Accessibility Means Diversity

accessibility means diversity

 

Library Accessibility Means Diversity

We strive to make every visitor feel comfortable by ensuring the Library visit is as easy as possible and free of barriers. Here at the Florida National University Library, we recognize and appreciate the diversity of the general public. For this reason, we offer multiple options of ways to access our incredible Collections of traditional printed and digital resources that contributed knowledge to the world. In a way, the Library is the one-stop destination for information and resources throughout college or university’s life.  As the history states, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a law in 1990. Today, our modern Library provides access in various ways, from parking spaces to sidewalks, ramps, indoor furnishings and facilities to comply.

People with various physical or mental disabilities, despite their unique conditions of being handicaps, overcame adversity and went on to achieve great success in government, art, entertainment, education, civil rights and activism. There are many notable Americans that contributed to our society. In October, we are celebrating people who subsidized to the humanity by their tolerance, acceptance, kindness, and talents. Many famous people overcome learning disabilities, other known as dyslexia. One of the examples was Woodrow Wilson (28th USA President, 1913-1921), who overcome his struggle with reading and became American President. The famous American filmmaker, Stephen Spielberg, is also a dyslexic. The deaf and blind from meningitis Helen Keller became an educator and activist for disabled people for life. American Musician, Ray Charles got blind at age of seven, due to glaucoma. The famous physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawkins all his adult life suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, the motor neuron disease (MND). Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman, was very hyperactive and had learning disabilities; he also became deaf after contracted the scarlet (yellow) fever. American Actor Bruce Willis suffered debilitating stutter and to overcome it, he even joined the drama club at school to improve his speech. Disabled veterans honorably continue serve our country by overcoming the movement or perceptual disorders.

For thousands of years, the ability of blind people to participate fully in social, political, and cultural life was limited by the lack of access to written or printed forms of information. The Louis Braille’s invention of a perceptible six-dot reading and writing system revolutionized the way blind people perceived. Today, with software and hardware flexibilities, the typography of enlarged print for people with visual impairments, we have evolved ever since. There are growing numbers of free screen readers that can be downloaded to provide audio access; the close-captured visual screens from computers, tablets, or mobile devices to ensure digital access to people with disabilities.

Use of color, large print signs, Braille language incorporated within signs are important elements of the Universal design that mean accessibility to the diverse people with visible or invisible disabilities. Some people qualify to use service animals for comfort and communication, and this is OK too, because the inclusive environment helps to treat every individual with dignity, respect, and courtesy. Join us to celebrate the sincere reflections on society belief that equity in access is a fundamental human right, with learning from the exceptional people and their life-time achievements to overcome any disabilities, from dyslexia, ADHD, autism to paralytic illness of poliomyelitis and other body harms or injuries.

Ida Tomshinsky, Library Director; itomshinsky@fnu.edu