By surveying members of the Public Library Division of the Alabama Library Association, this study sought to determine attitudes toward patrons with physical challenges. The continued growth in the population of persons over age 65, coupled with the fact that nearly one in five Americans report some level of physical challenge, suggests the need for libraries to provide resources and services to this growing constituency. The advent of new technologies and resources for libraries to provide access to information by persons with physical challenges, allows more users to fulfill a more participatory role within their information-seeking activities. The application of Social Role Valorization Theory provides that social integration requires the medium of valued social roles regardless of competency. In libraries, socially isolated older adults are one of the fastest growing segments of the service population, already experiencing problems with their hearing and vision as well as challenges to mobility (Quezada, 2003). This study sought to determine the levels of preparation and professional status of library personnel, attitudes toward patrons with physical challenges, and attitudes toward library services for patrons with physical challenges. The study focused solely on members of the public library division of the Alabama Library Association. Based on analysis of survey outcomes, this study sought to determine if a need exists for improvement in attitudes as a foundation for training for better library service to those with physical challenges.

Publication Date

Spring 2011