February 12, 2016

Kindles Get Accessible, But Will They Get Back on Campus?

The latest version of Amazon’s Kindle ereader was announced with much fanfare this week, and has generated discussion in the academic library world. Over at Inside Higher Ed, for example, there have been some interesting comments expressed on how Kindles might be used in academic libraries.

One of the ereader’s newest features hasn’t been getting much play, but it could pave the way for a lot more Kindles on campus: the Kindle is now equipped with an option that reads its menus aloud, making it the first version of the Kindle to be fully accessible to the blind.

The Kindle’s past inaccessibility has caused some problems for universities. As LJ reported last year, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), along with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), sued Arizona State University (ASU) for supplying students with inaccessible Kindles. Earlier this year, ASU and several other universities reached settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing not to supply inaccessible ereaders to its classes.

Now the NFB is applauding the new Kindle’s accessibility in a press release. Does this mean more universities will be buying Kindles? Academic librarians: get ready.

David Rapp About David Rapp

David Rapp (drapp@mediasourceinc.com) was formerly Associate Editor, LJ.

Create the Library Your Community or Campus Needs
LTC Online Course Join Library Journal and a roster of design experts for our latest 4-week interactive online course. Starting January 27, 2016, Library Design Workshop will guide participants through complex issues of library space design projects such as space programming, fundraising, and finding the right design team.
  • Develop a roadmap to create a flexible library space suited to your community.
  • Inspiring ideas, concepts, and perspectives from leaders in the library design field.
  • Build a framework to create a robust report for key stakeholders.


  1. […] remain inaccessible despite a 2009 promise from Amazon. [The Kindle 3, announced last week, has addressed this particular flaw.—Ed.] Hence the recent Department of Justice letter to college presidents warning against […]