March is Telecommunications Access Awareness Month recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA Title IV requires the establishment of telephone relay services for individuals who use teletypewriters (TTYs, also known as telecommunications devices for deaf persons or TDDs) or similar devices. The Federal Communications Commission has issued regulations specifying standards for the operation of these services.
State and local agencies that provide emergency telephone services must provide “direct access” to individuals who rely on a teletypewriter (TTY, also known as a telecommunication device for deaf persons or TDD) or computer modem for telephone communication.
Library professionals are often not aware that a person approaching them for assistance is deaf or hard of hearing until the person begins to communicate. Deaf people communicate in a variety of ways: speaking, writing, signing, gesturing, or a combination of these. Patrons may also request accommodations people may need in order to enjoy participating in library programs.