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Library News

Big Ten Academic Alliance and ASERL partner to form Library Accessibility Alliance

Jan 7, 2020, 11:44 AM

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance have created a new name for their recent partnership to advance accessibility for library electronic resources. Now called the “Library Accessibility Alliance” (LAA), the program seeks to ensure all library users have equitable access to information.

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) and the Big Ten Academic Alliance  have created a new name for their recent partnership to advance accessibility for library electronic resources.  Now called the “Library Accessibility Alliance” (LAA), the program seeks to ensure all library users have equitable access to information.  An eight-person Steering Committee provides overall direction for the work.
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Since 2016, the Big Ten Academic Alliance has been conducting third-party evaluations of electronic resource platforms and collections, publicly posting the evaluations for review by vendors, libraries, and users.  Big Ten Libraries drafted and recommended accessibility licensing language as well. ASERL joined the effort in October 2019, working with Big Ten Libraries to increase the accessibility testing work and to conduct an analysis on the effectiveness and impact of the testing on vendor electronic resources. The partnership is also exploring other accessibility initiatives where they can partner effectively.

“Recent news articles and conversations with many colleagues indicate there is strong interest and energy among library consortia to help ensure all library users have equal access to content,” commented John Burger, ASERL’s Executive Director. “We selected the name ‘Library Accessibility Alliance’ because it is intentionally broad, allowing for our program to expand -- and to offer visibility for work done by and with others, too,” noted Joseph A. Salem, Jr., Dean of Michigan State University Libraries and Big Ten Director Liaison to LAA.  

Library Accessibility Alliance Steering Committee:

  • Beth Ashmore, Associate Head of Acquisitions & Discovery, North Carolina State University
  •  Sara Belmont, Web Developer, College of William & Mary Libraries
  • Jon Ezell, Coordinator for Creative Media & Instructional Design, University of Alabama
  • Anita Foster, Electronic Resources Officer & Assistant Professor, Ohio State University
  • Jessica Harris, Electronic Resources Management Librarian, University of Chicago
  • Amy Kimura, Web Services Librarian, Rutgers University
  • JJ Pionke, Applied Health Sciences Librarian, University of Illinois
  • Heidi Schroeder, Accessibility Coordinator, Michigan State University Libraries 

The program is supported by Robert Van Rennes (BTAA) and Elaina Norlin (ASERL).

Next Steps

While the accessibility evaluations continue, LAA will examine how information providers have responded to previous tests and measure improvements over time. LAA leaders will also soon publish a curated resource list for anyone wishing to learn more about library accessibility issues.


Robert Van Rennes, Associate Director, Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Elaina Norlin, Program Coordinator for Professional Development/DEI, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries