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WLA Accessibility in Libraries Summit

Program Descriptions

8:45 a.m.10:00 a.m. - Welcome by WLA President Ahniwa Ferrari, Summit Keynote with Renee Grassi 
Library Accessibility: What I Didn't Learn in Library School

It doesn’t matter if you work in a library that's small or large, public or academic, rural or urban—all libraries need to be accessible because all communities include people with disabilities. Dakota County Library Youth Services Manager and Accessibility Consultant Renee Grassi will discuss what she has had to learn and unlearn on the job about accessibility, inclusion, and creating a culture of belonging in libraries for people with disabilities.

Headshot of Renee Grassi smiling at the camera wearing a yellow blazerAuthor, trainer, teacher, and library accessibility consultant Renee Grassi is a recognized leader and self advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in libraries, schools, and communities. Renee has worked in public libraries for over 15 years, developing award-winning library programs that welcome, support, and serve disabled residents and their families and caregivers. Renee currently works at Dakota County Library, where she oversees youth and family programs and leads community-centered initiatives as Youth Services Manager. She is also the Chair of her library’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Learn more at


10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m. - Keeping Board Game Collections and Events Inclusive
This session will identify some concrete steps librarians can take to keep board game collections and events equitable, inclusive, and available for the entire community. Prior experience in developing board game collections or hosting gaming events is not necessary.

Headshot of John Pappas in a floral shirt laughing at something very funny that he just said.Presenter John Pappas is a Reference Librarian at Lower Merion Library System in the Philadelphia area. He has developed board game collections and gaming events for several library systems.




11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.Accessibility Courses & Accessibility Applied at CWU

Snapshot of middle aged woman (graying with glasses) grinning in the sunshine.

Join Dr. Naomi Petersen, director of the Accessibility Studies Program, and librarian Elizabeth Brown to discuss developments within the field of accessibility and disability services, along with application to a variety of physical and virtual spaces. An overview of Accessibility Studies courses will include creative examples from student projects and explore professional development directions and opportunities. Participants can expect group discussions about practical collaboration for inclusive user experience. 

photo of Elizabeth Brown of CWU LibrariesProfessor Naomi Jeffery Petersen is the originator of the interdisciplinary Accessibility Studies Programs at Central Washington University (CWU). Recent publications address online learning, supportive learning environments, corporate mobbing, and          accessible transportation. 

Associate Professor Elizabeth Brown, MLIS, is the Instruction Coordinator and Department Chair at CWU Libraries. Her areas of work focus are in Instruction and Research Services. As the coordinator for the undergraduate program in Library & Information Science, Lizzie has worked with Naomi to connect students to the Accessibility Studies program and with the library staff to improve library user experience.

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. -  Accessible E-Resources

Want to ensure your library’s e-resources are accessible but don’t know where to start? Want to know more about accessible file formats, VPATs, and where to find audio-described streaming videos? This presentation will provide a framework of understanding, real-life examples, and helpful resources. Learn about what makes an e-resource accessible, how to work with vendors on accessibility remediation, and how to navigate the various standards, guidelines, and copyright laws.

Ray is a white woman with short brown hair and black frame glasses. She is smiling off to the right.

Presenter Ray Zill (she/her) is an Electronic Resources Librarian at Evergreen State College and Editor for Alki: The Washington Library Association Journal. She has worked in libraries for 11 years with expertise in digitization, metadata, and electronic resources management. Ray is a passionate about making electronic resources more accessible and putting the “A” back into equity acronyms.

2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. - See, Feel, Hear: Multisensory Youth Programming
The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library's Youth Services Librarian Erin Groth discusses tips and tricks for successful, inclusive, and accessible youth program ideas. From Storytime to Escape Rooms, babies to young adults, in-person to virtual, we'll cover best practices and beyond.

Headshot of Erin Groth in front of a plant.Presenter Erin Groth (she/her) has been the Youth Services Librarian at Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) for five years and runs all youth-related programs for the library, which serves people across the state of Washington who have difficulty reading standard print. In her time there, she has also served on the Inclusion and Manual committees for the national Collaborative Summer Library Program organization, which provides Summer programming ideas for libraries all over the U.S. and beyond.


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