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Building the Learning Environment: Equitable Access

Student Snapshot: Students have flexible and equitable access to resources that support their diverse needs for academic and personal learning.

According to the New York City School Library System (2006), the library is an instructional resource for the entire school community.  All students, teachers, and staff must have equitable opportunities to use the library facilities and resources, pursue investigations and independent reading, and participate in planning and utilizing the library’s programs and services.

In order for the library to be an intellectual and instructional center for learning, the librarian must be able to schedule the library space to maximize its most effective use.  Flexible scheduling allows for classes to be scheduled as a result of collaboratively planned lessons integrating information literacy skills into classroom learning experiences.

Source: New York City School Library System. “New York City School Library System Handbook – Section 3”. New York City School Library System, 15 August 2006.

Photo: NCC Approved

In Practice

UDL Guidelines: Theory & Practice Version

Description: The Universal Design for Learning guidelines provide educators with standards and practices for designing lessons and resources that meet the needs of all students. UDL provides flexibility in how information is shared and how students demonstrate their knowledge and skills while also removing barriers that limit learning. 

Resource/Citation: National Center on Universal Design for Learning. "UDL Guidelines: Theory & Practice Version." National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 12 Nov. 2014.

Library Accessibility - What You Need to Know

Description: Fifteen tip sheets designed especially for librarians cover best practices for welcoming patrons with diverse needs into a library. Covering topics from vision impairment to assistive technologies, the sheets include overviews of each topic and specific tips for making a library accessible.

Resource/Citation: The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies. "Library Accessibility - What You Need to Know." Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, 2010.

Equal Access: Universal Design of Libraries

Description: This brochure covers the practical and logistical considerations of ensuring that library materials are accessible to populations with diverse needs. A straightforward checklist format identifies accommodations for library patrons who benefit from captioned videos, large print books, or other methods of providing information.

Resource/Citation: Burgstahler, Sheryl, PhD. "Equal Access: Universal Design of Libraries." Do-It: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology, 2012.

In Theory

Position Statement on Flexible Scheduling

Description: “The integrated library program philosophy requires an open schedule that includes flexible and equitable access to physical and virtual collections for staff and students. Classes must be flexibly scheduled into the library on an as needed basis to facilitate just-in-time research, training, and utilization of technology with the guidance of the teacher who is the subject specialist, and the librarian who is the information process specialist”.

Resource/Citation: American Association of School Librarians. “Position Statement on Flexible Access”. American Association of School Librarians, June 2014.

Equality and Equity of Access: What’s the Difference?

Description: The American Library Association provides a list of resources including publications that provide information on how to ensure equitable access in school libraries.

Resource/Citation: American Library Association. “Equality and Equity of Access: What’s the Difference?” American Library Association

Equity of Access

Description: The American Library Association provides a list of resources including publications that provide information on how to ensure equitable access in school libraries.

Resource/Citation: American Library Association. “Equity of Access”. American Library Association.

Consultant

Name: Jen Cannell

Email: jen.cannell@questar.org

Bio: Jen is the School Library System and Arts in Education Director at Questar III.  She previously worked as a library automation coordinator and as a middle school librarian.

*To access restricted database articles speak with your school librarian or public librarian.