Libraries should be proactive in creating accessible facilities to visitors with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. At a minimum, all US libraries are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that structural barriers in libraries be removed or remediated to allow people with disabilities to access spaces. Accessibility also means presenting information and designing resources that are accessible to people with different abilities, including the use of assistive technology.
At New York City Public Schools, we are committed to providing accessible information and resources for everyone. The American Library Association’s Library Services for People with Disabilities Policy declares that “Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people.” Universal Design for libraries goes beyond meeting the baseline guidelines for accessibility as required by the ADA.
The resources on this page will provide guidance and examples of how to make your library more accessible.
The Assistive Technology Industry Association defines assistive technology or AT as "any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities." Assistive Technology can help students gain access to information and academic content to complete tasks and meet goals. AT can be low-tech, such as pencil grips and fidgets, or high-tech such as computer software and specialized devices.