SPEC Kit 321: Services for Users with Disabilities · 15
the major players in the field of assistive software
and hardware have not changed since 1999, although
they may have swapped parent companies. Prices of
the older tools remain high and newer, more sophisti-
cated programs are sometimes impossibly expensive,
especially for smaller library systems. Hopefully, the
growing market for adaptive technology will drive a
more competitive market and result in more reason-
able pricing.
Static library budgets have also resulted in signifi-
cant staffing cuts throughout the past decade. Some of
the most striking parts of this survey are the respons-
es in the staff training and library providers sections.
Although all or nearly all staff in most of the surveyed
libraries are expected to have some level of ability
to help users with disabilities, a surprising number
of staff members are entirely self-taught or getting
their training as best they can, in occasional work-
shops, at conferences, or from vendors. The majority
of library ADA coordinators allocate only 1% 10%
of their time to performing ADA-related duties. They
are bibliographic instruction coordinators, subject
specialists, building managers, reference librarians,
and digital services librarians with many additional
responsibilities. Only two of the surveyed libraries
had full-time coordinators for ADA services. This
fragmented approach to coordinating the programs
was in evidence at the time of the older ARL surveys
and has not changed. However, this did not stop the
vast majority of responding libraries from providing
an impressive array of services which is well dem-
onstrated by a perusal of some of the representative
Web pages in this publication. Yet the respondents’
comments yielded repeated concerns that they were
not doing enough. Clearly, the dedication to providing
assistive services is there and the challenge remains
to find ways to maintain them at a high level.
Previous Page Next Page