Toward Holistic Accessibility: Narratives from Functionally Diverse Patrons

JJ Pionke


This study sought to get a more holistic view of how the functionally diverse, people with disabilities, view the library’s accessibility at a large academic institution by utilizing interviews that incorporated open ended questions. Patrons were patrons of the library at all levels including faculty, staff, and students. Patrons also fell into one of four disabilities, either Autism, motor impairment, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or visual impairment. An analysis of the transcripts indicates that patrons had many thoughtful insights into not only how the library was or was not accessible but also on how to address the issues that were presented. Based on the results, three recommendations for improvement in libraries are made including developing more empathy for the functionally diverse, empowering the functionally diverse to come forward and speak up, and incorporating universal design techniques to develop better spaces, buildings, and services.

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