Deaf History and Heritage


Deaf History and Heritage

Beginning in 1997 by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), National Deaf History Month was recognized from March 13 through April 15 in recognition of local community members who were deaf, hard of hearing, or experiencing hearing loss, while also highlighting the importance of inclusivity and equitable accessibility. In 2006, the American Library Association partnered with the NAD to support and spread awareness of Deaf History Month. Recently, in response to marginalized community members within the Deaf Community, the NAD board members have chosen the month of April as the new National Deaf History Month (NDHM) to ensure that the historical lens of Deaf history includes the experiences of BIPOC Deaf folks. (source: National Association of the Deaf)

EDI Symposium: Deaf Community

Throughout the following resources, you will note the shifting capitalization of ‘D’ in Deaf or lowercase ‘d’ in deaf. The choice to toggle between letter case, and the way in which one identifies along the spectrum of hearing loss, is deeply personal and varies from individual to individual. To embrace this spectrum of identity, the following text will express the community and culture as d/Deaf where applicable.

2022 Events

Deaf History Month: Deaf Community and Culture and Best Practices for Libraries
Thursday, April 21, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pacific Time

Rosa RodriguezJoan Naturale

Alice L. Hagemeyer

Danica AlexanderMarti Goddard


In April 2022, the SJSU iSchool hosted a symposium for Deaf History Month titled, “Deaf Community and Culture and Best Practices for Libraries.” Following the keynote address by Dr. Joan Naturale, the symposium panelists shared presentations on how libraries in their own cities have served and continue to serve d/Deaf community members through library programs.

Library and Information Science Best Practices

Best Practices from “Deaf Community and Culture and Best Practices for Librarians”:

  • Research your library’s collections to see what kind of materials they have that represent d/Deaf people. 
  • Be proactive and reach out to d/Deaf people in your communities. 
  • Understand that there are many facets to d/Deaf culture and that there is no singular culture or community.
  • Think about collecting materials, resources, and books that may be of interest to your local d/Deaf community. 
  • Evaluate how accessible your libraries are to d/Deaf people.

Community Profiles

Professional Associations

National Association of the Deaf