LGS Stakeholders

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This page is a list of stakeholder entities for LGS, with links to individual stakeholder pages. (These target pages will be formalized into Stakeholder Analysis Reports as per the proposal.)



for children


Academic & Research

ALA division: ACRL

"Special" (e.g., state libraries for PWDs) and National Library Service

ALA division: ASCLA

NJ: Adam Szczepaniak

These libraries are part of a national network called the National Library Service (NLS) http://www.loc.gov/nls/aboutnls.html. They have in the past focused on braille and talking books; they still do that, but have an expanded view of their services in the digital world. Currently the network has 57 regional libraries and 86 subregionals. They get ~$60M annually, supplemented by funding for digital transition. Their 2012 Report to Congress says they have about 370K active users, 40% each blind and low vision, with the rest having other or unstated disabilities. (Compare this with Census stats that show 3.4 million people who are blind or have low vision -- ~10% use NLS.) Note: in 2012 only 15% of NLS patrons had signed up for download service, meaning a large majority still expect to use braille or talking books.

They have a plan for the future: http://www.loc.gov/nls/alternatives/index.html. This includes the following GPII-relevant items (section numbers in parentheses):

  • Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD): Digital Books and Magazines via Internet Download (there was a demo of the new app at ALA MW 2014). This is their first major step away from dedicated hardware (talking book machines, special cassettes, etc.)
  • User registration: about 60K new users per year (but similar outflow); done by netowrk libraries using NLS forms.
  • Reader Advisory (RA) services: help with machines, materials selection. Has a profile capability -- users get recommendations of new materials. Comprehensive Mailing List System (CMLS) maintains authorization and other info.
  • NLS subsidizes USPS to deliver materials at no charge. They have looked into whether it is possible to divert this subsidy to broadband providers.
  • They are unclear about the potential of using commercial audiobooks....
  • Want to work with public libraries directly, but these are undergoing budget cuts (so are unlikely to be able to support new programs) and there are concerns about QA.
  • They want to collect data on NLS users who have/plan to get broadband (4.1)
  • They see NLS as continuing to provide centralized services, but to a more distributed network (5.2)
  • They plan to provide 'easy' services to the less-tech-savvy users (5.7)
  • They see electronic distribution as 'long term' (5-7 years from 2011) (6.6)
  • See no change in how user registration is done (7.12)

ASCLA maintains a wiki on the accessibility of library databases http://ascla.ala.org/toolkit/index.php?title=Accessibility_to_Library_Databases_and_Other_Online_Library_Resources_for_People_with_Disabilities

April 2015: the NJ NLS unit has had its budget cut; not likely to be able to particpate in any testing.

Library Administration

In-house administrators

Exogenous administrators (e.g., municipal governments, school districts, university hierarchies)

Some public libraries are part of their city government (example: Free Library of Philadelphia). Obviously, a university library is part of the university's wider administration, although it may have some autonomy.

Many public libraries join regional consortia, sometimes by county. One reason is to share expenses, such as infrastructure. Although this saves money, some librarians have reported that it gives them less control over ICT, since the tech people don't work for them directly.

Technical administration

ALA has a LITA division on tech, but we understand that this is not the home of most library tech admins. We should find out if they have their own professional association, or if many are members of other orgs.

Public Library Software Functions

Central to the development of LGS should be what library functions it addresses.

Note: are we including the accessibility of library admin functions, for library staffers?

Core Functions

Catalog, self-service reservation, checkout, return, etc.

These are packaged and usually referred to as integrated library systems (ILS).

from 2013 survey by librarytechnology.org:

Internet access

This includes reserving an Internet workstation and managing time on it (most libraries limit users to an hour or 2 a day, due to heavy usage). The dominant software is PC Envisionware, which is reported to have serious accessibility problems. [JT has contacted them.]

