About 650 million or roughly put 10% of the world’s population live with some form of disability or the other (Source: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/). Libraries play a very important role in the life-long learning of individuals and research shows that a significant number of people still go to the libraries, inclusive of the disabled. One study released in July 2012 talks about 56% respondents who went to the library in the last year, at least once. (Source: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/06/22/part-4-how-people-used-the-library-in-the-past-year/ ). Given the diversity of people that use libraries and library related products, especially with evolving technology, companies that feed libraries with content and create library products, need to ensure they are accessible to one and all. Several standards such as Section 508, WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 lay down guidelines to follow to promote web accessibility. Besides library product companies, librarians and library users can also do their bit in enhancing accessibility in library products and content.
This panel discussion on “Enhancing User Accessibility in Library Products” has been structured with a diverse representation of product and service companies that are in the library, publishing and educational domains, with people who have a strong business and technology background. The panel will facilitate a lively interactive lunch discussion around:
1. Why is accessibility of significance to the library market?
2. What are the standard guidelines in building accessibility in library products?
3. What roles do product companies, librarians and users play in promoting accessibility?
4. What practices and implementation techniques can be adopted over and above the standard guidelines in building a truly accessible product?
5. A case study brought to the table to highlight the points discussed