Information service provision for the people with visual and physical impairments in public university libraries in Kenya.
Kiruki, Beatrice Wamaitha.
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The study investigated information service provision to the people with visual and physical impairments in public university libraries in Kenya. The study was underpinned by the International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Access to Libraries for Persons with Disabilities Checklist, and the Social Model of disability. A pragmatic paradigm that supports the mixed methods approach was used to underpin the study. The population comprised libraries of six public universities. The data was collected from the students with visual impairments, the students with physical impairments, the staff of the Disability Mainstreaming department, the library staff who provide services to students with impairments, the Systems Librarians and the University Librarians. The data was collected using questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and observation. The findings revealed a blatant exclusion of the people with visual and physical impairments in the library policies which impacted negatively on other aspects of information services provision such as budgeting, assessment of users’ needs, planning of services, marketing of services, provision of information and ICT services, and the design and the layout of the library building. The study made the following recommendations: The libraries should formulate policies regarding the provision of information services to the people with impairments; formulate a special budget to cater for the needs of the people with impairments; assess the needs of the people with impairments; explore effective strategies for marketing the services for the people with impairments; evaluate the services provided to the people with impairments; create a disability services page in their library websites to provide information specific to the people with impairments; ensure that the library staff providing services to the people with impairments are adequately trained; explore the possibilities of information resource sharing amongst themselves and with other organisations providing services to people with impairments; provide special reading rooms equipped with the necessary equipment/resources for the people with impairments; involve the people with impairments in planning for their information services as well as in the policy formulation; and provide special library orientation as well as information literacy (IL) training to the people with impairments.