BCLA is pleased to support an increasing interest in and commitment to improving library accessibility from both individual and institutional members, including the expansion of focus to incorporate accessibility for library workers. This is a reflection of increasing understanding of accessibility and the need to eliminate or mitigate societal barriers, as well as a recognition of the value and importance of everyone to be able to participate. Recent provincial and federal legislation ensures that accessibility will remain a priority. BCLA’s support of accessibility aligns with our values of Inclusion & Diversity and Social Responsibility.
The current BCLA website, launched in December 2022, was designed with accessibility as a key consideration at every step. Staff and developers used accessibility as a deciding factor in all decisions, from functionality to layout to colour choice. As part of beta-testing, BCLA had professional accessibility testers with lived experience test the site and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. This was valuable, as the testers provided suggestions and guidance for how to make the site even more accessible.
BCLA staff learned a lot about accessibility through the process of developing the new website, but we still have much to learn, and we know there is always room for improvement. If you encounter any accessibility issues with the website, please let us know using the website feedback form or by emailing the BCLA Office.
More Accessible BCLA Events
BCLA is striving to improve the accessibility of our events and to support the BC library community in learning more about accessibility.
We’ve made changes to the BC Library Conference to improve accessibility, including:
- creating BCLA Accessible Presentation Guidelines with information for presenters on how to incorporate accessibility in their content and presentations
- asking all presenters at the conference to submit their PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and other materials in advance so we could make them available to attendees in advance of the conference.
- providing automated transcription for all online sessions.
- inviting presenters to inform us of their accessibility needs as part of the session proposal process.
- inviting attendees to inform us of their accessibility needs as part of the registration process.
BCLA Participation in National Accessibility Efforts for Libraries
BCLA strives to learn from and contribute to the accessibility work being done at the national level. The BCLA Executive Director is on the advisory board of the Public Library Accessibility Resource Centre (PLARC). The PLARC website is a resource center for libraries across Canada, with a focus on educating and training library staff on the importance of accessibility in public libraries. The website includes accessibility resources from both external sources and training resources created in-house.
As part of this work, the BCLA Executive Director participated in the 2022 Accessible Publishing Summit and helped to represent the challenges and opportunities of accessibility in libraries to representatives from the Canadian government and national and international publishing, technology, and accessibility organizations.
Public Library Accessibility Working Group
The Public Library Accessibility Working Group (PLAWG) was formed in September 2022 to support BC public libraries in the implementation of the Accessible British Columbia Act.
BCLA, represented by the Executive Director, is a member of the group, as are the Association of British Columbia Public Library Directors; the BC Libraries Cooperative, as the Sectoral Hub organization with the Disability Alliance of British Columbia; and Public Library InterLINK, representing BC Library Federations.
Together, the Working Group serves as an advisory panel and conduit for accessibility issues in BC public libraries, and represents public library needs to the Disability Alliance of British Columbia (DABC) in its role supporting the implementation of the Accessible BC Act.
The Working Group strives to:
- represent BC public libraries needs to DABC
- increase awareness of the needs of public libraries at DABC
- ensure communication and coordination within the public library sector about the implementation of the Accessible BC Act
Additional information and updates can be found on the Public Library Accessibility Working Group webpage, hosted by the BC Libraries Cooperative.