May 12, 2021: Diversity of Reading: Accessing, Reading and Navigating with Assistive Technologies Workshop

The Book Publishers Association of Alberta is pleased to announce an upcoming webinar: Diversity of Reading: Accessing, Reading and Navigating with Assistive Technologies Workshop presented by the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). 

Since 2016, NNELS has provided accessibility audits and workshops for independent Canadian publishers, to assist them in creating EPUB files that work for all users, including readers with and without print disabilities. This workshop will demonstrate different assistive technologies and the broad diversity of reading needs among persons with print disabilities. The objective is to create awareness about accessibility and why it matters, give attendees an opportunity to see first-hand how persons with print disabilities access and read ebooks using assistive technology, and learn about the barriers and challenges they face, which vary widely based on their individual reading needs. 

Attendees will need to dedicate time to watch five pre-recorded demonstrations (about 15-20 mins each) prior to the webinar. A link to these videos will be sent upon registration, and they will serve as the basis for the presentation. A portion of the workshop will be dedicated to Q&A, and attendees will be encouraged to ask the accessibility testers questions about their assistive technology and how they read. We encourage attendees to send their questions in ahead of time, but there will be time for questions during the webinar as well.

This event is free and limited to members of the BPAA. Please register to reserve your spot by 4:30pm MT on Tuesday, May 11.

Daniella Levy-Pinto (she/her) is an expert in accessibility, including digital technology and livable spaces. She has been a user of assistive technologies for more than two decades in her different roles in academic and professional settings. She is the Project Coordinator with the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and leads a team of accessibility testers and consultants with print disabilities who assess the accessibility of EPUB files, reading apps and platforms, and make recommendations for preventing and eliminating barriers. Daniella works to promote and inform a paradigm shift towards content that is born-accessible and inclusive design. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.

Leah Brochu (she/her) is the Accessible Publishing & Resources Coordinator for the National Network for Equitable Library Service, where she works to improve the state of equitable reading in Canada. From organizing the Accessible Publishing Summit, to working with publishers, to developing resources and more, Leah is passionate about using her skills and experience to work towards a more accessible and inclusive future.

Melissa Castilloux (she/her) is a master’s candidate in political science with a specialization in gender studies at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). She is currently working with NNELS as an accessibility tester for electronic publications (EPUB) and electronic readers. As an academic with dyslexia and dysorthographia, she is well aware of the importance of accessible publications and reading technologies towards a more inclusive way to share stories and knowledge.

David Kopman (he/him) has worn many hats over the years, including news photographer, technical support analyst, media specialist, and photography instructor. Around the year 2000, when his sight began to decline and reading print material became more difficult, his career path took a big shift. Among other positions, he’s worked as an access technology instructor for Balance for Blind Adults. David is currently working as an accessibility tester for the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), evaluating the usability of EPUB files and the applications used to read them. David is grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the understanding of how people with low vision can better access information.

Ka Li (he/him) is an accessibility and usability consultant in the area of digital access. He works with a variety of organizations to make sure that their products and services provide an outstanding experience for everyone that goes beyond compliance. Currently, he works with NNELS to test the accessibility of library apps and websites and assists with braille related projects. He is a huge advocate for universal accessibility especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Outside of work, he enjoys practicing Krav Maga and reading good books.

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