This checklist is designed to help you to evaluate possible social event venues to ensure that they are inclusive and welcoming for all participants. While you will likely not be able to answer all of these questions in the affirmative for all venues, by confirming this information and sharing it with attendees, you can help to make sure that attendees can make informed decisions about what venues to visit and that there are at least some venues for all needs included in the final list of affiliated social events.
DLF is committed to creating and supporting inclusive, diverse, and equitable communities of practice. We expect participants in the DLF community to help create thoughtful, safe, and respectful environments where that interaction can take place. All attendees of DLF-sponsored events on and off the conference site are required to follow the Code of Conduct.
- Is the entrance accessible for those with mobility issues?
- Sufficiently wide doorways (32 inches from the face of the door to the opposite stop)?
- Automatic doorways?
- Step free access?
- If there is a wheelchair lift, is there an alternative for those who cannot do stairs but do not use a wheelchair?
- Is there disability access parking?
- Is there a space to be dropped off in front of the accessible entrance or nearby?
- Is the event location on an accessible floor? Note: Some event spaces are on upper floors. Do not assume that the space you have reserved is on the ground floor without confirmation.
- Does the event have a clear policy allowing service animals? This is required by law, but it is good to confirm that there won’t be any confusion.
- Are the event staff adequately trained in the policy permitting service animals?
- Does the venue have relief areas for service animals?
- Does the event permit emotional support animals?
- How are the acoustics for conversations? Will it be difficult for hard of hearing attendees to participate in the event?
- Is the lighting sufficient? Does the venue use strobe or otherwise flashing lights?
- What is the layout of the room? Are aisles 36 inches wide and free of barriers?
- Is there accessible, integrated seating available throughout the space?
- Is there an accessible restroom?
- Located on the same floor as the event or reachable by elevator?
- Sufficiently wide doorways?
- Automatic doorway?
- Step free access?
- Sufficiently large stalls and/or dedicated single-occupant restrooms?
- Is there clearly marked signage? For example, Braille and tactile language, easy-to-read font and large font size.
- Entrances and exits
- Drop-off and pick-up points
- What is the overall cost of the food and drink? (This can just be a range or approximate.)
- Are there adequate options that are less expensive?
- Is the venue cash only or does it accept credit cards?
- Does the venue allow for customers to split checks?
- Does the venue accommodate groups requesting individual checks?
- Are non-alcoholic beverages available?
- Are kosher beverages available?
- Are halal beverages available?
- Is vegetarian food available?
- Is vegan food available?
- Is gluten free food available?
- Is kosher food available?
- Is halal food available?
- Can the restaurant accommodate food allergies? If so, does it require advance notice?
- Does the event carry epinephrine pens and is the staff adequately trained in recognizing and immediately addressing allergic reactions?
- Does the restaurant provide large print or Braille menus?
- Is there a children’s menu available?
- Is the establishment advertised as LGBTQIA+ friendly? (In addition to checking the venue website, consider checking Yelp, social media, and other reviews)
- Is there an all gender restroom available?
- What are the restroom policies?
- What is the overall noisiness of the venue (scale of 1–5)?
- Is there a private lactation room? Are parents welcome to nurse in public?
- Is there a separate quiet space for those who need to step away?
- What style of event is this venue well-suited for? For example, sit down dinner, standing conversation, etc.
- Does the venue have a theme (influencing the architecture, staff, food, music, and/or overall presentation of the venue)? Is the venue’s theme appropriate and respectful?
- Is the venue themed around a particular experience (e.g., line dancing, karaoke, trivia, etc.)? If so, does it present additional costs for attendees and is the experience accessible?
- If the venue or chain has a theme, consider whether it is appropriate for a professional event.
- How far from the conference center is this venue?
- Is the location accessible by public transportation? How will attendees travel to the venue? For events held at a hotel, hotel staff usually can recommend companies that provide accessible vans for transportation. If you are planning a social event during a conference, you may want to contact the conference manager for information on any available resources.
- Does the venue have a specific dress code? If so, what is it?
- Contact the venue a few days before the event to confirm that all facilities, i.e., elevators or wheelchair lifts, are working.
- Make it clear if attendees will need to contact the venue in advance for any special accommodations, such as to request food that meets specific dietary restrictions.
- In promotional materials, provide contact information with various options (e.g., email, telephone, online) and all available accessibility information you have collected from the venue. Additionally, ask attendees to specify their needs ahead of time.
- Planning Accessible Meetings and Events: A Toolkit, American Bar Association (ABA)
- Ensuring Your Venue is Inclusive, OpenCon Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This checklist was created on April 2018 by Carli Spina as a 2018 DLF Forum Inclusivity Committee subgroup initiative to help social event organizers plan welcoming and inclusive events. We thank the 2018 DLF Forum Inclusivity Committee and the LITA Diversity and Inclusion Committee for their input.