The MBLC and Perkins Increase Library Accessibility


April 27, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

For the 1,700 public, school, and academic libraries across the Commonwealth, giving people equal access to library services is fundamental. But for the more than 780,000 people* with disabilities living in Massachusetts, access to library services is often a challenge.  The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and Perkins Access (a division of Perkins School for the Blind) have teamed up to create a workshop series that connects librarians with Perkins Access experts who will teach them ways to increase library accessibility.

 “Partnering with MBLC furthers our mission to make the digital world a more accessible place. It’s exciting to see an organization commit to making their digital experiences inclusive of people with disabilities,” said Perkins Access Director of Consulting Geoff Freed. “One of the unexpected aspects I love about accessibility is that when you design something to be accessible to users with disabilities, everybody who interacts with you online reaps the benefits.”

Perkins Access used feedback from over one hundred librarians to develop customized training courses to ensure that digital materials and communication methods are as accessible as possible. The standalone workshops include a range of topics: creating accessible web content and multimedia; creating accessible documents in Canva, PowerPoint, and Google docs; writing about people with disabilities; conducting accessible online meetings and more.

“When the pandemic hit, digital library services became even more important. However, internet access didn’t guarantee all residents could attend a Zoom program or access a webpage with library service information. In today’s world, it’s essential that everyone has access regardless of their abilities,” said MBLC Director James Lonergan. “That’s why the MBLC’s work with Perkins is so important. Librarians want library services to be accessible and the workshops are a step towards better equity.”

Beginning late April and running through the end of May, the workshops are open to members of the library community. For more information please visit the MBLC website. The workshops are made possible with American Rescue Plan Act funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the MBLC.

About Perkins Access:
Perkins Access is the digital accessibility consulting arm of Perkins School for the Blind. Perkins Access partners with organizations of all kinds to help them create digital products, services and experiences—websites, apps, multimedia and beyond—that engage and include all people, regardless of their abilities. The Perkins Access team takes a holistic approach to accessibility by focusing on inclusive design, an approach that prioritizes accessibility at every step of the process.

*From the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission fact sheet

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.