Syracuse University Librarian Adina Mulliken and Eve Hill of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University were instrumental in the recent passage of two resolutions by the American Library Association. The resolutions, passed during the association’s annual conference in July, recommend that libraries offer websites that are accessible for users with disabilities and ensure that their technology vendors guarantee accessible products.
Web accessibility initiatives ensure that online resources are available to all people, including, for example, those with visual or learning disabilities who may use screen readers or other assistive software, people who need multimedia to be captioned or described, and people who use an alternative to a mouse input device. Many libraries have not understood their responsibility and authority to require accessible technology from their vendors. As a result, some libraries have purchased or licensed databases, e-books and other resources that cannot be used effectively by people with disabilities, thus inhibiting their research and study.
These resolutions are intended to build awareness among libraries about Web accessibility laws and standards. Others involved in creating the resolutions were Mike Marlin, manager of the California Braille and Talking Book Library; David Vess and Camilla Fulton, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Ken Nakata, director of disability initiatives and government compliance for BayFirst Solutions LLC.