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Libraries and Accessibility: Home

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

What is a disability?

As described by the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, a disability may be physical, developmental, emotional or learning related. It is an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, which are functions that are important to most people’s daily lives. Examples of major life activities are breathing, walking, talking, hearing, seeing, sleeping, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, and working.

"Diffability" is a new term gaining favor in the Differently Abled community.

Staff Training and Resources

Libraries especially need to expand staff awareness and sensitivity to a more diverse group of library users through training. These resources provide guidance on how to interact with persons with disabilities and how to create appropriate services.

Training for Library Staff:

  • Project ENABLE (Expanding Non-discriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere) offers free, self-paced, online training specifically for librarians. Users who successfully complete all of the training modules and quizzes can obtain a Certificate of Achievement.
  • CALL-CT Accessible Libraries Discussion List (subscription information) from the CT State Library Division of Library Development (DLD). For those interested in, tasked with, or concerned about services to persons with disabilities.
  • A handy booklet of Tips On Interacting With People With Disabilities provides guidance for a wide range of situations. This one is worth printing and sharing with all your staff.
  • Learn how to speak about people with disabilities using language from this People First chart.
  • The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) has created a series of online training modules, including some on disability etiquette and how to interact with an individual who has a disability.
  • "At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with Disabilities" is a self-paced webcourse for people interested in discovering best practices for working with patrons and customers who have disabilities.
  • "Reaching out to Customers with Disabilities" is another self-paced webcourse explaining how the ADA applies to nonprofits and businesses.
  • Serving Library Users on the Autism Spectrum is an online course designed by experts in both the library and autism fields. It consists of a series of four independent, self-paced instructional modules that are intended for librarians and library staff to learn how to better serve their users with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • For training on interacting with patrons with autism, try Autism Services and Resources of Connecticut or the FOCUS Center for Autism.
  • For training on interacting with patrons who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, try BnB Global Services.

Services to Patrons

Developing Services for Patrons with Disabilities:

Books on Services to Patrons

These books are available from the library service centers via Consuls:

Partner Agencies

These state agencies and nonprofits provide services for persons with disabilities and can advise libraries on how to adapt services and programs to include all patrons:

Hey, I know of a resource you should add to this page!

If you know of a great resource that should be included in the Libraries and Accessibility pages, please contact Maria Bernier, Maria.Bernier@ct.gov.

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