BCLA Pre-Conference Notes: Why Accessible Library Service Matters in Public Libraries

Disability Awareness Training for Library Staff Summary

Margarete Wiedemann, North Vancouver City Public Library

  • last Canadian census: 1 in 7 Canadians live with a disability
  • public libraries are generally accessible to a degree
  • survey findings: what is helpful: online catalogue, home delivery, plain language,
  • barriers: physical envionrment, time on computer, standing in line, crowded seating, cognitive demands, asking for help and feeling like taking too much time, confusing signage, patronize/impatient/insensitive staff
  • solutions to barriers example: baskets with wheels, walkers for in-library use
  • some of the most difficult barriers with disabilities is people’s attitudes: need to think about what you say and write; person first language
  • Social-Ecological Model of Disability: disability is a difference, arises from interactions between individual and society, and remedy is a change in interactions and context
  • paradigm shift to full citizens with human rights, integrated, included, partipants.
  • communication tips: speak directly and clearly, make eye contact at eye level, show respect and patience, show and tell or walk and talk, ask for help if you are having difficulty understanding
  • universal design: recognize that there is a large diversity, and changes that benefit all users; fix the environment (not the individual)
  • universal design will cover 80+% of users, and cover the rest using inclusive design and individual accommodations
  • library staff can make a difference
  • just make the connetiion and offer what you have
  • an inclusive library begins with you

survey results: AIG section of the BCLA website


  • print disability: anyone that cannot read a book in “traditional” print format is considered print disabled
  • tour of the website
  • notes on formats: DAISY have MP3 inside of them, common format, but not one everyone is familiar with
  • resources: nnels.ca/libraries
  • possible engagement: books for student that are non-curriculum material
  • collections highlight awards and other collections including digitized InterLINK reels of BC audiobooks, Truth and Reconciliation (which is public domain and downloadable by anyone)


  • devices: bone induction earphones, raspberry pi, slate and stylus, mp3 audio
  • copyright act allows format shifting for print disabled patrons regardless of copyright of the original version

Mike Edwards – Dyslexic Reader

  • made several attempts at universities
  • fear of feeling stupid, etc.
  • post secondary requires psychological examination: something that you had to prove, that you’re disabled
  • what works: have CNIB worker who keeps feeding books on CD
  • accommodations: colour codes text, TextAloud
  • opportunity for outreach: prisons, large percentage of dyslexics

Vancouver Accessibility Meetup Notes

Accessiblity Meetup

Eric Molendyk from Tetra Society

  • non profit org, one of the disabilities foundation
  • assist people with disabilities achieve independent and fulfilling lives using assistive devices
  • connect technologists and engineers who volunteer their time to help those with disabilities do what they want to do
  • examples: custom holders of electronic devices, computer setups, wiring devices to work with other devices (e.g. smartphone control of powerchairs), wheelchair baby carrier, tetralights (safety bar of LED lights that attach to mobility devices)
  • important that when designing physical items for wheelchair users, nothing sticks out, because liable to be damaged

Joanna Briggs from Simply Accessible

  • assessment of websites, mobile apps, kiosks, anything digital
  • digital accessibility guidelines: WCAG 2.0 (AODA, Air Carrier Access Act), BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines, Section 508
  • there is no “typical” behaviour, because difference depending on individuals
  • assistive technology include screen readers, zoom, voice recognition, keyboards (custom layout, high contrast), switches, eye tracking
  • sometimes aspects or “features” can conflict e.g. high contrast is good for people with low vision, but can be problem with people with reading disabilities

no one has the same setup

  • ways to determine accessibility: expert review (manual code review), assistive technology testing, automated testing, usability sessions with real people
  • example: pop-up with small x to close an email subscription of a specific site (no semantic link, missing text equivalent, lower contrast, floating when CSS background images disappear, esc key doesn’t dismiss, focus not isolated to pop-up modal)
  • most important issues to tackle: keyboards, images, forms, document structure

