The Ursula C. Schwerin Library is Accessible For All

The City Tech Library has revamped their Libguide collection making it more accessible for everyone.

The Ursula C. Schwerin Library is committed to developing equitable online spaces and included an accessibility focus within their June initiatives. According to the American College Health Association, 12% of undergraduate students reported having a disability, and recent data found that almost 13% of the U.S. population has a disability. While improving accessibility directly benefits those with disabilities, web accessibility benefits all users by removing restrictions on who can access information. This inclusive approach broadens access, increases participation, and promotes usability.

 A library’s Libguide collection would ideally follow WCAG guidelines and offer resources that are user friendly, accessible, well designed, and findable. The City Tech Libguide Collection includes over fifty research guides on relevant subjects.  

Screenshot of the library's LibGuide page, showing a list of LibGuides by subject.

Adjunct librarians working in the library tackled this initiative through an assessment process that focused on accessibility aspects like alt text and screen reader capability. To conduct an audit of the Libguides, code inspection tools were utilized, rendering valuable information on accessibility errors. Two separate inspection tools found over 200 errors across ten guides. These errors ranged from low contrast, and missing corresponding labels, to dozens of images that were missing alt text.

Our audit-based suggestions included solutions to improve usability and ensure future accessibility errors do not occur. Improved guides were designed to mitigate and address  accessibility issues pertaining to readability and inconsistency with navigation. The following Libguides have been coded and redesigned for inclusivity and accessibility:

Our Libguide collection offers an extensive catalog covering various topics and subject matters. Libguides are typically developed by academic librarians to help staff and students navigate resources and find information. Academic libraries have a responsibility to withhold accessibility standards for everyone’s access. This process is an ongoing endeavor that requires libraries to proactively address current content and responsively create new and accessible content. If you’re interested in seeing more Libguides- be sure to check out the full collection here.