Original Research

Availability and use of assistive technologies at selected South African public libraries

Takalani M.M. Mamafha, Patrick Ngulube, Luyanda Dube, Sindile A. Ngubane
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1141 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1141 | © 2023 Takalani M.M. Mamafha, Patrick Ngulube, Luyanda Dube, Sindile A. Ngubane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2022 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Takalani M.M. Mamafha, Department of Information Science, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa
Patrick Ngulube, Department of Interdisciplinary Research and Postgraduate Studies, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa
Luyanda Dube, Department of Information Science, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa
Sindile A. Ngubane, Institute for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), College of Education, University of South Africa, Tshwane, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Assistive technologies (ATs) enable persons with visual impairment (PwVI) to equitably benefit from public library resources and services as their sighted counterparts. However, the extent to which this facility is available and used at public libraries in less-developed countries remains largely unknown.

Objectives: This study reports on the investigation done on the availability and use of ATs by PwVI at public libraries in the cities of Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg in South Africa.

Method: The study used a multimethod and explanatory sequential design in which data were collected through questionnaires administered with 131 librarians and interviews held with 10 PwVI.

Results: The findings of the study point towards inadequate availability of computers with internet services, audiotapes, screen magnifying and reading software, and these were used for, among others, leisure, research, job searching and communication.

Conclusion: The study concludes that certain ATs were inadequately available and used by PwVI at some libraries in the cities of Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg. The study recommends training for PwVI on how to use ATs, marketing of available ATs, training of staff on how to render AT-based services as well as management availing adequate budget for the development of AT-based collection.

Contribution: The study contributes to the understanding of the types of ATs available and used by PwVI in public libraries.


Keywords

assistive technologies; persons with visual impairment; print disability; City of Ekurhuleni (CoE); City of Johannesburg (CoJ); South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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Crossref Citations

1. ICT Tools for Open Educational Resources Used in an Open Distance E-learning Institution in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Era
Siphamandla Mncube, Bongani Nkambule, Sindile Ngubane-Mokiwa
Mousaion: South African Journal of Information Studies  vol: 42  issue: 1  year: 2024  
doi: 10.25159/2663-659X/15200