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universal design in libraries

Universal design in libraries is an adaptation of the principles of universal design to address accessibility systematically.

Pionke, “Beyond ADA Compliance” (2017)

As @pionke_beyond_2017 describes this, this is an attempt to get “beyond compliance” with legal mandates for accessibility. Pionke’s analysis is informed by theoretical models of disability: the medical model, the rehabilitation model, the social model (“independent living”).

Retrofits themselves are not viewed by Pionke as a just solution, and their analysis is informed by activist oriented work that adapted principles of universal design. Universal design is thus a relational aspect between subject and resource that differs from accessibility [@pionke_beyond_2017, 9]. This relationality can thus extend to the user experience design process through personas. heuristic evaluation undertaken early and throughout the process, etc. They also argue for an adaptation in the role of the librarian: design of malleable services, specialized training to support functionally diverse users (e.g. deaf/HOH), including assitive technologies, competency training, etc.

Burgstahler, “Equal Access” (2018)

Like Pionke, @burgstahler_equal_2018 distinguishes between legal issues (e.g. Section 504 and ADA) from universal design. Her approach is mostly focused on a checklist to help library workers understand axes on which universal desing should be applied:

  • planning, polices, and evaluation
  • physical environments and products
  • library staff
  • informaton resources and technology (also extends to physical accomodations, e.g. adjustable height tables, etc.)
  • events (relates to multiple categories)