“Library Accessibility” toolkit helps all librarians confidently assist patrons with disabilities

Contact: Liz Markel

ASCLA Marketing Specialist

(312) 280-4398



For Immediate Release

August 12, 2008

CHICAGO—Anxiety, panic, and fear. When trying to help a patron with a disability, many expert librarians are overcome by these emotions.

Recognizing that education is the most effective method for overcoming these barriers, a team of volunteers in conjunction with the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) developed Library Accessibility –What You Need to Know, which provides critical information and tips for librarians and staff in all types of libraries.

Edited by Monique DeLatte, this toolkit of 15 concise documents outlines the challenges faced by disabled patrons and offers methods for delivering one-on-one library services to these groups. The toolkit content was compiled by a committee of ASCLA members in partnership with experts in the field of library access, library science students at Louisiana State University and patrons with disabilities and their families.

“The committee hopes that the tip sheets will be used as a springboard to a better understanding that people with disabilities are people first, and while they have different needs, they are to be welcomed, not feared,” said ASCLA Past President Barbara Mates. “ALA members and site visitors are encouraged to print the tip sheets and share them with co-workers—together we can create libraries all people can use.”

Topics addressed in the toolkit include but are not limited to: patrons who have cognitive, mental or emotional illnesses; patrons with learning and/or developmental disabilities; patrons with service animals; patrons needing assistive technologies, and patrons with physical disabilities.

Library Accessibility –What You Need to Knowcan be downloaded through the ASCLA web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/ascla/asclaprotools/accessibilitytipsheets/.

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association, is devoted to the development of specialized and cooperative library activities, and its members represent state library agencies, specialized library agencies, multitype library cooperatives and librarians who work outside of traditional library settings.