Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Attitude of Library Staff towards People with Visual Impairment in the Provision of Library and Information Services in University and Public Libraries in Tanzania
Date of this Version
This paper investigated the attitude of library staff towards people with visual impairment in university and public libraries in Tanzania, with regard to the provision of library and information services. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The study population was randomly and purposively selected; and involved patrons with visual impairment, library staff, library directors, readers for people with visual impairment, institutions associated with people with visual impairment. Snowball techniques were used to select library users with visual impairment and readers for users with visual impairment. The findings revealed that the attitude of library staff towards people with visual impairment was positive. However, lack of policy on how to handle this disadvantaged group makes the service inadequate; users with visual impairment were not satisfied with the service because the environment was not conducive enough for them to be independent. The findings also indicated that libraries in Tanzania are not in a position to provide the best library and information services to people with visual impairment because there were many things to implement, correct and improve. The study concludes that, library and information services are not offered uniformly in the libraries surveyed depending on the nature and the needs of their users, mainly due budget constraints. Therefore, all the surveyed libraries need to review their policies, practices and procedures in order to make their services amenable to the needs of people with visual impairment. The study, therefore, recommends that awareness-raising programmes should be developed, and a policy should be formulated on library and information services for people with visual impairment; and both university and public libraries should devise formula to ensure reasonable budget allocation for library and information services for people with visual impairment. Moreover, there is a need for integrating special needs into Library and Information Science (LIS) curriculum.