Library and information services for the visually handicapped in education institutions in Kenya
Mwiti, Beatrice Kabiti
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This study was designed to investigate the library information needs fo the visually handicapped in educational institutions; the state- of- art of the information services; role of information in the rehabilitation of the visually handicapped; and the manpower requirement of an information service for the visually handicapped. The study covered seven educational institutions, six in Nairobi and its environs and one in Meru,: Thika Primary School for the Blind Kilimani Primary School, St. Lucy Primary School for the Blind Thika High School for the Blind Machakos Trade Training Institute, Kenyatta University and University of Nairobi. The review of related literature indicated that there was need for the assessment of information needs of the visually handicapped; information providers did not know the state-of-art of information services for the visually handicapped; the need to know the role played by information in the rehabilitation of the visually handicapped; and that information services of the visually handicapped required quality and quantity manpower in order to offer effective service. It was therefore necessary to investigate the above aspects in order to improve the existing services and to establish others. Two questionnaires were distributed, one to the library/resource persons and another one to the visually handicapped information users. Interviews, were conducted and observation done concerning the information services. The findings of the study showed that the visually handicapped had the same information needs as the sighted and in addition they require information to rehabilitate them. It was also found out that the existing information services for the visually handicapped did not have the required quality and quantity of manpower. The study recommended that frequent needs assessments should be carried out and that a body to coordinate the services of the visually handicapped should be established by the Government. The same body would be incharge of the production and distribution of information materials for the visually handicapped. It was recommended that the Government should be the major source of funds in order to avoid the collapsing of such services.