(Micha O’Connor is the Youth Service Community Events Liaison at Boone County Public Library)
You have three days to guess his name…
On February 16th, the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington, will be hosting a very special performance of Rumpelstiltskin, performed by the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, featuring interpreters from Cincinnati State. We are very excited to be able to take one of the great programs you have come to expect from the library and take it to the next level.
The conversation began with a request from a library patron. They called asking for a special story time for a hearing impaired child, and we were more than happy to oblige. With certified interpreters and students from Cincinnati State, we came up with a program, much like our family story time, which incorporated ASL (American Sign Language) stories, songs, and rhymes. The staff members that provide story times have training in and do include elements of sign into their regularly scheduled programs, but this particular story time was exclusively in ASL. And out of this came the idea to provide interpretation for select large format programs.
Here at the library, we are committed to the equitable usage for all our patrons, as is dictated to us by our professional organization, the American Library Association. In plain language, this simply means that we do everything in our power to make our buildings, materials, and programs accessible to the residents of Boone County, regardless of disability. We follow all guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA compliant) and will make any reasonable accommodation for those with special needs. From our large-type books and audiobooks, to foreign language materials and story times, we are constantly looking for ways to be more inclusive in all that we do.
According to the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, there are 19,010 people in Boone County with a hearing impairment; thus, making us the third largest community in the state. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between hearing and academic success, and the library, as a learning institution, is here to assist.
For our interpreted programs, there will be a special designated area up front for hearing-impaired patrons to have visual accessibility to interpreters in the front of the room, and their image will also be broadcast onto Apple televisions mounted on either side as well. We hope to continue this with many of our programs, including the March 10th performance of Alice in Neverland, and the April 17th program featuring Holocaust survivor, Stephanie Marks.
Our new building in Hebron has taken special needs of our patrons into consideration with design as well. A section of the library will include larger screens for those with vision impairment, and assisted hearing pendants available for use within the library. With this device, patrons will be able to tune into a frequency that will allow for ease of listening, while filtering out other ambient noise.
Are there others ways in which we might be able to make the library better and easier to use? If so, please don’t hesitate to let us know as we will make reasonable accommodations for you with ample notice. For help with adult programs, contact Kelsey at 292-3393 and for children’s programs, contact Micha 342-2665 x.8142.
-Micha O’Connor is the Community Events Liaison for Youth Services. As a mother of a child with a hearing impairment, this is an issue especially close to home. She is also a member of Delta Zeta sorority, whose philanthropy is that of speech and hearing impairment, with national partnerships with Starkey Hearing Foundation and Galludet University.