Posted by: David Giacalone | July 2, 2010

a moving message from our Public Library

Warning: No pretty pictures in this posting.  Instead, you’ll find one of the proprietor’s pet peeves.

About two years ago, I tried but was unable to read the above sign, which was posted on the northside entry door of the central branch of the Schenectady County Public Library.  I eventually learned that the sign was a Notification of Asbestos Removal Project — meant to allow staff and patrons to protect themselves from the higher concentrations of airborne asbestos that can result from the removal process, by letting them know the dates and location of the removal activity. The experience resulted in my posting the piece “automatic doors make terrible bulletin boards” (September 23, 2008) at my weblog f/k/a.  As I explained at the time:

[T]he Notice moves to the left as soon as one approaches it.  That’s because it’s attached to an automatic door that slides open when you get near it, and then slides back rather quickly once you pass through.

Despite my efforts since then to get the Library to attach important notices to the many stationary portions of the entryway (a change that takes no additional time or effort), nothing has changed.  Instead, I’ve merely confirmed my reputation as an old curmudgeon and budinski.  That reputation was surely enhanced on June 26, 2010, when I found myself in a deja vu — unable to read the sign pictured to the left of this paragraph.  After some effort (including asking a passerby to stand still in the doorway so the opened door would stay put), I again ascertained that it was an Asbestos Removal notice for a project at the Library handled by Jupiter Environmental Controls of Albany.

With a little research, I learned that such signs are required by the New York State Department of Labor’s Industrial Code Rule 56 (Asbestos).  § 56-8.1 (b) of the Asbestos Removal regulations mandates that “Signs shall be posted that permit a person to read the sign and take the necessary protective measures to avoid exposure.”  (emphasis added) The Regulation is enforced by the NYS DoL  Asbestos Control Bureau.

Convinced that affixation on a moving automatic door would not permit even a reasonably spry person “to read the sign,” I decided to write a sequel to the original f/k/a posting and further publicize the issue in the hope of getting some action.  Luckily, I’m in the process of procrastinating over several important projects, and find myself without major social engagements this Independence Day weekend.  Therefore, I have written “a moving message from the Schenectady County Public Library“, which can be found appended to the original posting.   It includes quite a few (admittedly boring) Asbestos Notice photos from both 2008 and 2010.  If you’re feeling civic minded, or curmudgeonly, or simply in need of diversion, head over there for the full story.  If enough of you do, I won’t feel like I’ve totally wasted the hours it has taken putting this bit of self-indulgent investigative journalist together.

You can share the “moving message” piece with others using this short URL:

If interested in asking State or County officials to stop putting important notices on automatic doors, use this contact information:

  • The NYS Asbestos Control Bureau Engineering Services Unit: email: [phone for Albany District Office (518) 457-1255]
  • Schenectady County Library’s Director Andy Kulmatiski, through the Library’s
    General Questions email contact: [phone (518) 388-4543]
  • Bill Marggi, Manager, Jupiter Environmental Services, Albany NY: phone: (518) 435-0700
  • Kathleen Rooney, [Schenectady] County Manager: email: [phone: (518) 388-4355]
  • The Schenectady County Attorney: [phone: (518) 388-4700]

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