Virginia Libraries’ Disability Services and Website Accessibility

By Dillyn Scott

Faculty Mentor: Professor Brenta Blevins

This project examined the disability services and website accessibility features provided by Virginia libraries. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Association of Specialized Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA), there is a “commitment to diversity and to accessibility of library and information services for all, including people with physical, sensory or mental disabilities, as reflected in the ALA policy on library services to people with disabilities (54.3.2)” (https://libguides.ala.org/equip-facilities-mgt/disabilities). During my research, however, it was discovered that while there are noteworthy efforts being made within Virginia libraries, that this commitment is not equal among them, nor is it the best it can be. My research proved this in several ways, but it is with great emphasis that I state that this project is not an attack on the Virginia library system or its individual members, but rather an examination in hopes that further efforts will be made so that all individuals in need can be better served. I performed qualitative observational research of library home pages. This involved crafting a database detailing whether or not these libraries clearly advertised and offered certain disability activities, services, and resources. I utilized a website accessibility evaluation tool known as WAVE to create a database analyzing libraries’ website structure and errors. I also performed quantitative research on municipality budgets and library funding and added this information to the observational database; resulting in my conclusion that money is not the sole contributing factor in the ability to provide services. Lastly, key recommendations were established as a result of my findings so that I can potentially share my research problems and solutions via my newly created Twitter project @openbookva. These infographics are the result of a semester-long research project completed in collaboration with Dr. Brenta Blevins and Mr. Peter Catlin.

Problematic Approaches in Communication Towards People with Disabilities

By Samantha Price

Faculty Mentor: Professor Emily Crosby

Through this video essay, I am hoping to draw attention to the problematic approaches in communication towards people with disabilities, but specifically invisible disabilities. In this video essay, I talk about the harmful effects of using war metaphors when talking about chronic illnesses, why inspiration porn is problematic, and how COVID-19 has impacted the rhetoric when talking about disabilities and chronic illnesses. We should all be working towards creating an environment that doesn’t negatively impact or burden those suffering with chronic illnesses or disabilities and I hope this video essay is just the start of the research you do to better support your chronically ill and disabled loved ones.

Captions-for-Final-Video-Essay-Problematic-Approaches-in-Communication-Towards-People-With-Disabilities

Communication Within Video Game Communities

by Alexandra Johnson, Nina Bowen, Arthur Romps, Madison Turner

Faculty mentor: Professor Adria Goldman

For this research paper, we looked at how video game users are impacted by different communication methods within video games. More specifically, this presentation will discuss how we framed our questions for a survey to be sent out to miscellaneous University of Mary Washington peers, and how different literature propelled our research.