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Libraries and Accessibility: Accessible Virtual Gatherings

Resources on accessibility, the ADA, and services to persons with disabilities.

80% of people who use captions are not deaf or hard of hearing.

See more Accessibility and Online Video stats from 3PlayMedia.


Live, real-time captions for a presentation or meeting

Some software and streaming platforms can automatically convert the spoken word to text in real time using voice recognition technology.

DIY for attendees, from Tina Childress

  • Run a speech-to-text (STT) app like Live Transcribe or Live Caption (both Android only) or Otter or Ava (both are iOS and Android) on a separate mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet. You can also open up (free real-time automated captions in a browser), Otter or Ava (only at the higher paid tiers) in another browser window. Make sure your computer speakers are turned up so the mobile device can pick up the signal. You will then be able to read captions on the mobile device.
  • If there is someone in your group that is able to get captions on their end, have them share their screen so that everyone can see the captions.

Live, real-time captions for a streaming program

Captioning/Transcription Services

In Connecticut, live real-time captioning is available for free through Sprint Relay with at least 48 hours notice. Either the program planner or participant can request the service.

Many companies will create subtitles/captions/transcripts for you, with an associated cost.

Sign Language Services

Virtual VRI: Video Remote Interpreting and Transcribing offers virtual American Sign Language services

For sign language interpreters in Connecticut, call 2-1-1, or visit and search for “Sign Language Interpretation.” TTY: 800-671-0737.


PowerPoint slides (with notes!) from the CLA annual conference session "The Revolving Door: Moving Libraries to an Accessible Digital Environment" by Kathryn Weber-Hottleman, IT Accessibility Coordinator, University of Connecticut, May 14, 2021:

Resources from CSL DLD webinar "Accessible Library Programs: Making the virtual world accessible to everyone," January 28, 2021:


Webinars and online gatherings provide a platform for people to ask questions and interact with the speakers in real time. Live captions allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to participate in real time as well, so it’s best to include captioning in the live webinar rather than adding captions in post-production. Captioning also provides a transcript of the event that can be useful for everyone, including those who join the live event late. Sign language interpreters are another option that some attendees may prefer and request.

Be sure to inform the audience in advance that the meeting is being captioned and/or signed. Mention that it's important to speak clearly and not talk over others.

Speakers should use an external microphone for better audio quality, helping the transcription more accurately match what is being said. 

Speaking slowly enables a more accurate match to what is being said verbally and allows others to follow the automatic transcript or subtitles. 

Take turns/pause before speaking so the transcription service can recognize the new speaker.


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