Note: From 1998-2005, ASL Access placed collections of over 200 ASL videos in 28 libraries nationwide. When VHS became obsolete, the libraries discarded the collections. This article describes the video collections as they were present in libraries prior to 2005.

The ASL Access Video Collection

Q. What is the ASL Access Video Collection?
A. The ASL Access Video Collection consists of over 200 American Sign Language (ASL) videos available in your local library.

Q. My library does not have ASL videos. How can I encourage my local public library to obtain ASL videos?

A. Simple! Just ask. Tell any staff member that you want to borrow these videos from your library. Provide the ASL Access web site (www.aslaccess.org). Or, write a letter. Library collection development decisions are often made in response to LOCAL LIBRARY CUSTOMERS.

Q. How might funds be raised to add ASL videos to my library?

A. Funds are usually found locally. Perhaps the library friends group will fund the addition of ASL titles as a gift to the library. Or, a deaf association, service club, signing club, religious group, local foundation, corporation or individual may fund a donation. Some libraries find funding within their budget, through the Library Services and Technology Act, or with city, county or state funding. The first ASL Access Video Collection was donated by the Wixtrom family to the District of Columbia Public Library, in honor of deaf librarian, Alice L. Hagemeyer, in 1999.

Q. How many ASL Access Video Collections are there?

A. Nationwide, 28 ASL Access Video Collections have been placed.

Q. Are there any federal funds available for ASL translations and placement in libraries?

A. There are no national funds available specifically for this project.

Q. Are there other library projects related to deaf persons?

A. Yes. The Captioned Media Program (CMP) is federally funded. Operated by the National Association of the Deaf, CMP provides free loan of over 4,000 captioned videos to qualified and registered members. The videos are delivered by mail.

Q. How does ASL Access differ from CMP?

A. ASL Access, a non-profit organization, facilitates placement of American Sign Language (ASL) videos in local public libraries, where the videos may be borrowed by anyone in the library's loan community. CMP provides captioned media through a national program, delivering videos to qualified individuals and schools through the mail.

Q. Why are CD-ROMs not included?
A. Many libraries do not accept CD-ROMs for loan.

Q. What about DVDs?
A. More and more ASL titles are being transferred to DVD, or produced as DVDs.

Q. Why are there so few ASL media materials commercially available?
A. Services to translate print to various tactile or audio formats abound, with strong national funding, and very few copyright restrictions. In contrast, no national funding program is available for translating materials to signed media. Many copyright restrictions exist barring material from being translated to sign, or barring commercial sales of sign-translated material. (These translations may only be sold to schools, or, in some cases, to non-profit organizations such as ASL Access.) Most videos in the ASL Access collection were made for agencies or schools, not for retail sales to general audiences. However, as very high library circulation records show, ASL videos are of interest to people in every community.

Q. How does ASL Access select videos?
A. Qualified deaf and hearing volunteers evaluate and select videos for the collection, based on content, cultural accuracy, presentation quality, and community interest.

Q. How can I encourage my library to acquire more ASL video titles?
A. Ask. Borrow those they do have. Libraries usually purchase additional copies of popular items.

Q. What if I want to buy a personal copy of an ASL video?
A. Please contact ASL video retailers and distributors directly.

Q. How did various libraries get the ASL Access Video Collection?
A. ASL Access acted as a liaison among sponsors, libraries, library customers, and ASL publishers. ASL Access volunteers located and evaluated ASL video resources, negotiated with ASL publishers to arrange for sales, worked with libraries and sponsors, and shipped the videos to the libraries.

Q. How have libraries promoted their ASL Access Video Collection?
A. Some libraries created a display for the collection. Most libraries deliver the videos to all branches, by request. Some libraries held an opening ceremony. Various libraries dedicated the ASL Access Video Collection to a local deaf community member, recognizing the contributions of the local deaf person, and the origin of the language among deaf people.

Note: From 1998-2005, ASL Access placed collections of over 200 ASL videos in 28 libraries nationwide. When VHS became obsolete, the libraries discarded the collections. This article describes the video collections as they were present in libraries prior to 2005.

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