Digital materials (e-books), including administrative functions

Overdrive is the dominant provider. From a 2013 study by Sarah Bright, 93% of libraries loan e-books, 97% use Overdrive (3M is 2nd at 16%). Although satisfaction is high (3.62/5), all but 11% of respondents would consider changing to another system; 63% gave "better patron interface" as a reason. There is also interest in having all available e-materials show up in an integrated catalog (not by vendor). http://www.forbes.com/sites/avaseave/2013/11/18/are-digital-libraries-a-winner-takes-all-market-overdrive-hopes-so/. Overdrive has an accessibility program in conjunction with Bookshare. According to that document "OverDrive is the exclusive provider of digital content protection, management, and storage for the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)." Note from the flyer that Bookshare's registration form is accessible. So I think that there may be few accessibility barriers here overall.

Other Functions


Libraries offer literacy training, often as part of a national program, many of which use online resources. While GPII can do a lot to help with literacy training, it's not clear at this point where we would hook into the current programs. We should ask pilot candidates what technology resources their literacy programs use, if any. Jim Tobias has been participating since 2013 with digitallearn.org, a diglit project of ALA. Several articles, including one about GPII have been published in their newsletter.

Language learning and other library-delivered online learning

Libraries offer their own lines of online learning materials in addition to whatever patrons can access via the Internet. For example, Mango teaches languages with interactive multimedia, and is available through libraries for use there or at home. Other subjects include genealogy, small business management, career and personal development, and health. Most offer access to online newspapers and magazines, and popular databases via EBSCO and other vendors.

Digital literacy training

Public libraries offer digital literacy ("diglit") training in several forms. Most relevant to LGS is the training offered online by large-scale programs. Many of these receive/received support from NTIA, which maintains the digitalliteracy.gov compendium of diglit resources. Another offering, aimed at seniors through libraries and other community institutions, is Generations Online. DigitalLearn.org is another compendium of resources and a portal for digital literacy professionals, supported by PLA and IMLS.

Probably GPII-Irrelevant Functions 

  • Possibly library admin software, if we choose to focus only on patrons.
  • Book clubs, reading time, and read-a-book programs (e.g., summer reading programs for children)
  • Other community activities housed in the library (e.g. classes, music events, craft clubs)
  • Library governance
  • Tax preparation assistance

Library Organizations


ALA has several "Equity of Access" initiatives, housed in different divisions. Jim Tobias has been active with the NJ branch, NJLA. Below are some of the most active and relevant points of connection.

Universal Access Interest Groups (UAIG)

These are found within ACRL and ASCLA.

Accessibility Assembly

This is supposed to be an umbrella group, with ex officio membership across divisions.

Library Information Technology Association (LITA)

referred journal Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/index

LITA has a Technology and Access Committee, whose checklist includes accessibility issues (although their main focus is elsewhere).

LITA also has awards and citations.

Public Library Association (PLA)

Has a Technology Committee.

Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP)

This is a staffed office within ALA HQ (not an interest group within the divisions, like LITA). http://www.ala.org/offices/oitp. This office is the mechanism by which ALA affects national tech policy, such as comments to the FCC on the National Broadband Plan. It's not an operations-oriented organization. 

Other Accessibility Initiatives


This is the "Bay Area Disability Services Librarians", a listserv and informal community of practice.


This is "Librarians for Universal Access", an informal group and Drupal site. Jim Tobias has taken on the 508 side of this project, contacting library software providers to understand how they area addressing 508 and maintaining a page of library accessibility resource websites.

Related Issues

Broadband and Internet adoption


Digital Literacy

Literally dozens of organizations work on digital literacy. Jim Tobias has been working with one through ALA, digitallearn.org.

Public computer resources


from ALA Midwinter 2014:

ALA MW 2014 - ALA Literacy Assembly Meeting and Committee on Literacy Meeting

~20 attendees; combined Assembly and Committee meeting

ALA Council passed a literacy resolution in 2013, but there weren't any action items or metrics attached to it. They discussed submitting another one, but it was felt tht the existing resolution was fine and adding a new one could be confusing.

leaders: Sara Kelly Johns (chair -- skjohns@gmail.com; she's in NY), Hadi Dudley, Beth Ponder, John Amundsen

Amundsen proposes building a literacy portal on the ALA site. there's a wireframe. there was discussion of centralized vs. distributed resources.

A lot of discussion of the nature of literacy. The consensus was that it begins with the basics -- reading and writing text. Other forms (financial, health, digital) build off of that.