Steph Kirkland from Vocal Eye

  • describe live theatre and shows
  • listeners get a handheld device to listen; describers get microphone with transmitter
  • describers are trained to observe, analyze, and describe in such a way that serves the audience; background in theatre and writing
  • describers put in about 25 hours to write the script, paid by fee charge to theatre
  • challenge to get the word out to very niche, frequently isolated; how for theatres to accept, get funding
  • theatre buddies by meeting with disabled and escorting disabled listener to the theatre
  • can now offer training, can be used for classrooms and other contexts
  • ticket access program with reserved seating and low ticket prices
  • bringing different communities
  • allow more participation
  • working with small, community theatres ways to provide increased accessibility and number of disabled attendees
  • after show touch sessions
  • tend to use sympathetic voice, non-intrusive though not overly dramatic, nor robotic
  • describer will see show at least 3 times, sometimes get review video; have learned to describe less than more

Meetup Discussion

What do people want?
* diversity of arts, physical, digital space
* assistive technology demos; see how people use it
* daily life challenges
* look at ways of filling the gaps
* mix of presentation and social time

* slack channel?

* aiming for approximately once a month (9-10 times a year)

Accessibility Needs
* space
* speaker training?
* CART transcription
* copies of presenter slides, notes

Code4LibBC Day 2: Lightning Talks Part 1

XML Databases and Document Stores, Michael Joyce, SFU

  • EXIST for storing XML
  • indexing and searhcing provided by Lucene
  • doesn’t include analysis, but can used Stanford named entity recognizer
  • MASHUP of over 200 books mapped using statistical tagger and dbpedia, great for getting people started
  • similarity matching to find similar content

Demo of MIK (the Move to Islandora Kit), Mark Jordan, SFU

  • built at SFU in migrate digital collections to Islandora
  • built in modular way, and flexible
  • doesn’t move to Islandora, just prepares content
  • can have contentdm or csv/excel, prepares batch packages that Islandroa expects
  • can run as many times as you want to get it right before loading to Islandora
  • despite the name, will let you use it in other contexts e.g. move to Hydra
  • parse into MODS or DC, which is what Islandora exists, but could be written to do others
  • post-write hook scripts, allows scripts to be run in the background
  • modules can be used e.g. metadata manipulator
  • need to write config file, but not more complex than most
  • metadata mapping file can also add metadata that wasn’t in incoming data
  • backend tool written in PHP
  • hope to get people get interested to contribute different toolchanges e.g. Dspace

Making moves: Migrating from CONTENTdm to Islandora, Hillary Webb, ECUAD

  • BC ELN started Arca, IR for all post-secondary schools
  • migrated from ContentDM to Islandora
  • created custom displays to display custom metadata
  • had to manually regenerate derivatives, but would want to script it in the future
  • most issues left over has to do with display e.g. list vs. grid per collection

Open Collections Future – Linked Data APIs, Stefan Khan-Kernahan, UBC

  • very little data is linked at this point
  • want to propose that authors have persistent digital identifier through ORCID to build profiles, use ORCID to markup and import citations
  • can add schema and do something similar to call number
  • show related articles currently based on search but if use ID, can build richer ways to show related articles e.g. same person, others that they’ve collaborated with
  • can build citation and reference lists

PDL Report, Caroline Daniels, KPU

  • Provincial Digital Library, but didn’t really consult anybody.
  • put some money to BC ELN to build Arca
  • next step is to build discovery layer on top of Arca and other digital collections
  • had a meeting, will get report in ~2 weeks
  • larger symposium next to BCLA; and will likely be other smaller groups
  • the ministries have said there is no money to do this
  • come up with some solutions and they might be able to find money
  • a task group is forming to see what we might do
  • digital collections environmental scan done by Mike Conroy
  • the focus is to benefit the whole province


Time for a snack!
hamster eating from tiny lunch tray