Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
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.
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:
Developing Services for Patrons with Disabilities:
Accessible Print Materials
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:
- Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Connecticut is a statewide service that helps anyone with a print disability (those "unable to read conventional print because of a visual or physical disability").
- Disability Rights Connecticut is a new independent, nonprofit organization established to be the successor entity to Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. DRCT works to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, their families and the disability community.
- The Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services manages the state's Bureau of Disability Determination Services, Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, State Unit on Aging, and other bureaus and departments.
- Connecticut Family Support Network (CTFSN) exists to help families raising children with disabilities and special health care needs.
- New England ADA Center (Boston) provides "information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 508, and accessible information technology to individuals living in New England."
- Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition of Connecticut (ADACC) promotes ADA compliance. The group is devoted to educating individuals with disabilities, businesses, and governmental entities about the ADA.
- The Center for Disability Rights "advocates for people with disabilities and their issues on a local, state-wide, and national level. We also provide services to individuals and their families, as well as technical assistance and community education to businesses, government, and members of the community."
- There are several Centers for Independent Living throughout the state that help with accessibility issues.
- The Connecticut Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf (CCOSD) serves the deaf and hard of hearing residents of Connecticut.
- The Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD) promotes, protects, and preserves the rights and quality of life of Deaf and Hard of Hearing citizens of Connecticut.
West Hartford Library Accessibility page
Information about building accessibility, Assistive Technology devices available at the library, homebound service, and service to nursing homes, with a link to a list of DVDs with audio description.
Simsbury Library Accessibility Accommodation Request Form
The Library provides accommodations by request for physical access, communications, or other needs to ensure services, activities, and programs are available to people with disabilities. To request an accommodation, patrons must fill out the form online and submit it to the library.
For sign language interpreters, call 2-1-1, or visit www.211ct.org and search for “Sign Language Interpretation.” TTY: 800-671-0737. The Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) will continue to monitor and post a statewide Interpreter Registry. All sign language interpreters working for compensation in Connecticut must satisfy the mandates of established law CT General Statute Sec. 46a-33a, including annual registration with DORS and submission of documented credentials, including certification by a nationally recognized board.
Books on Services to Patrons
These books are available from the library service centers through our catalog:
Making the Library Accessible for All by This book is intended to be a single-source guide relevant to all library functions that librarians can easily refer to when planning, remediating, or evaluating for accessibility. Includes chapters on web accessibility and technology accessibility.
Publication Date: 2014-04-15
Making Libraries Accessible by Library Technology reports v.48 no.7 "Making Libraries Accessible: Adaptive Design and Assistive Technology" informs readers about how to make libraries digital content, computers, and other devices accessible to people with disabilities. The report presents an overview of demographics, regulations, and types of disability needs as well as associated assistive technology. It also lists and compares specific assistive technology products and assesses accessibility for library collections, including various e-book file formats, e-readers, and databases. Drawing from W3Cs Web Accessibility Guidelines, the report advises on development and design principles for an accessible website.
Publication Date: 2012-10-01
Including Families of Children with Special Needs by Legislation has focused attention on the integration of children with special needs into the community. The contributors to this guide offer advice on how to make all sectors of the population feel welcome in a traditional library setting."
Publication Date: 2013-07-01
Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Those who understand the unique sensitivities of young people with autism spectrum disorder, now the second most commonly diagnosed serious developmental disability, know that ordinary library programming guides are not up to the task of effectively serving these library users. Klipper has presented at conferences and trained librarians from around the country in autism awareness, and the grant-funded Sensory Storytime programming she developed at The Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut is a model for
Publication Date: 2014-02-01
Improving the Quality of Library Services for Students with Disabilities by The development and promotion of appropriate services for students with disabilities has been an integral part of the academic library since the 1990s. There remains, however, a dearth of literature--in marketing, library and information science, and other disciplines--that applies quality assessment instruments to existing programs. With this in mind, Hernon and Calvert present two versions of a data collection instrument, designed to compare the expectations of special students with their perceptions of how well a given service met their needs. Descriptions of successful initiatives at a variety of academic libraries are also included. Adaptive technologies. Anti-discrimination laws. Equity and compliance issues. In-house policies (and politics). All of these support, in one form or another, the development and promotion of appropriate services for students with physical, learning, or, increasingly, psychological disabilities. But what of service quality? To date, there is a dearth of literature--in marketing, library and information science, and other disciplines--that applies quality assessment instruments to programs for special student populations. Not until now has anyone compared the expectations of such students with their perceptions of how well a given service meets their needs. Peter Hernon, Philip Calvert, and their colleagues--Kathleen Rogers, Todd K. Herriott, and Ava Gibson--discuss the circumstances affecting services for the disabled, and provide two versions of a data collection instrument, loosely based on SERVQUAL, that individual institutions can modify to reflect their particular needs and situations. International in scope, it incorporates the perspective of university attorneys and compliance officers, as well as descriptions of successful initiatives by senior library administrators in the U.S. (Larry Hardesty, Rush G. Miller, Sarah Hamrick, and Jennifer Lann) and New Zealand (Helen Renwick, Philip Jane, and John Redmayne.) "Improving the Quality of Library Services for Students with Disabilities" will assist libraries and other service components of academic institutions to adopt a proactive position, as well as challenge staff assumptions of service expectations and information needs.
Publication Date: 2005-12-30
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.
Connecticut State Library | 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106 | 860-757-6500 * Toll-free 866-886-4478