Emily Sheketoff, lobbyist. There is a $158M program for literacy in libraries, via state and local. 5/5-6/2014 is Library Legislation Day on the Hill.

timetoreskill.org for literacy skill development.

some discussion of everyoneon.org and Connect to Compete re digital literacy. Some overlap with basic literacy; they want to focus on that.

use cases and environments:
ESL -- Chaldeans in Michigan. There is a project that helps parents by creating picture books for them to read to their children, as the parents learn to read English.

Corrections and re-entry: huge illiteracy in prisons; prison libraries have limited resources.


Braille literacy was briefly discussed.

re-think what we're doing about literacy. the basic connection for us is 'people who are illiterate have the same technical needs as people who are blind or otherwise print impaired.' beyond this, we can view literacy as a process, not a permanent condition. so we should imagine GPII solutions that support literacy programs. For example, a way to translate only some of a text into speech, requiring the user to read the rest of it. this can change over time until the user is doing all the reading. also, we could build into current literacy programs -- real-world integration instead of classroom testing.

Large scale research on accessibility in libraries

Pew Internet and American Life

Pew does a lot of library research, publishing a dedicated subdomain on their site: http://libraries.pewinternet.org/

ALA Research

Every year from 2006 to 2011 ALA  conducted a study of the US (public) library environment: # of libraries, budget, staffing, focusing on technology: the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study http://www.ala.org/research/initiatives/plftas. There have been only a few references to disability or accessibility.

At ALA midwinter 2014 we heard about 2 national surveys of public libraries aimed at learning what they're doing about digital resources; both have accessibility sections.

Edge Initiative

Edge is really a benchmarking tool for libraries to use for planning purposes. There is a benchmark for accessibility. They are going to correlate with IMLS Digital Inclusion Survey where possible. This session was to give background and engage different libraries --small, large, state. Training (on Edge) will be available in March 2014. The tool takes 2-4 hours to complete. it is being used to show govt where you stand and what you need to work on. State libraries get access to local libraries' results.

accessibility: benchmark 11.1:
11.1 The library accommodates users with disabilities.
  • At least one public terminal with assistive technology that enable use by persons with visual impairments (e.g., screen readers, magnification, high contrast keyboards and displays) is available at all locations 5 resource(s)
  • At least one public terminal that can be converted with assistive technology to facilitate usage by people with motor and dexterity impairments (e.g., touch screens, trackballs, switches, voice-recognition software) is available at all locations    6 resource(s)
  • The library has at least one workstation in each location that can accommodate a wheelchair or mobility vehicle    5 resource(s)
  • The library website is compliant with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) disability standards as evidenced by the use of an online validation service    6 resource(s) 
  • Specific accessibility goals are included in the strategic plan    5 resource(s)
  • Staff are provided with training at least annually for recognizing and serving patrons with disabilities    6 resource(s)
Note: the resources are mostly from TechSoup

RECOMMENDATION: get access to data. contact jcowan@urbanlibraries.org

Digital Inclusion Survey (Univ. of MD)

IMLS funded this large scale national survey on inclusion. It will have tools and visualizations showing connection to demographics, including disability, from census figures. The results will help libraries work with govt for more funding. For example, they can show unemployment rate in library catchment area as an argument for increased employment services or programs.

Paul Yaeger at UMd did the accessibility portion; this will be very useful to us.

4500 completed -- 80% response! only 4 libraries' data is coded into the tool yet (1/2014). There are 4 sections: infrastructure, diglit training, events&sessions, future. Early reported results:
  • avg. 20 public access computers, most under 4 years old
  • 40% of libraries report wait times for computer use
  • 79% offer training
They will release a large report, but probably not an API. If we have specific queries, they'll help us.

get in touch with Paul Yaeger
keep up with data release -- March?
presenters: breal@umd.edu, nrose@umd.edu

Survey sections: (at http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/content/digital-inclusion-survey)
Public Access Technology and Infrastructure
Q12 asks about accessibility of public access computers, laptops, mobile devices (e.g., e-book readers, 
tablets), printers/scanners/copy machines, website, licensed resources used by the library (e.g., Gale
Cengage, EBSCO, online services) 

