Tag Archives: accessibility

July 18 discussion focuses on benefits of Summer Academy programs

orange sun with triangular yellow rays with text below for Pennsylvania Summer Academy at Penn State

Shelly Faust-Jones and Karen Walsh-Emma, co-directors of the Summer Academy Program at Penn State, will host a discussion from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18 to raise awareness about these unique programs offered on the University Park campus. The discussion, with a question and answer session to follow, will be held in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, and will also be available on Mediasite Live at live.libraries.psu.edu. An archived recording of this event will be closed captioned and available following the discussion.

Summer Academy, hosted by Penn State, University Park, offers a multi-week, intensive program focused on enhancing independence skills for students transitioning to postsecondary education. The experience is available at no cost to eligible Pennsylvania students currently enrolled in high school and who anticipate attending a two- or four-year college or technical/trade school after graduation.

This discussion is co-sponsored by the University Libraries’ Accessibility and Diversity Committees in recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

 Faust-Jones and Walsh-Emma, who work in the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services within Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry, will discuss how the Summer Academy Program was conceived; what is involved in putting this program together; what outcomes have been derived from the Summer Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the past few years at University Park; and Penn State’s contributions to the programs.

The full Penn State News article is available to read online. For more information on the July 18 discussion event, or for questions about accommodations or the physical access provided, contact Emily Rimland, at 814-863-2480 or elf113@psu.edu in advance of the event.

Global Accessibility Day, Upcoming Libraries’ events

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is Thursday, May 18, 2017. The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. GAAD started in 2011 as a way for web developers to educate themselves and others about how to create web pages that are accessible to people with disabilities and has since become an
international initiative with events around the globe.

The Libraries Accessibility Committee invites you to take the opportunity to learn more about digital accessibility. The GAAD website encourages “designers, developers, usability professionals, and everyone else to take an hour to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof).” A few suggested activities to raise awareness about

A few suggested activities to raise awareness about accessibility issues are:

  • Unplug your mouse. People who are not able to use a mouse rely on other input devices, such as their keyboard. Try unplugging your mouse and using only your keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate. If you’ve been involved in the creation of a web page, see if you can interact with all the elements on the page using the keyboard alone.
  • Browse the web with a screen reader. Screen readers read the text on a screen aloud for users with sight loss, or for any users who prefer hearing content rather than reading. Windows has a built-in screen reader, Narrator, or PC users can also try the free screen reader tool NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access). For Mac users, use the built-in screen reader VoiceOver.
  • Learn about other accessibility features on your devices. Both Windows and Mac operating systems have built-in accessibility features, as do iPhone and Android devices.

More activities and information are on the GAAD website participation page.

Also, mark your calendars for two upcoming events sponsored by the Libraries
Accessibility Committee:

  • June 6, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park
    Panel discussion with the State College Sight Loss Support Group of Central PA
    and the Happy Valley Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind
  • July 18, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, University Park
    Presentation on the Summer Academy at Penn State, a program focused on enhancing independence skills for high-school students who are blind, vision impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and are transitioning to college.

For more information, contact the Libraries Accessibility Committee at

The Libraries Accessibility Committee (LAC) is seeking new members to join the committee beginning in fall 2017. All Libraries faculty and staff at all locations are eligible to serve. Contact Emily Rimland, LAC Chair, at elf113@psu.edu, for more information.

– submitted by Dawn Amsberry, Libraries Accessibility Committee

Libraries’ Accessibility Committee updates name and responsibilities

The Libraries’ Accessibility Committee, formerly called the Disability Services Committee, has a new name and new responsibilities. This group was originally started in 2011 by Ann Snowman, head of Access Services, and Dace Freivalds, head of I-Tech, as the Accessibility and Adaptability Interest Group (A2IG) and consisted of faculty and staff at University Park with an interest in services for students with disabilities. The interest group met informally for discussion, organized events for Discovery Day, and led an LFO Forensic on libraries and accessibility.

In 2014, the group, sponsored by Ann Snowman and Dace Freivalds and chaired by Dawn Amsberry, re-formed as the Disability Services Committee, formalized its charge, and expanded membership to the Commonwealth campuses. In addition to monthly meetings with invited speakers from the Libraries and across the University, the committee participated in a panel presentation on assisting patrons with disabilities and developed a research guide for Disability Studies. Members of the Committee also worked with the Summer Academy for the Blind, a Penn State summer camp for blind and visually impaired high school students who are transitioning to college.

To help raise awareness about services at campus locations, the Committee drafted a letter to campus disability services staff to serve as an introduction to the Libraries and invite collaboration. The letter was piloted by members of the Committee at their campuses and resulted in successfully establishing new contacts.

Under the leadership of Chair Emily Rimland, the Committee chose a new name and developed a set of more strategic responsibilities this fall. The updated charge and membership can be found below.

For this year, the committee is planning to offer programming, in collaboration with the Diversity Committee, for Global Accessibility Awareness Day in May 2017. It also has plans to update the Guide for Services for Persons with Disabilities pamphlet, and add to the awareness and education resources related to accessibility that can be accessed on its intranet page.

If you have thoughts or questions for our group, we would love to hear from you. We hold regular monthly meetings and can be contacted at: ul-disabilities-svcs-comm@lists.psu.edu. We will be looking for new members in spring 2017 and would love to have your participation if you are interested in this type of work!

