Accessibility in Libraries: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Accessibility word cloud
Web Accessibility Word Cloud” by Jil Wright CC BY 2.0

As libraries become increasing virtual and continue to innovate physical spaces (much like THL!), they are able to increase their accessibility for people who have disabilities. Many libraries are taking great steps in ensuring accessibility to collections and spaces, but there are many improvements still needed. A major step forward for the ability of libraries to serve people who have disabilities was the recent Authors Guild v. Hathi Trust verdict that allows for more scanning of items that can be preserved and shared. The alternative is scanning a new copy for each request, which can take a long time.

We’re also seeing more vendors and platforms designing their products for greater use among all users. For example, text-to-speech and optical character recognition (OCR) are being used more commonly in databases and websites. These changes are making a difference for a lot of users, but librarians and library users need to continue making noise to encourage more change.

For more information, check out this great article.

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