xxii Introduction careers where they work successfully with people who have disabili- ties. Some authors have a family member with a disability. Authors include librarians currently working in the field, information profes- sionals who design and manage assistive or adaptive technologies and web pages, and library educators who prepare their students to provide universal access to information for all their clients regardless of ability or disability. The focus of this book is information access for all who are differently able in school and public libraries whether stu- dents, clients, or staff members. Readers will notice that authors are not consistent in the terms they use. Language is always fluid and changing. Some terms are man- dated by law or regulation. Other terms evolve as societal aware- ness changes. Inconsistencies in the use of language occur because, except for legally mandated labels, there is minimal agreement about preferred terms. Even people who experience limitations to vision, hearing, mobility, or other abilities do not agree on the language they prefer. Additionally, some terms are accepted within a specific dis- ability community, but the same terms are offensive when people outside that community use them. Librarians must develop an aware- ness of the nuances of language and keep up to date as new discov- eries about disabilities influence it. They must be attuned to legislative changes in labels. In an ideal world, there would be no need for labels, but correct use of legally mandated labels is critical for any librarian who seeks funding for projects, especially for grants from government agencies. It is always, always imperative to be mindful and respectful of the language preferences of each person with whom a librarian interacts. The world we live in is not ideal. Our goal in serving library clients is to come as close as possible to the ideal. Librarians and patrons— those who identify as having disabilities or being differently able and those who identify as not having disabilities—should work together toward that goal. Universal design is an underlying principle in this book. The concept was first articulated in the early 1960s. It was first applied to access to facilities for people with physical disabilities. Since the 1960s, the concepts and applications of universal design have expanded beyond the facility to include the full range of things that affect information access. Universal design now includes consideration of
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