Monday, November 16, 2020

Call for Participation: Study on Accessibility and Makerspaces!

 I'm delighted to share this awesome opportunity from Dr. Amelia Anderson and Dr. Abigail Phillips!:

"We are preparing a study about accessibility in public library makerspaces. This study will help to inform public librarians how to make their spaces more accessible for all, creating more inclusive libraries. We want to know about your experiences in public libraries and in makerspaces. We will be conducting a series of focus groups with disability self-advocates and public librarians across the United States.

We would like to invite you to take part in this process, to share your knowledge and experiences with us. For your participation, you will receive a $30 Amazon gift card. Your involvement is voluntary. Any information you share with us will be kept private and confidential. If you want to participate, please complete this brief online form"

If you have any questions, please contact the principal investigators, Dr. Amelia Anderson and Dr. Abigail Phillips: amanders AT odu DOT edu ; abileigh AT uwm DOT edu"

Accessibility in Making: Perspectives from Disability Self-Advocates is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Join me! Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries

UPDATE 9/25/2020: The class is now full! Here goes nothing...

Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries, Oct 5-Nov 15 through UW-Madison iSchool.

 So. Things are interesting, to say the least.

A cat sitting next to a computer, watching the screen
For instance, Larry attends Zoom meetings.

When I last taught "Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries," one of my main objectives was to build empathy for people with backgrounds in trauma through sharing real-life experiences as myself, a person with a brain rewired to expect stress due to trauma. The course was approached with the assumption that there would be a mix of people who would see themselves in the content, people who had some familiarity with the content, and people who possibly needed some convincing that trauma isn't just some buzzword or excuse.

Well, times have changed since *checks post date* last September. My April 30 webinar on trauma responses during a pandemic has been viewed over THREE THOUSAND times. Only like 5 of those were my parents (Twenty, tops). Every day there's new evidence of a population whose brains are overflowing with stress and are acting on ill-planned, counter-intuitive, and counterproductive attempts at self-preservation (to be clear, I'm talking about people who ignore reasonable health guidelines and/or are violent about their need for a haircut, for instance; and not people protesting police brutality). Amid this backdrop public-facing service workers are being met with vitriol for trying to keep themselves and the community safe.

The need for a commitment to trauma-informed principles is, I'd say, pretty clear.

My course on this topic is not the do-all-end-all in healing the world, but it can help you and your colleagues approach work in a way that is helpful for everyone (including yourselves).

Topics I'll cover include:

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Oregon City Public Library: The Disability Community in the Library

Bryce note: Long time, I know. I hope to catch y'all up at some point. I hope you're hanging in there. Black Lives Matter. Trans Women are Women. Healthcare is a Right. Access is Love.

This summer, I'm running my course "The Disability Community in the Library" through the UW-SLIS iSchool. If you want more information on what that would entail, here's a post I wrote  about what to expect. Register here to join me July 13-August 23!

This time, I thought I'd turn over my course announcement post to Jennifer Giovanetti at Oregon City Library, who has done A TON for the disability community since taking my course in the Fall of 2018.

OR library staff: if you're interested in this course, please look forward to an upcoming free professional development opportunity with the State Library of Oregon. 

And now, handing it over to Jen:

Oregon City Public Library: The Disability Community in the Library
B.A.M (Because Accessibility Matters)

The Oregon City Public Library is dedicated to serving its whole community as equitably and inclusively as possible. Our mission is to empower every Youth, Adult and Senior in our service area through:

  • Innovative and varied resources and programs
  • Responsive, well trained and personable staff
  • Connections to other community resources and events
  • Inclusive, accessible services to all
  • Welcoming spaces to gather and build community

To this end the library has made sincere efforts to ensure that we are serving our whole community including those that are often most marginalized. When library staff noticed that there seemed to be a significant community of adults with disabilities that visited the library, we knew that we wanted to be more intentional about reaching out and serving this part of our library community. We also knew that the best way to do this was to start by educating ourselves about how to best serve this community. This is where Bryce’s class “The Disability Community in the Public Library” came in. After taking this class through the University of Wisconsin, Library staff member Jennifer Giovanetti, began making community connections and developing the B.A.M. (Because Accessibility Matters) program for the Oregon City Public Library to help better serve people with disabilities in the community. Below are some of the things that the Oregon City Library has implemented specifically with our disability community in mind:

