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Accessibility Strategic Plan, 2024-28

The Library's goals for improving accessibility, set out in a five-year plan.

Accessibility Barriers

The Laurier Library recognizes that there are barriers that prevent full access to and use of Library collections, services, and buildings by people with disabilities.

These barriers often arise from ableism, stereotyped attitudes towards disability, and assumptions that everyone is able-bodied. They include a lack of knowledge and awareness of disability and accessibility issues, and lack of resources dedicated to accessibility. We are one unit within the broader university and deal with many third-party vendors. This means that not all barriers are within our control. The Library is committed to identifying and addressing barriers where possible. 

This plan will help us work towards removing them. It will guide the priorities and direction of accessibility-related work at the Laurier Library.

Guiding Principles
  1. Anti-ableism, equity and social justice: We recognize that many barriers exist for people with disabilities due to ableism, and the historic assumption that people with disabilities are not worth spending resources on. Our approach therefore must be anti-ableist and focus on equity and social justice for people with disabilities.  An intersectional approach recognizes that disability needs to be linked to other EDI initiatives.
  2. Focus on barriers: We take the social model of disability as our starting point, and focus on identifying and removing barriers in the environment. We commit to moving away from the medical model of disability in our services wherever possible, including the need to identify and provide documentation to access services. 
  3. Proactive approach: We commit to a proactive approach in identifying and removing barriers for people with disabilities in Library services. We know that accessibility requires continuous work and improvement.
  4. Learning from lived experience: We commit to learning from people with lived experience of disability to guide our work.
  5. Inclusion rather than segregation: Our approach is to make all services accessible wherever possible, rather than to create segregated services for people with disabilities.
  6. Distributed responsibility: We recognize that everyone at the Library has some responsibility for accessibility.
Priorities and Goals
  1. Improve accessibility of facilities, technology, services, collections 
    1. Better understand where our accessibility gaps and problems are (e.g. engagement with students, review of practices compared to standards and best practices) 
    2. Improve our current practices, processes, and staffing to better incorporate accessibility 
    3. Investigate ways to increase resources (e.g. staffing, funding) available for accessibility 
    4. Continue to grow and advance the Accessibility Committee’s role as an advisory body within the Library 
      1. Facilitate access to resources (including  knowledge and expertise) concerning accessibility needs 
  2. Continue to grow our awareness of disability issues 
    1. Improve internal awareness of ableism, disability, and accessibility issues 
    2. Better understand barriers faced by people with disabilities 
    3. Improve internal knowledge and skills needed for accessibility work 
      1. Create opportunities for training throughout the Library  
      2. Coordinate with Library Executive on budgetary needs for training purposes 
    4. Integrate accessibility into Library EDI efforts 
    5. Better acknowledge the Library’s accessibility improvements and successes 
  3. Build relationships and communicate 
    1. Continue to build and strengthen relationships with Library Executive to coordinate accessibility efforts across the library.  
    2. Consult with Laurier students, faculty and staff with disabilities, and find ways to better understand their Library experiences and accessibility barriers 
    3. Create partnerships within and beyond the Library to facilitate accessibility efforts. This includes external partners, for example other university libraries and consortia such as OCUL 
    4. Improve communication about our services to the Library and the wider Laurier community 
    5. Advocate for increased accessibility in areas we do not have direct control over 
  4. Integrate accessibility into our planning and processes 
    1. Work towards and beyondcompliance with AODA and the new Higher Education Standards 
    2. Find ways to incorporate¬†accessibility into¬†planning so services¬†and¬†facilitiesare increasingly ‚Äėborn accessible‚Äô instead of retrofitted¬†
Accountability

The Library Accessibility Committee will coordinate the implementation of this plan in cooperation with Library Executive. Coordination will involve developing an annual action plan for the Library, and creating an annual report of Library progress that will be posted publicly on our web site. The committee will also make an annual presentation at an All Staff meeting to detail projects, initiatives and highlight the work being doing by various Library departments. The Strategic Plan will also be presented at Library Council. 

A mechanism will be created for feedback on the plan and on progress reports from the Laurier community. The Committee will review this plan annually and update as needed. 

Feedback

If you have feedback or comments on this plan, please let us know at libaccessibility@wlu.ca