The provision made by higher education library services for people with disabilities

Suzanne Heaven

Abstract


This article examines the results of a Masters research
project which examined the provision provided by
Higher Education (HE) library services for students
with disabilities within the context of the new disability
legislation,The Special Educational Needs and Disability
Act 2001 (SENDA), which came into force on 1st
September 2002. Five HE libraries were selected as case studies and this included interviews with staff, an accessibility audit of services and facilities and a questionnaire targeted at students with disabilities. Library provision was assessed in light of library policies, procedures and practices. On the positive side, all libraries had a disability representative and many staff attended disability awareness training. However, accessibility of the built environment was often inadequate for the needs of people with disabilities. Lighting was poor,
shelving was of inappropriate width and height and signage was far from ideal. Recommendations to improve provision included: compilation of formal written disability policies; compulsory disability awareness training and proactive promotion of available facilities.

Keywords


accessibility; disability legislation;

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CILIP Registered Charity no 313014

ISSN 1756-1086 (Online)