  • Universal Design Building Considerations: Since our building was fairly recently renovated and an addition was added in 2016, ADA requirements and Universal Design considerations were implemented as part of the building process. The Oregon City library building, as a whole, is highly accessible and all staff are encouraged to keep aware of any building accessibility or safety issues and report them to management or the disability community liaison (ie. Jen).
    • Some recent additions have been: Automatic bathroom doors, PAC accessibility station, and on-going evaluation of building accessibility.
  • B.A.M Advisory Council: The formation of an advisory committee was key to learning (from the Disability Community itself) how the library could better serve its community members. The B.A.M. Advisory Council is comprised of members of Local Disability organizations, providers and caregivers who with serve people with disabilities, library Board member, staff, and people with disabilities from the local community.
    • Council Mission: The mission of the B.A.M (Because Accessibility Matters) Advisory Council for People with Disabilities will be to serve as a resource to the Oregon City Library addressing accessibility issues, equal rights, removing barriers and promoting opportunities and programs for individuals with disabilities. What we envision is a community group where everyone understands the importance of equal participation and full inclusion of all citizens and is committed to making the Oregon City Library a more accessible place to visit and enjoy for people living with disabilities. 
  • BAM Programming: We started with our highly popular Art Lab program. This was a program that had been designed for Kids and Families, but one that we knew the disability community had been attending and really enjoying. With this in mind, we decided to make an adult version designed especially for Adults with Disabilities and to have the program open to everyone! Starting with something we knew the community already enjoyed helped with the early success of the B.A.M. programming. Other programming ideas grew out of suggestions made by Advisory Council members and BAM program attendees. Below are the on-going B.A.M. programs that the library offers. Of course, much of this is now cancelled/on-hold until the Library re-opens but, we will be starting a new B.A.M. virtual program in June!
  • B.A.M. Art Lab: Monthly Art Class
  • B.A.M. Lego Lab: Monthly open LEGO studio
  • B.A.M. Academy: Monthly series of classes on topics of interest to the disability community (ASL, Emergency Preparedness, Self Determination, Container Gardening, etc.)
  • B.A.M. Make-it Together (coming in June!): Maker program using Creative Bug 
  • On-going Education & Advocacy!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Being Trauma-Informed During a Pandemic: Webinar Archive and Other Links

A few weeks ago, Emporia State put out a call to people who were going to present at the Oregon Library Association's annual conference to see if we'd be willing to turn our workshops into webinars. I had a great preconference in the works with a former student from my Disability Community in the Library course, but that wouldn't fit into a 40-minute webinar. I instead proposed a webinar on "WTF is happening to your brain", and was accepted. I figured I'd piece together a couple of other resources I made and bam! Easy-peasy.

HAHAHAH welp, the VERY last thing my brain wanted to let me do during a pandemic was write about dealing with trauma during a pandemic. 
If you need a transcript of the webinar for personal use, feel free to email me at brycekozla at gmail.

I only practiced it once before the live viewing, and I don't think I'll be revisiting it anytime soon. If you watch it and want to process it with someone, please do that with someone who is not me unless you know me personally, thanks. I've talked before about the power of validation before and as much as I appreciate where this is coming from, I need to invest my energy in specific places right now. (this is not for people who have already reached out to me, because this is a boundary I didn't set until right now. Thank you)

I'll talk about less heavy stuff all day though. Have you heard about Fostering Readers

One thing I wanted to make sure to say plainly because I didn't in my presentation: the pandemic is hitting BIPOC communities harder than white communities. There is also a lot of historical trauma and institutional oppression rearing its head for many marginalized communities when dealing with work, government benefits, and hospitals.This is NOT the time to say that equity and inclusion is not a priority. They are CENTRAL to the health of your staff and community. ALL of the time.