University Libraries’ Accessibility Committee Charge and 2016-17 Membership

Head of Access Services and Head of I-Tech Sponsors: Ann Snowman, Dace Freivalds

Committee structure:
A call for membership will go out in late spring for new members. Terms of service will be for two years beginning in the fall. One member of the Committee will serve as Liaison to the Libraries Diversity Committee. The chair will be appointed by the sponsors and will serve a term of two years. Standing appointments (ex-officio) include a representative from each of the following groups: I-Tech, Student Disability Resources, Adaptive Technology and Services and Library Learning Services.

The University Libraries’ Accessibility Committee (formerly Disability Services Committee) is a community of faculty and staff who share a common interest in providing inclusive services and collections for library users with disabilities. We explore new technologies and services, educate our colleagues about accessibility-related ideas and trends, advocate for physical and online accessibility in the Libraries, and develop programming and resources to raise awareness about all aspects of library services for people with disabilities. Annual report will be due in summer.

Areas of focus:
Libraries’ classroom accessibility
Collaboration with other groups, both external and internal to the Libraries and Penn State
Involvement with PSU Accessibility Awareness Month and Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Physical access of libraries
Assessment of accessibility efforts
Awareness of ADA, ALA-related issues, etc.

New Responsibilities:

  • Advocate for library classrooms at all locations that are accessible, employ universal design, and use up-to-date adaptive technology to maximize learning
  • Provide policies or guidelines for purchasing collections and working with library vendors; support for buying materials related to disability services; guidelines for requesting materials (including establishing the process for providing accessible/alternative materials if we do not have the accessible version); and document these processes
  • Offer training related to accessibility for Libraries’ faculty and staff on a regular basis
  • Coordinate and collaborate efforts with other accessibility task forces related to instructional materials, collections, or services (e.g. BTAA accessibility task force based at Michigan State)
  • Communicate with Libraries’ Facilities related to ADA compliance and advocating for users as needed
  • Organize an annual event relevant to the group’s charge to coincide with Penn State Accessibility Awareness Month or Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • Collaborate with Libraries’ Facilities Department as needed to evaluate the physical spaces at all libraries
  • Coordinate and disseminate relevant information at campus libraries; continue to partner with disability services representatives on campuses
  • Continue to collaborate with I-Tech on website accessibility and related issues
  • Regularly assess accessibility efforts for effectiveness and compliance

Members and start year:
Alia Gant, 2016
Benjamin Hoover, 2014
Dawn Amsberry, 2014
Emily Rimland, 2014, Chair 2015-17
Erin Burns, 2016
Binky Lush, ex-officio I-Tech
Ryan Klinger, 2016
Susan Hayya, ex-officio Adaptive Tech
Tina Laychur, 2014
Vicki Brightbill, 2016
Melody Gelbach, Support

– submitted by Emily Rimland and Dawn Amsberry, University Libraries’ Accessibility Committee

iPhone accessibility features you may not know about

By Ryan Johnson, technology training coordinator

There are a few great features in your iPhone accessibility options that everyone can use. To enable any of the features below, go under: Settings -> General> Accessibility.

Read Any Text Out Loud:

1. Head into Settings -> General -> Accessibility.

2. Turn on Speak Selection.

Now, when you select a block of text you’ll get the option to speak it out loud.

Get LED Flashes for Notifications:

1. Head into Settings -> General -> Accessibility.

2. Tap the LED Flash for Alerts button.

Now, when you get a call or other notifications, the LED flash on the backside of your phone will light up.

Enable Custom Gestures with Assistive Touch:

AssistiveTouch is to help people who have problems with the touch screen, and subsequently you can do all kinds of cool stuff with it, including creating your own set of gestures:

1. Turn on AssistiveTouch in Settings-> General Accessibility -> AssistiveTouch.

2. Tap the new icon in the top left corner of your screen.

3. Tap the Favorites button.

4. Tap the + to create a new gesture.

Here is a blog that has a few examples of gestures including making scrolling easy.

Accessibility: What Everyone in the Library Needs to Know

Thursday, February 28, 10:30am-12pm, Foster Aud. and Mediasite Live (and recorded for later viewing)

LFO forensic, “Accessibility: What Everyone in the Library Needs to Know”

Presented by: Ann Snowman (introductions), Dawn Amsberry, Susan Hayya, Linda Klimczyk, Binky Lush, Emily Rimland of University Libraries

Attend this LFO Forensic to learn about several facets of providing service, in physical and virtual settings, to individuals with disabilities. This session will cover the Office for Disability Services’ process for identifying students and providing requested accommodations; the role of the librarian in instructional, public, and web services to people who are disabled; library history on accessibility and usability; Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 overview; and provide tips on the use of inclusive language, interpersonal communication, and tools and resources for library faculty and staff.

Discovery Day Program to Focus on Disability Stereotypes

By Susan Hayya, Coordinator Adaptive Technology and Services

Adaptive Technology and Services is very happy to participate again in the Libraries’ Discovery Day on March 1, 2013. This year we decided to repeat last year’s presentation, a video viewing of an episode of the acclaimed television series Glee. The episode is called “Wheels” and it is from Glee’s first season. It is about stereotyping people with disabilities. Last year the video inspired a lot of discussion about how we stereotype people and how damaging it is to do this. Not only was the discussion interesting but it made all of us aware that people with disabilities are unique, not because they are disabled, but because, like everyone else, they are uniquely individual. It is worth repeating this year.