CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Accessibility and Neurodiversity Resources

The CILIPS logo with a background photograph of sunflowers

Sunflowers can be used as a symbol reminding us that not all disabilities are visible.

CILIPS is committed to helping ensure that Scottish libraries of every sector are welcoming, accessible and inclusive for all. This evolving collection of resources aims to support library staff as well as their communities, helping give libraries the tools they need to become more accessible and offering a starting point for creating library collections that are more truly representative of readers.

All of the links contained in our evolving collections are aimed at providing a diverse selection of relevant resources for further reading and consideration. It is ultimately the responsibility of our members and their organisations to make decisions on their professional practice, based on a wide range of information and underpinned at all times by the CILIP Ethical Framework. We also note that the content of external links may be subject to change without our knowledge, and we encourage our members to please let us know if this ever appears to be the case.

We welcome feedback on our ongoing EDI work from our members and the wider library and information community. If you have comments or suggestions to share, please add them anonymously to this padlet page or email us anytime at

Collection last updated January 2024.

Accessibility for All

  • What steps has CILIP Scotland taken so far to support accessibility in the sector and what are our priorities for the coming months? Find out in our recent blog post CILIPS Accessibility – the story so far.

  • Marking the start of Dyslexia Awareness Week Scotland and in partnership with the CILIP Disability Network, we were delighted to welcome Rossie Stone, the creator of the Dekko Technique and Dekko Comics, to discover how library staff across all sectors can utilize Dekko’s extensive and varied range of resources to the benefit of their learner communities. In this playful and impactful workshop, we had the chance to experiment with the Dekko Technique – developed from lived experience and designed especially with neurodiverse young learners in mind – and discovered how it can unlock new and imaginative modes of lifelong learning for neurodiverse professionals and library users alike.
  • In collaboration with the CILIP Disability Network, we were delighted to welcome Guide Dogs for an extra-special online learning on Friday 10th February 2023: Community Sighted Guide Training for Library Professionals. We gained confidence in assisting library patrons living with sight loss in a practical and person-centred way: learning about common eye conditions and the challenges that living with sight loss can come with, simple ways to support people and basic sighted guiding techniques to guide someone with sight loss safely in our library spaces. Discover key resources from the session or scroll below for one of the informative guiding videos:

  • The CILIP Disability Network officially launched on 22nd July 2021, providing support and a platform for library, knowledge and information workers with experience of disability. The Network is free to join, open to CILIP members and non-members, and supports the advancement of disabled people in the workforce and the development of diverse library, knowledge and information services. It provides an authoritative voice on disability issues within the LIS community, with opportunities for members with lived experience of disability to participate at events and within public discussions. To join, please click here.
  • ‘These barriers have nothing to do with individual disabled people’s bodies: they are created by people so it is possible to remove them.’ The Social Model of Disability highlights that the difficulties faced by disabled people do not come from their personal circumstances but instead assumptions, prejudices and a lack of consideration from society as a whole. For an easy-to-read, informative summary and examples including a ‘Good Practice Checklist’ for language use, we recommend reading this booklet written by Grant Carson for policy and decision makers across all sectors.
  • Are you a branch or group web editor uploading content to the CILIPS site? Or do you use a WordPress website for your own library organisation? Be sure to browse our guide to accessible online content before you post. Please also feel free to share CILIPS’s accessibility tools/funding opportunities across your networks.
  • From example policies to training opportunities, further reading on a range of access topics and much more, our friends at Literature Alliance Scotland have created an incredible EDI Resource Bank. We make constant use of it at CILIPS and advise everyone else to do the same!
  • Disability Information Scotland offers a helpful collection of guides on topics from ‘access and accessibility’ to ‘equality, legal and advocacy’ and much more. The Scottish Disability Directory also allows you to search by topic, location and support needs to find organisations and service providers who can meet your requirements.
  • Supporting the Collective Force for Health and Wellbeing action plan, the Information for Wellbeing course features an invaluable collection of resources, including Making Health Information Accessible to All with James Duncan from Disability Information Scotland. Whatever your sector, watch online here to learn about web accessibility, software and aids to support your users.
  • Disability Equality Scotland is a membership organisation advocating for disabled people: you can become a member, sign-up for their weekly newsletter or share your story and make sure that your opinions on access, equality and inclusion are heard by decision-makers. The organisation recently helped to develop the National Hate Crime Charter, which recognises the right of all people using public transport networks in Scotland to be free from hate crime, prejudice, bullying or harassment, and encourages a zero-tolerance approach to any breach of that right.
  • ‘Just as feminism questions the assumption that femaleness constitutes a natural physical and mental inferiority, disability studies challenges social constructions that deem disability a natural deficiency…’ this thought-provoking blog by Jennifer Robinson for Glasgow Women’s Library reflects on how disability and gender inequalities can intersect and how addressing the prejudices inherent in both could create a wiser, more compassionate world for all.
  • ‘Without disability justice, there is no climate justice…’ This powerful blog post by Katherine Warburton-Gibb for the Carbon Literacy Project reflects on how disabled people have also too often been excluded from environmental emergency planning and civic infrastructure updates, even though having a disability or long-term health condition can make us more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. How is your library uniting accessibility and sustainability? Visit #CILIPSGoGreen, our sustainability collection, for more.
  • If you’re looking to enhance your understanding of accessibility and ensure that your own organisation is accessible in practice, Disability Information Scotland’s Online Training area includes free, self-paced courses on topics like ‘Accessible Information Awareness’ and ‘Hidden Accessibility’. We also appreciate these comprehensive free guides to making resources, publications and websites more accessible, as well as helpful information provided by the Scottish Accessible Information Forum.
  • British Sign offer a CPD certified ‘Introducing British Sign Language’ online course, a comprehensive yet flexible programme that also has a ‘pay it forward’ option. Thank you to Dana from CILIPS SNPC for highlighting this fantastic resource!
  • Contact Scotland BSL is a free Scotland-wide service that allows BSL users to place calls via an online BSL/English interpreter. CILIP Scotland have added it to our ‘contact us’ information and your library can do the same – click to learn more or to make an online call/download the free app if you are a BSL user.