I wanted to make sure to share some links that were mentioned in the presentation:

I also wanted to be sure to highlight some other wonderful resources:
"Pandemic! Productivity! Life! Hacks!" (the title is a little tongue-and-cheek)

Thank you so much for your interest in this webinar. Hang in there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WTF Is Happening to Your Brain and What You Can Do About It

There's been something I've been thinking about a lot lately but haven't really had the energy to talk about it in any comprehensive way.

I still don't think I'm going to, because investing energy where it needs to go is incredibly important right now. But I will say this:

Visiting this blog, right here, right now, I am allowing you the space to admit and accept that what we're going through is a stressful and potentially traumatizing situation.

People are different. Two people can experience the exact same thing and one can emerge traumatized and the other unscathed.

One thing that might help right now is knowing what might be going on with your brain and central nervous system. The following is something I shared yesterday with friends and family. It's based on the training I received from Trauma-Informed Oregon, which led to me to create a unique introductory course in Trauma-Informed Care that is library-specific. It's not a lot but I hope it helps.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Why "What Happened to You?" Isn't Trauma-informed

I just finished up my first run of my Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries course.

I hope to run it again next year, but something came up that I felt I should clear up.

There are a lot of different training opportunities lately coming at trauma in the library at different angles.

Quite a few of them start attempting to shift thinking about trauma with the notion that trauma-informed care "seeks to shift the clinical perspective from 'what’s wrong with you' to 'what happened to you'". I can't pinpoint the origin of this quote, but it's been used by such respected organizations as SAMHSA.

This phrase, quite deliberately, does not appear in any of my training materials. That's because I don't believe it's true.

title text in black on a blue and green background

At its most basic, I can understand what this is trying to do: make people who have not experienced trauma that has reshaped their brains start to blame circumstance rather than the people themselves when they have a frustrating interaction. Apparently, wondering what happened to someone is supposed to build empathy so we can act more compassionately.

I humbly submit that thinking this way can have the opposite impact, and instead can inspire pity and possibly resentment. I also contend that asking this question isn't trauma-informed, and is potentially harmful. It also assumes that library staff do not have backgrounds in trauma, which is not universally true.

To demonstrate how this framing might be problematic: here's how a person whose brain has been rewired to expect stress might answer these questions, speaking from experience:

Monday, September 16, 2019

New Course this Fall! Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction For Libraries

As long-time readers may recall, I've been interested in and studying topics related to trauma since I first learned about the Adverse Childhood Experiences study in 2013.  I've written a lot related to trauma since, and to be quite honest my research has transformed the way I approach my work, as well as my relationships to other people and the world in general. In April 2018, I was chosen by Trauma-Informed Oregon to be trained as a community trainer, and have developed and delivered library-specific training to local library staff, which has been well-received.

So I'm so pleased to announce that I will be running the course:
Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries through UW-SLIS Continuing Education, November 4-December 15, 2019! Register before October 20 for a 10% discount!

Like my past, well-reviewed courses, this course is designed to have an extremely reasonable workload and will be a mix of reflection, action, and tips you can use right away. The class is asynchronous, which means we won't be meeting live and you can engage with each week's content when you can. Each week there will be one or two discussion questions. There will be final project that will consist of anything that will help you going forward (a presentation to your board, a letter to your director, a blue print, something else? It's up to you!).

As always with my courses, you're welcome to download all the material to share among others in your library, so I hope you will see this as a good investment.

I've said on Twitter previously that preparing for this course has made my Disability Community in the Library course feel like Sunday brunch. Like that course, Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Libraries is steeped in my lived experience and so may be different from other training you may have gotten about these concepts.

Here's some of the topics we'll cover:

Monday, July 22, 2019

It's here! Fostering Readers, a FREE Toolkit to Support Beginning Readers

[Bryce note: everyone, I AM PUMPED. After some dreaming and scheming over email and in a coffee shop in NE Portland back in 2016, my coworker Katie and I have been co-project-managers on an LSTA grant-funded initiative to help library and afterschool staff all over boost their programming, support, and confidence with beginning readers in grades K-3 (learn more about our story and our amazing team here). 

I cannot even tell you what this means to me.

So here is the official press release.]

Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) and OregonASK are thrilled to announce the Fostering Readers resources are available to download and use in whatever way that makes sense for your library. These resources are designed to help you plan and implement fun research-based literacy programs for children in K-3rd grade who are learning to read.

Two children reading under a tree

We recruited two children’s librarians and two elementary reading specialists, two of whom are bilingual, to develop the Fostering Readers resources. The materials were tested and updated through a pilot project. All the resources are available at no cost to you on the Fostering Readers website. Resources include:

 Pre-made activity plans to get you started supporting K-3rd grade beginning readers

Ideas for passive programming and storytimes and book clubs for beginning readers

Handouts for parents and caregivers to encourage reading at home

Videos that introduce research-based key elements and key strategies to enrich your K-3 activities with literacy

An extensive research review with easily digestible key findings and implications

…and more!

To accommodate our large and growing population of Spanish-speakers, Fostering Readers handouts are available in both English and Spanish. In the materials, library and afterschool staff will find tips for working with families who speak languages other than English, and Spanish vocabulary to use with the activities.

 Preview some of the research-based key elements and strategies with these video playlists (just kidding they don't link to the playlists here they are:
Key Strategies
Key Elements):

We hope that these materials will help library and afterschool staff:

Increase their knowledge of the reading process
Feel more confident in supporting children who are learning to read and their families
Plan, implement, and evaluate fun research-based literacy programs for children in K-3rd grade

Libraries and afterschool programs are essential community partners in the effort to increase the number of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade, which is a key indicator for high school graduation.

We are proud to provide you with Fostering Readers materials to champion this important work.

Fostering Readers is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon.

Friday, May 31, 2019

A Rambling Ode to Summer Reading

Summer Reading starts here this weekend! My job doesn't include staffing a public service desk or anything, so I mostly spend my summer working on special projects to clear out to-do lists and set us up well for Quarter 2, which starts in September. I'll also do the occasional storytime subbing or tabling event.
Bryce wearing purple glasses, caught talking mid-sentence. Bryce consequently has a silly face
I cannot WAIT to tell you about what this screenshot is from
(I also figured out alt-text on Blogger!)

This year I am PRETTY PUMPED because my coworkers and I recently opened a request form for the local libraries to have us visit for whatever they'd like to talk about or show us and our local staff BROUGHT IT. So far, we've talked about collection development and dreamed big about scalable projects. This summer, I'll get to staff a station at a reading camp (stations-based programming was my jam for awhile) and help at other events. Next Friday I'm even shadowing a floor shift afterschool during Summer Reading.

One weird thing about my job: it's great for someone who loves youth services librarianship but doesn't like anything about actually being a youth services librarian. I don't think I'll ever be there, and I still miss a lot about SRP. I figured I'd share here something I wrote about it last year. It was in one, long, rambling comment, so I'm breaking it up:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Creating a Trauma-Informed Presentation

Back in April of last year, I was one of 17 participants selected as part of a community cohort to be trained by Trauma-Informed Oregon on trauma-informed care. The intent of these train-the-trainer workshops was for participants to take the material and make it specifically relevant to our organizations/industries. Knowing that libraries are "a helping profession" and that many of us come into with backgrounds in trauma, I wanted to make my delivery of this content as trauma-informed as possible.

Last week, I held two "countywide conversation" sessions to introduce the concept of trauma-informed care to local staff. It was an in-person iteration of some of the internal Trauma-Informed Care training modules I created and posted on our extranet. A flipped-classroom model, I reasoned, would help staff process the material on their own before having to talk to anyone about it, and the sessions would allow room for discussion for those who'd want to talk about. I also prepared a presentation to introduce the material for these sessions, in the likely event that a staff person would want to attend but not have time to view the referenced modules beforehand (or would need an in-person intro to understand how trauma-informed care is meaningful to our work).

Having attended plenty of conference sessions that didn't take their own advice over the years, I set out to make this presentation as trauma-informed as possible.

Here are some considerations I made in order to achieve this goal. You might want to try them out for even unrelated presentations!

