Did you know that updates to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect March 15, 2012? I didn’t. So it was enlightening to read New ADA Signage Standards Take Effect from Library Journal:
On March 15, 2012, updates to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) went into effect. The new standards—known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design—focus specifically on creating wayfinding signage for the visually impaired.
The good news is that libraries are already doing well in compliance from a technology standpoint, providing visually impaired patrons with text-manipulation software and closed-circuit televisions to enlarge print. The better news is that these new standards offer more guidance in making traditional wayfinding signage more patron-friendly.
There’s a lot of good information here for libraries that are remodeling or designing a new building. Additionally, a sidebar offers accessibility tips for all libraries:
Libraries remodeled or newly designed after March 15, 2012, must comply with the updated rules. For all other libraries, there are steps that can make existing signage more patron-friendly. (The tips below, and others, can be found on the ASCLA website.)
- Employ nonpermanent signs with low-glare and a high contrast for legally blind visual readers
- Train library staff to assist visually impaired readers when necessary. This includes:
- Offer to guide patrons to their intended destinations
- Offer a variety of resources including print, electronic, Braille, audiobooks, music, and text-enlargement software
- Ensure all signage is placed in well-lit but not overly bright areas
- Enlarge the font on call number signs located at the end of each bookshelf
I also learned something from the online comments posted on this article. Apparently the article uses some outdated terminology. According to People First Language, “persons who are visually impaired” is the acceptable term, as opposed to “visually impaired persons.”