Obstacles might slow Freddie Zink down, but they don't stop her.

The 52-year-old Provo woman has worked five years to make it possible for her and others like her to check a book out of the Provo City Library.She will finally have a chance to choose her own book on her own time when the city's new library opens May 8, complete with ramps and elevators.

Zink is confined to a wheelchair.

She had polio in 1950 and has been wheelchair-bound since, but that hasn't held her back from achieving degrees, having a career or volunteering as a committee member of the Friends of the Provo City Library - even if she couldn't enter the library until now.

Zink has never been inside the city's old library because it was built before laws required public places to be accessible to the handicapped.

"I remember going down to the library and seeing that there was no way at all to get in, and I had never encountered that in a public building," she said.

"I wasn't angry. It's just another opportunity to educate people. You can't be angry at people for what they don't know. If there's an opportunity or potential for change I try and do something about it. Otherwise I'll just forget it and worry about something else."

Zink's desire for improvement showed in her earlier years as well. She graduated from San Jose State with a bachelor's degree in speech pathology. A master's degree in the same subject followed at Stanford University, partially made possible by graduate students who lifted her up winding stairs three times a week for classes in the president's old mansion.

The Zinks later moved from California to Provo in 1984 and have been involved in Friends of the Library almost as long.

Zink's husband, Monte, is chairman of the Friends board, a non-profit organization set up to assist the library through funding or volunteer efforts, but she has never been a board member because the group met in the library.

Instead, she has worked from her home as chairwoman of the Friends' annual Temptations In Chocolate fund-raiser, one of the group's most successful fund-raising activities.

Through her involvement, more than $15,000 has been raised for purchasing such things as video projectors, books, and desks - items that the library would not be able to afford on an otherwise tight budget.

With the new library, "I certainly hope to play a more visible role because the public must be aware of the needs of the library, particularly in reference to the handicapped," she said. "There should be offerings from the library to those who are restricted in many other ways.

"I'm surprised at the lack of awareness. Some people frankly lack the opportunity of knowing someone disabled. They see handicapped people, but how many people really know a disabled person on a personal level? They are afraid to approach them."

She said she plans to work on various programs that reach out to those who are homebound and want to read books from the city library.

"This has been the culmination of a long-term effort even before we came, but we plan to make the most of our successes in an accessible library to the handicapped. I feel a certain degree of success and I'm positive about being able to use the library at long last."

When the new library opens, Zink says she sees herself going to the library at least once a week.

"I have this fantasy to read every book in the library. I see all these books full of knowledge and I want to read everything that's there. It's impossible, but it's nice just to feast my eyes on all the work."

Zink will speak at Monday's dedication, scheduled for 4 p.m. outside the library.