Library and information services for people with a disability

ALIA objects addressed

To promote and improve the services provided by all kinds of library and information agencies.

Principle

The Australian Library and Information Association adopts in principle the right of people with a disability to equitable access to information through all library and information services, and promotes the observation of current Commonwealth, state and territory disability discrimination legislation.

Statement

  1. The Association recommends that all library and information providers, as part of their core services, put in place services, collections, equipment and facilities, which will assist individual users with a disability to access and use resources that meet their particular needs for information.
  2. The Association encourages library and information service providers to consult individuals with a disability, and groups representing them, in the planning, development and ongoing delivery of services.
  3. The Association acknowledges that the best services are provided by professionals who are aware of the needs of, and service options for, people with a disability. Therefore the Association:
    1. encourages all library and information services to ensure that staff are adequately trained and available to work with users with a disability; and
    2. supports career-long professional development and formal library and information studies programs, which will facilitate the strengthening of equitable library and information services to people with a disability.
  1. The Association supports efforts to ensure the best level of access and utility to existing and emerging resources by people with a disability through service agreements, referrals and sharing of resources between library and information services; and between these and other organisations specialising in services targeted for people with a disability, whether government, corporate or voluntary.
  2. In addition to meeting legislative requirements, the Association encourages the observation of universal design principles, guidelines and standards to ensure that library and information services, collections, equipment and facilities meet the identified needs of users with a disability. These apply to:
    1. the production of collection material and equipment for people with a disability - whether produced by commercial, government or voluntary agencies;
    2. the design of catalogues, databases and guides to resources;
    3. the development and application of hardware and software;
    4. the construction of buildings and signage; and
    5. the building safety and emergency procedure.
  1. The Association supports efforts to ensure that copyright legislation does not hinder the equal access by people with a disability to information from all libraries and information providers, including to copies of materials in alternative formats.
  2. To promote the efforts outlined in this statement, the Association encourages:
    1. library and information services to develop organisation-wide disability action plans for the continued development of their services to people with a disability; and
    2. all funding bodies to adequately resource library and information services for people with a disability.

Amended 2009