Plan for Accessibility
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Inclusion at every step
You can make all components of your TD Summer Reading Club accessible and welcoming to families with kids with different disabilities. If you take an inclusive approach in all your planning, you will create a safe and fun environment—in person or virtually—for all kids to participate in your club’s activities.
TD Summer Reading Club – Accessibility: A video encouraging kids with print disabilities to participate in the program.
Awareness about disabilities
Over 6 million Canadians identify as having a disability, of which about 200,000 are children and youth. There is a wide range of disability types. You may be familiar with some, such as visual, hearing or mobility impairments or developmental disabilities, but there are also mental health–related, pain and cognitive disabilities. With these statistics and this information in mind, you can prepare your staff to interact with patrons in a respectful way. Here are some resources about how to talk about disabilities and how to interact with people with disabilities:
Accessibility resources for library staff
There are many resources about accessibility available online, but as library staff, you may wish to consult the comprehensive Accessible Libraries site featuring a curated collection of accessibility and training resources compiled by the Public Library Resource Centre. Other resources include:
Reading formats: All about providing choice
When it comes to reading, it can be easier for some people with disabilities to read in formats such as audiobooks, e-books or braille books rather than printed text. These disability types, called print disabilities, include learning disabilities, visual impairments and physical disabilities where the person cannot hold or turn the pages of a book. Some readers find it helps to simultaneously look at the words and listen to them. This technique is especially helpful for kids with learning disabilities, for whom looking at the text will help improve reading skills and listening to the words at the same time will reinforce their comprehension of the text. By providing access to the Club’s titles in audio, e-text and braille formats, you are giving kids with print disabilities the opportunity to read the same books as their friends, in the format of their choice. More about accessible reading formats.
Do audiobooks help develop literacy skills? According to the article “Listen and learn: How audiobooks can support literacy development” (Learning Partners), listening to audiobooks can benefit early readers, especially kids with learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), for whom decoding written text can be a barrier. This is why providing a robust audiobook collection through OverDrive or other e-audiobook and e-book providers, or through specialized services for patrons with print disabilities, such as the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) or the National Network of Equitable Library Service (NNELS), will increase the number of titles available to your patrons.
Accessible TD Summer Reading Club!
Make sure kids with print disabilities know they have access to a broad selection of titles. Sometimes all it takes is changing the format so the person can read the same books as other Club participants. Someone with low vision may be able to read a regular-print book using a magnifier; someone with dyslexia may be able to read a regular e-book using a text-to-speech reader. You may also offer formats specifically designed for accessibility. These may include DAISY audio or text, braille, printbraille (picture books with braille) or decodable books for readers with reading disabilities. Learn more about making reading accessible.
You will find a selection of this year’s titles in audiobook, e-text, braille and printbraille (picture books with braille) formats. Depending on your location, your library may provide access to these books through the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) or the National Network of Equitable Library Service (NNELS), or both. In Quebec, CELA service is offered through the Service québécois du livre adapté (SQLA). Parents may call SQLA at 1-866-410-0844 to register their children with print disabilities. CELA member libraries may download or borrow copies of books to have something for children to check out on the spot. Learn how libraries can access books for their patrons using their CELA accounts.
- English books available for download or by mail through CELA
- French books available for download or by mail through CELA
- Books available for download from NNELS – coming soon
Notebooks in audio, braille, e-text and OpenDyslexic font
This year, the pre-school and school-age notebooks have been designed to be more inclusive by including larger font sizes and adding more white space to allow the reader to focus more easily on the content. Libraries will not receive separate accessible pre-school or school-age notebooks from CELA.
Families should visit the Accessibility page of the TD Summer Reading Club website to find electronic versions of the notebook in e-text, audio and braille.
Adapted pre-reader notebook
Adapted school-age notebook
Some kids may have trouble playing the “find the image” games if they are using only the audio or braille notebook files. Please encourage families to access the PDF files or provide a printed copy of the notebook to help kids enjoy these activities.
Libraries may request additional copies (while supplies last) by contacting CELA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programming, collections and other services
You can make your collections, programming and services inclusive to all families by taking an inclusive approach. When you consider the needs of all clients who visit your website or walk through your doors, you create a welcoming space for everyone.
Libraries will also have access to an information sheet to help staff make their TD Summer Reading Club accessible:
- Make Sure Your TD Summer Reading Club is Accessible! (PDF)
- Make Sure Your TD Summer Reading Club is Accessible! (Quebec) (PDF)
Here are some common accessibility guidelines:
- Be sure books and other items in your displays are accessible to people using mobility devices such as wheelchairs
- Promote audiobooks, e-books and braille books alongside print books
- Make signage clear and easy to read by using larger font sizes, standard font types (not decorative fonts), and high-contrast text and background colours. For more information read CNIB's Clear Print Accessibility Guidelines
- Provide safe spaces by clearing tripping hazards and creating enough room for wheelchairs to move and turn around, as well as offering quiet areas with lower lights and less noise for those with sensory sensitivities
- Connect with local groups that support kids with disabilities as part of your community outreach. CELA provides promotional materials and templates in an Outreach Toolkit
- Let schools know that your library offers downloadable audiobooks, e-books and braille books
- Include information about accessibility when training staff, summer students and/or volunteers
More accessibility programming resources:
Planning accessible programs
Think about accessibility when you’re planning events, crafts, games and other activities and when you’re buying your supplies. A good guideline to help you get started is to remember the acronym “POD,” defined below.
- Provide instructions in larger fonts with pictures
- Promote events and activities in multiple formats; for example, online, print, email and social media
- Include tactile craft options, such as feathers, foam shapes and glitter glue
- Choose larger brushes, markers and crayons that are easier to grip for kids with physical challenges
- Think of the five senses when planning activities, and include sound, touch and smells
Observe your audience
- Is someone leaning forward or squinting to see the story or activity?
- Is someone having trouble following the instructions given for the craft activity?
- Does anyone seem frustrated while trying to participate in the activity?
o If so, ask the child, family member or caregiver how you can help.
- Be flexible, and provide options for participation (such as working in pairs or teams)
Describe visual elements in books
- Use words to describe events represented only in pictures
- Use a mic so you are heard anywhere in the room
How can my library virtually support kids with print disabilities?
- Promote your library’s e-collections
- Update your website to include links to accessible format collections available to your clients through organizations such as CELA and NNELS
Make your videos accessible by adding captions and audio descriptions
- Describe any visual elements when doing storytimes, crafts or other activities
For more information about print disabilities, CELA, and training opportunities available for public library staff, visit celalibrary.ca.