The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is now offering continuing education units (CEUs) for its online course “Improving Library Services for People with Disabilities.” The next session of this course begins Monday, Feb. 18; registration will end at close-of-business on Thursday, Feb. 14 Friday, Feb. 15.
Providing library services to people with disabilities is a role filled by all levels of library staff. From the part-time aide checking out library materials to the library director determining policies, staff skills and attitudes are crucial for a satisfactory library experience. During this course, participants will identify library users with disabilities at their library and the resources and assistive technologies available to assist them; examine changes in attitudes, laws and technologies that have impacted people with disabilities; and will be able to recommend changes in personal and organizational behaviors to improve services for people with disabilities at their library.
This course is truly designed for all library staff, including support staff, general professional staff, age-level or subject specialists, managers and administrators. Here’s what some of our previous course participants had to say:
Several of our staff enrolled as a group, and used the course as a launching pad to have further discussion across the library. We all agree that there is much for us to do. It created momentum for us around the library about many issues of accessibility.
We implemented a team to begin looking at all aspects of how our library assists people with disabilities. We have already begun making recommendations for improvement to our department heads.
We have already begun to look at programs and services in light of what we’ve learned and will be setting up a process that will prioritize new work to implement enhancements and improvements. Several recommendations have already been made in the areas of staff development and training, modifications to web pages and program statements and adoption of new technologies.
I feel I have a much more open mind about my programming and I definitely keep accessibility issues in mind when I plan now. The most valuable thing I learned in this course is to not be afraid to offer help and services to someone different to me.
The most valuable thing I learned was how to use “Person First Language.” Sharing ideas and having an open forum really helped my understanding of the public library’s goal of making things functional for everyone through technology, words and programming. I shared the information I learned from the course with the children’s staff at our annual meeting; as a library system we plan on doing more Sensory Storytime programs.
The course will begin Monday, Feb. 18 and finish on Sunday, Mar. 17. Two live online sessions using the FlashChat feature of Moodle, the online course management system, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 28 and Thursday, Mar. 14, from 3-4 pm CENTRAL/Chicago Time. Students complete the remainder of the weekly coursework at their own pace.
Interested participants can register online now, register via fax or mail, or learn more about the course at the ASCLA website. Registration fees start at $150 for ASCLA members. Discounted group registration rates for two or more registrants from the same library, library system or network are available. Contact ALA’s Membership and Customer Service Team with any questions about registration for this course at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 545-2433, option 5.
“Improving Library Services for People with Disabilities” is taught by Kate Todd, who has worked as a children’s librarian for The New York Public Library and as emerging technologies librarian for Manhattanville College. At Manhattanville College, she taught “Technology for Special Education” in the graduate school of education. She has also taught several online courses for the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), including “Children with Disabilities in the Library”—this new ASCLA course is the general staff counterpart to that course.