Improving the Quality of Library Services for Students with Disabilities

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Overview

The development and promotion of appropriate services for students with disabilities has been an integral part of the academic library since the 1990s. There remains, however, a dearth of literature—in marketing, library and information science, and other disciplines—that applies quality assessment instruments to existing programs. With this in mind, Hernon and Calvert present two versions of a data collection instrument, designed to compare the expectations of special students with their perceptions of how well a given service met their needs. Descriptions of successful initiatives at a variety of academic libraries are also included.

Adaptive technologies. Anti-discrimination laws. Equity and compliance issues. In-house policies (and politics). All of these support, in one form or another, the development and promotion of appropriate services for students with physical, learning, or, increasingly, psychological disabilities. But what of service quality? To date, there is a dearth of literature—in marketing, library and information science, and other disciplines—that applies quality assessment instruments to programs for special student populations. Not until now has anyone compared the expectations of such students with their perceptions of how well a given service meets their needs. Peter Hernon, Philip Calvert, and their colleagues—Kathleen Rogers, Todd K. Herriott, and Ava Gibson—discuss the circumstances affecting services for the disabled, and provide two versions of a data collection instrument, loosely based on SERVQUAL, that individual institutions can modify to reflect their particular needs and situations. International in scope, it incorporates the perspective of university attorneys and compliance officers, as well as descriptions of successful initiatives by senior library administrators in the U.S. (Larry Hardesty, Rush G. Miller, Sarah Hamrick, and Jennifer Lann) and New Zealand (Helen Renwick, Philip Jane, and John Redmayne.) Improving the Quality of Library Services for Students with Disabilities will assist libraries and other service components of academic institutions to adopt a proactive position, as well as challenge staff assumptions of service expectations and information needs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Academic libraries increasingly address the scholarly needs of students with disabilities and need guidance in this complex endeavor. This set of essays provides a look at approaches in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand."

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Booklist/Professional Reading

"[T]he editors have done an outstanding job of educating this audience about services to the disabled in higher education. The book is well-conceived and written for clear communication of ideas and practices. Recommended for librarians, library administrators, and disabilities service staff who coordinate support services for students, this book offers a unique international perspective, provides resources for better understanding of the trends and issues for a distinct client-group, and meets its primary goal of offering an assessment methodology that is ready to go for anyone willing to take the challenge."

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portal

"Since meeting the information needs of students with disabilities is a topic addressed by less than a handful of recent books, this title is a welcome addition. Edited by Hernon and Calvert, both of whom also authored much of the volume, the book begins with an overview of the issue, followed by a discussion of the legal aspects of serving students with disabilities, a summary of the existing literature, and perspectives of library directors. The editors emphasize the importance of assessing the needs of disabled students; data collection, they stress, is one of the first steps every library should take when planning or improving services to a specific population. Readers learn how to develop a data collection instrument, how to conduct the survey, and how to report the results….[r]ecommended for academic libraries."

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Library Journal

Library Journal
Since meeting the information needs of students with disabilities is a topic addressed by less than a handful of recent books, this title is a welcome addition. Edited by Hernon (GSLIS, Simmons Coll.) and Calvert (Victoria Univ. of Wellington, New Zealand), both of whom also authored much of the volume, the book begins with an overview of the issue, followed by a discussion of the legal aspects of serving students with disabilities, a summary of the existing literature, and perspectives of library directors. The editors emphasize the importance of assessing the needs of disabled students; data collection, they stress, is one of the first steps every library should take when planning or improving services to a specific population. Readers learn how to develop a data collection instrument, how to conduct the survey, and how to report the results. Unfortunately, the book ends there, failing to address thoroughly the process of applying survey results in planning or improving library services to students with disabilities. Still, because of the scarcity of resources on this subject, this is recommended for academic libraries.-Kathleen Low, California State Lib., Sacramento Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591583004
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER HERNON is Professor at Simmons College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. Hernon is co-editor of Library & Information Science Research, founding editor of Government Information Quarterly, and past editor of The Journal of Academic Librarianship. He is also author of numerous publications, including Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education (2004), The Next Library Leadership (2003), and Assessing Service Quality (1998).

PHILIP CALVERT is Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Prior to that he worked in a variety of academic and public libraries in the United Kingdom, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. His research interests relate to performance measurement and library effectiveness, assessing service quality, journal quality, misconduct and misinformation, social inclusion and public libraries, and library funding.

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Table of Contents

1 Students with disabilities in higher education 1
2 Context 15
3 Legal context within the United States 31
4 An increasingly diverse student population : a rationale for consideration of universal access at postsecondary institutions 45
5 Disability support services, Victoria University of Wellington 57
6 Perspective of library directors 67
7 Literature review 93
8 Developing and testing an instrument : New Zealand 117
9 Refinement of the data collection instrument 139
10 Conducting your own study 159
11 Reporting and using the results 173
12 Continuing to improve service quality for students 187
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