Library services provision for people with visual impairments and in wheelchairs in academic libraries in Tanzania.
Majinge, Rebecca Mgunda.
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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. The article looks at 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 in the importance of access to information as a fundamental right and, particularly, in university studies. The study drew on a pragmatism paradigm and the social model of disability of Oliver which emphasises universal access as the norm. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to conduct survey and observation-based research. The findings reveal that academic libraries provide services to people with visual impairments and in wheelchairs but these services are not inclusive or universal. The study therefore recommends 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 disabilities, providing adequate budgets and staff training. In addition, practical measures are needed such as constructing library buildings with ramps and maintaining working lifts, acquiring Braille and large print information resources, as well as providing assistive equipment.