Provision of Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairment in University Libraries in India
The use of advanced IT applications has enabled the university libraries to provide innovative library services to their patrons. While the general students are getting all required services from the libraries, the students with visual impairment have continued to face challenges in accessing the library collection. The technology to help overcome these challenges is available today in the form of assistive technology (AT). Unfortunately, a majority of the university libraries in the country do not have this technology in their libraries due to which a huge amount of information stored in the books and journals subscribed by them has become out of reach of the students with visual impairment. The present study was conducted to ascertain the status of AT to support students with visual impairment in university libraries. The study which has covered around 185 universities, provides the first systematic exploration of the status of AT in university libraries in India. The major findings of the study in context of university libraries in India are: 12.97 per cent having Braille Books in their collection; 22.70 per cent have made provision for AT for students with visual impairment; 22.70 per cent have accessible library websites; 21.08 per cent have designated staff members to serve the students with disabilities; 22.70 per cent have ‘written disability policy or ‘documented minutes’ related to the ‘library services for the students with disabilities’.
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