Creator: Canadian Federation of Library Associations
Date Updated: October 21, 2022
This is a set of accessibility guidelines from 2016 written by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA), in consultation with experts, for all Canadian libraries. This document is a good general outline of recommended accessible and inclusive service practices. This document, along with other more recent guidelines such as Bill C-81 and the AODA, could serve as a helpful starting point for any Canadian library hoping to create its accessibility policy.
This information is summarized from Guidelines on Library and Information Services for People with Disabilities.
- The guidelines outlined in this document are separated into ten areas of focus. They are:
- Library Mandate, Policy, and Planning
- Include access for persons with disabilities in your institutional mandate.
- Familiarize yourself with federal and provincial/territorial regulations and legislation.
- Your library’s strategic plan should consider accessibility in all areas of your library (physical space, library programs, collections, etc.).
- Public Services
- Libraries should provide or make it a priority to deliver accessible services (content, website, assistive technologies, etc.).
- When an accessible format is not available, libraries should facilitate access to one (under the Canadian Copyright Act).
- All library staff should be familiar with the Canadian Copyright Act and how it impacts persons with print disabilities.
- Communications, Marketing, and Outreach
- Use person-first languages and consult people with disabilities on the terminology they prefer.
- Use multiple methods to advertise your library and services.
- Include captions and transcripts for audio information.
- Budgeting and Procurement
- Budget for making your library space accessible and providing assistive technology.
- Purchase alternate /accessible formats (and include that in your budget).
- Prioritize procurement from vendors who provide accessible services.
- Human Resources and Training
- Commit to ongoing library training of staff that covers disability awareness and sensitivity interactions.
- Include equitable services and access for persons with print disabilities in your training policies and procedures.
- Employ persons with disabilities!
- Collections Management
- Your collection development policy should include accessible/alternate formats.
- Consider the patron’s input about content during acquisitions.
- Resource Sharing
- Libraries should participate in multiple networks to ensure accessible formats are available through interlibrary loans and online services (like NNELS and CELA).
- Assistive Devices and Technologies
- Your library should be completely compatible with assistive technologies.
- Provide workstations equipped with furniture and technology to meet the needs of persons with disabilities (adjustable desk, screen readers, large monitors, etc.)
- Ensure that library staff are aware of and familiar with the assistive technologies and devices their library offers.
- Physical Access
- Your library should be accessible and include (if applicable): accessible entrances, quiet rooms, adjustable lighting, accessible signage (tactile options, contrasting colours, etc.) and much more.
- Consult with persons with disabilities before building or renovating your library.
- Advocate for libraries and library schools to incorporate accessibility into teaching and training.
- Work with publishers to advocate for accessible content.
Canadian Federation of Library Associations (January 2016). Guidelines on Library and Information Services for People with Disabilities. Web page. Retrieved from: http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/guidelines-and-position-papers/guidelines-on-library-and-information-services-for-people-with-disabilities/