On May 15, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a historic bill establishing the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL). The mission of the DCDL, which will be run by Maryland’s Department of Library Development Services, is to provide “leadership and guidance in offering resources about deaf culture, acquiring and preserving an excellent collection of deaf resources in digital formats, and furnishing access to information regardless of location and, providing highly competent assistance to Maryland residents and library staff in local public library systems, academic librarians in colleges and universities, and other libraries in the state of Maryland.” Strategic initiatives of the Deaf Culture Digital Library include:
- Establishing the DCDL as an online central resource for Maryland library customers and staff, including information for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, parents of deaf children, and businesses and organizations providing access
- Conducting needs assessments and providing training to library staff to improve Maryland library service to deaf customers
- Developing deaf related programs and materials for libraries
- Developing and supporting alliances between libraries and key deaf-related organizations
Congratulations to the state of Maryland for taking the lead in improving library service to the deaf community! Here’s hoping other states will follow Maryland’s lead.