Welcoming Deaf Patrons to Your Library: Resources

ASL Vocabulary:

ASL Manual Alphabet (printable .pdf)

ASL.ms: Fingerspelling practice tool.

Receptive Fingerspelling Practice Apps:

Getting to Know You Signs Handout (printable .pdf)

Manners Signs Handout (printable .pdf)

Manners Signs 0:55 (video)

Library Signs handout (printable .pdf)

More Library Signs Handout (printable .pdf)

Numbers 0-10 Signs Handout (printable .pdf)

Numbers 1 through 10 in ASL (Lifeprint) 7:22 (video)

Recommended Online ASL Dictionaries:

  • HandSpeak.com
  • ASLPro.com
  • SigningSavvy.com (Browsing access free; searching from the site available for subscribers only. To search this site without an account, go to google.com and search “Signing Savvy” followed by the word you are looking for)

Library Signs Resources from Kathy MacMillan: A collection of “bite-sized” videos and printable handouts suitable for sharing in staff meetings or for individual learning, all featuring basic ASL vocabulary useful for library staff.


Communication Resources:

Communication Tips from Deaf Cultural Resource Center (Library for Deaf Action)

Guidelines for Effective Communication with Deaf, Late-Deafened, and Hard of Hearing People (Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)

Special Needs Communication Guide: A handy printable resource you can keep at service desks to assist in communicating with patrons who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, speak Spanish, or have limited communication skills. This 21-page communication guide was put together by The Library of Fanwood and Scotch Plains (New Jersey, USA), and contains English, Spanish, and fingerspelled words, as well as pictures for common concepts and items in the library setting.

Recommended clear masks:


Deaf Culture Resources:

Deaf Culture PEPNet Tipsheet by Professor Linda Siple, Assistant Professor Leslie Greer, and Associate Professor Barbra Ray Holcomb, all of the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.

Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library: https://www.marylanddcdl.org

Audism Unveiled (DVD). (DawnSignPress, 2008)


Accommodations and Advocacy:

ADA Requirements: Effective Communication: https://www.ada.gov/effective-comm.pdf

A Note From Your Colleagues With Hearing Loss: Just Use a Microphone Already byJessie B. Ramey

Accommodations Resources from CSUN

Resources for Finding and Working with Interpreters 

On-Demand Video Interpreting:

Sample Accommodations Pages:

Sample wording for brief statement to be included on program pages:
To request accommodations for this program, contact [specific person] at [specific email address that is checked often] at least 7 days before the program.


Recommended Books:

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic, 2020;  Set Me Free by Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic, 2021:  Set in the early 1800s, these engrossing historical novels – written by a Deaf author – explores prejudice and racism through the eyes of 11-year-old Mary Lambert, who is deaf. 

Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard by Nora Ellen Groce. Harvard University Press, 1985: The remarkable story of Martha’s Vineyard, which once boasted a deaf population so large that deaf people were completely integrated into the life of the island and everyone used sign language.

True Biz by Sara Nović. Random House, 2022: This extraordinary novel tells the story of the CODA (hearing child of Deaf adults) headmistress and two Deaf students at a school for the deaf. Nović intertwines their stories, skillfully interjecting background information for readers about ASL, Deaf culture, and linguistics.



Collection Development:

“Hands-On Collection Building: A librarian offers tips for sign language materials selection” by Kathy MacMillan. School Library Journal, March 2003.


More Recommended Resources from Kathy MacMillan: