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Thanks to regulations that support the Americans with Disabilities Act, most California library buildings have been designed or renovated to include ramps, desks and water fountains that comply with height regulations for wheelchair users, and restrooms with accessible stalls. However, to make our services truly accessible, we need to find creative ways to improve our day-to-day interactions with users who need unique accommodations.

In this workshop you will learn how to

  • Communicate comfortably with users with disabilities,
  • Find resources to help assess and respond effectively to the needs of your local disability communities,
  • Locate ideas and sources for different types of accommodations—both free and inexpensive, as well as more sophisticated, and
  • Develop policies and procedures for effective and equitable services for users with disabilities.

Workshop Description: Through discussion as well as individual and group exercises, this all-day workshop will provide participants with opportunities to share their knowledge and begin developing plans for establishing or improving services for library users with disabilities. The instructor will provide a full range of tips and tools that can be applied immediately in the workplace: sample guidelines for service, sources of local information about people with disabilities, tip sheets for working with people with different types of disabilities, and information about and sources for assistive technologies. Participants will explore the life experiences of people with disabilities, gain an overview of the disability rights movement, and discover practical ideas for library accessibility.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Who Are We Talking About?
    • How many people in the U.S. have disabilities?
    • How is a "disability" different from a "handicap"?
    • Respectful language
  • It's the Law - And It's the Right Thing to Do!
    • Federal and state laws that regulate services for people with disabilities
    • Library guidelines and publications
  • Accommodating Unique Needs
    • Responding to specific requests
    • Simple tools can provide practical solutions
    • With more resources you can do even more cool stuff
  • Nothing About Them Without Them
    • It is essential to involve people with disabilities in planning for services
    • Taking the next steps

Workshop Instructor: Marti Goddard