Americans and the Holocaust: Related ALA Resources

Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries. What did Americans know? What more could have been done?

Table of Contents

  1. Handling Hateful Conduct
  2. Accessibility and the ADA
    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Accessibility in Your Library

Handling Hateful Conduct

In recent years, there has been a spike in reported hate crimes in American libraries. Consequently, questions about hate speech, the First Amendment, and patron behavior in the library are escalating.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services have prepared several resources to provide guidance for librarians struggling with issues of hate and intolerance. These resources include advice on how to proactively prepare your policies and staff to handle potential hateful conduct in your library:

In addition, the following articles from ALA’s Programming Librarian website may prove helpful.

Accessibility and the ADA

People with disabilities make up the single largest minority group in the world that anyone can join at any time. For that reason, you will likely work with a number of disabled people coming to visit the exhibition or attending your programs. This section will provide a ground floor understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ideas for how to set up your programs, events, and exhibition layout with accessibility in mind.

Most of what you will see below is highlighted from a resource developed by the ALA Public Programs Office, in collaboration with several partners, as part of its Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities initiative. The resource, “Serving Patrons with Disabilities in Small and Rural Libraries”, is a practitioners’ guide to begin the work of improving your library’s accessibility and inclusion practices for people with disabilities. It is geared toward small and rural communities but useful for libraries of all sizes.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (PL 101-336), which went into effect in July 1992, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees that people with disabilities shall have equal access to government programs, employment, public services and places, transportation, telecommunications services, and more.

Accessibility in Your Library

As public service providers, exhibition host sites must make reasonable efforts to give disabled people the same access to information, programs, and resources enjoyed by those who are not disabled. Each host site on the tour will have varying capabilities for providing equal access to people with disabilities. We urge you to do as much as you reasonably can to make programs accessible to the disabled population. Local or regional agencies that are responsible for services for the disabled may be helpful.

Rather than waiting for accessibility measures to be requested, we strongly recommend that you incorporate accessibility into the designs for your programs and events (universal design). This is the best way to ensure inclusivity. We offer the following suggestions:

  • Set aside accessible spaces for people who use wheelchairs (not in the back row).
  • Prepare large-print versions of publicity materials and program handouts.
  • Provide for ASL interpreters at programs and place them with clear sightlines to the people they are supporting (in the front of the room).
  • Provide audio versions of texts used in programming.
  • Include ALT text on all digital media.
  • Advertise what accessibility measures you will be offering and allow for people to submit requests for reasonable accommodations before an event.
    • Example language: “Closed captions will be enabled during the film.” or “We can share a copy of the presenter's slideshow at least 24 hours in advance upon request.” or “If you need other reasonable accommodations, please reach out to us via email at [library email] or by calling [phone number] by [x days before event].”
  • Utilize wayfinding and directional signage.