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Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is on 21 May. Its purpose is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and people with different disabilities. 

At Leeds Beckett University Library, accessibility has always been a high priority; it helps to ensure all our students and staff can access and make the most of our services. 

New regulations introduced in 2018 make it a legal requirement for our online systems and content to be accessible, in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 to level AA. Since then we have been busy working on the accessibility of our online systems. We published an overarching accessibility statement on the Library website in September 2019, which was updated in February 2020 and will have a further update soon. This lists our platforms and links to relevant accessibility information provided by system suppliers. It summarises key accessibility strengths and areas for improvement, sets out our accessibility roadmap and updates on our progress.  

We audited the accessibility of our Library website system against the WCAG criteria using a range of tools. We found some accessibility issues which we have fixed (including adjusting colour contrast and adding a ‘Skip to main content’ link) or are working on. We are now looking at the accessibility of content on the Library website such as uploaded documents, images and videos. We will also be looking at the accessibility of the student meeting room booking system and a tool called LibWizard which we use for creating interactive online tutorials, as well as the online reading list system.

Colleagues are working on obtaining accessibility statements from the providers of our electronic information resources. They have taken a lead in the sector in advocating for this and in initiating a collaborative approach to share the work with other institutions. Each eBook platform also has its own accessibility FAQ and these are linked to from the eBook Collections and the Database A-Z page.

We have produced detailed accessibility guidance for colleagues involved in auditing our systems and we have updated other staff training guides to include more guidance on digital accessibility. We attend regular sector updates on accessibility and follow work being undertaken in other institutions so we can keep on top of developments and share good practice. 

To support you in using our systems and websites, the Library’s software page provides information on assistive software, including packages temporarily available for free home use until the end of the academic year such as Read & Write, MindView and Pro-Study. If you have never used these previously, this is a good opportunity to give them a try and see how they can help. AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability, and if you need information on the content of our systems and websites in a different format (for example accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille) please Contact Us

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our systems and websites and we welcome accessibility feedback. If you find any problems or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please email h.loughran@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

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