The ADA and Inclusion in Libraries


The history of libraries serving people with disabilities is long and distinguished. Libraries were often the first social or government institutions in many communities across the nation to recognize the humanity of people with disabilities and provide services to promote their rights and equality. Long a symbol of inclusion, diversity, and opportunity, libraries were at the forefront, and this commitment deserves to be better known and embraced by more librarians, for it is one of the great accomplishments of our profession.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.