Equal Access to Public Library Digital Collections
Resolution 2014-07
Whereas, the mobile computing environment has radically changed the information provision landscape for the nation’s public libraries; and
Whereas, Americans who are blind or visually impaired are embracing the mobile computing environment with much the same enthusiasm as their sighted peers; and
Whereas, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates equal access to programs and services offered by public entities, including public and university libraries; and
Whereas, more than 28,000 libraries, schools, and universities internationally rely on software provided by Overdrive, Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio for distribution of digital and audio content to library patrons; and
Whereas, access to essential features and capabilities of the Overdrive iOS platform software is either nonexistent or extremely difficult to achieve by those who use VoiceOver, Apple, Inc.’s screen reader for the iOS platform; and
Whereas, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division entered into a private settlement agreement with the Sacramento Public Library Authority in 2011 which seeks to end the practice of providing unequal access to library materials; and
Whereas, the use of software provided by Overdrive that either works poorly or not at all with VoiceOver constitutes unlawful inaccessibility similar to that which the aforementioned Department of Justice settlement seeks to redress;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 17th day of July, 2014, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, that this organization strongly oppose the promulgation and use by public and university libraries of software that results in unlawful inaccessibility of digital and audio books and the distribution thereof; and
Be it further resolved that ACB encourage organizations such as the American Library Association, and other similar organizations of public and university libraries, to insist that Overdrive, Inc. modify its app, specifically in the iOS environment, to ensure that all features available to sighted library patrons are also available to users of VoiceOver; and
Be it further resolved that this organization strongly urge state library agencies, local governments, and public and academic libraries to recognize that they have an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to assure that software programs and services implemented for use by library patrons are accessible to and usable by people who are blind or who have low vision; and

Be it further resolved that copies of this resolution be provided to library umbrella organizations, such as the American Library Association, throughout the nation and that a copy be provided to Overdrive, Inc.
Ray Campbell, Secretary