Contact Scotland BSL information: 'contact us via an online Sign Language Interpreter'.

Championing Neurodiversity

  • Dyslexia Scotland’s website offers a fantastic array of helpful resources for adults, young people and children with dyslexia, as well as parents and educators. We especially loved the inclusion of a Post-Assessment Pack for Adults as well as the Mission Superheroes programme for schools – and we like the sound (literally) of the Dyslexia Scotland podcast!
  • For an inspirational example of best practice, check out the Au-some activities taking place at Inverclyde Libraries. From Makaton-signed Bookbug sessions to dedicated autism-accessible afternoons and much more, their libraries are doing essential work to become truly accessible for all. Many thanks to Alison Nolan for sharing this blog with us – yet more reasons why #LibrariesAreEssential!
  • Scottish Autism offers online, email and telephone advice, as well as lots of fantastic activities for both adults and children including a lockdown art gallery and online magazine. For our school library community, we also want to highlight The Autism Toolbox: a fantastic free collection of resources for schools to help support their neurodiverse learners.
  • Neurospicy Libraries aim to advocate for (outwards) and support (inwards) neurodivergent talent in academic libraries, having real world impact in seeing more neurodivergent librarians being hired, promoted and having their working life switched to ‘manageable mode’ from ‘super difficulty mode’. From reports to blog posts, webinars and more, discover their growing range of outputs – ‘dedicated to all of our neurokin and the things that unite us’.
  • Autism in Museums includes a variety of helpful tips and links for all cultural venues.
  • ‘The world needs people who think differently. In a world where everyone thinks the same, nothing ever changes.’ Even though 1 in 100 people in Scotland are autistic, it’s often misunderstood. Visit Different Minds. One Scotland to discover Fact v Fiction, stories of lived experience with autism and all the ways your library can get involved in this much-needed awareness campaign.

Representative Reading Lists

  • Scottish Book Trust’s Inclusive Stories Festival celebrates stories that put inclusion in the spotlight, with many events designed specifically for young people with additional needs. Watch highlights here on the Sensory Storytelling page.
  • Scottish Book Trust have also compiled these fantastic reading lists of books that feature disability and/or neurodiversity – find suggestions suitable for age 9-11 or age 12-14.
  • BookTrust’s Bookmark: Disability and Books offers great recommendations, including their ‘twelve best’ collection of children’s books that feature positive representations of disability.
  • ‘Why is it important? Because books are the greatest teachers. No, seriously. If there’s a wonderful, plausible character with additional needs in a novel, stereotypes (ahem, I’m looking at you, Mr Blind Man Who Sees Into The Future) will start to get squashed.’ Sixteen-year-old writer and poet Andrew Pettigrew shares five top tips for writers who want to represent disabled characters thoughtfully and free from clichés – we think his advice is essential reading for any non-disabled person who wants to improve their understanding of how to be a better disability ally.
  • This Disability Horizons blog features a great, varied list of both classic and contemporary books with disabled leading characters. Many of the titles have also been made into films (although we say the book is always better)!
  • My Kind of Book creates and promotes books for people with additional needs, and works to make books more accessible for everyone. Check out their blog to learn about incorporating touch, sound and more into sensory storytelling.
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