Professional Associations

This page provides brief, “unofficial” information about professional associations of interest to librarians serving people with disabilities. For more information about these associations, contact the pertinent organizations (links are provided when available). Please contact us if you can provide information about other international, national, regional and local groups.
International | National | State | Other Countries
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Section of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons provides an international forum for librarians who serve people “who are disadvantaged in the use of conventional library services and materials,” such as those who are deaf, imprisoned, elderly, and homebound.
IFLA’s Section of Libraries for the Blind promotes national and international cooperation among libraries serving blind and other print-handicapped readers.
The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is a division of the American Library Association. ASCLA’s Libraries Serving Special Populations (LSSPS) section has separate forums on Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities, Library Service to the Deaf Forum, Library Service to the Impaired Elderly, Library Service to Developmentally Disabled Persons, and Academic Librarians Assisting the Disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act Assembly is a committee of ASCLA which facilitates communication among ALA units and other groups concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The American Library Association’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) supports and promotes “literacy and equity of information access initiatives for traditionally underserved populations.” These include new and non-readers, people geographically isolated, people with disabilities, rural and urban poor people, and people generally discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, language and social class. OLOS maintains an outreach listserv.
OLOS disability-related subgroups include: Academic Librarians Assisting the Disabled Discussion Groups, Adoptive Technologies, Americans With Disabilities Act Assembly Committee, Standards Committee for Library Service for People with Developmental Disabilities, Library Service to Children with Special Needs Committee, Library Service to Developmentally Disabled Persons Activity Group (LSDDP), Library Service to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities Forum (LSPVPDF), Library Service to Young Adults with Special Needs Committee, Library Services to the Deaf Forum, and Services to Special Needs Students.
The Alabama Library Association has a Round Table for Persons with Disabilities.
The California Library Association has a round table on Services to Restricted or Disabled
People. The round table serves as a forum for support and assistance to library professionals serving inmates; disabled community; shut-ins; bookmobile patrons; or any population restricted by physical or geographical barriers.
The Michigan Library Association’s Services to Special Populations Roundtable provides a forum for information and resources exchange, provides opportunities for continuing education in the field of special library services, and promotes library services for special populations.
The New York Library Association (NYLA) has a Roundtable on Library Service to Special Populations (RLSP).
The Oregon Library Association is trying to reactivate its Outreach Round Table (ORRT). If you’re from Oregon, join in!
The Texas Library Association’s Special Services Interest Group provides a forum to discuss Special Service activities and programs; trains library personnel; and promotes Special Services as essential library services.
The Washington Library Association’s ACCESS Interest Group (formerly OPEN) advocates for access to library services and materials for disabled and elderly patrons. Its focus includes eliminating barriers within the library, and outreach.
Other Countries
The Disabilities Interest Group (DIG) is a special interest group of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).
Library Services for Persons with Disabilities is an interest group of the Canadian Librarian Association (CLA).
Community Care Network Community Care Network (CCN) is a British group that “unites all those interested in providing information and library services to people with disabilities and health problems, those who are housebound or in residential care, carers and patients in hospital.”