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University of Toledo Libraries and Accessibility: Accessible Library Design

Resources on accessibility and services to persons with disabilities

Universal Library Design

Library facilities that are accessible to visitors of a wide range of abilities and disabilities demonstrate a professional focus on equity and inclusion. In addition, there are legal requirements, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which require that structural barriers in libraries be removed or remediated to allow people with disabilities to access spaces. 

Universal Design (UD) goes beyond meeting the baseline guidelines for accessibility set forth by the ADA. It is defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." UD has seven principles:

  • Equitable Use - the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
  • Flexibility in Use - the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  • Simple and Intuitive Use - use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
  • Perceptible Information - the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities
  • Tolerance for Error - the design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accident or unintended consequences
  • Low Physical Effort - the design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use - appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility

Books on Universal Library Design