Sei sulla pagina 1di 16

Library

Accessibility for
non-UNM
Community
Members
A Recommendation by Jessie Kempkes
July 23, 2016

Table of Contents

Introduction
..3
Methodology
......5
Results
7
Discussion
9
Conclusion
.10

Abstract
The main purpose of this report is to recommend the best solution to
strengthen the accessibility and universal design of the community
computers at the University of New Mexico Main Campus Libraries. The
methodology I will lay out in this report involves visiting the libraries,
identifying the problem with universal design, conducting research, and
reviewing the data I collected. Following my visit to the libraries on campus, I
discovered that the issue was with the computers set aside for nonUNM/community members. To resolve this issue, I recommend to give our
community members more time to use the libraries computers. This report

will go over the issue, and how UNM can make their libraries more
universally accessible.

Introduction
The University of New Mexico Main Campus is the universitys largest
campus by about 18,000 students. To cater to the needs of the many more
students on main campus than on UNMs branches, there are a variety of
libraries available. However, within the many libraries and services
available, there is a lack of universal accessibility for everyone in the area,
not just the students. With few public libraries in the UNM surrounding area,
this makes UNM the main source for people to use computers, wifi, or the
many other services the libraries offer. Also, many people in Albuquerque
and New Mexico in general dont have access to the Internet or a computer.
If UNM is the where we have many people, including the homeless people in
the area are coming to use the services, then UNM should look for a
universal design with their services. If community members are coming to
UNM to use its services, how can we make the services easier to access for
them? This issue makes it difficult for the people of the UNM area to search
for jobs, communicate, or even search for health care, car insurance, or
financial aid on a computer. This report offers solutions to become more
accessible to its community that lacks home access to a computer or
Internet, not just to the student and staff community of the university. The
research from the step-wise methodology has allowed me to report the
results, my analysis, and my recommended solution on how to make UNM
Libraries more universally accessible.

Methodology

You might be wondering just how accessible are the services at UNM
Libraries for the community and if they were created with universal design.
To answer this question and respond to possible issues, I followed this fourstep plan:

Step 1: Visit the UNM Libraries


Step 2: Identify the problem with the universal design of the services
Step 3: Conduct research
Step 4: Review collected data

Step 1:
To conduct my own research, I visited Zimmerman Library and
Centennial Science and Engineering Library on the UNM central campus
during a weekday in the afternoon. I spent the day on campus to use the
libraries services and paid close attention to see if these services were
catered to a particular characteristic of people. Here at these two libraries I
took a look around as if I was a visitor to the campus. I asked to use the
computers, the copy and scanner machines, asked the librarians for help
finding a book or resource. I used all the services available to discover just
how accessible the services at the libraries are to non-UNM community
members.
Step 2:

Acting as a visitor, I was able to use most of the libraries services for
free. The services such as using the computer or asking a librarian for help
followed most of the principles of universal design. Following the universal
design principles, the UNM Library services are simple and intuitive, meaning
the use of the design is easy to comprehend. There is perceptible information
available as the design communicates the necessary information for uses via
online, posted signs in the libraries, and help desks with librarians always
available. There is plenty of appropriate size and space and the design can
be used efficiently with low physical effort to cater to a population of a
variety of physical characteristics such as size or mobility. From my visit I
observed a few community computers in the library that are reserved for
community members only. There are only a few of them in each library, and
after reading the rules for computer usage, I discovered that this particular
service fails to meet the equitable use principle of universal design. In other
words it is not designed to be accessed to everyone.
Step 3:
To conduct my research I interviewed a librarian at Centennial Library
to get information from a primary source. I interviewed this librarian,
Madison Denny, at Centennial Library on campus. I asked her if she believes
the library she works at is one hundred percent universal in its design and if
there was anything she noticed that could be done to make the library
accessible. I also asked her to tell me about the different people that come in
who are non-UNM community members to use the librarys services. I also

spent some time researching New Mexicos demographics with concentration


of homeless people in the surrounding area and low income residents.
Step 4:
After reviewing my data, I found a flaw in the universal design of the
UNM Libraries' services. I determined this from the information the librarian
gave me and from using the services myself. From this review, I have been
able to find several solutions to make the services at the libraries more
accessible to the community outside of UNM.