Digital Literacy and Training: Q21-24 ask about training on AT (y/n, how, by whom, partners)

Library Programs, Events, and Information Sessions: Q38-40 (health and wellness section, asking about DevDis e.g. autism and Asperger's) y/n, by whom, partners

Future Opportunities and Directions: definitions of ADA standards and AT, but only 1 question, open-ended about problems/opportunities

Individual Comments and Miscellaneous

From LinkedIn Forum on library & museum access, 2011: Maribeth Flynn: While I am now a consultant, as a museum access professional the most difficult challenge was engaging other departments outside of Education and Visitor Services. The second was finding staff time to develop and implement effective outreach activities. The third was finding resources to hire access professionals such as interpreters to lead public tours.

April 2015 NJLA conference

Jim Tobias attended the New Jersey Library Association annual conference 4/21-22/2015. Here are some notes.
LGS Demo
I had 2 demo opportunities, the lunchtime lobby on Tuesday, and the mid-morning session on Wednesday. Both were poster session, but the first was not oppostie anything else, and traffic was high. I estimate I demoed to almost 100 people, engaging probably 20 people in detailed conversation. This is probably about the same as if we’d had a booth, at much lower cost – exhibit room traffic was pretty low (see below).
As usual, it was almost always a multi-step conversation:
•What is library accessibility about?
•What are the current problems?
•Why is LGS/GPII a better solution?
•What should I do about this?
I had 3 very lively and positive conversations, including one with a person from one of the NJ libraries I’d spoken with before. She will see if the director wants to invite me to speak to her staff about accessibility in general and LGS in particular on one of their staff training events. I will follow up with her and the other 2, both of whom have a personal connection to disability.
NJ State Librarian
Mary Chute, NJ State Librarian, was one of the co-hosts for the conference, and spent a lot of time speaking one-on-one with attendees. She and some of her staff attended a demo and asked to speak with me later, which I arranged. 

[Background note: I understand from another attendee that the NJ State Library is under a political cloud right now, with big budget cuts and having been moved from within the state government to basically a contract at a nearby state college. They are still losing staff and have a ban on any new projects. They are said to have targeted the Talking Books and Braille program as very expensive for its user base, which is not very active or even supportive of the program. Bad scene….]

I showed them to short version of the animation for context, as they had already seen the demo. Ms. Chute was aware of library accessibility issues, and pointed out how they had worked with the state Education Department on alternative educational materials. They definitely ‘got it’ as far as the value of GPII in libraries was concerned. I described the LGS project and made it clear we were not a business or looking for funding from them, but that we’d like to keep her aware of what we are doing in case there is a later opportunity for testing or early implementation. She promised to stay in touch, and offered to help me reach the NLS folks in Washington about it, although she was not optimistic about their situation either. She gave the impression that library services for people with disabilities wasn’t as ‘forward-looking’ as makerspaces, so it wasn’t going to get much attention. I will stay in touch.


I was surprised that there were almost no library software companies there. There were a few database publishers, but no one peddling admin software. Everyone else was either a library school looking for new students, book publishers, or a library architecture/design firm – lots of them. Most attendees seemed to visit once and not return; by lunch Wednesday there was almost no traffic at all and the exhibitors were barely looking up from their phones.

I asked one of the organizers why library software and database publishing firms weren’t there, and got an interesting and relevant answer. This software is now bought either on state contract or through a regional consortium, so there are no new dollars to chase down at the conference. It’s another example of individual libraries not controlling their infrastructure. They choose books and interiors, and not much else, it seems. It’s probably different for big cities, but New Jersey doesn’t have many of those.

Note on technology: libraries are sticking with barcode readers for library cards for now. One reason given by a vendor: they use barcodes for their books; the cost of replacing all book tags would be prohibitive; the readers work fine.

Note on 'diversity' and low visibility of disability/accessibility within it. I spoke with a librarian after her presentation on diversity in NJ public libraries, about whether disability was ever a major issue. She said no, not really, for many of the reasons we have identified before. But she added a new, political one: other groups under the diversity umbrella are well organized and highly visible. This is especially true of ethnic groups and language minorities. They ask for specific programs, and use their power in municipal govt., school borads, etc.