Library Initiatives & Updates
The Purchase College Library aims to create an equitable environment in which all our users thrive. We recognize that creating and maintaining that space means we must remain vigilant--engaged in constant education, advocacy and flexibility.
The following efforts and initiatives are to ensure the Library invests in a culture of accessibility:
- September 19 Bightspace workshop to focus, in part, on the college’s use of A11y
- Book Display in Multicultural Center on “Engaging Disability”
- August Welcome Week included Diversity Day for Res Life optional session on Digital Accessibility
- Chancellor funding for support for students with disabilities. Plan includes a digital accessibility support position as well as funds for targeted course upgrades of materials. A separate pot of money may support paid internships.
- Panel presentation on film “Crip Camp” to discuss efforts underway, successes, and challenges of inclusion on campus. Shared Disability Representation in the Media guide.
- Facilitated Purchase College Students and Disabilities Student Union in advocating for funding during Student Empowerment Day
- Director of Digital Accessibility presented at Accessing Higher Ground “Leading from the Center: Digital Accessibility Efforts through the Library” to share efforts with other higher ed institutions
- Moved Assistive Technology Lab to DMZ Room 1015C. This provides more access to technology in a less restrictive way.
- Pilot for Digital Accessibility Ambassador program from SUNY Office of Resources for Students with Disabilities
- Spearheaded the first annual welcome week training sessions focused on accessibility and inclusion including a faculty panel on digital accessibility efforts, focused on the use of the library’s growing collections.
- Presented digital accessibility efforts to SUNY Student Assembly officers before the start of the fall semester.
- Secured NYSED support to create a collection of approximately 150 disability and accessibility-related books (ebooks and print) in various disciplines for use in exploration and course needs
- Completed Project Enable Library Accessibility Checklist, yielding a list of recommendations for future improvements
- Created Accessibility at the Library page with information on both physical and digital accessibility information.
Engaged with SUNY DEI group to ensure accessibility representation.
- Advocated for addition to SUNYConnect contract that includes Diversity and Ethnic studies Ebook collection from Ebscohost
- Advocated with Ebscohost to include more titles for Neurodiversity, Digital Accessibility, and intersectional disability issues and theory.
- Organized Advocacy Panel: “Audio Description (AD): Desire, Reality and In Between (Online Panel Presentation).” SUNY Accessibility Workgroup. Discussion with streaming vendors (Stacie Taylor and Brian Edwards of Digital Campus—SWANK and Sarah Brennan of Proquest Alexander Street’s AVON database). Featured Michele Spitz “Woman of Her Word” audio description producer, narrator, sponsor and consultant.
- Presented with ODR “Clarifying COVID Lessons: Rethinking Collaboration for students with disabilities… and everyone else” to staff and faculty
- Presented on SUNY Library Accessibility Cohort to SUNY Library Services
- Advocated with two filmmakers to secure audio descriptions for two films
- Interim Director of Digital Accessibility invited to work with SWANK Digital Campus Advisory Board
- Advised numerous staff and departments on accessibility for campus and student audiences
- Changed streaming workflow to ensure caption files are added to hosted content and audio-described content added when available
- Interim Director of Digital Accessibility (invited panelist): ”Diversability: a social justice forum on disability and substance abuse”
- Interim Director of Digital Accessibility presenting on SUNYLA Panel “Understanding and Reviewing E-resource Accessibility” discussing the toolkit and VPAT repository created by the SUNY Library Accessibility Cohort.
- Integrated accessibility in Library and college-wide strategic planning process.
Interim Director of Digital Accessibility invited to Co-Chair SUNY Library Accessibility Cohort which created:
- A VPAT review process and repository of most common databases
- A toolkit to help libraries across SUNY complete necessary reviews, advocate for vendor compliance, and create best practices for an exception process (ongoing)
- 52 faculty trained in content and accessibility best practices
- Discovered issue between Perusall (a social annotation tool for students) and Ally which resulted in Perusall uploads not getting scores nor alerting faculty that uploaded content had barriers. Advocated for both vendors to cooperate (improvements are underway)
- Outreach to Theatre Arts Conservatory, LSCE, Literature, new faculty, PSGA, resident assistants
- Vendor advocacy with Alexander Street Press on the need for audio description
- Compiled VPATs for our databases with brief basic testing using WAVE tool
- 70 faculty trained in content and accessibility best practices
- Interim Director of Digital Accessibility presented “Accessibility and Online Learning Objects: Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL)” at ALA national annual conference (also covered in American Libraries Magazine blog post)
- Creation of Interim Director of Digital Accessibility position to focus efforts on the intersection between our resources and users (particularly faculty)
- Workshops and outreach to reduce use of inaccessible content
- Adoption of Blackboard Ally tool to alert faculty of inaccessible material integrated into the LMS (Moodle)
- Actively engaged in SUNY based Ally group to take full advantage of Ally updates and uses
Interim Director of Digital Accessibility presented at ACRL New England “Beyond the Library: Cross-Campus Collaborations in Support of Faculty Teaching, Research, & Scholarship”
presentation on the library’s collaboration with the Office of Disability Resources, Teaching Learning Technology Center, and Liberal Studies and Continuing Education in helping faculty to address accessibility issues related to the design, selection, and delivery of course content
2002-2017 (Laying a foundation)
Assistive tech introduced to the Library and periodic updates instituted
- braille printer
- Large print keyboards
- Development of workshops and sessions on Universal Design for Learning targeted to faculty
- Created a relationship with the Westchester Library System to access audiobooks and other materials.
- Read Write Gold piloted to help students with learning disabilities
- Began testing of our ebooks and ebook platforms
- Broke out DVD collection by accessibility needs (captioning and audio description)
- Advocated and collaborated on campus EITA policy