2 Survey Results: Executive Summary Executive Summary Introduction Accessibility for individuals with disabilities is an important topic for all libraries. Approximately 20% of the adult population in the US has one or more disability and recent data shows that 11% of undergraduates report having a disability. Libraries, particularly those at research institutions, must understand both the legal requirements that apply to their institutions and the needs of their users. They must consider accessibility as it pertains to physical and online spaces, patrons services, library staff, vendor products, and more. In 2010, when ARL last collected data from member libraries about the services they provided for people with disabilities in SPEC Kit 321: Services for Users with Disabilities, all of these areas were significantly different than they are now. This new survey offered an opportunity to explore the shifting nature of accessibility in ARL member institutions and to add to understanding how the concept of universal design is being implemented at these libraries. The survey was conducted between January 3 and February 6, 2018. Sixty-seven of the 125 ARL libraries responded to the survey for a 54% response rate. Note: In this survey, we used person-first language (such as “a person with disabilities”) rather than identity-first language (such as “a disabled person”) to be consistent with the language used in the ARL Web Accessibility Toolkit as well as SPEC Kit 321. However, we would like to acknowledge that there is an important difference and no consensus within disability communities about which terminology is appropriate or preferred. Staff Assistance with Services The majority of respondents indicated that library staff provide a range of services to users, including retrieving books and other materials from the stacks, and assistance with using the catalog and online resources, accessing facilities (such as study rooms), using copy/scan/print services, and operating library equipment. More than half of the respondents demonstrate how to use the library’s assistive technology. A third help users set up their own equipment. At almost every library a user with a disability can approach any service desk to request assistance a few have a special service desk. At most of the responding institutions users can also make arrangements through another campus department (such as disability services) and request an appointment with a specialist in the library in advance. It is unclear from the survey responses if lack of publicity for available resources limits the use of these services. Accommodations for Library Staff The majority of respondents indicated that they provide accommodations for library staff who have disabilities. Most often they accommodate requests for modified furniture and workstations (58
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