Resources for evaluating
Institute for Human
Department of Justice Standards
Examples of ways collections
assist people with disabilities
large print, audio books, closed
captioned films, Braille
2. Fiction, biography, films that portray
people who have disabilities
3. Medical collections
4. Reading lists
People with a disability often visit
the library with a companion
Always speak directly to the patron,
not the companion
Use a normal voice level
Do not finish their sentences
It is all right to say you did not
Ask questions that can be answered
by Yes or No
Be patient and flexible
People First Language
Put the person first, then a
disability if it is relevant to the
Do not use the disability to
define a person
Focus on what a person is able
to do rather than inability
Do not use “normal” to refer to
people without disabilities
Avoid negative descriptors like
“suffers from” or “afflicted by”
Some individuals who have a disability use alternative
modes of communication to supplement or replaces
oral speech, and the reading and writing based on
Language (ASL) Braille
ASL Fingerspelling Font
Fonts for Dyslexia
Scenario for group discussion
Loudoun mother files
ADA complaint over
The Washington Post,
May 10, 2013
1. What are the facts of this story?
2. How did the mother and daughter react?
3. How did other members of the public react?
4. How did the library staff react?
5. Have you had a situation similar to this at your
library? Describe what happened.
6. If this had been your library, what might you
7. Are there library policies that would support your
plan of action?
8. Have you attended training about handling
difficult situations like this?
Dealing with Meltdowns
Meltdowns involve anger or aggression in response to a
Give the person space. Move other people to a safe distance.
Remove the trigger event, if possible.
Give short verbal, concrete directions.
Add nonverbal prompts that are not threatening.
Meltdowns generally last less than ten minutes.
Examples of Programs
Sensory Story Time or Film Program
Book discussions (Next Chapter Book Club)
Apps for people with disabilities
Described and captioned film programs
Read to therapy dogs
Described and Captioned Films
Read to Therapy Dogs
Some valuable partnerships
Schools/Special education staff
Parents/other family members
Library Advisory Committee
Senior Citizen Centers
Questions to ask before developing a plan
1. Are there people with Disabilities already
using your library?
2. What agencies or schools for people with
disabilities exist in your community?
3. Do you have an advisory committee that
includes representation for people with
4. What are the barriers that keep people with
disabilities from using your library?
5. If you could do only one thing to improve
services for people with disabilities, what
would it be?
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