Public libraries are safe and trusted public spaces where everyone is welcome... (Australian Library and Information Association Public Libraries Advisory Committee 2012, p.5).
Unfortunately, this is not always the experience of children with special needs and their families.
With scholarships from ALIA, the State Government of South Australia and Libraries SA I visited eighteen public libraries and two cultural institutions in the United States and Canada. This presentation is the results of that research. The objectives were to:
A mixed method of qualitative and quantitative approaches was conducted. Participants took part in a semi-structured, one-to-one interview and an online questionnaire. The data was analysed and used to develop a model of an inclusive public library.
Results of data showed:
The research found there were five common elements that libraries focussed on when addressing issues of accessibility for children with special needs and their families. These elements were:
The elements were used to create an inclusive library model. The foundation of this model is supportive management.
The inclusive libraries model provides an entry point and structure for public libraries wanting to improve access for children with special needs and their families.
Paper - Now available.
Presentation - Now available.
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