Third Thursday Twitter Chat, October 19, Accessibility Barriers to Library Services

  1. We’ll get started in a moment. Tell us who you are and where you’re tweeting from. #mclschat
  2. Hello, this is Jim Ratliff from the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Libraries in Michigan #mclschat
  3. Hi @qinsina. This is Chrystal tweeting from the MCLS office in Michigan. #mclschat
  4. #mclschat Hi This is Susan Powers from Central Michigan University Libraries.
  5. Please welcome Christina Wray from the University of Central Florida as our guest for this chat! #mclschat
  6. Q1 Could you tell us what you mean by accessibility to library service? #mclschat
  7. Accessible library services means that ALL patrons can fully utilize library resources and services. #mclschat
  8. This is relevant this semester I have multiple visually impaired students I assist. I'm learning about so many hurdles. #mclschat
  9. Q2 What kinds of barriers might there be to people accessing library services? #mclschat
  10. Barriers may be physical, technological, cognitive or cultural. Here are some examples… #mclschat
  11. Space between desks are too small for a wheelchair to pass, or someone may not be able to use a standard mouse at the computer. #mclschat
  12. Patrons with low vision or no vision may not be able to search the catalog #mclschat
  13. Patrons may not be able to understand the directions for using the self-checkout machine because they are too advanced. #mclschat
  14. Not being able to see a mouse pointer on the screen is a challenge because they have to use the pointer to start up assist tech #mclschat
  15. Language barriers and cultural differences re: what kinds of questions can be asked or interpretation of nonverbal communication #mclschat
  16. @JaySeaAre I agree using public computers that aren't set up in the same way as their person computer can be esp. challenging #mclschat
  17. Not just for low vision patrons, we installed Windows 10 which seems small, but when the look/feel changes from the home PC . . . #mclschat
  18. Q3 Are there any strategies you can give us for dealing with physical accessibility barriers to library service? #mclschat
  19. it's good to keep in mind that ADA regulations provide the bare minimum requirements for accessibility #mclschat
  20. try to maintain awareness of ways other patrons may be unintentionally creating barriers (sitting in the aisle, etc.) #mclschat
  21. Be flexible about service points – if they can’t come to you – go to them. Roving Reference, community pick up options, etc. #mclschat
  22. A3 Make sure programs don’t impact the accessibility of the rest of the library (displays in the aisles, crowds blocking pathways) #mclschat
  23. Q3,Ask the patron on the spot how the space / equipment is working/not working for them. #mclschat
  24. A3 donor bricks in front of entry doors may cause an unstable surface to walk on #mclschat
  25. A3 about bricks on sidewalks. Ours stayed flat until about 7 years of freeze/thaw buckled them and made them a hazard. #mclschat
  26. @JaySeaAre Exactly. Maybe putting the bricks in an area with not as much traffic but still visible. #mclschat
  27. Q4 Would you talk to us about service animals in the library? #mclschat
  28. A4 Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks and are required by the ADA to be allowed to accompany patrons. #mclschat
  29. A4 Companion animal or emotional support animals are not afforded the same rights, #mclschat
  30. A4 some patrons won’t be able to use the library without their companion, my feeling is to allow companions when possible. #mclschat
  31. A4 Awareness programs are a good way for patrons to learn more about service and companion animals and why they are important. #mclschat
  32. A4 Our college policy is clear, back in 1995 even, allowing service animals. Put it in writing and communicate the message. #mclschat
  33. A4 @JaySeaAre nice! a documented policy on service and companion animals makes it easier for patrons AND staff! #mclschat
  34. A4. companion animals are a newer trend. traditional service animals were more obviously, from viewer standpoint . . . #mclschat
  35. Do your libraries differentiate between service animal and emotional support animal? #mclschat
  36. A4 if you know someone with a service or companion animal, ask if they would be willing to share their story with the community #mclschat
  37. A4 It's important for people to learn not to interact with services animals. They are working. #mclschat 
  38. A4 wearing a walking harness or a cloak saying "don't disturb me while I work." Companion animals may seem less obvious/official #mclschat
  39. Q5 Do you have any examples you can share about accessibility issues that may not be overt? #mclschat
  40. A5 sensory differences, social interactions, technology barriers, and executive functioning skills can impact patron’s library exp #mclschat
  41. Q6 Do you have any suggestion for dealing with accessibility issues that aren't overt? #mclschat
  42. A6: Ask patrons if there are things you can do to make it easier for them to use the library... #mclschat
  43. A6 Little things can make BIG differences, and patrons may not feel comfortable asking #mclschat
