Loughborough University
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Public library provision of resources for dyslexic individuals

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posted on 2010-11-26, 09:43 authored by Hazel Rutledge
"Dyslexia is best described as a specific difficulty in learning, in one or more of reading, spelling and written language which may be accompanied by difficulty in number work, short term memory, sequencing auditory and/or visual perception, and motor skills." (British Dyslexia Association) This thesis aims to investigate the extent to which public libraries attempt to meet the needs of the dyslexic community. Libraries are key resource centres for reading and accessing the written language and should aim to meet the needs of their various user communities. Libraries should, therefore, be in the forefront in assisting users in overcoming this disability. Although much is written on the subject of dyslexia and most libraries have descriptive material on the subject, public libraries do not appear particularly proactive in providing material for use by dyslexic individuals. There is a tendency for dyslexia to be seen primarily as an educational issue. However, iflibraries are to continue to have a role in self improvement, literacy and life long learning, they should be addressing areas such as dyslexia. A survey of the literature revealed that little has been written in the professional literature about public library resource provision for dyslexic users. A questionnaire was sent 152 Public Library authorities in the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) to ascertain the range of services and initiatives offered to people with dyslexia. The results indicate that a modest number of authorities have dedicated collections for people with dyslexia as well as material on the subject aimed towards parents, teachers and carers. The findings suggest that although interest in the potential role of libraries in serving the needs of the dyslexic community is high, relatively little is being done to address the issue in a structured way. Library authorities with dedicated collections for people with dyslexia have been investigated as comparative case studies covering themes such as composition and funding of collections, involvement with other agencies, methods of communication, location and lessons learned. Other case studies explore user needs and actions undertaken by a specialist resource centre. Supporting studies include a survey of resources available from specialist publishers. The thesis concludes witl a summary of findings ancLrecommendations for public libraries on the way ahead in terms of best practice to meet. the needs of dyslexic individuals.



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© Hazel Rutledge

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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