Disabilities and the Library: Fostering Equity for Patrons and Staff with Differing Abilities

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Librarians need to understand the needs and abilities of differently abled patrons, and anyone responsible for hiring and managing librarians must know how to provide an equitable environment. This book serves as an educational resource for both groups.

Understanding the needs and abilities of patrons who are differently abled increases librarians’ ability to serve them from childhood through adulthood. While some librarians are fortunate to have had coursework to help them understand the needs and abilities of the differently abled, many have had little experience working with this diverse group. In addition, many persons who are differently abled are—or would like to become—librarians.

Differing Abilities and the Library helps readers understand the challenges faced by people who are differently abled, both as patrons and as information professionals. Readers will learn to assess their library’s physical facilities, programming, staff, and continuing education to ensure that their libraries are prepared to include people of all abilities. Inclusive programming and collection development suggestions will help librarians to meet the needs of patrons and colleagues with mobility and dexterity problems, learning differences, hearing and vision limitations, sensory and cognitive challenges, autism, and more. Additional information is included about assistive and adaptive technologies and web accessibility. Librarians will value this accessible and important book as they strive for equity and inclusivity.


  • Identifies the differently abled who are patrons and employees in libraries
  • Details the needs and abilities of a special clientele
  • Encourages the interest of management in hiring applicants who are differently abled
  • Includes chapters written by working librarians, educators, and researchers
  • Offers advice to strengthen services, programming, collection development, accessibility, and legal compliance


Imprint: Libraries Unlimited

Published: December 2022

Pages: 160

Sku: 9781440859076

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