Celebrating National AccessAbility Week

Monday, May 29, 2023

This week Canada is celebrating National AccessAbility Week — an opportunity to highlight the work of the people and groups removing barriers and reflect on the work yet to do to make Canada a more accessible, inclusive home for all. 

As a community hub, it’s very important to the Library that our users feel welcome in our spaces as well as using our services and resources. From the Dana Porter Library receiving certification by the Rick Hansen Foundation to investments in accessible technologies, the Library is continually working to improve the library experience for everyone in the Waterloo campus community. 

To celebrate the week, we’re highlighting some of the accessible services and resources available from the Library. 

Accessible version requests

When you look up a book or journal in Omni, the Library’s catalogue, there is a link to a “Request accessible version” form on every item in our collection. This form allows users with disabilities to request an accessible version of every piece of material in the Library’s collection, both digital and physical. The request comes to our Library Accessibility Team (LAS), who determine how to complete the request. The LAS team is also proactively working to convert popular materials in our collections into accessible formats to reduce wait time when requests are made. Learn more about the Library’s alternate format services

Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) 

The ATC is located in Dana Porter Library and provides a quiet space with both assistive devices and a variety of software to support the learning and research needs of our community members. The ATC has magnifiers, speech-to-text programs, voice command tools, noise-cancelling headphones and amplifiers, including ZoomText, Fusion, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Merlin Magnifier, Pocketalker Pro and UbiDuo 2. There are also private study rooms and lockers available in our scent-free environment. If you are interested in making use of the ATC and its resources, contact the LAS Team through the Library’s Ask us channels (chat, email, text or in person). 

Accessible content creation online tutorials 

The Library’s Online Learning Object Repository (OLOR) provides self-paced tutorials on a variety of topics related to accessibility to help you create content that is accessible to all, such as formatting with headings, tagging your PDFs and tips on accessibility tools in Microsoft Word. If you have ideas for future topics we could cover, please let the LAS Team know. 

Now that you know a little more about the accessible services and support available from the Library, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our LAS Team via Ask us if you have specific questions or want to meet with us. We’re continually working to improve our accessibility services and resources. If you have used the ATC or are interested in using it, consider filling out the ATC survey to help us continue to improve our spaces and services. 

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