STAFF RESOURCES

Minutes of December 18, 2003 meeting

Present:
Sam McDonald, Leslie Murtha (recorder), Patricia Piermatti, Eileen Stec, Thelma Tate (Chair)

1. Meeting was called to order at 10:10 AM in the Hughes Room at Alexander Library.

2. The agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

3. The new coordinator of services to disabled patrons for the Newark campus libraries is Christine Ingram. Christine is the Administrative Assistant at Dana Library.

4. Anne Butman reported via e-mail that the new university Director of Services to Persons with Disabilities, Diana Darris, is investigating to determine where TTY/TDD lines are available at the university. She will let us know the results of the investigation. Anne is also checking on the cost of installation. We will decide how to proceed when more information is available.

5. Anne also reported via e-mail that RUCS has made a unilateral move from the screen-reader JAWS to a new product called Dolphin Super Nova.

Advantages to moving to the new software:

Disadvantages

The decision of the committee was to hold off on further consideration of switching programs until Diana Darris has had the opportunity to review the issue and make recommendations. It was noted by the coordinators that the libraries cannot provide training for patrons who are novices in the use of screen readers. This is not a library function. We do need to be prepared to trouble-shoot and deal with issues that are specific to RUL configurations.

6. Anne reported, also via e-mail, that our current machines are not powerful enough to support the Kurzweil 1000 software with VoiceText. Upgrades would cost about $60-$80 for additional RAM. This is separate from the cost of the program. Scanners would also need to be purchased. It does not appear that Kurzweil is still manufacturing stand-alone equipment any longer. Anne suggests that the system upgrade be seriously considered, since it would provide enhanced functioning for JAWS as well.

Note: The Kurzweil 3000 program, which provides additional support for persons with learning disabilities, has similar system requirements. No information is immediately available on program costs. The program integrates a screen reader. This may be worth further investigation.

7. Thelma reported that she consulted with Judy Gardner about the use of Déjà Vu and OCR software to enhance the accessibility of course reserve materials. Judy feels that the process is too labor-intensive for us to consider applying it to all online reserve materials at this time. However, she is interested in learning more about the process.

The committee recommends that we investigate the possibility of obtaining lists of courses in which disabled students are enrolled, prior to the beginning of the semester, and process reserves for these courses for additional accessibility. If privacy issues or other concerns make this impossible, the libraries can continue to provide the additional processing upon request, but delays in making the material available to patrons will be unavoidable. Jaws cannot read scanned image files; Sam will investigate the question of whether it can process PDF files that originated as Word documents.

8. The Kurzweil manual was sent to all members of the committee as an e-mail attachment; if not received, contact Leslie.

9. The issue of staff training has not yet been discussed with Marilyn Wilt, but Thelma reported that the TEC would be interested in collaborating with the libraries to develop and provide training in this area.

It was suggested that an annual refresher be scheduled for all library personnel.

Anne reported (via e-mail) that Rose Barbalace, who is in charge of training for Access Services students, states that currently the students are told to refer all patrons with questions regarding assistance for the disabled in the libraries to the pink pamphlets. Rose asked for more information about what our expectations are and she would see if she could better meet them. There are functions that Access Services staff is responsible for performing in this area, particularly when reference librarians are not available, so referring patrons to the brochure is definitely not adequate, and training for students is uneven across units. Further discussion is needed in this area.

10. Initial efforts were made to get information about the video on working with persons with disabilities, without results. Thelma will pursue the issue with Diana Darris.

11. The updated brochure is being prepared for printing by Jeanne's office. It should be ready for distribution in January. Limited numbers will be printed, since the construction at Douglass will necessitate additional revisions. It was suggested that a small number of the brochures be supplied to Diana Darris, with information about obtaining additional copies at need. It was further recommended that the information in the brochure and on the RUL Web page be reviewed for accuracy and completeness each year in November and June, and revised as needed. It was noted that we need to check with the coordinators from Camden and Newark, who did not participate in the most recent revision. It was further noted that the disabilities icon, in the sidebar on the Web page, links directly to the page on services to disabled patrons. I

12. Signage at Douglass will be part of the D21 process; Eileen will encourage the D21 team members to strive for more user-friendly terms for building locations.

13. It was recommended that the libraries take advantage of the Diana Darris's efforts to get input from the RU disabled community to get help from patrons in planning services and selecting adaptive technology. It was also recommended that the libraries pursue a closer relationship with Diana's office. Suggestions included offering space in Alexander Library for her services, making our adaptive technology available for testing and training, and inviting Diana to an RUL faculty meeting.

Pat shared with the committee an article from the Home News Tribute about a local organization that provides services and advocacy opportunities for disabled persons in the community. It was recommended that the libraries establish relations with this group, and investigate the existence of others.

14. The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 AM.

Respectfully submitted 12/22/03
LM



 
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