ARL has appointed Katya Pereyaslavska as a visiting program officer (VPO) for accessibility and universal design, effective October 1, 2014. Pereyaslavska is the Scholars Portal Accessibility Librarian at the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) and the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL), a position she has held for two years. She has worked in other capacities at UTL since 2009.
ARL, OCUL, and UTL share a common interest in ensuring equitable access to library collections for students and researchers with print disabilities. Developing awareness among—and partnerships with—scholarly publishers to achieve that end is a shared strategic goal of both organizations.
As VPO, Pereyaslavska will work with the ARL Accessibility and Universal Design Working Group to develop an outreach program, directed at the international scholarly publishing community, to raise awareness of the obligations and responsibilities of publishers with respect to providing accessible content to libraries serving students and researchers with print disabilities. The engagement with the publishing community will encompass the development of written guidelines and recommendations, based on study of best-practice initiatives, that can be used to better understand the needs of users of all abilities and the formats and delivery models that are required to address the range of needs of that diverse group.
Pereyaslavska will also work in partnership with accessibility experts across North America to create opportunities for publishers, librarians, and library users with print disabilities to meet (virtually and in person) to discuss issues and concerns and to create an active dialogue among stakeholders that will encourage the development of new and innovative solutions to the challenges of providing equitable access.
Chief librarian at University of Toronto, Larry Alford, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Katya, for the University of Toronto Libraries, and for our OCUL partners. Katya’s work to date on accessibility provides a solid foundation on which to build as she collaborates with colleagues across North America over the coming year to make information more accessible.”
Ed Van Gemert, chair of the ARL Accessibility and Universal Design Working Group, said, “The working group is enthusiastic for Katya Pereyaslavska’s appointment as the ARL visiting program officer for accessibility and universal design. Her work, and OCUL’s success, demonstrates leadership, collaboration at scale, and the impact university libraries have working jointly with publishers to design and to make available standards-based accessible content to users of all abilities.”
“It is important for us to work with publishers to promote greater awareness of what libraries need to do in order to serve users of all abilities, and how publishers can help us achieve our goals,” said Pereyaslavska. “The role of libraries and librarians in establishing a successful rapport with their vendors is critical to ensuring that vendors are aware of our obligations to our users and understand that digital resources need to be made fully accessible while libraries continue to collectively tackle the challenge of making their legacy collections retroactively accessible to all patrons. As an ARL visiting program officer, I hope to raise this awareness and help partners to define their roles in building more inclusive learning environments.”
The ARL VPO program provides opportunities for outstanding staff members at ARL member libraries to contribute to special projects and programs, either in whole or in part, in order to advance the agenda of the Association. Visit the ARL website for more information about ARL’s Visiting Program Officer program.
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/.
About OCUL and Scholars Portal
Since 2002, the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) has provided Scholars Portal for Ontario’s universities. The Scholars Portal technological infrastructure preserves and provides access to information resources collected and shared by Ontario’s 21 university libraries, providing an extensive and varied collection of e-journals, e-books, social science data sets, and geo-reference data and geospatial sets. The OCUL accessibility program includes the Accessible Content E-Portal (ACE) service, an Accessibility Information Toolkit, and a current research project, the Report on Accessible Media (ROAM). In ACE, users with verified print disabilities are given access to browse, search, and download texts from a secure Scholars Portal repository. Users can also request additional texts to be added to the repository through their accessibility offices. OCUL is on the web at http://www.ocul.on.ca/. Scholars Portal is on the web at http://www.scholarsportal.info/.
The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind just Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries located on three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 215 graduate programs, over 60 professional programs, and more than 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to millions of electronic resources in various forms and over 29,554 linear metres of archival material. More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year. The Libraries’ data centre houses more than 200 servers with a storage capacity of 1.5 petabytes. The University of Toronto Libraries are on the web at http://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/.