In 2011, the US Senate passed S.RES 241, which declared November 16th as “National Information and Referral Services Day”. The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) led the way in the declaration of I&R day. The diverse I&R community consists of individuals, agencies, community organizations, governmental departments and other organizations that help connect people to the services they require.
“Information and Referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together and is an integral component of the health and human services sector. People in search of critical services such as financial assistance, food, shelter, child care, jobs, or mental health support often do not know where to begin to get help, or they get overwhelmed trying to find what they need. With I&R, the information is available at their fingertips with one simple phone call, text message, or website.” A great example of general information and referral service is 2-1-1 from United Way. 2-1-1 call centers provide access to information and referrals about local community services.
I&R services are at the heart of what we do here at NARIC. Our goal is to connect patrons to the right resources. As the library for NIDILRR, we collect, catalog, and disseminate the articles, reports, curricula, guides, and other publications and products of the research projects funded by NIDILRR. NARIC’s information specialists, each holding a certification from AIRS, provide information and referral services to the disability community, researchers, students, professionals, and family members on a wide array of issues such as housing, legal issues, health care, education, and employment, but also on aging, assistive technology, independent living and community participation, mental health, and children with special needs. We also provide information and referral services in Spanish! Curious about what kinds of questions we answer? See our collection of Frequently Asked Questions!
We would also like to introduce you to several NIDILRR funded knowledge translation (KT) projects that also provide I&R services to the disability community:
- The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) provides KT and information services so that the research from the different Model Systems is relevant and accessible to people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), or burn injury and their families; researchers; practitioners and clinicians; advocates; and policy makers.
- AbleData connects people with disabilities, therapists, educators, and more to assistive technology products and manufacturers. Call 800/227-0216 to speak with an information specialist in English or Spanish or visit them online to search the database of more than 40,000 items!
- The ADA National Network regional centers provide information and technical assistance to anyone with rights and responsibilities covered under the ADA. A quick call to 800/949-4232 connects callers to the nearest center for help. Regional centers cover New England ADA Center, Northeast ADA Center, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Southeast ADA Center, Great Lakes ADA Center, Southwest ADA Center, Great Plains ADA Center, Rocky Mountain ADA Center, Pacific ADA Center, and Northwest ADA Center. The ADA Network Knowledge Translation Center ensures that the information and products developed by all ten ADA regional centers are based on the best available research evidence, are of high quality, and are highly collaborative. This Center also provides information about the ADA, provides ADA training, and helps you to find federal resources!
- SEDL’s Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) serves as a central KT resource for NIDLRR-funded researchers, developers and KT brokers. KTDRR makes it easier to find, understand, and use the results of NIDILRR funded research that can make a great impact on people with disabilities. The Center provides integrated training, information dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance activities.
- The Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer (KT4TT) help NIDILRR grantees who are conducting technology-oriented research and development projects to achieve three primary goals: increase stakeholders’ understanding of the technology transfer processes and practices that lead to successful commercialization, increase NIDILRR grantees’ capacity to plan and engage in technology transfer activities, and to increase their rate of success in the transfer of rehabilitation technology products to different sectors.
- The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (KTER) develops and tests knowledge translation (KT) strategies designed to help vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and businesses find, understand and use research related to employing people with disabilities.
There are several other resource centers funded by the Administration for Community Living which also assist people with disabilities, professionals, and caregivers:
- The Paralysis Resource Center, operated by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation on spinal cord injury, stroke, and other conditions that may result in temporary or permanent paralysis.
- The Limb Loss Resource Center, operated by the Amputee Coalition, helps people adjusting to limb loss, providing information and referral on care, prosthetics and orthotics, therapy, and more.
- The Administration on Aging has resource centers for aging, Alzheimer’s disease, benefits programs, eldercare, elder abuse, long-term care, falls prevention, nutrition, and more!
- Even more resource centers on inclusive transportation, college options, self-determination, and others from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
To celebrate National Information and Referral Services Day, why not check out our disability resources and Librarian’s Picks? Don’t forget to contact our information specialists by calling 800/346-2742, email, or chat!