Registration recommended, not required: It's trauma-informed to have registration, so I could anticipate how many people would attend and plan accordingly. I also wanted to make it okay, however, for staff to feel like they could drop in without crashing the party (also trauma-informed). We got 30 registrations, and we ended up with 30 participants-- though, some registrants couldn't attend in the end, and some attendees didn't register. At the time I started planning, I had 22 registered and planned for 40 (so maybe +25-75% attendance if you wanted to try this).

  • I also sent out a Doodle Poll before I opened registration so I could gauge the interest in all parts of the county. The hope was that the highest amount of people who wanted to attend could be able to, and not have to travel across the county to do so. I didn't catch everyone this way, but I was able to do my best to make sure the locations were equitably chosen around the county.
  • Registration was open for two weeks, with a reminder a week before. The registration email included a registration link, location and links to Google Maps of the locations, and the agenda with approximate times. If we had the time I might have opened the registration for longer, but we were butting up against local summer planning as it was.
  • Reminder email to attendees: I collected the email addresses of registered attendees, and sent out an email to them the Monday of the sessions. I thanked them for registering, and then set out some expectations: there will be snacks but feel free to bring your favorite snack or drink; knitting and other fidgeting is welcome; and to dress however they felt best (whether that be sneakers or a suit).
Coloring sheets and fidget toys: I had ordered a box of assorted fidget toys online, but they hadn't arrived in time for the sessions. So I printed off some coloring sheets and brought some crayons to help attendees mitigate stress and process information. The coloring sheets and fidget toys now live in a basket in our conference room, and I'm intending to bring them to every meeting I can remember to bring them to!

Voice Amplifier: A few months ago I got a voice amplifier and I thought this would be a great place to try it out-- in meeting rooms with possible ambient noise. I'm blown away by how inexpensive it was and how good it works. I get not wanting to hook yourself up to a surround sound system for a few people (and yes, social anxiety is a real thing and no, introversion and social anxiety are not the same). Not only it is an accessible practice to wear a mic (calm down, abled people, please don't be self-righteous about the one thing you're actually committing to); once you do get into practice of it you'll realize just how noisy the rest of the world inside meeting rooms truly is. Best part about a voice amplifier for small gatherings is you just have to hook yourself and go, and if you DO have social anxiety you can turn it up enough to where everyone can hear but you don't "sound like you're on a mic", which could help with comfort.

Housekeeping at the beginning of the presentation: Things like duration, reminders, or behavior expectations (it's okay to stand or walk around, etc). Apologies but I do not care at all if the same Library Thought Leaders who hate powerpoint find a short introduction that includes housekeeping boring and I "lose" them. I care more about "losing" staff who may literally not be able to process information without knowing where the exits are and it's okay to leave; or staff whose stress response is activated and are at risk of disassociating and take solace in knowing the exact amount of time remaining before they don't have to heavily employ coping mechanisms if they want to stay. People with backgrounds in trauma are in your presentations too.
  • Icebreakers: if you have to have one, send it ahead of time. That way everyone is listening to everyone else and not worrying about what they'll say when it's their turn.
Choice, choice choice: Plan participatory options into your session and refer to them. No mandatory participation. No "you have to work with someone you don't know very well." Make it okay to say "pass."

These tips are more poignant for heavier topics, but could be useful for any presentations. As trauma-informed care tells us:
-we have no idea what it took (in the day, in the life) to get a person in front of us, and plenty of people have acute stress responses we might not even guess
-EVERY consideration we make is an opportunity for re-traumatization or healing. We may as well try to be healing!

(also, creating a presentation that's accessible can also be trauma-informed.)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Investing Energy: Staying on Top of Things

My best laid plans the past few years have always seemed to hit snags. For instance: this is my first real blogpost since my blog address change. BDP officially closed on December 31. I had intended to write a heartfelt send-up for the readers who have been around since the beginning. My plans were thwarted, however, as I had to work on investing energy in a large-scale way   as I worked through the following things in the past 6 months:

-A car accident involving a man-hole cover flying at my car soon after my 36th birthday (as if my feelings about my birthday aren't complicated enough, the Final Destination-ness of this event stuck with me longer than I care to admit).
-My spouse's 16-year-old cat, Stubbins, nearly dying three days before Christmas (Caleb stayed home last minute to care for him). We've decided to not pursue any further intervention care.
-My parked car being involved in a second accident, this time with a U-Haul on New Years Day. It was nearly totaled, which meant we would spend another year with one car between us; which has become increasingly untenable. The auto body shop was able to find a way to keep the cost just low enough for us to keep it, which I am so grateful for.

