Accessibility: Creating a more Inclusive Library at GHL

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Government and Heritage Library strives to have an accessible environment both online and in the library. Although we are required to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, our most important reason for doing so is to create an inclusive environment so that all can access our resources online and in-person. 

Limitations

We do have several limitations. The biggest limitation is that we cannot change CSS or the coding of the pages on our website. That is controlled through North Carolina’s Department of Information Technology. The good thing is that they recognize the need to create more accessibility and are in the process of testing several tools to help with accessibility, such as the ability to change text size and page color as well as other things. In the future, we hope the website will be built for more accessibility. 

How GHL is Improving Accessibility

Here is a list of things we are doing to make a more the Government and Heritage Library more accessible:

Online 

  • All PDFs on the Government and Heritage Library website are being tagged and will provide other accessible features for those who use screen readers
  • We are ensuring that in all parts of the Government and Heritage Library, that information does not rely on color alone
  • We are making sure that the colors we use on the site are good with color contrasting
  • All videos have closed captions added 
  • We are continually evaluating the site for other needed changes

tags being added to PDF file

On-site

  • We have added ZoomText to one public computer. ZoomText is a computer software program that allows the user to zoom in and change colors on a screen. Color options include inverted colors, yellow text on a black background, black text on a yellow background, and several others. You can also change the mouse’s cursor to make it easier to see as well. Although much of this can be done through the computer’s settings, ZoomText allows the user to make the changes just during the time they are using the computer.
  • We also can provide access to a CCTV for blind or low vision patrons. This allows text size in books to be easier to see and offers up to 77x zoom for written material. The CCTV belongs to a staff member, but we can move it to the reading room upon request if a patron needs it.
  • We have desks and computer desks that can be raised and lowered to accommodate wheelchairs
  • Our physical space has always been compliant to the ADA and Section 504, but when we were located upstairs, the aisles, although compliant, were barely large enough for a wheelchair and it made it hard to maneuver. In 2018, we moved down to the first floor and our aisles are now several inches wider and allow for easier maneuvering through our collection.  

What’s Next?

What is next for the Government and Heritage Library concerning accessibility? First, we will do more evaluations to ensure that we are compliant with the laws. We will also work to make sure that aria-labels are used to their fullest potential to help those with screen readers access the site. We will also be checking the reading order of pages and files to make sure that they make sense. We also will ensure that all forms on the site are accessible. Staff are also taking classes and webinars to improve accessibility. 

Have a suggestion on how the GHL can best accommodate your needs? Feel free to contact us

Author: 
Erin Bradford, Reference Librarian