ACCESS-ed Resource Description

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Access to libraries for persons with disabilities - A CHECKLIST

In order to provide equal opportunities for all library users, it is necessary to look with the eyes of all patron groups at the physical condition of library buildings, as well as library services and programs. This checklist, developed by the IFLA Standing Committee of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons (LSDP) in the Hague, is designed as a practical tool for all types of libraries (public, academic, school, special) to assess existing levels of accessibility to buildings, services, materials and programs and to enhance accessibility where needed.

The Hague, IFLA Headquarters, 2005

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It took me several years of struggling with the heavy door to my building, sometimes having to wait until a person stronger came along, to realize that the door was an accessibility problem, not only for me, but for others as well. And I did not notice, until one of my students pointed it out, that the lack of signs that could be read from a distance at my university forced people with mobility impairments to expend a lot of energy unnecessarily, searching for rooms and offices. Although I have encountered this difficulty myself on days when walking was exhausting to me, I interpreted it, automatically, as a problem arising from my illness (as I did with the door), rather than as a problem arising from the built environment having been created for too narrow a range of people and situations.

Susan Wendell, author of
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability