American Sign Language for Library Staff: Level 1

American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf and hard of hearing library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.

This course is ideal for those without previous experience, or those who have taken basic ASL courses but are unfamiliar with library-specific vocabulary in ASL. Taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan, the course will use readings, multimedia resources, interactive assignments, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting.

This 6-week, asynchronous online course will introduce basic American Sign Language vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting and place that information within a linguistic and cultural context to aid participants in improving library services to patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Each week will focus on a different aspect of library services and will take approximately 5 hours to complete.

After completing this eCourse, participants will be able to:

  • Conduct a basic conversation relating to library resources and services in American Sign Language.
  • Describe Deaf Culture and how it differs from hearing culture.
  • Describe best practices for serving the Deaf community, including communication strategies, provision of accommodations, and relevant resources.

Please note that this eCourse can also be purchased as part of the American Sign Language for Librarians eCourse Bundle.

Kathy MacMillan is a freelance writer and nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter. She is the author of Nita's First Signs (Familius Press), as well as the author or co-author of many books from ALA Editions, including Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together and the Storytime Magic series. She was the library/media specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005 and has worked in public libraries since 1996.  She presents storytelling programs introducing sign language through Stories By Hand and offers training and resources for enhancing storytimes through Storytime Stuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.