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Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Accessibility

Adaptive Technology in Universities
A university library should be part of an inclusive and dynamic community of residents, students, faculty and friends. Throughout time, university libraries have maintained a close relationship with learning and research and have even influenced these two important priorities. Librarians like to see positive changes throughout history as evolution. Technology, such as the internet, has changed and improved the way people use libraries
The changes that occur over time in our libraries seem to parallel the history of London. Positive and innovative changes in communities are made possible through the efforts of true leaders. Librarians have the ability to lead the way this time in a way that is responsive to the needs of the community,  faculty and staff.
A good way to do this is to go back to the two important priorities throughout the history of academic libraries - learning and research, to check how closely our libraries are measuring up.
The main issue:
There isn’t adequate accessibility. So our mission will continue to serve students, faculty and staff as a university designed to provide information using cutting edge technology – only this time, our identity includes all people, including people with disabilities. How would it be to initiate the creation of an Inclusive Research Centre within the library to collaborate with researchers throughout the university and surrounding communities. I think that a university that has the initiative, the energy, the innovation and the ABILITY to enable universities to move forward and realize an inclusive learning and research vision. A positive step would be the building an academic program in inclusive design at the undergraduate, graduate and professional development level. In addition to a technology advantage and rich history in academics, a university can include programs and initiatives that perfectly complement adaptive technology programs and offer a vibrant, expanding academic community to situate their research.
Librarians regard disability as a disparity between the needs of the individual and the service, education, tools or environment provided. As well, accessibility is regarded as the adaptability of the library system to the needs of each individual. The development of university research and services should be grounded on accessibility and inclusion.
Just as universities may support open standards - as well as open access and open source wherever possible - to distribute their work as widely as possible and to encourage broad participation in their initiatives, all our work is therefore collaborative. Departments research teams as well as community partners and city community services can use the library’s Inclusive Research Centre for a broad range of research and programming initiatives.
We as librarians are strong advocates of people with disabilities as they are often overlooked when it comes to being productive with regards to information. They should not be limited to only being ones who consume information. Instead of people with disabilities being the ones who are limited in their abilities, it is actually our entire society that is limited if people with disabilities are excluded. We lose a big part of what makes us a community when people with disabilities are omitted. Therefore, inclusion benefits everyone and without this inclusion, we all lose out in being a complete community. Since many universities are on the cutting edge of technology, this becomes a major part of our strengths and power we have to our advantage. It should be used to the fullest. There are no limits to how this space in a university can be used. In a library, there should be room for everyone.

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