Heights Libraries wins grant to continue American Sign Language classes
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library has received a $3,000 grant to pay for free American Sign Language (ASL) classes for adults at the Coventry Village Library. The money is from the Friends of the Society for the Deaf, a fund of the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center. Instructors from Cleveland SignStage Theatre will teach the classes.
“These free classes fill a need in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,” said Ben Guylas, adult services librarian and deaf services coordinator. “I just had a call from a woman who is losing her hearing. She wants to make sure that she and her family are prepared for when she loses her hearing completely. They can’t afford to pay for classes, so they are all taking our classes—herself, her husband, and their children. She was very thankful and appreciative.”
Coventry Village Library specializes in materials and programming for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and has offered ASL classes since the late 1980s. The branch’s collection includes materials on learning ASL, deaf culture, deaf fiction, and societal issues facing the deaf community. It comprises mainly books, but also includes videos and DVDs. Several staff members are trained in ASL and can converse in sign language. The branch also features a monthly Deaf Culture Film Series and monthly Deaf Gathering, a social hour for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or are just interested in deaf culture.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.