Librarians trained on Creating Accessible Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing


May 12, 2022
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) recently partnered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) to present the free webinar “Welcoming Patrons Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Late Deafened to Your Library.”

“One-fifth of the Commonwealth's population lives with some form of hearing loss,” said MBLC Head of Library Advisory & Development Rob Favini.  “The key to attracting these residents to libraries is creating an environment that offers accessible programming and services that are ADA compliant.”

Jonathan O’ Dell, Assistive Technology and Training Specialist for MCDHH provided training to library staff from across the Commonwealth that focused on engaging with deaf, hard of hearing, and late deafened individuals in their communities.

Topics covered during the webinars included offering appropriate auxiliary aids including audio induction loops, FM systems, and personal amplifiers, gaining understanding about connecting with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, Certified Deaf Interpreters, and Communication Access Realtime Captioners (CART) services, and learning about best practices and how to implement them.

In addition to the training, the MBLC offers the LSTA grant program Access for All.  For many years this program has included opportunities for libraries to address some of the access issues and solutions raised during the webinar. More information about this LSTA grant and others can be found on the MBLC website.

MCDHH provides accessible communication, education, and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities so that programs, services, and opportunities throughout Massachusetts are fully accessible to persons who are deaf and hard of hearing. For more information about resources and programming offered by MCDHH, visit their website.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.