Library champions for disability Meeting Notes January 22nd 2021
Library Champions for Disability meeting notes 20th January 2021
Meeting held via Zoom- 22 Attendees Chaired by Heather Dawson (LSE
Library champions for Disability is a grassroots community of practice forum for
all information professionals which was launched in November 2015 in affiliation
It aim to offer librarians, information professionals from all sectors an informal
place to contact, meet and exchange and exchange ideas. Disability is defined
broadly to include neurodiversity conditions, mental health issues, physical or
intellectual impairment.We believe that library users should not
be ‘disabled’ by technical, environmental or social conditions in libraries and urge
all those who support this to join us to improve access for all.
The meeting opened with delegates sharing experiences of websites and resources
which they felt helped them support students remotely.
RNIB Bookshare was mentioned by many
Other recommendations – Home office accessibility posters
Daisy consortium webinars
Offer free webinars and the website also has recordings. Good examples include
insights from Google and experiences shared by a dyslexic member of staff on his
insight into using technology
Good clear guidance on website auditing and testing
University of the Arts is promoting a Tech for ALL online accessibility conference 1-5
RNIB Bookshare update from Stacey Scott
We have 650,000 titles, growing every day. We support 30,000 students and 25,000
During the lockdown there has been a massive growth in individual members
Bookshare have enabled students to register as individual members if they have
been having difficulty contacting their schools.
negotiations are ongoing with publishers to add more content including backfiles and
Stacey urged any delegates having issues with specific ones to contact her direct
Questions included whether audio books are included in Bookshare. Stacey stated
that they are not but there is a separate RNIB talking books collection
All books should be DRM free the RNIB does have a tracking service in the event of
Stacey said that the RNIB is currently offering a series of introductory webinars.
These include a demo of the service plus demos of the features of the Dolphin
EasyReader reading app. Dates and sign up details are
Thursday 4th February at 1pm
Wednesday 24th February at 3pm
Monday 8th March at 1pm
Tuesday 23rd March at 3pm
CILIP Disability Network briefing document was introduced by Yvonne Morris
Yvonne Morris MCLIP
Policy Manager (Diversity and Inclusion)
CILIP: the Library and Information Association
This is reproduced below:
In 2021, CILIP will launch a new Diversity Network for library and information
workers with experience of disability. The purpose of this briefing document is to:
Provide a brief overview of CILIP’s Diversity Networks and why they have
Invite consultation on potential roles for the Disability Network, on
membership eligibility, on the role of allies, and on a name for the Network
(“Disability Network” is the working name for this Network, library and
information workers with experience of disability are welcome to suggest
Set out next steps, including the appointment of a Chair and a committee
Background to the formation of a Disability Network
CILIP is the UK’s information and library association. We stand for fairness,
inclusivity and social justice. As an ethical professional organisation, CILIP is
committed to ensuring that the profession reflects the full diversity of the society and
communities we serve.
In 2017 CILIP formally adopted an Equality and Diversity Action Plan, which
committed us to taking action to improve diversity and representation in the following
CILIP as an organisation
Diversity & the membership
Diversity & the profession
Diverse and inclusive library, information and knowledge services
This was followed in 2019 by Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives
(also known as Changing Lives), a position paper that sets out how we can be an
activist for positive social change and social justice across all of the sectors in which
our members work. Developed in collaboration with CILIP’s Community, Diversity
and Equality Group (CDEG), it identifies six priority areas for action:
Equality and equity for marginalised groups
Equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of class or socio-economic status
Overcoming the debilitating impact of poverty
Opposing prejudice, conscious and unconscious bias, discrimination and hate
Supporting members to rebalance structural inequality in collections and
Addressing Climate Change.
In Changing Lives CILIP commits to being an ally to individuals and groups that are
under-represented both in society and in our profession. This means ensuring that
these groups are actively included in our work, that we do more to listen to and
amplify their voices and that we think critically about and take action to address our
own role in perpetuating exclusion and inequality.
The establishment of CILIP’s three Diversity Networks is an important step towards
fulfilling the commitments made in both our Equalities and Diversity Action Plan and
in Changing Lives. Our three Diversity Networks are:
The BAME Network, established to provide a forum for librarians and
information professionals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds
to share their experiences, support each other and network. This Network was
launched in June 2019
The LGBTQ+ Network, which aims to provide guidance, support, and a safe
space to share knowledge and experiences for library, information and
knowledge workers who identify as LGBTQ+. This Network was launched in
The Disability Network. This Network will be launched in the first half of 2021.
