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Libraries and Accessibility

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

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, with additional amendments in 2009. This landmark civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on disability and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations, including libraries.The primary government resource on the ADA the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA website.  Title II of the law applies to municipal and state-funded libraries. Title III of the law applies to businesses and non-profits, including association libraries.

ADA and Libraries

Some resources about the ADA's effect on library buildings and services:

  • ASGCLA, the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies, promotes a policy on Library Services for People with Disabilities.
  • ALA's Accessibility Assembly provides toolkits for “Library Accessibility – What You Need to Know.” Each of the fifteen+ toolkits provide resources for working with special audiences, such as children with disabilities, staff with disabilities, blindness and low vision, learning differences, and mental health issues.
  • The CLA ADA Committee maintains a page of resources and websites related to disabilities.

Understanding ADA

Universal Design

By integrating concepts of Universal Design into your library, you can ensure that buildings and services can be used by the broadest number of people. For an overview of Universal Design and its concepts, visit the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design's About Universal Design page. For more information, check out these resources:

Service Animals in the Library

Library staff often have questions about service animals: What is a service animal versus comfort/emotional support animal versus therapy animal? Do I have to let them in? What can I say to the owner? What can I do if the animal behaves badly?

Here are some resources for learning more about service animals.

See also the Sample Policies/Procedures related to Service Animals, and be sure to update your library's policy.

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