Results
From my research I discovered how accessible the services at UNM
Libraries are for those with mobility, sight, or hearing disabilities. My
interview shed some light on how accessible the services are for low-income
community members and the fault with the design. It is understood that the
services at UNM libraries are for the most part accessible to everyone
regardless of disability, mobility, or status, but the question that remains to
be answered is what is the quality of accessibility to each member of our
community?
Overall, the UNM Libraries are fairly accessible to disabled people.
There are signs that clearly give directions and understandable information;
there are elevators, ramps, and automatic doors; there are audiobooks and
librarians always available for assistance. Librarians can also refer people to
UNMs Center for Development and Disability where there is a library that is

better catered to those with sight or hearing disabilities, although this library
is not on UNM central campus. This library is open to the public and anyone
may use it, but it is not accessible to those on central campus, as it is
located on Menaul Boulevard and too far to walk to from Central Ave.
The people I found that are the least able to access all of the libraries
services are the members of the community of non-UNM students and staff.
Non-UNM community members are allowed to use the books/journals/records
that the library holds, although they can only check out books for a fee. They
may pay to see the copiers, scanners, and printers. However, there are a few
computers designated for community members in the libraries. In
Zimmerman Library there are four, in Centennial Library there are two. When
I interviewed Madison Denny, a librarian at Centennial she told me that each
community member may obtain a pass that allows them 60 mins a day to
use the designated computers. I asked Madison to describe the people that
she's noticed that come in to use the Community Borrowers computers.
She told me that many of them appear to be less-fortunate people that
come in to use to computers to work on resumes or apply for jobs because
most applications are online now. When asked if she thought the libraries
followed the principles of universal design and were accessible to everyone,
she answered, There are only a few computers in each library and with only
60 minutes to use one each day, I don't feel like that gives community
members the time needed to take care of important matters in their lives
that require computers. 60 minutes to look/apply for jobs, to set up Medicaid,

or correspond via email is not enough time for one person a day. Madisons
statement and my own experience with visiting the libraries have lead me to
the conclusion that the services at UNM are not designed to be one hundred
percent accessible to our community members, especially when concerning
our jobless, homeless, or low-income community members.
There are many resources in Albuquerque that people can use, such as
St. Martins Hospitality Center that assist homeless and near-homeless
people. At this center there are many services available to them like a
Supported Employment Program, that assist people with finding job. With
2,819 homeless persons identified on a single day in 2013, according to the
New Mexico Legislature Homelessness in New Mexico presentation, these
services havent been able to reach everyone. As Madison said in her
interview, she often sees homeless-looking people coming in to search for
jobs on the community computers at the library. These computers are
accessible to everyone in the community, but for only an hour a day and
there are only a select few available. The fault in the universal design is the
quality of accessibility for our community members in our university libraries
as an hour is not long to use each day.
Albuquerque
556,495 people
1,639 homeless people

New Mexico
2.086 million people
2,819 homeless people

Discussion of Results
In regards to the fault with the accessibility of the computers at UNM
Libraries, there are a few different, practical solutions that can be brought to
10

our attention in order to make our campus libraries follow all the principles of
universal design. My solutions are inspired by the services that are available
to UNM students and staff. We as students have many computers available
for us to use on the first floor of Zimmerman and a few in the basement.
Centennial has a computer lab that can be used when classes aren't using it.
Our session on the computer is limited to a few hours, but as students we
know that we can always log back on even after our session is over. Students
and staff have pretty much total access to the libraries services.
One possible solution to this flaw in the design is to increase the
amount of time that non-UNM community members can use the computers.
This would allow them to spend more time on the computers with the full
access that students and staff have. This would make the libraries better
meet the equitable principle of universal design.
A second possible solution is to add more community computers to our
libraries for our community to use. Although it wouldn't change the amount
of time they would have with the computers, it would make more of them
available.

