Library services provision for people with visual impairments and in wheelchairs in academic libraries in Tanzania

Rebecca Mgunda Majinge, Christine Stilwell

Abstract


This article is based on a study that examined library services provision for people with visual impairments and in wheelchairs in academic libraries in Tanzania, looking into access to the information resources available and the layout of library buildings in five universities in Tanzania. The broader issues in this study were grounded on the importance of access to information as a fundamental human right. The study drew on a pragmatism paradigm and the social model of disability of Oliver. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to conduct survey and observation-based research. The findings revealed that academic libraries provided services to people with visual impairments and in wheelchairs but these services were not inclusive or universal. The study therefore recommended that academic libraries as manifest in the social model, should strive to provide inclusive services to all users including people with disabilities. To achieve this universal access requires the formulating of policy regarding provision of library services to people with disability, providing adequate budgets and staff training in addition to practical measures such constructing library buildings with ramps and maintaining working lifts, acquiring Braille and large print information resources, as well as providing assistive equipment.


Keywords


Library services, People with visual impairments, People in wheelchairs, Academic libraries, Tanzania

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/79-2-147

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