The January 7, 1998 edition of PULSE, The Medical Student Section of JAMA was dedicated to a series of articles on “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Afterwards: Disabilities in Medical Education and Practice”. One of the most interesting items in the entire section was the statistic that 8.8% of all college freshman report having a disability compared to only 0.2% of medical school graduates (1, p. 79). Covering topics from mental health to deafness, many of the articles are written from the first-person point of view of the disabled medical student, and while over ten years old is still an important read for any academic health sciences librarian.
(1) Reichgott MJ. The disabled student as undifferentiated graduate: a medical school challenge. JAMA 1998 Jan 7;279(1):79. doi:10.1001/jama.279.1.79
In 1993 Patricia P. Nelson, M.L.S., M.A., AssistantDirector of the Denison Memorial Library, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center oversaw the creating a low-vision workstation for online catalog access. As the UCHSC is in a separate location from the rest of the campus, and other libraries, they saw a need to introduce special needs services locally within their institution.
The project was funded by a $12,000 grant from the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) of the Colorado State Library. The grant itself was an interesting partnership as this fund allocates monies to public libraries, and the UCHSC Library successfully pleaded their case as a public health information provider. Likewise, the Denison Memorial Library’s use of CARL OPAC software presented the opportunity to create a workstation that could be a blueprint for other Colorado Alliance Research Libraries. (p. 1)
Though both this article and workstation are now nearly twenty years old, and assistive technology has improved significantly, the process in securing funds, researching technology, and incorporating the workstation into their existing OPAC software is valuable to any biomedical library interested in expanding their services to those with low vision.
Nelson PP. A low-vision workstation for online catalog access: empowering persons with visual disabilities. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1995 Apr;83(2):247-248. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC226038/
Though Arizona State University does not have a Medical Library, the ADA services that they offer would be an amazing addition to any academic health sciences library. In addition to standard ADA building compliance, the ASU campus in Tempe has a dedicated ADA Service Room at Hayden Library and accessible workstations in all branch libraries. This video introduces the various assistive technologies that are available including various computer keyboards and mice, speech recongnition, magnification software, and Braille translators. Additional information about ADA services at all eight ASU libraries can be found online at: http://lib.asu.edu/ada.