RLI 281 Universal Design, InNclusive Design, AccessSibility, and Usability 27 DECEMBER 2012 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Libraries and librarians do not need to become experts in every disability to meet the goals of universal or inclusive design. Rather, research libraries should advocate for content portability so that users can use the devices they prefer. A person with dyslexia might want to read text on a screen the size of a smart phone, a blind person might want that same content on a text-to-speech-enabled iPad. Research libraries should promote both portable content and discovery tools that can be effectively accessed by adaptive or assistive technologies. In an open letter to all librarians, written in 2011, the President of the National Federation for the Blind, Marc Mauer, wrote: “Libraries can meet their obligations by adopting and publicizing accessibility policies incorporating accessibility into their technology procurement, development, and testing processes holding vendors accountable for accessibility training staff seeking input directly from patrons with disabilities and conducting regular audits of accessibility.”60 The Canadian study of databases and screen readers concluded: The digital collection of articles, books and resources provides greater access to resources 24/7 for our students. Various sectors are benefiting from digital access like distance education students and to a certain extent, students with print disabilities. While the print collection of a library is usually inaccessible to students with print disabilities, a database that can offer accessible features like simplified search screens will mean instant access to resources. As the digital information world continues to grow and offer more and more features for its users, it must also evolve to take into consideration the needs of these students. The Academic library and database vendors must work together, in consultation with students with print disabilities, to ensure technology opens up doors and tears down walls. To allow barriers to exist in this technological advanced age would prove to be the greatest failure of the twenty-first century library.61
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