Every “reader” his or her “book”
Information services to persons with disabilities in Tangaza University College
Keywords:Persons with disabilities, PWDs, Ranganathan’s Laws, Information rights, Academic libraries, post-COVID, Kenya
Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, an Indian librarian, and mathematician developed the Five Laws of Librarianship in 1931. Principles drawn from these laws undergird the design and delivery of library services to date. The second law states that “every reader his or her book”. This implies that libraries should deliver services and resources which are customised for the specific needs of unique categories of their users. The degree to which academic libraries in Kenya offer appropriate services to persons with disabilities (PWDs), particularly in the post-COVID-19 era, is unknown. This paper evaluates the services offered to PWDs by academic libraries in Kenya using Tangaza University College Library as a case study. Specifically, the paper assesses the preparedness of academic libraries in Kenya to meet the information needs of PWDs, identifies the services and resources offered to PWDs by academic libraries in Kenya, evaluates the usability of the services, and proposes a framework for providing information services to PWDs in academic libraries in Kenya in the post-COVID 19 era. This paper was developed using concurrent triangulated mixed methods research through which quantitative and qualitative data was collected from 11 librarians and 9 PWDs using questionnaires and interviews respectively. Due to the small number of the target population, a census was used. The findings of the study reveal that academic libraries are least prepared to offer information services and materials to PWDs. Although commendable efforts are being made, there are gaps in the conceptualization, design, and delivery of the services. There is a need for a framework to mainstream the needs of the PWDs in the bouquet of services offered by academic libraries in Kenya. The findings contribute to the discourses on the emerging role of libraries in safeguarding the information and communication rights of PWDs in Kenya and abroad in the post-COVID era. A framework to enhance information services to PWDs by academic libraries in Kenya is proposed.