Nearly two million people pass through the doors of the State Library of Victoria (SLV) every year. All those visitors make the SLV Australia’s busiest public library. So it’s no surprise that it boasts a broad range of facilities. But, more importantly, those facilities are increasingly accessible and inclusive. In addition to assistive technology zones and reading assistance tools, the SLV’s inclusive programming and accessible signage ensure accessibility and inclusion are an important part of the library.
Accessibility and assistive technology
Assistive technology is a big part of the library’s accessible offering. There are now two assistive technology zones available. The first in the Quad and the second in the Redmond Barry Reading Room. Both zones feature a range of assistive technology, including:
- Large-screen computers on height-adjustable
- Accessible keyboards and mouses options
- Assistive software for magnification, screen
reading, text to speech and speech recognition
In addition, a range of reading assistance tools are available including book rests, magnifying sheets and magnifying glasses. The library also offers portable audio loop kits, which are available so people with hearing impairments can access guided tours. There’s also a courtesy wheelchair and multiple accessible bathrooms.
While the library cannot take the place of a support person or carer, Ms Marks says they can ‘act as a conduit’. In other words, they can provide access to assistive technology and accessible spaces and to the library’s impressive collections.
‘What I would like people [with disabilities] to know is that we’re open, we really want them to come and make use of the facilities,’ Ms Marks said.
‘The library is here for [people with disabilities] as it is for everybody who visits,’ she said. But visiting isn’t all the library is open for. Ms Marks explained that they’re also very keen to improve accessibility and inclusion.
‘We are very open to being told about areas that aren’t suitable enough because we want to be improving what we do in terms of accessibility and inclusion,’ she said.
Do you have a positive story of accessibility and inclusion at your local library? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch at [email protected]