RLI 281
December 2012
Research Library Issues: A Quarterly Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC
Special Issue on
Services to Patrons with Print Disabilities
In This Issue
Executive Summary 2
Print Disabilities, Libraries, and
Higher Education 6
US and Canadian Disability Policies,
Recent Challenges, and US and
Canadian Copyright Law 10
Research Libraries and Individuals
with Print Disabilities 19
Universal Design, Inclusive Design,
Accessibility, and Usability 25
Conclusion 28
Appendix A: Model Licensing
Language 29
T
he ARL Joint Task Force on Services to Patrons with Print Disabilities released this report to
bring much-needed attention to the challenges of print-disabled individuals who are seeking
access to both print and digital library products and services. Print disabilities prevent some
users from effectively reading information resources because of visual, physical, perceptual,
developmental, cognitive, or learning disabilities. The task force expands upon the ongoing work of the
Library Copyright Alliance in support of an international instrument for the print disabled that is under
active consideration by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It also brings attention to
the growing demand for instructional e-content and burgeoning digital library collections and the
opportunities for collaboration among university leadership, research libraries, disability services, and
information technology services.
The report contains nine recommendations for research libraries to make information accessible
to their full range of diverse users equitably. In particular, the report focuses on critical partnerships
necessary to fully exploit the opportunities of digital information resources to open an unprecedented
quantity of information to print-disabled patrons. The
report also includes practical recommendations for
individual institutions to improve responsiveness and
organizational capacity to address the needs of this
community more effectively. ARL believes that research
libraries are poised to provide critical direction—along
with academic leadership, IT, and disability services—
on the service and technology planning, procurement,
and licensing necessary to create a fully accessible
information environment.
Members of the task force were Mary Case (Illinois
at Chicago), Chair; Cynthia Archer (York); Nancy Baker
(Iowa); Will Cross (North Carolina State); John Harwood
(Penn State); Sarah Hawthorne (California, Berkeley);
Kurt Herzer (Johns Hopkins); Tito Sierra (MIT); Ed Van
Gemert (Wisconsin-Madison); Tom Wall (Boston College);
Prue Adler (ARL); and Judy Ruttenberg (ARL). Howard
P. Knopf, Counsel, Macera & Jarzyna/Moffat & Co.,
and Peter Jaszi, Washington College of Law, American
University, assisted in framing the copyright discussions
of the report.