New at the library

In anticipation of the upcoming Universal Design Conference to be held at the library on October 2 & 3, today’s column highlights resources available through the library’s electronic catalog which is available in the library or online, anytime, through the library’s website:

Universal Design is a superior approach to planning and construction that is inclusive, attractive and never obvious, while improving function and usability for everyone- in homes, businesses, products and communities. Going beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, Universal Design concepts are stylish, beautiful and make good sense for all ages and all abilities.

How can you learn more about this new, sensible and creative trend? A simple keyword or subject search for “universal design” in the library’s catalog provides a list of available books and resources full of inspiring ideas that can be found on the library shelves under the nonfiction call number 728.087.

PWPL’s holdings under this subject heading contains the “AARP Guide to Revitalizing your Home: Beautiful Living for the Second Half of Life” by Rosemary Bakker. Packed with accessible ideas and full color photographs for all areas of your home-gardens, entries, kitchens, baths, living spaces and bedrooms, the book covers flooring, lighting, storage, fixtures, appliances, security as well as touching on what makes a livable community.

Another option is “The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities” by Deborah Pierce. Published in 2012 by Taunton Press, this book provides stylish ideas for each area of the home and how those designs can be adapted as life changes- from raising young children to aging in place issues as well welcoming visitors of all abilities. This book will help you plan and adapt your home for those unforeseen circumstances life can throw your way.

The library catalog also opens the door to other library holdings throughout the state for your use. One such book that has helped this writer with an unforeseen life altering change is “Universal Design for the Home” by Wendy Jordan. Subtitled “Great-Looking, Great-Living Design for All Ages, Abilities and Circumstances,” this book is a gallery of wonderful, gorgeous and inspiring photographs and plan drawings that help you see what your home can become and still be an attractive, comfortable space to living in for the whole family.

Another option to learn more about the advantages of Universal Design, is to register for the library’s conference on October 2 and 3. The regional conference, which is presented by Thrivent Financial and a host of other community groups, local and national organizations, is open to all consumers as well as business people, architects, builders, planners, students, public health professionals and those involved with community planning.

Keynote speaker, Cynthia Leibrock, is an award winning author, international lecturer, lobbyist, and universal designer with over 30 years of experience. Her mission is to improve health, longevity, and life quality though universal design. Prominent clients include: The Betty Ford Center, Toyota, Kohler, and The Smithsonian National Design Museum including an exhibit with Julia Child. For twenty years she has taught courses in the architecture department of Harvard University. Her keynote includes a virtual tour of her home which was recently on the cover on The New York Times. Leibrock’s newest book, “Design Details for Health: Making the Most of Design’s Healing Potential” is part of the library’s collection as well.

Other presenters at the conference will speak on accessibility and inclusivity in outdoor recreation and landscape design; universal design in business, construction, aging in place issues, health care practices, and state support of universal design projects. In addition NMU’s Human Centered Design students will showcase their work in a gallery tour and the first ever Above and Beyond ADA Awards will be presented in recognition of exemplary upgrades in our area. The conference winds up with a hands-on demonstration of assistive technology for indoor use and outdoor recreation for people who experience barriers to independent living. Devices range from low cost and low tech to high tech and outdoor recreation vehicles for increased health and wellness.

More conference details and registration information for this unique educational opportunity- right in our own backyard- can also be found on the library’s website or by visiting or calling the library at 226-4318. Don’t miss it!