Purpose: – The paper seeks to determine the state of library services to people with disabilities in the USA. It aims to use social capital theory to provide a lens to reconceptualize equal access in a global context, and to offer insights on the effects of new information technologies for re-envisioning universal access. Design/methodology/approach: – Librarians serving the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH) were surveyed. Questions addressed clientele, services, technologies, career opportunities, library and information science education, and librarian demographics. Findings: – Human resources and information technologies are identified as major challenges to the future of information access for disabled persons. Professional perspective suggests there is strong potential for technologies and the internet to bridge the information access divide if libraries commit to providing access through assistive technologies. Research limitations/implications: – The survey was limited to librarians serving NLS/BPH. A similar survey distributed in other nations could expand the possibilities of future research. Practical implications: – Information from this survey can aid librarians planning delivery of information services to disabled patrons. Suggestions for shifting from special access to universal access philosophy assure access for all. Results can also help library educators prepare graduates to serve an aging population that will challenge standard methods of information access. Originality/value: – The literature review demonstrates that this survey is the most recent in three decades to determine the state of library and information services to disabled people in the USA. It is the first to address the topic in relation to new technologies, leading to better service through better understanding.