ALA Council urges compliance with accessibility guidelines

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications,

ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546

For Immediate Release,

August 4, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Council is urging all libraries to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, so that people with disabilities can effectively access library Web sites with ease.

The guidelines call for Web content to be made accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, and photosensitivity.

The resolution, passed July 15 at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, also calls on federal, state and local governments to provide adequate funding that would allow libraries to comply with accessibility standards.

The council’s action is consistent with ALA’s core values of librarianship, which includes principles of “access” and “the public good,” and its code of professional ethics for librarians, which states the goal that libraries “provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources.”

The council noted that the ALA policy devoted to “Principles for the Networked World” pays particular attention to the role that libraries play in connecting people to that world.

In addition, the ALAhead Strategic Plan 2010 aims to “increase ALA’s influence in promoting equity of access and fair use,” while ALA policy addressing library services for people with disabilities states that “libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people.”

The resolution points out that many libraries receiving state funding must acknowledge the importance of Web accessibility issues within state statutes, policies and/or guidelines.

The ALA Council is the governing body of ALA, which is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.