MLA reveals 2005 Disability Survey findings
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MLA reveals 2005 Disability Survey findings

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The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has revealed the findings of its 2005 Disability Survey.

The survey aimed to determine how integral disability access is to the workings of museums, libraries and archives and to establish whether measures have been undertaken both to remove common access barriers and to provide accessible services.

Overall, the results revealed enhanced awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act as well as improvements to services at museums, libraries and archives.

According to the survey, of the 116 respondents working in the sector, 89 per cent believe that disability access concerns more than wheelchair access and 82 per cent think disability should be represented in collections. Disability awareness training for staff was provided by 83 per cent of respondents.

Improvements included increased provision for disability access in budgets, more available information in accessible formats and improved outreach and education programmes for people with disabilities.

However, issues remain. Around one third of archive services and a smaller proportion of libraries and museums have not yet undertaken an audit on disability provision, few people with disabilities hold positions in management and at board level and active consultation with people with disabilities remains infrequent.

Minister for culture David Lammy said: “Many museums, libraries and archives have responded creatively to the challenge of providing disabled people with equal access and the country boasts some of the best practice worldwide. There are many challenges remaining, however, and we must maintain a sense of urgency as we continue to improve the quality of life for disabled people through enabling their fundamental right to have access to cultural activity.”

Chris Batt, MLA chief executive, added: “Raising awareness of accessibility issues for people with disabilities in museums, libraries and archives is at the top of MLA’s policy agenda and this survey shows both the good progress that has been made and the need for continuing improvement. Equality of access for all people with disabilities must be the goal. Museums, libraries and archives, therefore, have a duty to embed within their work a planned, systematic and long-term approach to accessibility.” Details: www.mla.gov.uk

Photograph: courtesy of the National Library for the Blind

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The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has revealed the findings of its 2005 Disability Survey.
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