Provision of library services to people with disabilities in Malawi
AbstractThe purpose of this paper was to investigate the provision of library services to people with disabilities in Malawi. A mixed methodology was used as the research design. All participating libraries (fifty-six) were sampled to participate in the survey while fourteen students with disabilities (one from each institution, where possible) were purposively chosen to be interviewed. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires whilst qualitative data were collected through interview guides. Quantitative data was analysed using Microsoft Excel while qualitative data was analysed thematically. The paper highlights the lack of library and information services to disabled people and acknowledges possible barriers. The study has revealed lack of equipment to support disabled access to library and information resources. Similarly, despite an increase in the number of people with disabilities, the majority of the libraries do not offer specialised training such as induction sessions or market services that cater for those with disabilities. The study, among other suggestions, recommends that equipment deemed necessary for people with disabilities (such as Braille books) be procured. Libraries should also take necessary steps to address accessibility challenges faced by people with disabilities when using their libraries. Libraries should take further steps to either introduce or enhance services that cater for people with disabilities.
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