Accessible services in academic libraries: a content analysis of library accessibility webpages in the United States
Purpose This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of current accessibility efforts and practice in librarianship by providing a broad overview of the information about services, resources and facilities on academic library accessibility pages. By compiling and analyzing data from 85 libraries, this study seeks to facilitate comparisons between current and past accessibility practice and to provide perspective on how libraries communicate to users about accessibility efforts across libraries. Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted a content analysis of 85 library accessibility pages from a sample population of 98 institutions, consisting of all members institutions of four US academic library consortia. Pages were coded for content elements regarding services, facilities, collections, staffing, assistive technologies and general information. Webpage features, architecture and accessibility/functionality were also assessed. Findings Libraries have broadened and strengthened efforts to publicize/provide services and resources to functionally diverse users. Pages most commonly prioritize information about assistive technologies, services and facilities. Pages varied greatly in size, complexity and detail, but public institutions' pages were more prevalent and informative than their private counterparts. Libraries can work to foreground accessibility pages and increase transparency and evidence of currency to improve communication to their users. Originality/value This study provides a large-scale content analysis of library accessibility webpages. It allows for comparison of the features and information most commonly featured on these important online points of service.