Arabesques n°106

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Handicaps and libraries, towards digital accessibility

July-August-September 2022

Already enshrined in legislation, notably the Disability Act of February 11, 2005, digital accessibility will reach a major milestone in 2025 with the entry into force of the European Accessibility Act. But an even closer deadline is looming in France, with the transposition of this directive into French law, expected by the end of 2022. Where do libraries stand today, particularly those in higher education and research, on this crucial issue of equitable access to knowledge?

The report on taking account of disabilities in higher education libraries and territorial libraries published in January 2021 by the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research, part of which is devoted to digital accessibility, provides a valuable progress report. It highlights the disparity in progress made by establishments, as well as the possible avenues and margins for improvement.

However, more and more university libraries are adopting a proactive policy in this area, often as part of their university's overall disability strategy, as shown by the experiences described in this new issue of Arabesques.

By 2025, not only digital books, but also websites, applications and all public services will have to be accessible. Only the mobilization of all players in the book chain and technical service providers will enable us to meet this challenge, which is to provide equitable access to content for all readers, whether or not they are disabled.

Enjoy your reading!