Accessibility Information Toolkit for Libraries

Creator: Ontario Council of University Libraries

Date Updated: October 21, 2021

This is an in-depth Toolkit that broadly covers accessibility as it applies to libraries. Initially, it was intended for the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). Still, the toolkit itself mentions that it is meant to be “considered in the context of each institution and adapted accordingly” (Ontario Council of University Libraries, 2014, 5). It provides information about creating an accessible collection for your patrons and standards of accessibility for a library to follow. This would be an excellent resource for a library looking to develop its accessibility policies.

Quick Facts

  • When procuring and buying content, you need to work with publishers to ensure it is accessible. If accessible content is not available, try to identify an alternative vendor to buy from.
    • Consider if the file format is accessible. Accessible formats include EPUB3, TXT, HTML, and DAISY.
    • Determine if the content has any or all of the following accessibility features:
      • Alt text or textual descriptions for images
      • Keyboard navigation
      • Proper and informative labelling
      • It uses headings for proper structure and navigation.
      • It provides skip links (to skip to content)
      • Descriptions and instructions for accessibility features
      • There are alternates for multimedia (captions and transcriptions)
      • Colour should not be the only method be used to convey meaning.
      • Do not use screen flickering frequency.
      • Avoid timed operations (if they are used, inform users and provide them with the option of more time)
  • Accessible communications mean that there are no barriers to accessing the information in whatever form of media you are communicating in (print, social media, website, videos, work memos etc.). To create accessible communications, it needs to:
    • It needs to work with assistive technologies (HTML is the preferred format).
    • Provide alt text or textual descriptions for images.
    • Use plain and accessible language.
    • Be careful about linking to or promoting inaccessible content.
    • The font should be minimum of 12 points and sans serif.
    • Write content for a grade 8 reading level.
    • Avoid jargon and write out all acronyms at least once.
    • When appropriate, use headings, subheadings, and bulleted lists.
    • When linking to more information, use informative labels.
    • Use white space to ensure information is not visually cluttered.

Make sure websites follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Also, ensure that the software and hardware (printers, copiers, e-kiosks, monitors, and electronic) available to patrons is accessible.

Open the OCUL Accessibility Information Toolkit for Libraries


Ontario Council of University Libraries (2014). Accessibility Information Toolkit for Libraries. PDF. Retrieved from: