Leading the way in Library disability support
Leeds Beckett Library aims to lead the way in providing disability support for our students and Disability History Month (22 November - 22 December) provides an ideal opportunity to look at the work we do.
A key element of the Library's work is liaising with students to better understand and meet your needs. In 2018 we reviewed the Alternative Formats service, which provides reading list items in an accessible format for students with print disabilities who have difficulty reading printed text. Thanks to the input of students who use the service significant improvements were made, meaning that if you have a print disability you can now access resources quicker, easier and more seamlessly.
We also work with providers to ensure that Library resources are accessible and we’re currently arranging for students who use screen readers to give feedback to Emerald, one of the Library’s database providers, to help them improve accessibility (if you use a screen reader, you can get involved - see the Disabled and Dyslexic Users Library website page for details).
We contributed to the 2018 ASPIRE audit of accessibility statements produced by eBook providers, and we were a lead partner on the award winning 2016 national eBook accessibility audit, through which we assessed the accessibility of eBooks from various providers and made recommendations for improvements. You can read more about the ASPIRE project in this article, featuring Susan Smith, Library Learning Support Officer for Disability and Dyslexia, along with a Leeds Beckett student. Susan also recently appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Touch’ programme discussing the importance of accessible eBooks.
We were early subscribers to SensusAccess, an online service which allows students and staff to automatically convert documents into a range of alternate media, and to Pro-Study software, for collecting and organising research.
We're continually looking for ways to improve accessibility and recent examples include producing accessibility guidance for using Library eBooks, making 360-degree tours of the Disability Resource Areas available on the Library website and adding audio transcripts to some Library blog posts.
If you have any ideas for how we can make Library services more accessible or need any help in using the Library or finding resources please Contact Us and we also have a list of Library resources related to Disability History Month.