Providing services and resources to people with disabilities

Our commitment

We commit to excellence in serving all of our user groups, including people with disabilities. 

We strive to provide services and resources in a way that respects the dignity and independence of all members of our community at all times. We also commit to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our services and resources and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place, and in a similar way as other users. 

We commit to including accessibility in our planning processes.

Providing services and resources to People with Disabilities

To fulfill our commitment, we will:

Communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take their disability into account 

  • Train our staff to interact and communicate with persons with disabilities in a manner that they prefer for their particular type of disability. 

Provide fully accessible telephone service to all library users

  • Train our staff to communicate with library users over the phone in plain language and to speak clearly.
  • Make our staff familiar with available telephone technologies intended for people with disabilities.

Serve people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use, or benefit from our services and resources

  • Familiarize designated staff members with the library-supported assistive devices that may be used by customers while accessing our services or resources.
  • Train designated staff members to use the assistive devices available on library premises. 

Provide accessible invoices and receipts to all of our users

  • Provide invoices and receipts in the following additional formats upon request: large print, e-mail, or verbal explanation.
  • Answer any questions users may have about the content of the invoice in person, or by telephone, or e-mail. 

Provide instructional sessions in an accessible manner

  • Take into account the diverse needs of potential participants when preparing for public instructional sessions or seeking public input.
  • Proactively seek to accommodate participants with disabilities in their preferred manner.

Provide additional accessible services

  • Use of the Adaptive Technology Centre
  • Retrieval of library material
  • Delivery of library material to an on-campus address 

All accessible services are available to students and other members of the university community who are registered with the University of Waterloo AccessAbility Services.

Please see the Library Accessibility Services web site for a full description.

We welcome service animals and support persons

We welcome people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or support person.

All staff dealing with the public are trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal or support person.

We share the understanding that the owner of the service animal is responsible for the service animal and its actions at all times.

We will provide notice of service disruption

We notify users in the event of a planned disruption in services.

We make a reasonable effort to notify users in the event of an unexpected significant disruption in services typically used by people with disabilities.

The notice includes:

  • the reasons for the disruption,
  • its anticipated duration, and
  • a description of alternate facilities and services.

Notices are placed at all public entrances, service desks, the Adaptive Technology Centre, and other areas as appropriate.

We train all employees, volunteers, and others who deal with the public

In addition, we train all those who are involved in:

  • the development and establishment of guidelines, procedures, and practices.
  • the development and planning of public-facing workflows and projects.

The training includes the following:

  • The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, and the requirements of the customer service standard.
  • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
  • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person.
  • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing the Library’s services and resources.
  • How to use the assistive equipment available that may help with the provision of services or resources to people with disabilities.
  • The University of Waterloo Library’s practices and procedures relating to the AODA customer service standards.

Staff are trained on an ongoing basis when changes are made to the practices and procedures.

We have accessible feedback processes

We welcome feedback regarding the way the library provides services and resources to people with disabilities. Feedback can be made verbally at any service desk, by email, online through our feedback forms, by phone, and by mail. 

  • All feedback will be directed to the appropriate service coordinator or manager.
  • Users can expect to hear back within two business days, excluding weekends and university holidays.
  • Users can use the "Ask Us" contact information to send questions, comments, and suggestions.

The University of Waterloo Library mailing address and telephone number are:

University of Waterloo Library
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
N2L 3G1

(519) 888-4883

We prepare and modify library practices and procedures with accessibility in mind

We develop service practices and procedures that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no change will be made to this commitment before considering the impact on people with disabilities. Any practice or procedure of the University of Waterloo Library that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

Questions about this commitment

This commitment exists to achieve service excellence to library users with disabilities. If anyone has questions about the commitment, please contact:

Sharon Lamont
Director, Organizational Services
University of Waterloo Library

University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
N2L 3G1

(519) 888-4567 x33519
sharon.lamont@uwaterloo.ca