Who are special populations and how can libraries serve them? The Public Library Development Team considers special populations to be individuals or groups whose access to the library is limited, minimized, or difficult. This includes people with disabilities and a new online training resource is available to Wisconsin public libraries and public library systems who serve these users. Project ENABLE helps librarians gain the knowledge and skills needed to create inclusive and accessible libraries that meet the needs of all users.
Project ENABLE provides free, foundational training, designed specifically for public, academic, or school librarians worldwide. This unique training site allows librarians to designate their library type and location (state) on their registration form and receive content that is tailored just for them. In addition, training can be customized for individual or group use. The site is free and open to all who can benefit from this training.
Project ENABLE is a partnership of the Center for Digital Literacy (CDL), the School of Information Studies (iSchool@Syracuse), and the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. Funding support for Project ENABLE was provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Project ENABLE training web site consists of five learning modules covering multiple topics and sub-topics. They include:
- Disability Awareness (person-first language and sensitivity, students’ perspective (videos by students with disabilities), experiencing disability (covering autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, hearing and vision impairments, physical disabilities).
- Disability Law & Policy (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IEPs, Americans with Disabilities Act).
- Creating an Accessible Library (Universal Design, evaluating your library’s accessibility, library accessibility action plan, facilities design, collection development, library policies and procedures, leadership and advocacy).
- Planning Inclusive Programs and Instruction (motivating diverse learners, Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, collaboration, inclusive programs or lessons with examples, assessment).
- Assistive Technology in Libraries (what is assistive technology, assistive technology for every disability, implementing and evaluating assistive technology, web accessibility).
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Take note of the option for librarians to register as individuals or for administrators or trainers to register a group or class.
In addition, a certificate of achievement is available (and printable) to any trainee successfully completing all of the training and assessments. This certificate may serve as evidence of completion of approximately 20 hours of professional development.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Ruth V. Small, Ph.D., the Project ENABLE director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team