14 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
sensitivity awareness. A significant number report
that staff members are entirely self-trained. Online
tutorials and video training are not common, used
by 10% or fewer of the respondents.
Assistive Technology and Funding Support
The survey asked respondents to indicate financial
support for three types of assistive technology: soft-
ware, computer hardware, and other equipment. The
funding source for 60% of the libraries is their regular
library operating budget. Just under half of the re-
spondents indicated some financial assistance from
the central disabilities office. The library IT budget
provides funding at 38% of the responding libraries
and the central IT budget provides funds at 19%. Only
three libraries have a portion of their budget identified
specifically as an ADA/disabilities allocation. Other
sources were grants and donations. One respondent
mentioned the university’s computer access fee as a
possible source that could be applied for, but was very
By far, the major source of technical support for
maintaining library workstation hardware, software,
and other equipment is the library’s IT staff. The
central disabilities office and/or the central IT staff
supplement this support at 17 libraries (29%), depend-
ing on the type of service. At about a quarter of the
surveyed libraries, the library coordinator has some
responsibility for troubleshooting software, but has
little to do with installations or hardware and equip-
ment repair. A significant number of respondents
indicated that library facilities staff service equipment
and also mentioned warranties that are serviced by
the vendor.
Library Website Accessibility
Having an accessible library website is clearly a con-
cern for the majority of libraries over 60% of those
surveyed have staff trained in Web accessibility for
users with disabilities. Fewer libraries (about half)
have staff trained in testing Web products such as
databases, in-house branded pages, and Web tutori-
als. Most libraries have at least one Web developer on
whom they depend for special skills in these areas.
One library mentioned their systems staff as resourc-
es. Several libraries noted that the Web developer is
mainly self-taught or has a special interest in accessi-
bility issues. Support from the central disabilities office
is a fairly common way for the library Web person to
develop skills in this area.
Few libraries are looking at vendor databases yet
some respondents said they rely on their reference
staff to notice problems with databases, the catalog,
and other resources. Regular and frequent auditing of
Web pages appears to be uncommon, but there seems
to be a heightened awareness of Web accessibility
standards and the need to apply them. The question
dealing with the criteria used for Web accessibility
testing yielded very specific responses that demon-
strated a considerable depth of understanding and
awareness libraries may be doing more evaluation
than they realize. Compliance with Section 508 of the
Americans with Disabilities Act and/or W3C (World
Wide Web Consortium) standards is the method most
often mentioned in the survey responses. WAVE is a
frequently mentioned accessibility evaluation tool.
Most sources, including the US Census Bureau, cite
figures of almost 20% of the population being affected
by a disability of some kind. The majority of these
people are not institutionalized. As the baby boom-
er generation grows, this figure will likely increase,
hopefully in concert with greater understanding and
awareness of what it means to have a disability that
requires adaptive technology. Libraries are particu-
larly willing partners in providing accessibility, but
challenged further by shrinking budgets to meet the
needs of this growing population. One way to offset
the lack of resources is to collaborate. The survey re-
sults indicate an increasingly close relationship be-
tween campus or central disabilities offices and the
academic libraries. In several cases, the campus dis-
abilities office runs the library assistive technology
center or workstations and usually provides funding
and staff support at some level. Often, the library’s
services are guided by the campus office libraries
tend to work through them rather than surveying the
students themselves.
Information technology is changing at lightning
speed and the assistive technologies will likely im-
prove accordingly. However, the names of some of
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