26 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 302 2021 three library events that need to be live captioned, and only one human captioner is available during that time, who gets the human captioner? Is it based on attendance? Or is it based on whether the event is a “public event” vs. a “private event” (behind a password wall for employees)? Or is it based on whether someone with a disability specifically requests an accommodation? If video captioning now takes two weeks for turnaround time instead of three days, have policies changed to note that? Can the standard promises of how quickly library materials will be scanned and emailed still remain? When new print collections are received, are they immediately scanned in an accessible manner, so that they are available when needed, not requiring a wait when a patron request is made? Does the library need additional scanners or new software tools to assist with, for example, PDF remediation? Have new collaborations with outside vendors been formed? For captioning of videos, is there a plan in place to add outside capacity when in-house, in-university services are already being utilized at full capacity? Are vendors keeping their promises about fixing accessibility barriers as promised in existing procurement agreements and settlement agreements? Overall, the question is, “have libraries created an infrastructure for digital accessibility, to deal with the current challenges and future surges in demand?” There need to be policies created, resources allocated, and plans implemented, for describing how digital accessibility will be addressed in the future. As it stands right now, some states will require that everyone on a university campus be vaccinated (with exceptions for religious or health-related reasons), and other states will not require vaccination (or are preempted from requiring vaccination by state law).22 Regardless of what the political and public health situation is for a research library related to vaccination, it is likely that some people will not yet feel comfortable coming to campus and instead will request that all materials be delivered virtually. Research libraries need to plan for those surges in requests, and the associated accessibility needs.
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