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Universal Access: Making Library Resources Accessible to People with Disabilities

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As more information is delivered using computer and network technologies, libraries play an increasingly important role in ensuring access for all people to Internet and other information resources. In making electronic resources accessible, principles of universal design should be employed.

Universal design means that, rather than design your services and facility for the average user, you design them for people with a broad range of abilities and disabilities. Keep in mind that patrons may have learning disabilities and visual, speech, hearing, and mobility impairments.

Although a library cannot be expected to have specialized equipment for every type of disability, staff should be aware of the options for making library resources accessible and should make available equipment that they can anticipate will be used or is available at relatively low cost. In addition, develop a procedure to ensure a quick response to requests for accommodations to meet the needs of patrons with disabilities.

The following information and questions can help guide you in making all of your library's programs and resources universally accessible and inviting to people with disabilities. Resources listed at the end of this handout, including DO-IT's World Wide Web site, provide a starting place to locate additional information as you make your library and its resource more accessible!


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