Deaf and hard of hearing adults and children are part of our communities. How are libraries welcoming and including them? Here is some of what we learned in conversations with the library community and deaf community at the Deaf Culture Forum held at Midwinter on January 24, 2020. The PowerPoints and captioning transcripts with additional documents are now available in the Recommended Resources/Deaf on ASGCLADirect.
The highlights of the program included presentations on inclusion of the Deaf in programs from state libraries, local public libraries, university, and school libraries. We heard from Deaf leaders and advocates who added advice to the library community:
- Use language that identifies people as Deaf or Deaf and Hard of Hearing instead of “hearing impaired.”
- For the 90 percent of deaf children with hearing parents, include a sign language or an interpreted story time, for the deaf child and parents to have peers and meet others who use sign language.
- Seek out titles for the collection that reflect Deaf culture for children, young adults, and adults.
- Ask a Deaf patron how to best communicate. Explore the use of technology assist group and individual communication. See if video remote interpreting (VRI) is an option.
- Consider a display or program for Deaf History Month, March 13th and continues until April 15th, possibly with Deaf organizations or groups in the community.