Inclusion Advisory Committee Meeting Summary 21 June 2017

Meeting summary of the second Inclusion Advisory Committee meeting, 21 June 2017

The Committee’s second meeting took place on Wednesday 21 June from 4-6pm. Mr Ben Ackland was guest chair for the meeting in place of Mr Mark Tonga.

The meeting commenced with the Chair acknolwedging country and confirming the previous meeting's minutes and actions. Ms Louise Anemaat, Executive Director, Library and Information Services then provided an overview of some of the Library's activities over the last quarter. These included the progression of the Library's Master Plan and Building Works, a new grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC)  for research into the Library's Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) collections, and the formalisation of the Library's artist in residence program. Ms Anemaat also provided details of new and current acquisitions for the Library's collections including drawings by John William Lewin from the Royal Anothropological Insitute, the studio archive of the oronothological artst William T Cooper and the archives of both Fairfax Media and the NSW Branch of the Red Cross.

Mr Michael Carney, Coordinator Projects and Policy, provided the Committe with an overview of recent activities in the area of Access and Inclusion. Based on feedback from the last meeting, prototype signage was developed for the Library carpark including wayfinding for lift access and to intercoms. Captioning was provided for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing at the recent Premier's Literary Awards event and received good feedback from attendees. It will also be provided at the upcoming Premier's History Awards in September. Auslan interpreters are now formally able to be requested for any event provided there is 10 working days. Mr Carney also highlighted the recent passing of the Copyright Amendment (Disabiltiy Access and Other Measures) Bill through the Australian Senate and noted that it will postively impact the Library's provision of copying services.

The first agenda item for discussion was presented by Ms Kim Thomson,  Coordinator, Client Services & Business Teams, and related to the management of client feedback at the Library. Ms Thomson highlighted that the majority of complaints relate to other people, either members of the public or staff. Five formal complaints were received in 2016 relating to accessibility, two which realted to the lack of wheelchairs acess in the Domain Walkway, and three relating to exhibitions. Following a 2013 client survey where the Library's reponse to feedback showed room for improvement, the Library engaged in a strategy to publicise the way it manages feedback and how suggestions had been incoporataed. This strategy dramatically improved the results of the 2016 client survey, with responsiveness increasing from 54% to 80%  and complaint handling increasing from 69% to 78%.  The Committee offered advice on how to encourage more people with disability to provide feedback to the Library including a written invitation from a Committee member on the Library website.

The second item for discussion was a presentation on the Library's Master Plan and building works delivered by Ms Brooke Hutchinson, Project Officer, Public Libraries & Engagement. Ms Hutchinson explained that the aim of the Master Plan is to improve access to the collection, both physically and digitally, and shared details of the changes to be made on each level. New elements to be introduced on the ground floor include a new circulation gallery; two new lifts to improve vertical access; a new learning centre integrating the digital experience; and a family space. The Committee offered advice in the provision of accessible bathrooms for the newly renovated Mitchell Library, the capacity of the lifts, and offered to create communication channels through the City of Sydney Inclusion Advisory Panel.

Ms Louise Prichard presented the third discussion item on the Library website drawin attention to the creation of  a new Access & Inclusion which offers brings together information about accessing the Library and the Library’s collection, the Committee, planning your visit, adaptive technology and accessible events. Ms Prichard advised that when in development the new website was checked with AccessibilityOz to ensure it met the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards, and was given a AA rating. The aim is to achieve a AAA rating, but more work is required to be fully compliant. The Committee suggested providing a clearer link to the feedback form on the Access & Inclusion page and more information regarding the provision of Auslan and captioning services.

The Committee will meet again on Wednesday 13 September 2017.