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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Section of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons

Annual Report 1994

Frances Kaiser
Ministerie van Justitie
POB 20301
2500 EH The Hague
Fax: (31-70) 3702907
is Chair of the Section of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons.

Suzanne Bruhn

National Library of Australia
Canberra, ACT 2600
was Secretary until her resignation (because of other national commitments which prevented her from filling her mandate) shortly before the Havana Conference. After her resignation, the function of S ecretary was taken over by Frances Kaiser, assisted by Anneke Koster (Netherlands).

Standing Committee and Section Membership

The Standing Committee has 11 persons from 10 countries, plus two corresponding members and three observers. Because the Section has only 64 registered members, the Standing Committee members have ag reed to recruit actively new members for both the SC and the Section. The SC also proposed the appointment of Ka-Jo Carlsen as Honorary Advisor to the Section in recognition of her outstanding work f or the Section.

Mid-Conference Meeting

The Standing Committee met on 29 and 29 March at the Ministry of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. The difficulty of attendance by members from outside Europe was apparent, but fortunately members f rom Sweden, Norway, Spain and the UK were able to make up a quorum.


Working Group on Easy to Read Publications

One of the areas of long-standing interest to the Section of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons is "easy to read" publications for people with language and literacy problems, whatever the reason for these problems may be. Libraries cannot provide a service to people with reading problems without adequate, meaningful literature. Libraries cannot support literacy developments without appropri ate resources available. There is a dearth of age-appropriate materials for people to read on the road towards literacy. For some years the Working Group on Easy to Read Publications has identified a nd promoted awareness of material, provided recommendations regarding appropriate writing and publishing and acted as a catalyst for worldwide developments in this area. The tasks of the easy to read group are related to and need closer cooperation with other IFLA Sections. The Section has recommended that this Working Group be changed to a cross-divisional Round Table whose goals and objectives would cover the development, publication and distribution of easy to read materials and its use in promoting reading and literacy. The work on easy to read publications will continue if such a cross -divisional croup is established. The present group was suspended, pending decision of the Coordinating Board and the Professional Board.

Working Group on Library Services to Prisoners

This Working Group was officially suspended during the 1993 Barcelona Conference. Its work was integrated into the regular programme of the Section. The Section is planning to issue a new and updated edition of Guidelines for Library Services to Prisoners in 1995, based on the 1992 publication prepared by Frances Kaiser. The draft revised edition will be discussed during the Istanbul Conference in 1995, following which a German version will be prepared for publication in 1996.

Working Group on Library Services to the Deaf

This Working Group was also suspended during the 1993 Barcelona Conference, and its work continued by the Section, which plans to issue a second English edition of the publication, Guidelines for Lib rary Services to the Deaf, prepared by John Michael Day in 1991. Translations into Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French and German have been prepared.

Working Group on Hospital Libraries

The survey completed in France indicated the need for updating the Guidelines for Libraries Serving Hospital Patients and Disabled People in the Community, published in 1984 as No. 2 in the series, I FLA Professional Reports. The new edition will also include guidelines for the training of hospital librarians. Genevieve Chavanis (France) is working on the project.

Working Group on Library Service to the Elderly and House Bound Readers

The Section had originally planned to develop guidelines for library service to these groups, in cooperation with the Sections of Public Libraries, Library Services to Multicultural Populations, Libr aries for the Blind, and Mobile Libraries. The project will be discussed during the Coordinating Board meetings in Istanbul in 1995.

Sensitizing the Library Community to the Needs of Disadvantaged Persons

As a follow-up to the workshop on the theme, "Interaction between Library Schools and Specialized Library Services" held in Barcelona in 1993 by three IFLA Sections (Libraries Serving Disadvantaged p ersons, Libraries for the Blind, and Education and Training) Anne Galler (Canada) developed a questionnaire to be sent to a selected group of library schools around the world. The survey has several purposes: to raise awareness in library school personnel to the special needs of the disadvantaged; to enable library school students to identify these special groups and to respond to their special needs; to compile the results and prepare guidelines for an inclusive curriculum suggesting the best ways to respond to the needs of the disadvantaged, and to stimulate the preparation of special mat erials.



Two issues of the Newsletter were published, in autumn 1993 and in spring 1994. Anne Galler (Canada) edited the Newsletters, which contained reports of Section activities and short articles on librar y services to several disadvantaged groups (prison libraries in Romania and the Netherlands), a report of the Barcelona Conference and a preview of activities for the Havana Conference.

Havana Meetings

The Section received simultaneous interpretation services, which helped to attract an audience of 100+. The theme, "Emancipation through Information: The Role of Library Services to Disadvantaged Gro up" was addressed by five speakers who covered hospital patients, prisoners, and mentally and physically handicapped library users.

Papers presented:

A Rewarding Encounter - Mentally Handicapped Adults Make Acquaintance with the Easy-To-Read Book and Newspaper

The paper describes mentally handicapped persons' great need for books and news and the easy-to-read publications in Sweden. A forceful legislation today provides mentally handicapped with a multitud e of special rights: personal support and assistance, a flat with service by home visitors, daily occupation, staff to relieve relatives, etc. One area that still has to be improved is the area of le isure. The authors take a closer look at the mentally handicapped person's need of and access to books and news.

Library and Information Service for Native Communities

L'émancipation par l'information: le rôle du bibliothécaire d'hôpital et le droit du patient à l'information

Equalizing Opportunity for Disabled Students: The Contribution of the National Library of Canada and Canadian University Libraries

The paper describes the efforts made by universities and colleges across Canada to remove barriers that disadvantage disabled students. Examples of services provided are captioning televised lectures for deaf students, building ramps for the mobility impaired, allowing more time for examinations and providing material in Braille for the blind. The National Library of Canada supports these servic es through the provision of a union catalogue of alternate format materials (CANUC:H (Canadian Union Catalogue of Library Materials for the Print Handicapped)and the Adaptive Technology for Libraries Program, a funding programme which assists Canadian libraries to acquire equipment to make their collections and databases accessible to print-handicapped Canadians. It has developed guidelines, han dbooks and directories and other services since 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons.

Prisoners' Right of Access to the Courts: Law Libraries in US Prisons

This paper examines the history the led to the establishment of law libraries in state and federal prisons in the United States. The author explains the fundamental right of prisoners' "access to th e courts" and provides examples of how this access is granted. The law library is the most widely used option to guarantee prisoners' constitutional rights, including the right to file writs of habea s corpus, sentence appeals, and claims relating to civil rights violations and the conditions of confinement. The article examines the challenges and problems of operating law libraries in the unique environment of prisons, including the areas of administration, collection management, staffing, space utilization, security, physical access and inmate services.