecycle and will not be replaced. Data shows that most cash transfer transactions now take place online with ID+ Cards and Lion Cash accounts.  Students/faculty/staff are able to add value and use their ID+ cards to vend copies.  Community Borrowers with Libraries-issued borrowing cards will be able to add value to those cards to vend copies.  A small supply of LionCash Cards will be available at the Commons Services desk that can be issued, along with a STAAR account to enable network access, to the small contingent of users who do not fall into either of these categories.  No date has yet been announced for the removal of the equipment.

Service Animals from Susan Hayya (see her e-mail dated June 15 for an attached document):

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify information about service animals, and in particular what they do, why they serve, and how, as service providers ourselves, we should appropriately respond to these animals and to their masters. I have attached to this email a detailed document about service animals in public places prepared by the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania.  In brief though the bottom line is that service animals for people with disabilities are allowed in public places. This is the law.  In most cases the service animal is a dog, but it could be a horse.  What is important for you to know about service animals is that the tasks that the animal performs must be "directly related to the individual's disability."  In Pennsylvania the "law makes it a summary offense for a public accommodation's owner, manager, or employee to deny access to the accommodation or its benefits to any person who uses a "guide, signal or service dog or other aid animal that has been certified by a recognized authority to assist a person because of the physical disability, blindness, or deafness of the user."  The most important things to remember, (which again, I am quoting from the attached document) are:


"Individuals with disabilities cannot be asked about the nature or extent of their disabilities. 


Owners, managers, or staff of public spaces are permitted to ask only two questions to determine if the animal qualifies as a service animal: (1) whether the animal is required because of a disability; and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. Even these two inquiries, however, may be inappropriate when it is obvious that an animal is trained to work for a person with a disability (e.g., when the dog is guiding a person who is blind or pulling a person's wheelchair)."


Please note that nowhere in the document is there anything said about how a service animal should be identified.  I would hope that anyone who has a service animal would have either a harness, or a coat or a large badge around the animal's neck identifying him/her as a service animal. Unfortunately, there is no law saying that the owner must prominently display on the animal that it is employed to serve a person with a disability. This may be because some people do not want to reveal their disability.


As you can see this is a balancing act between being legally compliant, public safety, and providing sensitive and good customer service.


So, the following is what I absolutely know for sure, followed by some guidelines, based on my experience, on what to do when you see an animal in the library.


Do not ever touch a service animal.  Sometimes it is obvious that the animal is working, for example, when he/she has a harness on. Even when the animal is at rest, he/she is working.  Any distraction may put his/her master in harm's way.


Do not immediately tell a patron that there are no dogs allowed. Ask the owner, if the dog is a service animal, even if it seems obvious that it is not. A good example of this is the dog in a buggy, that some of us recently have seen. (I saw him today.)  I asked his owner if he was a service animal. He is not.


Do not assume that the dog is not an assistance animal because the person does not look disabled.


I suggest the following:


If you have concerns, when a patron brings a dog into your service area, and there is not clear identifiable signage that the animal is a service animal, very politely ask the patron if the animal is a service dog. As I mention above, if the answer is yes, accept this answer, make no further comments about it, and say thank you and leave. If the answer is no, but "I didn't want to leave Fido in the hot car", very politely say something like "I am very sorry, I do understand your situation, but non-service animals are not allowed in the library." If you have any problem with the patron, follow the procedures that you would normally follow in this situation.


I hope that this information is helpful to you.


Susan Hayya,Coordinator
Adaptive Technology & Services

Really Bad Cash Machine Joke:

An elderly person was at a cash machine and having problems.
A guy walked passed and she said to him, " Excuse me, would you help me check my balance?"
He looked at her, gave her a shove and she fell over backwards onto the pavement!
"Yep love, I think you should get it checked out!!"


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