  44. A6 perhaps train customer service staff really in looking for patrons' challenges and connecting with patrons about their needs. #mclschat
  45. be aware of spaces in the library that patrons experiencing sensory overload can use when they get overwhelmed. #mclschat
  46. A6 if patrons are struggling to return items on time, work with them to find a solution (calendar reminders, emails, alt. fines) #mclschat
  47. @JaySeaAre A6 - That's a good thought. Helping staff feel comfortable noticing and asking if someone is struggling, how to help #mclschat
  48. A6 There is no perfect solution that will work for all patrons with a specific disability… #mclschat
  49. A6 be flexible, try different solutions, and find one that works for the patron and the library #mclschat
  50. A6 partner with disability service and mental health service providers in the community for patron programming & staff pro. dev. #mclschat
  51. A6 Our new ILS is set up with auto-renewals...also we are working to get fines removed. #mclschat
  52. @susanpowers333 That's great! Removes some barriers that can cause problems for library users. #mclschat
  53. A6, we can benefit by considering our language, " dealing with accessibility issues" ...using "dealing" can sound negative. #mclschat
  54. Q7 Are there things we need to be aware of when looking at accessibility on our websites? #mclschat
  55. A7 Web accessibility regulations, like the ADA meet the bare minimum level of accessibility #mclschat
  56. web accessibility should go beyond “can a screen reader read this.” It should also by designed with intention. #mclschat
  57. A7 Think about color contrast, how busy the layout is, how much content is on one page, is content easy to read… #mclschat
  58. A7 Are you using Header <h> tags to change font size instead of give your page structure? #mclschat
  59. A7 Are you making images of text? Are you providing alt attributes for images? #mclschat
  60. A7 One of the best resources for web accessibility is @webaim, they go beyond compliance to help make websites truly accessible. #mclschat
  61. A7 making sure your page has a responsive design that is accessible. #mclschat
  62. A7 while usability and accessibility are focused on different things, making our websites utilizing both results in the best exp. #mclschat
  63. Q8 Do you have any suggestions for keeping an awareness of maintaining accessibility as we plan and do our work? #mclschat
  64. A8 Approaching all decisions with accessibility as the main goal improves library services for ALL patrons. #mclschat
  65. A8 some great resources are available from @webaim, @CAST_UDL, & @ala_ascla Be sure to check out their websites too! #mclschat
  66. A8 this could be part of the institution's Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity work with looking a policy through the lens of DEI #mclschat
  67. A8 We do usability testing evry mnth, but have not addressed any access. questions...UX is a good place to pay attention for us. #mclschat
  68. Q9 What should we keep in mind about maintaining an accessible collection? #mclschat
  69. A9 Some e-resource providers are more accessible than others, talk to reps about what their accessibility features are. #mclschat
  70. A9, are you asking about the variety of formats of books, etc to make available to patrons? #mclschat
  71. @JaySeaAre A9 - Yes, more about collection development than access to the collection itself. #mclschat
  72. A9 Connect with your st.  service provider, know what’s available for you patrons, beyond your collection. #mclschat
  73. A9 patrons with cognitive disabilities as well as ESL patrons want age appropriate materials that are easy to read #mclschat
  74. A9 I think easy to use and free interlibrary loan helps makes library use more accessible, esp sharing between pub and acad. libs. #mclschat
  75. A9 provide alternate ways of accessing content. Some examples are large print, audiobooks, ebooks and software like Kurzweil #mclschat
  76. A9 for library handouts: medline plus provides a great resource on writing easy to read materials  #mclschat
  77. I like the idea of partnering locally to provide collection options or other resources #mclschat
  78. Q10 Any other suggestions or thoughts about accessibility that you wanted to share with us? #mclschat
  79. Q10 The key to creating an accessible library to serve all patrons with the same goal in mind… #mclschat
  80. Q10 Get them the info they need, when they need it, in a format they can use. #mclschat
  81. Q10 Respect and value all patrons, and always serve the patron that’s in front of you now.. #mclschat
  82. Q10 every person is different, with different needs, meet them where they are. #mclschat
  83. A10 making decisions with accessibility in mind improves library services and experiences for all patrons. #mclschat
  84. A10 ultimately, serving patrons with disabilities is just like serving any other patron... #mclschat
  85. A10 as long as we are open, listen actively and work with our patrons we can provide the services and info they need. #mclschat
  86. We are out of time. Thank you for chatting with us today @qinsina! #mclschat
  87. Thanks for inviting me! It was great chatting with you all. #mclschat
  88. Our next chat is Nov 16 @ 2 pm Eastern - Best Practices in Makerspaces with Leanne Nay, IU Libraries, and Rich Weiland Adams PL #mclschat