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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
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,
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.