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Accessible Libraries Studies

Hearing the experiences of people with disabilities can help us understand the barriers they face and guide us toward creating accessible, inclusive and welcoming spaces for all. With the support of eBound, the Public Library Accessibility Resource Centre (PLARC) Project undertakes studies to gather information and experience from library users with disabilities and provides analysis and accessibility recommendations to public libraries for free.

Is Your Public Library Accessible? Study

Date: June 2022 – January 2023

This study aims to determine how accessible persons with disabilities think their local library currently is. The study will include online focus group discussions, visits to their local public library (in person and/or virtually), and short surveys to be filled out each month after their visits. We hope that the study participants experience as many aspects of their public library as possible so that we can learn about their personal library user experience.

The Is Your Public Library Accessible Final Report is now available. You can also download the report in Word and HTML formats.

For a brief overview of the study, please visit the Is Your Public Library Accessible? Study webpage.

Accessibility in Public Libraries Survey

Date: February-September, 2021

This study aimed to inform the creation of the Public Library Accessibility Resource Centre (PLARC), a nationwide online Accessibility Resource Centre focused on awareness and training for library staff on the importance of accessibility. Library staff across Canada were surveyed to determine their accessibility training needs and preferred learning format. An advisory committee of 12 library staff members from all library sizes (large and small, rural and urban) provided valuable feedback throughout the study.

If you’re interested in reviewing the survey results, please check out the final report, Accessibility in Public Libraries Research Project, available in both Word and HTML.

Accessible Publishing Research Project and the How Do You Read Study

October 2019 – March 2020

The Accessible Publishing Research Project was the basis for the creation of the Accessible Libraries website to support libraries in providing accessible content and resources.

From the NNELS Accessible Publishing Research Project catalogue:

In March 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $22.8 million over five years for the development of an initiative to support the sustainable production and distribution of accessible digital books by independent Canadian publishers. This funding will flow through the Canada Book Fund (Department of Canadian Heritage), with the goal of enhancing capacity so that books are “born accessible” as part of the digital production process. With the funding support of the Canada Book Fund, ACP and eBOUND’s research took place between October 2019 and March 2020 and included the following components:

  1. An analysis of the current landscape for the production and distribution of accessible digital books in Canada and the potential market development for these books in the Canadian English-language market.
  2. Recommendations for the implementation of a national standards and certification program, including defining the characteristics of an accessible digital book.
  3. Development of a national strategy for awareness and training around accessible books for the publishing industry and related sectors.

The Accessible Publishing Research Project Report is available on the NNELS website in EPUB 3 and PDF formats.