Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Webinar Archive! From Access to Advocacy: The Disability Community in the Library

Content note: some lies we learn about disability are named here. They are not true, but they can be tough to read.

Today I had the pleasure of presenting "From Access to Advocacy: The Disability Community in the Library", a webinar hosted by LibraryLinkNJ (they have an awesome free archive of continuing education, by the way!)

Picture of Bryce, a person with large teal glasses and curly hair, smiling. Text includes the the title of the webinar, date and time, and the sponsorship information. Thanks to LibraryLinkNJ.
They added this title card and I may have sent a picture of it to my sister.

The webinar was structured by digging through three of the overarching lies about disability that are embedded in our dominant culture. A few years ago I became aware of the term "the abled narrative" to describe these lies as a whole; I cannot pinpoint an exact origin but I credit Twitter user @EbThen for my introduction to the phrase.

I came up with these specific examples of lies when writing the introduction to my related course. I sat down and made a long but non-exhaustive list of all of the messages I had learned and internalized over the years through media depictions and reinforced through...well, generally living as a person with a disability. These are messages not only disabled people internalize, but abled people as well. And that's one place where we can get stuck with not prioritizing accessibility.

Once I wrote out my list, I reorganized it to find three overarching themes. Note that these are not particularly thoughts anyone actively has every day about disability, but these are threaded into the fabric of our society and can impact our interactions, reactions, and even how and when we consider disabled people as patrons or workers:

-Disabled people exist as functions of, or tools/props for, abled people and do not have their own stories.
-Disabled is the worst possible thing to be.
-Disabled people are burdens.

(Ugh--Remember when I wrote about LEGO Ninjago? That was fun.)

Not that everyone left thoroughly bummed (at least the 7 people who were able to make the webinar in an ice storm!); we talked about specific things libraries can work on to counteract these lies and make the library welcoming for people with disabilities.

My digital handout has lots of resources about issues raised in the webinar. Regretfully, Pinterest doesn't support Facebook links! So here are the pages I mentioned (and a few more):

Representing Disability in an Ableist World

Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library

Neurodiversity Librarians for those wanting to start a neurodiversity library

Crutches and Spice

Access is Love, new initiative by Sandy Ho, Alice Wong, and Mia Mingus (not a Facebook page but Pinterest won't let me post without a picture)

Watch the webinar's archive recording here. If you need a script of the webinar, email me at brycekozla at gmail dot com.

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