Universal design best practices to be presented, discussed at 2010 ASCLA Midwinter Institute

Contact: Liz Markel

Marketing Specialist, RUSA/ASCLA

(312) 280-4398



For Immediate Release

September 29, 2009

CHICAGO—Maximizing the library experience for all patrons, including those with functional differences, is a challenging endeavor—one that libraries can get help with by attending “Breaking Down Barriers: Best Practices in Universal Design for Libraries,” an institute at the ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting sponsored by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA).

The topic of this intensive half-day event, assembled through a partnership between ASCLA and the Institute for Human-Centered Design (ICHD) (formerly Adaptive Environments), has become even more timely as a result of the recent economic crisis, which has brought people to libraries in record numbers to take advantage of the unique opportunities, experiences and services available there.

By implementing universal design principles, libraries can create physical, communication and information environments that minimize limitations and provide outstanding library services to all patrons, including those with functional differences. The agenda includes presentations on an array of best practices in universal design, including opportunities for experiential learning and a forum for presenting your library’s universal design problem or aspiration and receiving on-the-spot consultation and solutions.

“It’s important for libraries to create a welcoming environment for everyone in their community,” said Brenda Bailey-Hainer, president of ASCLA. “ This institute is an excellent opportunity to learn about techniques for eliminating obstacles to library use for community members who are often underserved.”

“Breaking Down Barriers” will be held Friday, Jan. 15, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the ICHD, located at 200 Portland Street, Suite 1, in Boston. The MBTA’s North Station is only a few blocks away, providing easy access to the Green and Orange lines, as well as several commuter rail lines. Subway, commuter rail and other pertinent transit information and schedules are available at the
MBTA website.

Interested participants should note that the institute (event code ASC2) is a separate ticketed event; registration for the Midwinter Meeting is not required in order to attend this event. For institute-only registration using the online form, select “Institute and Ticketed Events Only” as the registration type, and proceed to select this event from the list. Advance registration for both Midwinter and “Breaking Down Barriers” opens Thursday, Oct. 1, with the following advance registration ticket prices available through December 4: ASCLA Member, $155; ALA Member, $155; Non-member, $155; Student/Retiree Member, $120. Ticket prices increase after Dec. 4. Visit
www.ala.org/midwinter for the most up-to-date information on registration.

IHCD is an international non-profit organization, founded in Boston in 1978, committed to advancing the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities. IHCD’s work balances expertise in legally required accessibility with promotion of best practices in human-centered or universal design.

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and multi-type cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed.
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