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Celebrate the Increased Accessibility of Libby!

19 Jan
Image used from PortsmouthPress.com

In an exciting development for late 2021 and early 2022, Libby has continued to make their service more accessible to disabled patrons! OverDrive has been working with the accessibility platform Fable, a user experience service that allows disabled people to test websites and programs for accessibility and provide feedback, to improve their service to ensure greater access to all users. They have also been utilizing industry standards, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which you can read here. Hoboken Library Patrons have two different options for Overdrive services that use the Libby
App
: eLibraryNJ and eBCCLS both of which include collections of ebooks, magazines, and digital audiobooks.

The first batch of updates have made the service more accessible to blind and low-vision users:

  • Support for screen readers: Libby currently allows screen readers on the mobile apps for iOS and Android, and is hoping to test this for desktop screen readers (NVDA, JAWS, etc.) in the near future. Screen readers allow blind and low-vision readers to listen to the text on a page, essentially reading the page aloud like an audiobook and thereby making it accessible to them.
  • Read From Here Mode: Users can enter ‘Read From Here’ mode to have the text of an ebook or magazine read aloud if they’re using a screen reader.
  • The option to add Navigation Bar labels (currently English-only): This can be found in the in-app menu. Hopefully this will be expanded to non-English languages in the near future.
  • Adjustable text size: Libby will automatically scale the text in the app based on the text size setting of the user’s device. Users can also increase or decrease the text size in ebooks manually, helpful for anyone who uses large print books.
  • Adjustable audiobook playback speed: There are 48 speed settings for audiobooks, allowing users to find the perfect listening speed.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: Libby’s ebook reader and audiobook player now have keyboard shortcuts to make keyboard navigation more seamless.
  • Lighting options: Libby now has three lighting options – light, dark, or sepia – and users can select one manually in the ebook reader. Libby will default to the device’s built-in lighting setting and display the app in light or dark mode depending on the user’s device.

Other accessibility features are coming this year – January 2022 being the target date:

  • Improvements to the screen reader and voice control: These improvements will make it easier for assistive technology users to interact with the app. Label and description improvements are planned.
  • Keyboard focus indicators: This will allow users to navigate the Libby app with a keyboard or any other assistive technology that doesn’t use a pointing device, such as a mouse or touch controls.
  • Full screen menus: The app menu, instead of opening from the side of the app, will now open full screen, allowing users to better focus on the task they opened the menu to perform. It also allows for more consistency for keyboard and screen reader navigation.
  • Updated menu icon: The in-app menu icon will be changed to an icon that is more universally recognized as a menu icon to improve navigation.
  • New settings under Accessibility Features:
    • Ability to reduce color variation: a toggle will allow users to reduce adaptive changes based on book cover colors. Instead the colors will be neutral and have good contrast, enabling easier reading.
    • Text Variation Reduction: Users will be able to adjust the text variation settings to make for easier reading, such as removing text changes for emphasis (italics, etc.).
    • Motion Reduction: This reduces transitional motion in the interface; users can set this preference in their operating system or browser preferences and Libby will learn it automatically upon opening the app.
    • Haptics Reduction: Haptics are subtle vibrations devices use to provide feedback on touch interactions. Users can turn haptics off in Libby at the operating system level on their device or in the accessibility features menu.
    • Orientation Locking: Libby defaults to using a “smart orientation” setting that chooses the device orientation that best suits the content being viewed, but OverDrive has learned from WCAG guidelines that users should be able to override this orientation and select what is easiest for them to use.

With these updates, Libby’s accessibility to disabled users – and users in general – is increasing tenfold. As a disabled library professional myself, it’s always heartening to see changes like these being made, allowing disabled people to more fully participate in society as we deserve to. Hopefully more apps follow suit and continue to improve accessibility to the fullest extent possible!

Steph Diorio is an autistic self-advocate and can be found discussing issues affecting the autistic community and disability community at large on social media. She has spoken at Targeting Autism, a conference regarding autism and libraries, twice, once in 2018 and once in 2019. She is also the archivist/local history librarian here at Hoboken Public Library.

All the Hoopla about the Holidays!

8 Dec

I find Hoopla is my go to for fun holiday reads, movies and more.  I often recommend it to patrons for holidays from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Lunar New Year since Hoopla has lots of enjoyable holiday books.  Since my family celebrates Christmas, I thought I’d look at a few of the things I’ve been checking out this holiday season.

The Twelve Jays of Christmas
by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrew’s avian themed mysteries are always a hoot.  This year I’m listening to her latest audio book of The Twelve Jays of Christmas narrated by Bernadette Dunne who brings Meg Langslow, a blacksmith and mom of twins, and her extended family of quirky characters to life.  In this book, Meg must juggle a troublesome wildlife artist, Roderick Castlemayne, and her brother Rob’s surprise elopement plans along with the usual holiday festivities.  Many of Andrews other Meg Langslow mysteries are also available including several holiday themed audiobooks. You can read my blog post about her previous novel, Murder Most Fowl.

Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen:  Celebrating Christmas
If you are always looking for new holiday dishes to wow your friends and family like I am, then you may enjoy Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen: Celebrating Christmas.  They star Australian cooking host, Lyndey Milan. Broken down into three half hour episodes, she looks at classic, contemporary, and “lazy” dishes you can prepare.  On my must try list are her appetizers featuring duck breast with sour cherries and white gazpacho with scallops.  Also beautiful looking and delicious sounding is a raspberry terrine for dessert.  My favorite food, mushrooms, are featured in a Christmas morning mushroom custard.  Several other of Lyndey’s baking and travel series are also available from Hoopla.  As mentioned in a previous post our library patrons also have access to a variety of cooking and crafting videos from Craftsy that feature everything from roasting to bread making.

Midwinter Graces
by Tori Amos

I can remember as a freshman in college having to get up at 4 AM to stand in line for tickets for a Tori Amos concert.  I may not be willing to do that anymore, but she has always remained a favorite.  In Midwinter Graces, Tori puts her own unique spin on classic carols with her versions of Star of Wonder, Coventry Carol, and Emmanuel.  Plus enjoyable are her lush original songs like A Silent Night with You.  You can also borrow Tori’s latest Ocean to Ocean from Hoopla.  Also check out my previous blog post on eclectic holiday albums you can enjoy.

What favorite holiday items have you checked out from Hoopla for the upcoming winter holidays that you celebrate?

And don’t forget you also can check out a variety of holiday related items from our other ebook and streaming media services including Kanopy and Freegal!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services

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