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DML Magazine Summer 2020
Imagination Library

Celebrating 30 Years of the ADA

It’s been 30 years since President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. In that time, the Dayton Metro Library - along with the rest of the country - has made great strides toward accessibility and inclusion.

Dayton Metro Library’s mission is to inform, inspire and empower our community. Inherent in that mission is a commitment to full inclusion and support for people with physical disabilities - including facilities that exceed ADA compliance levels, adaptive technology, and trained staff. Collaborating with local agencies that serve people with disabilities helps us ensure that everyone has access to all the information and enrichment opportunities the Library has to offer.


The Libraries for a Smarter Future systemwide facilities improvement project, made possible by a 2012 bond issue, ensures that each newly constructed or remodeled Dayton Metro Library is ADA compliant, with features including accessible entry/exit and wide aisles for browsing. All DML locations, with the exception of Brookville and New Lebanon, are situated on (or very near) RTA bus routes.

Each new Branch with a Community Room, large Meeting Room or performance space is equipped with an Assistive Listening System that can rebroadcast sound in the room to a patron’s earpiece or telecoil-enabled hearing aid or implant.


DML’s collection of course includes both digital and print media for all ages and interests. Downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks are enjoyed by a wide cross-section of our patrons, and large-print books have long been a popular reading format.

Adults and children with developmental disabilities, however, can also enjoy a large collection of high-interest/low-vocabulary books. These books have more complex themes or mature subjects, written at accessible reading levels. The hi/lo collection was recently expanded through a Disability Foundation grant awarded to the Library.


Much of the Library’s regular programming and ongoing services promote inclusion and access:

  • One-on-one computer assistance available for any patron
  • Sensory Storytimes for children with autism
  • Sensory Kits, including headphones, weighted blankets and manipulatives that can make a Library visit more comfortable for people with ASD
  • Homebound Delivery, which brings Library materials of all sorts to patrons who are unable to visit the Library in person
  • Lobby Stop Library, which sets up temporary mini-libraries in common areas of senior living facilities so residents may browse and borrow
  • Free public workshops led by community organizations (such as The Disability Foundation’s Special Needs Pooled Trusts) offered at our Libraries

Sign language interpretation can be arranged for any Dayton Metro Library program - from children’s storytimes to adult computer classes - through the Library’s coordination with Community Services for the Deaf. DML also empowers our staff to better serve patrons with hearing challenges. A staff training session called “Sign Language for Library Workers” gave staff techniques for making each Branch Library more welcoming to patrons with hearing difficulties.


DML works closely with the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services (MCBDDS) to educate staff, create inclusion opportunities for all visitors, and offer special support for patrons with developmental disabilities:

  • MCBDDS worked with DML staff to launch a 6-week “Empowering People” residency in the Main Library Opportunity Space, a presentation that both educated the general population regarding disability issues, and better connected patrons with disabilities to community resources.
  • MCBDDS team members have presented workshops at DML Staff Training Days and Youth Services meetings. They have worked closely with DML Children’s Librarians to help plan storytimes for children that encourage greater understanding and inclusion among our youngest patrons.

Other community partnerships that support people with developmental or intellectual disabilities include:

  • Spire Arts and the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association have both conducted residencies in DML spaces, showcasing the skills of their clients and providing an excellent socialization experience at the Library.
  • United Rehabilitation Services developed a program where their clients visited the Library daily for three weeks of Library-led programming, including arts and games in an inclusive environment.
  • Many local agencies have forged ongoing relationships with their nearest Branch Library, relying on staff assistance and resources for agency-driven programming and experiences for their clients.


Dayton Metro Library’s Strategic Plan for the next five years (2020-2025) further prioritizes building equity, diversity, and inclusion in Library services and practices by:

  • Increasing access to Library resources for minority, disadvantaged, and new residents
  • Diversifying engagement opportunities for stakeholders
  • Connecting patrons with support systems
  • Leveraging partnerships focused on community-wide goals

Dayton Metro Library brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to discover new things about the world, themselves, and each other. The Library is proud to be an advocate for exploration, a champion of literacy, and an active facilitator of empowerment, inclusion, and positive change for everyone.


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