Library service provision to students with disabilities: A case study of Jomo Kenyatta Memorial library, University of Nairobi: Problems and prospects
Anambo, Evelyn E.
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This study examined the challenges faced by students with disabilities in seeking library services at the Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library (JKML) of the University of Nairobi. The aim was to specifically examine the responsiveness of the library facilities, attitudes of staff towards students with disabilities and the state of the policy environment. Data was gathered through self administered questionnaires to students with disabilities visiting the Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library. In addition, interviews were conducted for the visually disabled students as the questionnaires were neither in Braille nor in large print. Also questionnaires were administered to staff at various service stations and senior management staff of the library, The evidence emanating from the study strongly indicated that provision of library within JKML to students with disabilities is largely characterised by a combination of structural inadequacies, staff incapacity, and absence of internally formulated compliance with national and international policy frameworks. In particular, the study revealed that the library had no facilities, resources and equipment such as the lifts, spacious ramps, Braille materials, hearing aids required by students with disabilities. The attitude of staff towards students with disabilities was also found to be unfavourable. With regard to the policy environment, the findings indicated that the library neither had its own policies on service delivery to students with disabilities nor complied with the policy instruments nationally and internationally developed. Thus, the study concluded that the library does not have the needs of students with disabilities at heart and the situation may not change in the near future .Noting that comprehensive integration of the needs of students with disabilities is yet to be accorded its due regard in the system, the study makes several recommendations for consideration towards this to the research community , library decision makers, the staff at the various library sections and to students with disabilities themselves.