Michelle Reed Receives 2021 Publishing Practice Award in Accessibility

Michelle Reed, Assistant Professor and Head of the Scholarly Commons at the University Library of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded the 2021 Publishing Practice Award in Accessibility. This award seeks to distinguish and raise awareness of successful and sustainable library publishing practices.

The Publishing Practice Awards, presented by the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), highlight library publishing programs that clearly embody concepts stressed in the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing and/or in the LPC’s Values statement. Consisting of two award categories, the first annual awards publicly recognize and celebrate novel and noteworthy processes and workflows that support accessibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Michelle Reed, employee of the University Library, has been selected for the 2021 Publishing Practice Award in Accessibility for her work with Mavs Open Press from 2016 to 2021.  Mavs Open Press is operated by the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries (UTA Libraries). It offers no-cost services for UTA faculty, staff, and students who wish to openly publish their scholarship. The open educational resources (OER) arm of Mavs Open Press demonstrated crucial publishing principles in the publication of their representative text, Applied Fluid Mechanics Lab Manual, which served as a pilot for new and exemplary accessibility workflows. 

As stated in their Award announcement blog post, Mavs Open Press “proactively addressed accessibility and inclusion in [their] work through [their] OER training program, implementation of accessibility checks throughout the publishing process, and development of an accessibility statement and workflow.” In this blog post, Reed stresses accessibility as a growth mindset, meaning accessibility is iterative and ongoing rather than a final destination. “Implementing accessibility in design is never truly complete,” she says. This approach challenges individuals to recognize design elements in resources that could be refined over time and improved for people with disabilities. Additionally, Reed mentions the importance of collaboration and lifelong learning when integrating accessibility into policies, processes, and products.

When asked about her recent award, Reed stated, “I am honored to have led the team that received the Library Publishing Coalition’s first Publishing Practice Award in accessibility for our OER publishing process. We recognize that only a small percentage of academics receive formal education or training in accessibility, so being asked to prioritize accessibility when creating course materials can feel overwhelming. Mavs Open Press embraced a growth-oriented philosophy with support for authors through every stage of the publishing process. It means so much to have our work recognized by colleagues leading the way in library publishing.”

Congratulations to Reed on this outstanding accomplishment! Read more about the 2021 Publishing Practice Award Recipients.

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