Public libraries provide information to all persons and its users are the inhabitants of the community it serves. This may not be the reality in some cases as some category of persons may not be properly served by the public library. This study assesses the provision of information materials in alternative format, in terms of its availability, access and level of use by the visually impaired in public libraries in southwestern Nigeria. The study adopted survey research design. Four (4) public libraries in four states were purposively selected because they are the ones that provide alternative format for the use of a sizable number of the visually impaired. Complete enumeration was used to capture all the 166 registered users of the libraries through the use of observations checklist and interview schedule. Data from 69.2% of the 166 visually impaired persons that were interviewed, and the observations made were analyzed. The result reveals that alternative formats availability were inadequate and, e-resources were not available while access to formats and information desired by the users were limited. Braille is the most utilized format; audio materials and large prints were seldom used. The demand for alternative formats is high but it is not related to level of use of materials. Provision of information materials in alternative formats for the visually impaired in public libraries cannot support the needs of the visually impaired; it requires intervention from all stakeholders. The study recommends improved investment and funding for public libraries and services to persons with disabilities.
Public Libraries; Information Provision; Visually Impaired; Alternative Format; Nigeria
Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice