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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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.
- 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