CILIP’s Diversity Networks are free to join and open to CILIP members and non-
members who meet the eligibility criteria (see below for more on membership).
Consulting on the shape of the CILIP Disability Network
Roles for the Network
We invited people in our community with experience of disability to come together on
November 10th and help us scope our new Disability Network. In this meeting,
participants suggested five potential roles for the Network:
1. Community & networking – provide a safe space to ask questions, share
information, offer mutual support and reduce isolation;
2. Education – inform employers and the profession about best practice, expose
them to new ideas;
3. Policy change & activism – influence wider policy and sector development,
feed into CILIP’s planning and delivery, and engage in proactive advocacy;
4. Recruitment – lobby for changes to create a more inclusive and diverse
library, information and knowledge workforce;
5. Mental health and wellbeing – advise employers on how best to support the
mental health and wellbeing of their workforce.
In the meeting participants proposed that membership should be open to all library
and information workers who self-identify as having a disability or neurodiversity.
Opening up membership to carers was also suggested.
It was felt that non-disabled allies should be encouraged to work with the Network,
proactively supporting its aims and objectives. However, there were differing views
over whether allies should be invited to participate in all or just some of the
Network’s meetings and events. Some attendees felt that a separate space and
forum reserved only for those with experience of disability is needed.
We are grateful for the insights and comments provided by participants in our
meeting on November 10th. Additional commentary on any of the above is invited.
We also welcome general feedback on our proposals. Please email this to Yvonne
Morris, Policy Manager email@example.com by February 15th.
Comments and feedback will be used to shape a second meeting (see below).
Next steps to forming the CILIP Disability Network
December 2020 to February 2021
Appointing a Chair or Co-Chairs
We are seeking a Chair for the Disability Network. This role can be shared. Most if
not all of the work will be carried out virtually, but travel expenses will be paid should
the need to travel arise. The Chair/Co-Chairs will be supported by the Policy
Manager. Further information and a role description will be posted on Information
Professional Jobs w/c Jan 25th (https://informationprofessionaljobs.com/). Anyone
interested in this role, or who would like to discuss it, should contact Yvonne Morris
Call for general committee members
The model adopted for the formation of the BAME Network and LGBTQ+ Network
was the establishment of a “shadow committee” to lead setup and handover to a duly
elected Board. CILIP is very grateful to its shadow committees for the work they
have undertaken to establish these two Networks. However, on this occasion we are
speeding up the process to make up for time lost to the covid-19 pandemic. The
“shadow committee” stage will be omitted and a call will be issued in February for
Disability Network general committee members.
Once a Chair or Co-Chairs are in place, a second open meeting will be held to:
Agree on roles for the Network and its overarching purpose
Agree on a name for the Network
Agree on eligibility for membership, including the role of allies
Consider how the Network communicates with its members and how
frequently it should meet
Any other items proposed by the Chair/Co-Chairs
Shortly after this meeting, Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Disability Network will
be drafted by CILIP, incorporating what has been agreed.
The Chair/Co-Chairs and general committee members will meet with the Policy
Manager to approve the TOR and to plan for a launch.
The Network will launch. The launch will be overseen by the Chair/Co-Chairs and
general committee members with support from the Policy Manager.
Once the Network has launched, the Chair/s will convene an inaugural meeting with
their members (this meeting could be held on the same day as the launch).
A work and events programme will be developed.
Lisa Anderson & Masniza Sore, University of Northampton
Taking the stress out of lockdown: access without compromise
Lisa and Mas Introduced their talk on auditing
third-party content databases for accessibility and preparing the library website and
libguides for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at the University of
This was a more informal version of the presentation given at the
Northern Collaboration virtual Conference November 2020
the slides can be viewed at
Key elements highlighted by the presentation were
The learning curve experienced by staff in learning how to audit, the fact that it was
time consuming and they needed to limit the amount they did on one day/week to
break the task down into small parts
Guidelines produced by WCAG were often too technical for many staff
They produced their own handy libguide here
They produced checklists to aid staff
They still have to test sites using screenreaders. This is likely to be a more difficult
and time consuming process
The libguides can be viewed at