Incorporating Accessibility into the Library Electronic Resource Acquisition Cycle


Presented at 10:30am in Matchless on Friday, November 10, 2023.



  • Elyssa Gould, Head, Acquisitions & Continuing Resources , University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Leigh Mosley, Accessibility Coordinator, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Participants will learn how accessibility can be a key part of the academic library’s process to acquire electronic resources for patron use. The bulk of the session will focus on how to incorporate an accessibility-first approach into the library acquisitions cycle. The session will cover: the inclusion of accessibility requirements into procurement and contract processes, how to review and validate a vendor’s VPAT, how to advocate for accessibility improvements, and how to document this work.


This session will provide participants with information to begin incorporating accessibility into the academic library’s electronic resource acquisition cycle. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville began requiring accessibility reviews for all software and software-related purchases in 2019. This caught the UT Libraries by surprise and eventually led to funding an Accessibility Coordinator position in the library and including accessibility language in licensing agreements. It can be especially difficult to ensure accessibility in Library electronic resource acquisitions due to the sole-source nature of the majority of these resources.

The bulk of the session will focus on how to incorporate an accessibility-first approach into the interconnected work of university procurement policy, university contract policy, and library acquisitions. This presentation will include a discussion of how libraries:

- review a vendor’s VPAT

- perform quick usability tests based on WCAG 2.1 AA

- advocate for accessibility improvements

- collaborate with other partners, internal and external

- make sometimes difficult decisions

- inform users of accessibility issues

- get feedback from users about accessibility issues

- encourage users to request help/report issues

- teach accessibility literacy

- document this work to alleviate risk and liability.

Framework will be provided for other institutions to implement this approach in their own academic libraries. Opportunity for feedback and discussion will be provided.


  1. Academic libraries are constrained due to the sole-source nature of the majority of electronic resources.
  2. Collaborative cooperation between campus offices is essential to a successful accessibility review process.
  3. Understanding, testing, and pushing for accessibility fixes are key to gradual change in library e-resources.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Legal, Other, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Elyssa Gould

Elyssa M. Gould is the Head, Acquisitions & Continuing Resources at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, providing strategic direction to library acquisitions, access, and interlibrary loan efforts at the University. Her specialty is in licensing electronic resources for libraries, which led to a trial-by-fire experience of learning about digital accessibility when the Office of General Counsel implemented accessibility reviews into the procurement process in 2019. Since then, Elyssa has participated in academic library community efforts to improve accessibility efforts in licensing via the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries and the Library Accessibility Alliance.

Leigh Mosley

Leigh Mosley joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries as the Accessibility Coordinator in 2022. She is an IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility (CPACC) and is currently studying for the IAAP Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) certification. Leigh is passionate about accessibility and has quickly become the Libraries’ expert, presenting to and being consulted by the University of Tennessee community.