Better For Us All
Public library directors and trustees, along with local municipalities are required to comply with ADA regulations. IFLS libraries expand accessibility beyond those requirements. Why do that?
Here’s one reason: keeping accessibility in mind leads to innovation. A recent New York Times article quoted Dr. Joshua Miele, designer and MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant recipient. “Almost always when you find something that is really cool for people with disabilities,” Dr. Miele said, “it will find its way into the mainstream in a way that is wonderful and makes life better.”
If you’ve listened to an audio book then you’ve experienced that. Creating accessibility doesn’t need to be expensive or high-tech to be effective! Clear Lake Public Library’s large and highly visible open hours got positive attention in their recent accessibility audit. It’s designed for a person with limited vision, but is also helpful if the weather is bad or you’ve got kids in the car.
That audit was provided by the Center for Independent Living Western Wisconsin, and IFLS paid for the ten libraries to participate. More on that in a later edition of The News.
I’m sure you don’t have to look far to see some great examples of accessibility at your library! Sometimes we don’t notice barriers to accessibility, though. Work with your library director to consider accessibility as you plan events, review or create policy or plan library design. And make a point of recruiting diverse members. Here are some tools to help you keep innovating to support great libraries!