7 SPEC Kit 358: Accessibility and Universal Design Survey Questions and Responses The SPEC Survey on Accessibility and Universal Design was designed by Carli Spina, Head Librarian for Assessment & Outreach, Boston College, and Margaret Cohen, Head Librarian, Educational Initiatives & Research Services, at Boston College. These results are based on responses from 67 of the 125 ARL member libraries (54%) by the deadline of February 6, 2018. The survey’s introductory text and questions are reproduced below, followed by the response data and selected comments from the respondents. In 2010, when ARL last collected data from member libraries about the services they provided for people with disabilities, the landscape in which these services were provided was much different. Since that time, institutional support for people with disabilities has continued to grow in importance at many institutions, assistive technologies have continued to develop, and electronic access to library materials has continued to increase. At the same time, issues of physical access persist, particularly at institutions with older facilities, and online resources and vendor practices continue to vary in their level of compliance with accessibility standards. Given the importance of supporting the needs of all patrons and staff regardless of their need for accommodation, there is a need to continually assess this topic. This survey seeks to better understand how ARL member libraries are meeting the accessibility needs of users and staff and to provide a resource for those attempting to develop best practices for their own institutions. The survey includes questions regarding support for assistive technologies in libraries, services provided to people with disabilities, staffing and training for these services, evaluation of resources, and institutional policies and procedures in this area. It also includes questions on Universal Design, an approach to design that makes spaces and services more inclusive of all, regardless of their needs. The answers to this survey will allow us to determine areas where progress has been made and better understand where libraries diverge in their approaches to providing services. It will also offer guidance for institutions that are interested in reworking their own approach to accessibility. For the purposes of this survey the following definitions may be helpful: Accessibility Standards refers to any legal standards in your jurisdiction (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act) and/or policies set by your parent institution. Assistive Technology is “any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” (Assistive Technology Act of 1998 §3(a)(3)) Universal Design “is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.” (Centre for Excellence in Universal Design)
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