Status of Access to Library Spaces and Facilities for Persons with Disabilities: A Case of Kenyan University Libraries
Keywords:Access to libraries, library inclusivity, physical library spaces, academic libraries, Kenya
AbstractThe purpose of this paper was to find out the position of library spaces and facilities at the university libraries in Kenya particularly in serving users with disabilities. The study was conducted using a pragmatic research philosophy, a convergent mixed methods design and a multiple-case studies strategy. The study population was university library users and librarians drawn from six public and private universities in Kenya. The six universities were selected purposefully based on their age (time they have been in existence) with an assumption that old universities have more developed infrastructure. Data was collected from students and academic staff who participated in an online survey; librarians participated in online focus groups and follow up online surveys while university librarians and students with disabilities had telephone call interviews. There were follow up telephone calls with the university librarians. The online survey was conducted using online questionnaires that were distributed via emails and Whatsapp. Online focus group discussions were conducted in Google Meet platform and interviews were conducted via personal telephone calls. This paper established that public university libraries offered slightly more special library spaces and facilities for users with disabilities than their counterparts in private university libraries. However, based on the findings, it was evident that university libraries in Kenya are yet to meet the expectations of users with disabilities. The paper concluded that access to library spaces and facilities for users with disabilities is a significant aspect of modernised university library. The paper recommends restructuring of library spaces that are inclusive of the varied category of users.
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