During Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Library of Congress announced that it is sharing its assistive technology resources with the General Accounting Office (GAO). GAO employees may use assistive technology and ergonomic support provided by the Assistive Technology Demonstration Center at the Library in accordance with provisions of a memorandum of understanding signed in September.
Laura E. Campbell, associate librarian for strategic initiatives, signed the agreement for the Library. “This type of cooperation is a hallmark of our National Digital Information, Infrastructure and Preservation Program and its library partners. We are delighted to share our resources with a sister legislative-branch agency,” she said.
Cher Whitaker, deputy chief administrative officer of GAO, who signed the agreement for GAO, said: “One of GAO’s strategic goals is to maintain an environment that is fair, unbiased and family-friendly, and that promotes and values opportunity and inclusiveness. GAO plans to take several steps in the coming year to attract and retain more staff with disabilities, and this [agreement] with the Library of Congress will provide us an important resource.”
James M. Gallagher, deputy associate librarian for strategic initiatives, said his direction to the center was to be prepared to give people with disabilities the tools they need to start working their first day of Library employment. “This opportunity will enable us to learn from your staff,” he said.
A year ago in October, three GAO employees, management analysts Patricia Norris and Maria Santos and reasonable-accommodations coordinator Diane Blake, visited the Assistive Technology Demonstration Center at the Library. During an ensuing pilot program, GAO staff visited the center and received disabilities accommodations that included software magnification, viewers, chairs, keyboards and other equipment. They attended a disability-education conference and seminars.
Supporting the pilot program were Jim Graber, chief, Technology Assessment Group; Al Banks, director, Information Technology Services (ITS); and Doug Meick, program manager, Assistive Technology Demonstration Center, Technology Assessment Group, ITS.
The result of the successful test was the memorandum of understanding, by which GAO employees may schedule demonstration center appointments through their own Human Capital Office, and they may attend scheduled demonstrations at the demonstration center.