Conclusion
UNM is located in an area that is highly concentrated with homeless
people and vagabonds and many Albuquerque residents do not have homeaccess to a computer or the Internet. Because of this, many people come to
the university from the community to use the libraries services. To make our

11

libraries more accessible to low-income people or just people without a


computer at home, I recommend that we allow community users more time
on the computers. This way we can make our library services more
accessible to our community.
Thank you for your time and I hope youll consider my
recommendation. I look forward to hearing from you soon. You may contact
me, Jessie Kempkes, at 505-555-5555 or jkempkes@unm.edu.
Presentation Link:
http://www.screencast.com/users/jkempkes/folders/Jing/media/47515b6bf2fb-4a8b-9b88-566e85ba704a

Works Cited
City of Albuquerque Government. (n.d.). "Homeless Needs Assessment.",
from https://www.cabq.gov/family/documents/albuquerquehomeless-needs-assessment-final.pdf
Denny, Madison. Personal interview. 13 July 2016.
Homelessness Facts, St. Martin's Hospitality Center. (n.d.). Retrieved July
16, 2016, from http://www.smhc-nm.org/how-you-canhelp/understanding-homelessness/

12

Marcotte, M. (n.d.). Digital Divide Widest in New Mexico. Retrieved July 17,
2016, from www.lobostudents.wordpress.com
New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, City of Albuquerque.
Homelessness in New Mexico. PowerPoint Presentation. (2013,
August 07). Retrieved from
https://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/handouts/mfa
080713item1homelessveteransandthe housing first model.pdf
The University of New Mexico Spring 2016 Official Enrollment Report.
(2016, February 05). Retrieved July 16, 2016, from
http://oia.unm.edu/facts-and-figures/documents/Enrollment
Reports/spring-2016-oer.pdf

13

Date: July 23, 2016


To:
Elizabeth Benedict
From: Jessie Kempkes
Subject: Reflection
The intended audience for this report was the UNM Libraries. I feel this
is most appropriate for my subject, because the people in Library Directors
or just the Librarians will be able to clearly understand this topic. I wrote in
the context that they would understand, for example I didn't go into deep
detail about what the services are at the libraries because the directors and
librarians would already know. This report is also simple enough that anyone
who will read it will be able to understand what I am taking about. I didn't
use jargon that would need to be explained; the general population would be
able to read this report.
Starting this report was a little difficult. For a while I had to ask around
to my friends and siblings to see if they had any ideas for a topic for me.
Eventually I found one, but it took quite some time. I interviewed my friend
at the library, Madison, who is also the one who inspired the idea for this
report. This assignment differed from the other ones because of how long it
took to determine a topic. Also, for this assignment I used a primary source
for my research, for the others I just used the Internet as my prime resource.
I used some of my own knowledge from living in Albuquerque and my
knowledge of UNM and its libraries. I did a lot of my research as I wrote. I
finally had found my idea for the topic and started writing. I looked up
population and homelessness and computer usage in Albuquerque/New
Mexico reports, as I went, when I needed the information. Again, the hardest
14

part of this assignment was the technology. I am 20 years old and I've grown
up with computers but for some reason they just don't agree with me. I had
issues with making the graphics and especially using screencast to narrate
my presentation. I tried it on three different computers before it worked; I
have no problem writing and finding enough material to write about, but the
multimodal/media aspects of these assignments have been the most
challenging.
The style I used was appropriate for my audience, it was formal but still
understandable. I followed the genre requirements as best as I could. I
(slightly) used pathos to be persuading. I know this genre is not supposed to
be obviously persuasive, but I simply used facts and evidence about
homelessness/low income to persuade. I didn't use figurative or poignant
language to persuade.
For the presentation, I intended my audience to be the same people
who were reading my report. I just simplified the report and pretended that
they had the report right in front of them and that the purpose of my
presentation was to give them a quick five minute summary of my
recommendation. Like I said earlier, screencast gave me a little difficulty,
and also it took me a little while to figure out how to consolidate my thoughts
and my report to five minutes. I actually ran out of time and didn't get to my
last slide which was just a thank you and contact information.

15

Overall, this assignment took more time than I thought it would, and it
proved to challenge me and expand my communication/creative/writing
skills.

16