Objectives: This research aimed to discover what library graduate students are learning about disability and accessibility with one survey. Another survey asked very similar questions to current library employees to determine what the actual educational needs are of the library workforce. While both surveys have been examined individually, the goal is to analyze the continuum of data to ascertain trends.
Methods: Two national surveys were distributed via email invitation and social media in the fall, 2018. The Qualtrics platform was used to create the surveys. The surveys were staggered and open for two weeks at a time, with reminders sent every few days. Snowball sampling was used over other methods in order to get as much response as possible across a wide range of people. The library graduate student survey had a total of 187 validated responses. The library employee survey had a total of 219 validated responses.
Results: Both groups have similar levels of discomfort or comfort around the same tasks. That said, library employees have more discomfort around technical skills while library graduate students are less comfortable with interacting with patrons. Both groups need more training in these areas. Both groups see accessibility and assistive technology as being relevant in five years. Finally, both groups are strongly interested in more training..
Conclusions: Individually, there are deficits for each population, current library employees and current library graduate students. Taken together there is a clear continuum of a need for education and comfort with working with people with disabilities and assistive technologies. There is plenty of room for further research in so far as developing educational interventions and delving deeper into attitudes towards people with disabilities and towards assistive technology.