I recently read Creating Inclusive Library Environments: A Planning Guide for Serving Patrons with Disabilities by Michelle Kowalsky and John Woodruff. (ALA Editions, 232 pages, 6″ x 9″ Softcover, ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1485-4, © 2017)
In my current position as the ADA Specialist. Diversity, compliance with the ADA and creating an inclusive environment are a large part of my daily focus. I found that this guide to be well written and organized.
The world of libraries is undergoing rapid and sometimes challenging change. Libraries collections now contain much more than books and magazines; collections now include an array of digital and electronic resources, maker spaces and programming for even more diverse audiences than ever before.
That audience now includes many patrons with disabilities. Staff development and training for new and veteran staff can help staff members to review their perceptions and beliefs about people with disabilities. Such training can also help libraries evaluate and develop services, programming and resources for their constituency. It can also help libraries develop a culture that is comfortable and welcoming for individuals with disabilities.
Creating that culture involves developing an understanding of the needs of and composition of the community or constituency served, Creating a welcoming and inclusive culture also takes planning, deliberate choice making and creative and effective implementation and evaluation. In this guide, Kowalsky and Woodruff address policies, organizational culture, facilities, technologies, and much more. Filled with research-based best practices, this guide also contains useful checklists that are usable by any library.
I found the book very readable and interesting. Although I’m not currently working in a library but another capacity in higher education, Kowalsky and Woodruff gave me ideas that I can apply in my daily work. They tackle all the topics and issues that I believe are essential for librarians and educators to think through carefully as they work to create and maintain a truly inclusive environment for all.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction to Creating Inclusive Libraries
Chapter 2 Writing Policies and Procedures
Chapter 3 Setting Up Facilities
Chapter 4 Training Library Staff
Chapter 5 Maintaining Daily Operations
Chapter 6 Collaborations and Outreach
Chapter 7 Programming and Workshop Ideas
Chapter 8 Accessible Resources and Technologies
Chapter 9 Developing a User-Centered Culture
Chapter 10 Keeping Up to Date
About the Authors