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The American Library Association recognizes that people with disabilities are a large and neglected minority in the community and are severely underrepresented in the library profession. In addition, many people with disabilities face economic inequity, illiteracy, cultural isolation, and discrimination in education, employment and the broad range of societal activities.
Libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society.
ALA, through its divisions, offices and units and through collaborations with outside associations and agencies is dedicated to eradicating inequities and improving attitudes toward and services and opportunities for people with disabilities.For the purposes of this policy, “must” means “mandated by law and/or within ALA’s control” and “should” means “it is strongly recommended that libraries make every effort to…” Providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).The ADA is the Civil Rights law affecting more Americans than any other.A disability can be either permanent (for example, a hearing or mobility impairment) or temporary (for example, a treatable illness or temporary impairment that is the result of an accident).A disability can also be visible (for example, a wheelchair or white cane indicates the person has a disability) or invisible (for example, a mental illness).