The Accessible Library - logo.Three photos from the project. Information officers in front of adapted computer terminal, boy in front of pc screen, interior photo from Sarpsborg library.
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Summary of the final report from the project "The Accessible Library"

The project The Accessible Library was carried out in Norway from May 2001 to December 2004. It was initiated by the Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority, and had the following main participants: The Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, The Delta Centre, the Labour Market Authorities, Østfold County Library and the three public libraries Tønsberg and Nøtterøy Library, Sarpsborg Library and Deichmanske library, Torshov Branch. Organisations for the disabled, suppliers of technical aids and research institutions also participated.

The library is an information source, but also a meeting place and a place of work. The aim of the project was to give library users with a disability the same access to the library services as other users. The main objectives of this project have therefore been to remove disabling barriers in the physical surroundings and increase accessibility to electronic services in the libraries. A computer with the necessary technical devises for various user groups and the DAISY format for digital talking books have been some of the measures.

Another important part of this project has been to establish a new type of jobs, the position of information officer. Knowledge about technical aids and disability was considered to be an important qualification for these positions; and were therefore given to people with impairments. One of their tasks has been to assist library users unfamiliar with the technical devices.

In this report we present our experiences from the project. The first part is a short schematic summery of objectives, participants, methods, implementation, project financing, marketing, dissemination of information, and products.

In the second part we address problems concerning universal design, accessibility and workplace design for people with a disability. The experiences in this project shed light on a difficult dilemma between universal design and individual adjustments, the responsibility concerning inclusive design in public places, methods to achieve usability and user-friendly services, and barriers to co-operation across departments and sectors.
This part also mediates project experiences with the local employment services Aetat and provision of assistive aids from the Assistive Technology Centres. In conclusion, we discuss whether the positions as information officers are suitable for people with disabilities.

More information

The Accessible Library (word) 24,7 MB
Short description of the project
(IFLA Oslo 2005)

Individual workplace design in public libraries (ppt)
(Rehabilitation International Oslo 2004)

The public library (pdf)
- how to include people with disabilities
(AAATE Dublin 2003)

The Accessible Library (ppt) 14.1 MB
(AAATE Dublin 2003)