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Library services for people with disabilities in Argentina

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Purpose - The purpose of this research was to determine the current status of the library services for visually impaired and physically handicapped people in Argentina. Design/methodology/approach - A survey was made of 20 different libraries throughout Argentina that provide services for visually impaired and physically handicapped people. A questionnaire composed of 114 questions based on American Library Association guidelines was developed and delivered by e-mail and post to participating libraries. Additionally, visits were made to ten of these libraries with the objective of obtaining information by means of interviews with their respective directors as well as library personnel and users who were present at the time of the visit. Findings - It was concluded that these libraries are not in a position to provide the best library services for visually impaired and physically handicapped individuals: it was seen that there are still many things to correct and improve. Originality/value - It is considered that the present model of special libraries in Argentina is a possible contributor to the isolation and confinement of visually impaired and physically handicapped people. For this reason a new model of service should be considered. This should take into account an integrated library approach based on the Unesco manifesto 1994 for public libraries. It is suggested that the Unesco model of integrating universal library services will effectively ensure access to information for visually impaired and physically handicapped people, thus ensuring "a public library for everyone".

Keywords: Argentina; Disabilities; Information Facilities; Library Users; Special Libraries; Visual Perception

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-05-01

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