Marking progress in the Library’s accessibility improvements

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Library recently achieved a milestone in our ongoing accessibility efforts: Dana Porter Library received accessibility certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Dana Porter LibrarySpearheaded by the University of Waterloo’s Workplace Accessibility staff, the Library joined with several other units in seeking an accessibility assessment through a Government of Ontario partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation. Starting last spring, this multi-step process took a full scope, user experience view of Dana Porter Library to help us better understand its accessibility strengths and weaknesses.

With one in five Canadian adults currently living with a disability, accessibility has long been top of mind for the Library. As a partner in learning and research that values access, service and community, it is vital to create an inclusive space for all. Whether it be obtaining materials and resources or a physical space to study, we strive to make it as easy as possible for students to be independent in managing their out-of-class academic requirements and add positively to their campus experience.

In recent years, the Library has invested in new technologies as well as renovations to improve the accessibility of our space and services: aisles have been widened, signage and wayfinding markings have been enhanced and height adjustable desks have been added to our study spaces. Our Adaptive Technology Centre has been able to invest in thousands of dollars of new hardware and software to support library users with vision and hearing disabilities thanks to generous donors.

With this new certification and the accompanying feedback, the Library is able to continue to move forward in its work to make library spaces, services and resources more accessible for all users.

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