Add to this my day and weekend work: At my day job, I was trained as a trainer with Trauma-Informed Oregon and I worked on extensive learning modules based on trauma-informed care (keep an eye out for an online course coming soon that will NOT use these modules but will address related topics); and in my "free" time I created presentations and ran a course on the Disability Community in the library. Usually, I'm able to enjoy vastly different work between my day job and my side stuff. At one point a few months ago, I had just finished writing about  historical trauma and institutional oppression; the next day I walked to the coffee shop and opened up my laptop to a slide that just said: "Disabled People are Burdens."

Yeah, it's been fun.

Through all this I'm thinking about stuff I've put in place in order to mitigate particularly stressful situations and stay on top of things. It's really a huge deal for me; and even though I don't have everything under control at all times, I thought I'd share some things that have helped:

-Got my meds right: yes, again. It's a process.

-Have one notebook where EVERYTHING lives: I first got this idea from Shawn Brommer, who presented on her organizational style at the 2015 ILEAD Wisconsin workshop. One thing I've definitely borrowed from her style is writing down things I've accomplished that didn't make my to-do list but I accomplished anyway. My notebook has become such a mainstay in my my office that my boss and two of my coworkers also carry them around everywhere.

Various college ruled notebooks, dated to indicate the timeframe each one contains.

-Mark emails on my to-do list: and I don't cross them off until I hit send. Emails can sometimes be easy things to do, though I have a tendency to write them and forget to send them until later. Meds help, but marking them with a little box on the side of my to-do list can alert me to do things I can do to keep things going. If I don't have much time at my desk one day, it's often more important to get emails out in order to keep projects moving than trying to work on a larger project.

-Question why I'm putting something off: I recently have been reading more about procrastination as it's related to anxiety, and it really makes a lot of sense to me. If I'm feeling particularly willful about a task, I do my best to reflect on why that is, and engage in a short de-stress exercise in my toolkit, and it's usually enough to get over it and get started. Way more often than not, interestingly enough, the anxiety is left over from past toxic work environments; I can acknowledge that my anxiety about a task is valid, but is not useful in a work environment in which I feel relatively safe. Reaching out to coworkers to help me remember this has been especially helpful through change.

-Install web tools to increase focus: random web usage when I'm putting stuff off has been common for me, particularly anymore on the weekends. When I'm having a  hard time reeling in my work-related anxiety, I actually find it soothing (though COMPLETELY UNPRODUCTIVE, to be fair) to Google the same things over and over again. At one point several years ago, my anxiety was particularly about my place in the world outside of my workplace, which I assumed (irrationally, I know) I would die at before I had the opportunity to leave. Consequently, the thing I Googled the most was, like, my own name. My own self-preservation had completely taken over. To disrupt this tendency anymore, I use tools like Block Site. Seeing the block screen is often enough for me to engage in a de-stress activity and rededicate my brain.

-Write things down as a I remember them: As I go through the week, occasionally my mind will wander in a meeting or on non-work time and I remember something that I need to do. I'll either email the idea to myself, or write it in the margins of my notebook with a big star. At the beginning of the next week, all big-starred and emailed items are added to my to-do list.

-Have meeting days and non-meeting days where possible: this is a hugely useful change I'm moving toward thanks to my coworker Katie. I'm sure I'm not alone in that my brain works differently at meetings versus at my desk, and it can be tough to transition if meetings are scattered throughout the week. While scattered meetings are not completely unavoidable, I try to find at least one day every two weeks where there are no meetings scheduled, and rope off that time on my calendar. This is time to dig into large projects and catch up.

Staying on top of things can be overwhelming especially when life goes pear-shaped. But it's been powerful to figure out a system that works for me in a job as varied as the one I've got.

What are some things that help you stay on top of things?