Marrakesh Treaty Implementation & Inclusive Library Workshop

“The Government and private educational providers shall, in order to enable persons and children with disabilities to pursue education, provide reasonable accommodation suitable with the requirements of persons and children with disabilities in terms of, among others, infrastructure, equipment and teaching materials, teaching methods, curricula and other forms of support that meet the diverse needs of persons or children with disabilities.” – Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, Act 685

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Over the years, the awareness of the rights of people with disability is increased. Various initiatives have been designed to ensure that disabled people can enjoy their quality of life (QoL). Not only that, a countless study has been conducted to study the needs and every aspect of disabled people. To craft better social equality, universal design and inclusive concepts had been the midpoint in any national agenda. According to Persons with Disabilities Act 2008, Act 685, part IV, Chapter 1, persons with disabilities shall have the right to (1) access public facilities, amenities, services and buildings; (2) access to public transport facilities; (3) access to education; (4) access to employment; (5) access to information, communication and technology; (7) access to cultural life, and (8) access to recreation, leisure and sport. In view of each pillar in Act 685, as a Research Library, University of Malaya Library (UML) is fully committed in providing basic needs for disabled users in the campus. As such, a workshop on people with disabilities was conducted on August 22-23, 2019 by the Librarians Association of Malaysia and University of Malaya Library (UML). Marrakesh Treaty Implementation and Inclusive Library Workshop were initially proposed by the Committee of Library Services to the Special Users 2018/2020. Various categories of librarian including, public library, academic library, state library, academician and pensioner registered for the workshop.

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The objectives of the workshop are comprehensively listed below: disclosure
i. To ensure librarians are given early exposure to the impact of the Marrakesh Treaty
ii. To disclosure, the preparation needed in terms of;

  1. Ready to exchange/loan of materials for free
  2. Provision of the related technology and equipment
  3. Skills and human resource

iii. To discuss the best way to meet the Marrakesh treaty requirement
iv. To increase the awareness and understand the concepts of inclusive library and information center.

To deliver the plentiful information and current issues related to the Marrakesh treaty, the committee has invited Mr. Mohd Syaufiq, the Assistant Director of Copyright Division and Acting Copyright Tribunal Secretary at the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO). The first part of the workshop was directed on the Malaysia Copyright Act. A profound dialogue on copyright has given the participants a clear picture of the direct impact of the Marrakesh Treaty in Malaysia. Unlike the archetypal Marrakesh treaty, different approached taken by the Malaysian government whereby it may include otherwise print disabled and hearing impairment. The participant was an early exposure on the impact of the Marrakesh Treaty upon Malaysia signs the treaty. Marrakesh Treaty stimulates resources sharing for people with blindness or visual impairments. Countries that have signed the Marrakesh treaty would share the reading materials for free amongst other countries who have signed the treaty for free. However, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there is still a need for exceptions to traditional copyright law and establish a certain set of limitations. The second part of the workshop was focusing on the preparation of the library. Several issues highlighted by the participants which include, the copyright of the theses and dissertations, online database, and special collection in the library. Unanimously, participants supported the MyIPO’s initiative to highlight the Marrakesh Treaty in Malaysia.

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The second day of the workshop was concentrating on the inclusivity concept in library and information center. The topic was presented by the Chairperson of Committee of Library Services to the Special Users, Librarians Association of Malays; Dr. Mohd Faizal. As for eye-opener, the definition of inclusive concepts was comprehensively discussed. It is very important to ensure that librarians are able to identify categories of users in the library. This is because the concept is not ultimately for disabled people only. By default, the library should be accessible for pregnant women, children, teenagers, senior citizens and other types of special users. The participant was exposed to accessibility and inclusive appraisal. Observation of the accessibility and inclusive library should start from the surrounding of the library building. Standard dimension and scale for the ramp, lift, stair, and toilet were also presented comprehensively. Not only that, universal design concepts have also been discussed lengthily with the participants. The last part of the second day of the workshop was the accessibility and inclusive audit tour in the UML. All participants were given a set of questionnaire for their reviews. The observation started from the bus stop nearby library until the inside of the library building. As a conclusion of the workshop, the participants were given a brief explanation to the initiative of the UML to provide basic facilities for disabled people. The Librarians Association of Malaysia and UML would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the support for this workshop.

Mohd Faizal Hamzah, PhD
Senior Librarian, University of Malaya
& Librarians Association of Malaysia

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