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Your Library Accessibility Checklist

March 27, 2019

Access goes beyond being a core value for libraries. It’s the reason they exist. The idea that any student can check out a book at no cost and be trusted to return it for the next reader says something wonderful and important about our values.

But libraries aren’t just about checking out books anymore and access isn’t either. As you reflect on what access means in your school library, here are some things to consider:

 

What are your library hours?

The school day is busy and library staff is stretched thin so library time can be a challenge. If students aren’t getting that time, are there ways to be open a bit before school starts or during recess or bring rolling carts to classrooms for checkout?

 

Is your collection inclusive?

Your school community is comprised of a multitude of different cultures, family types, ethnicities and abilities. Can students find themselves in a book? Can students learn more about how their friends’ experiences are different than/the same as theirs? Feeling left out is the antithesis of access.

 

How big is your digital divide?

The digital divide is real but it is not just about critical access to the internet and computers. The digital divide also has consequences for students with disabilities. Are you incorporating Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 rated databases like PebbleGo, websites, and software to make sure digital content is accessible for students of all abilities?

 

Are your read-alouds accessible?

Just like you have a goal for an inclusive collection, you likely are already thinking about how to incorporate those choices in your read-alouds. But take your thinking beyond the content too. It’s easy to assume that students with certain kinds of disabilities or attention problems aren’t well suited to listening to a read-aloud, but that’s not true. Check out this great blog post for lots of great ways to include all students in your programing.

 

Is there a role for student voice?

Do your students feel ownership of the library? Check out social media for ideas on how to incorporate student voice in your collection development to help make sure your library has a healthy inventory of books kids want to read.

 

What are other ways accessibility is important in your library?