This study investigated the relationship between the public library and the Deaf community in the United States. A review of literature showed that while resources on this subject exist, no evidence could be found of any studies directly involving, or based on input from the Deaf themselves. Literature was also examined for resources identifying elements of deafness and Deaf culture which may relate to use of the public library, as well as ethical practices and procedures which are desirable when conducting research on Deaf participants. A nationwide survey of members of the American Deaf community was undertaken. This survey investigated the extent to which the Deaf utilise the public library and its associated services. It also identified factors which serve as impediments to their use. Survey results indicated that while the majority of respondents rarely visit a public library, interest in books and Deaf literature collections is high. Interestingly the public library not seen as a good place to meet other Deaf people but is seen as a friendly environment. Difficulties in communicating with library staff, absence of interpreted events, and building design issues are identified as barriers to use. Areas of potential further study were identified.
|Date of Award
|Hugh Preston (Supervisor)