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Accessibility Progress at the Libraries

UW Libraries past efforts and future plans to ensure resources developed, procured, and used at the Libraries are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The University of Washington has a long history of working to address the accessibility of technology and physical spaces on our campuses. Starting in 2017, the Libraries launched the Accessibility Working Group to focus on addressing the accessibility of new and existing information technologies as well as promoting a culture of accessibility in the libraries. Highlights of this work are listed below.


On Going

  • Funding for an additional 40 power height adjustable workstations awarded (installation expected early 2023)
  • PDF remediation Phase 2- assessing candidates to be remediated by a third party vendor (on hold pending Accessibility Coordinator position being filled)
  • E-resource testing on new and renewal database subscriptions


              • Received Friends of the Library award to create accessibility kits that have been distributed throughout all tri-campus Libraries locations
              • Hosted Series 3 of our popular accessibility quick tips training for library staff
              • Accessibility evaluation of libraries physical spaces with recommendations complete
              • Building accessibility information added to the UW Libraries website to help plan ahead before visiting branch locations.
              • 18 power height adjustable workstations installed at several branch locations in July, with funding approved to order 40 additional workstations in 2023.
              • Presented Fix My Files! How to Improve PDFs for Accessibility at the Orbis-Cascade Alliance Accessibility Days online conference, July 26-27
              • Presentation about the facilities accessibility walkthroughs and reports at the ALA Core Forum conference October 13-15, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
              • Offered accessibility and data visualization workshop series through the Open Scholarship Commons to all UW users.
              • Presentation for the Library Accessibility Alliance (LAA) on “Accessibility Committees: Cultivating Cultures of Accessibility.”
              • Keyboard navigation testing of third party resources that renew in 2022, for a total of 554 tests. The goal is to test each resource at least three months before renewal to allow time for vendor contact in case of a failed test.
              • Collection Analysis & Strategy and Acquisitions & Rapid Cataloging Services continue to request a current VPAT from our vendors that supply electronic resources. Currently, we have approximately 120 VPATs on file for further analysis.
              • UW Libraries Blog, Improving Accessibility, One Vendor at a Time.
              • UW Libraries Blog, Inside and Out: Working with Vendors to Improve Accessibility
              • UWB/CC Campus Library received STF funding for 6 additional height adjustable tables and 4 accessible media carts, and also added standard accessibility features to the default settings of Windows for Library PC users in the Information Commons.  We also started a project to reorganize furniture on every floor to ensure accessible egress for all study areas.
              • UW Press created an internal accessibility working group and began asking authors to contribute alt-text for the images in their books.
              • UW Libraries and UW IT-ATS staff and students worked together on accessibility testing and improvements to Manifold, a recently developed, university-based scholarly publishing platform.


              • PDF remediation project – 300 PDF files remediated, 500 files recommended for HTML conversion or removal
              • Libraries blog post Accessibility Update, GAAD, May 19th, 2021
              • Created Series 2 of our popular accessibility quick tips training for library staff
              • 3 power height adjustable workstation installed in the Research Commons in Allen Library South
              • Media Arcade+Lab Youtube channel – captions verified/corrected on 6 videos
              • International Longshore and Warehouse Union Pacific Coast Pensioners Association Oral History Project Transcriptions and metadata – 46 interviews
              • Ethnomusicology Transcription cleaning up auto-transcripts – captions verified/corrected on 4 films
              • CONTENTdm Moving Image Collection – Transcription and captioning for 36 films complete – Project leads are Special Collection’s Hannah Palin and Preservation’s Andrew Weaver
              • PDF remediation Phase 1- created recommend policies, best practices, and workflows to support the remediation of existing PDFs hosted on the Libraries’ websites


              • Pressbooks accessibility audit. 21 issues identified, 17 fixed and resolvedcollaboration between project lead Lauren Ray and UW IT’s Accessible Technology Services
              • Launched summer series of accessibility quick tips training for library staff
              • Transcription template developed for oral histories projects – collaboration between Special Collections’ Ann Lally and UW IT’s Accessible Technology Services
              • E-resource keyboard testing phase one results – 550 databases tested, Accessibility Working Group co-chair, Hana Levay, and Associate Dean Denise Pan presented findings at the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services Big Heads Interest Group Meeting
              • 155 videos captions verified/corrected on UW Libraries’ YouTube channel
              • DUX/Systems joint virtual annual meeting, UW Libraries Andy Andrews, Hana Levay, and Andrew Weaver presented “Improving accessibility of library resources during a pandemic.”
              • Bothell – KIC Mini Book Scanner with Optical Character Recognition and 6 height adjustable workstations added
              • Libraries blog post Accessibility is Essential, GADD, May 21st, 2020 and Improving Accessibility, October 20th, 2020
              • Accessibility Coordinator joined the Orbis/Cascade Alliance accessibility standing group to assist in developing an accessibility toolkit with resources for alliance library partners


                • E-resource keyboard testing of 650+ databases – phase one begins
                • Accessible IT Capacity Building Award presented to the University Libraries
                • 20 additional KIC scanners with height adjustable stations – Total of 30 on the Seattle campus
                • Save option for MP3 file format added to KIC Scanners
                • Accessibility Coordinator presented at Association of College and Research Libraries on promoting a culture of accessibility in libraries with fellow Accessibility Coordinators from the University of Michigan and Michigan State Libraries
                • 14 power height adjustable PC workstations added to multiple study areas
                • Accessibility testing of vendor products training with UW IT’s Accessible Technology Services


                • Accessibility Coordinator hired
                • UW Libraries hosts EBSCO conversation on User Research and Accessibility
                • Optical Character Recognition, a searchable PDF format, made default setting on all KIC scanners
                • Disability allyship collaboration with the D Center: Supporting UW’s Disability Communities in the Library and Beyond
                • Power height adjustable scanning stations added at all Seattle library locations
                • UW Libraries hosts Accessible Library Resources Day. 94 attendees came from all 3 campuses as well as academic and public libraries across Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Michigan. Event made possible through the Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant


                • Libraries join the UW IT Accessibility Liaisons
                • Accessibility Working Group formed
                • Creation of Accessibility Coordinator position
                • 10 scanners with adjustable height stations added to Seattle Libraries locations