Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers

Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers
With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible. The Free Library of Philadelphia has instituted and announced plans to expand a program in which free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are manufactured and sold by Barnes & Noble, are loaned to patrons over the age of fifty. Unlike some other portable e-readers that use text-to-speech technology and/or Braille to allow blind people to read e-books, the NOOK devices are completely inaccessible to patrons who are blind. The library’s conduct violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Isn't this more on Barnes & Noble than the library? It's Barnes & noble's responsibility to make their e-readers blind-friendly. Of course, maybe the library shouldn't have bought the Nooks in the first place if they violate their policy.

What will happen is that the library will end up tossing the Nooks, hurting patrons who want to rent them/use them.

So all public libraries that currently lend out e-readers should be sued then according to the president of the National Federation of the Blind: "They should be purchasing accessible e-book reading devices and demanding that their vendors provide them, not perpetuating the status quo by purchasing inaccessible technology and needlessly relegating their blind and print-disabled patrons to separate and unequal service."

Seriously, why are they so mad at libraries, they obviously do not have the capability to produce such devices. The Free Library does provide devices for their blind patrons, blame and sue the manufacturers not the libraries.

If they can sue B&N, the NFB would have already done that! Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to private and commercial sectors. Hence, the "work around" suing public sectors that offer such inaccessible tools. Sad, but true.

Yeah, that is sad. Sad that they have to sue the library which probably doesn't have the money to fight this lawsuit. I know I may seem dense, but I still don't know what the library can do in this situation. It's not like the libraries can "fix" the Nook to make it more blind-friendly.

Thanks for the info, though, I am surprised that B&N hasn't made their Nook more user-friendly for blind individuals. Maybe now that Microsoft is pretty much taking over the Nook, maybe there will be changes made?

Since "Section 504 prohibitions against discrimination apply to service availability, accessibility, delivery, employment," if the Free Library simply let them borrow the devices there wouldn't be this kurfuffle?

since we offer no braille versions... and newspapers... and DVDs that have no descriptive audio tracks.. and our audio CDs violate the rights of the hearing impaired... welcome to the public library, where someone is always unhappy about something.

While their pro bono legal team is at it, they should sue the library to get rid of all print books and magazines. Vision impaired people can't read them. And, the Free Library should also toss out their tape and CD book collections too. Hearing impaired people can't access them. After all, the Free Library is providing those materials under the auspices of a service that receives federal funds. In fact, I'll be the Free Library is riddled with print signage inviting patrons to "READ" and attend lectures, and find the nearest restroom, and don't they use printed signs at the end of every range of books? They should just shut them down completely for all this rampant discrimination.

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