Part 4: Working with Authors
As noted in the previous section, it is always ideal to make materials accessible from the beginning. Remediation, or removing barriers to accessibility after materials have been created, is always a costlier and more time-consuming process as Krista Greear highlighted in her remarks at a Rebus Office Hours session in 2017. Greear, who formerly served as assistant director for disability resources at the University of Washington (UW), explained that her unit remediated accessibility for 109 texts between April and June 2017 at a cost of $27,000. She further noted that, because these texts were mostly commercial, this remediation work cannot be shared with other institutions. Greear’s remarks appear at 40:49 in the video cited above.
Remediation isn’t just expensive—it’s also the unfortunate effect of a system that excludes certain people as a default. In order to receive support at most institutions of higher education, students with disabilities can make formal requests, using mechanisms that have been established through legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, as Andrew Pulrang noted in a 2019 Forbes article, having to request accommodations comes with significant emotional costs.
So how can libraries encourage authors to build in accessibility throughout their creation process? This section considers a sampling of potential strategies for communicating the importance of accessibility to authors who may be unfamiliar with the issues or resistant to changing their processes.