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Web Accessibility Statement

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The Virtual Library is run by Bedford Borough Libraries on behalf of Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We've also made the website text as simple as possible to understand. We have done this using clear and concise writing (including easy to understand instructions).
AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • most PDFs are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • if you zoom our text by 175% the navigation changes to a menu image (three horizontal lines) on the left which you need to click on to open
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard
  • you cannot use skip navigation to skip to the main content when using a screen reader

We plan to make accessibility enhancements, these are detailed in the 'Non-accessible content' section below.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print or audio file please

  • Contact us using the online form here
  • Email us at
  • Call us on 01234 278787

We will consider your request within in 5 working days. If we are able to help with your request we will let you know as quickly as possible.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We're always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we're not meeting accessibility requirements, please:

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the 'accessibility regulations'). If you're not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We provide a text relay service for people who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment.
Our libraries have audio induction loops, or if you Contact Us before you visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
You can contact us:

Access Bedford has an online drop-in service to support the local deaf community.

Technical information about this website's accessibility

Bedford Borough Council is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons:

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

  • Not all interactive elements (e.g. links, buttons and text fields) can be navigated in a logical and intuitive order. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 2.4.3 (focus order)
  • Some menus are not easily distinguished from the main page content, some pages are missing ARIA Landmarks, some of our interactive forms are difficult to navigate using a keyboard (for example, because some form controls are missing a 'label' tag) and the search box's purpose cannot be easily identified. This fails WCAG 1.3.1 success criteria (info and relationships)
  • Some heading levels are skipped. This fails WCAG 2.4.6 success criteria (headings and labels)
  • There's no way to skip the repeated content in the page header (for example, a 'skip to main content' option). This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.1 (bypass blocks)
  • The cookie statement does not offer enough contrast on the Continue button. This fails WCAG 1.4.3 (Contrast)

We plan to fix the issues above by the end of 2020.

We plan to replace PDFs that are 'in scope' (those published after September 2018) with web pages or, where that is not possible, make the PDF accessible, starting with the most frequently downloaded and most important PDFs by the end of 2021.
This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value)

Disproportionate burden

It may not be possible to make some of our more complex PDFs accessible, but you can request these in a different format – see 'What to do if you cannot access parts of this website' section below.

Content that's not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

Using third party content or functionality

We often link to third party websites and social media channels; we are not responsible for their website or platform.

Older PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and other documents may not be structured to be accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).
The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they're not essential to providing our service.
Where such documents are essential to providing our service, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages by the end of 2020.

Live video

Live video streams do not have captions. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.4 (captions - live).
We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This website is tested every quarter by Bedford Borough Libraries. We check:

  • the popular and complex pages
  • a random selection of other pages
  • the online forms

This statement was prepared in September 2020. It will next be updated in March 2021.

Page last updated: 11th November 2020