YALSA is looking for a representative to the Accessibility Assembly. The appointment would run through the end of June 2022 with the opportunity for a one year renewal. The Assembly is made up of representatives appointed by each Division. he Assembly focuses on accessibility issues and provides support in this area to the ALA Conference Committee.

The full charge of the committee is:

“To advance ALA’s continuing commitment to diversity and to accessibility of library and information services for all, including people with physical, sensory or mental disabilities, as reflected in the ALA policy on “Library Services to People with Disabilities [54.3.2]; to facilitate communication among ALA units, members and affiliated groups regarding issues such as equitable access to programs, services, collections, and facilities for library users with disabilities, employment of people with disabilities, and library accessibility policies; to encourage manufacturers and vendors to develop library products and materials using the principles of universal design; to advance optimal accessibility of ALA services and programs; to develop and promote strategies for the recruitment of people with disabilities into the library and information science profession; and, to advance coordinating and cooperation of efforts within ALA and the profession to meet the challenges of providing access to all.”

Conference attendance is not required. Because this is such a short appointment (though with the chance to renew!) this is a great way to give committee work a chance! Just make sure you’re a YALSA member and don’t belong to more than three committees! Contact Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President, at kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com if interested!

Do you have in-depth knowledge of a disability related topic?  Are you the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) expert at your library?  Are you a person with a disability or a disability rights ally who wants to share your knowledge?  Let’s talk!

The Accessibility Assembly is looking for volunteers to help us update the Library Accessibility Toolkits: What You Need to Know, ALA’s seminal resource on library access for patrons and staff with disabilities.  These toolkits are the front line resource for libraries on accessibility issues.  They provide information and resources for both patrons and staff.

If you are interested or just want to find out more, please respond directly to Lauren Kehoe at lsk221@nyu.edu

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) has put together a toolkit for libraries called Library Accessiblity – What You Need to Know. There are fifteen specific tipsheets, covering areas from’ patrons with’ cognitive, mental, or emotional illnesses to patrons who need assistive technologies and patrons with physical disabilities.

Many, if not all, the tips apply to Teen Services. For example, instead of asking the age or grade of a patron, ask for the name of a favorite book to determine reading level. Encourage teens with disabilities to volunteer. Reach out to teens who are homebound or are in’ institutions.

The digital divide isn’t always about money or age. Physical ability is often overlooked in the discussion, though it can make the difference in whether a teen can access the digital resources your library provides. It wasn’t until stumbling upon the article “As Personal Technology Explodes, Deaf and Blind People Feel Left Behind” that I thought about the effect that moving toward streaming, online multimedia and mobile devices can have on deaf and blind teens, as well as other teens with disabilities.

For deaf teens, a library podcast means nothing without a transcript, and book trailer can be unintelligible without closed captioning. Blind teens won’t be able to find links embedded in flash, images, or DHTML if their screen readers or accessible browser can’t find them. Teens lacking in certain motor skills may struggle to click inside small text boxes or navigate drop-down menus. It’s important we don’t leapfrog these teens as we introduce exciting new services and content to our patrons.

If you want to learn more about how you can make your digital services more accessible without compromising any of the exciting gains in digital technology, you can visit the Web Accessibility Initiative. For issues related to gaming, check out the Game Accessibility Project or work with teens to build their own games through the Audio Game Maker, a free program that helps visually-impaired people make their own accessible video games.

Joseph Wilk
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Teen