Tuesday, February 12, 2013

IMLS Guidance On E-Book Reader Lending Programs

Important Memo from IMLS on the accessibility, e-resources and technology.
The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction has shared a document distributed recently to state library agencies regarding e-book reader lending programs and accessibility. We, of course, have concern that no LSTA or state funds are used for projects that may limit accessibility. Also, in both cases the libraries concerned were exposed to legal actions they had to defend (and, in both cases, settle) as well as ill-will and negative publicity.

 This memo provides a brief summary of the law, the two recent “case studies,” and some best practices for libraries to consider when implementing such programs.

DPI is sharing this as an information piece and resource for you to use as necessary when consulting with member libraries in your system.  The Public Library Development Team is not in position to make legal interpretations of existing or future e-book reader lending programs.  Instead, I suggest you refer to the information in that is underlined from the end of the attached document:

The Department of Justice operates a toll-free, technical assistance line to answer questions with regard to the requirements of federal laws protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.  For technical assistance, please call (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).  Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM until 5:30 PM (ET) except for Thursday, when the hours are 12:30 PM until 5:30 PM.  These specialists have been trained specifically to address questions regarding accessible electronic book readers.  Additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Education is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-ebook-faq-201105.pdf

Please save this information  for future use.  Technology is rapidly changing but this resource captures key elements of how things exist today. Also, in case you wish to refer to it, here is a link to the “Dear Colleague” letter from the U.S. Dept. of Education and Dept. of Justice:

John DeBacher, ­Director, Public Library Development 
Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instr., Division for Libraries and Technology
(608) 267-9225

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