On the third annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is proud to announce the availability of a new resource for the ARL membership and the library community—a Web Accessibility Toolkit for research libraries. ARL’s toolkit shares the fundamental goal of GAAD, which is to “raise the profile” of digital accessibility and provide resources for improving access to information to “the broadest audience possible.” The toolkit aims to:
- Promote the principles of accessibility, universal design, and digital inclusion.
- Help research libraries achieve digital accessibility.
- Connect research libraries with the tools, people, and examples they need to provide accessible digital content.
The lead author on the Web Accessibility Toolkit was Molly Schwartz, a National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) fellow who was in residence at ARL for six months in 2013–2014. The NDSR program is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ARL applied to host an NDSR fellow to work on digital accessibility policy following the 2012 Report of the ARL Joint Task Force on Services to Patrons with Print Disabilities (PDF).
Ed Van Gemert, vice provost for libraries and university librarian at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, served on the 2012 joint task force and now chairs the ARL Accessibility and Universal Design Working Group, which provided input to the toolkit. “Accessibility is a campus-wide responsibility, and libraries have a leading role to play as stewards of content in all formats, and as institutions serving the entire campus community,” said Van Gemert. “The Web Accessibility Toolkit provides library leaders with model policies, licensing language, a community of practice, and other resources to establish effective, accountable plans for meeting our legal and ethical obligations to create an accessible, inclusive campus environment.”
Updated May 22, 2014: Browse a Storify archive of tweets about the toolkit.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.