Monday, October 31, 2016

The Disability Community in the Library: An Exciting Announcement!

Picture of comedian Maysoon Zayid
Includes quote: "And I'm like, 'No, like seriously! The part of my brain
that controls coordination is damaged!'"
The first time I ever read a children's or YA book with a disabled character I could identify with, I was 29 years old.

Reviews on Goodreads will tell you that this book is horribly written, and loses the plot halfway through, and it’s just terrible and it’s probably weeded from most teen collections even though it was published in 2011. To tell you the truth I don’t even remember much of what it was about except “If Dawson had cerebral palsy” but that was the biggest thing: It was like reading a book about an abled character. Or, maybe, it was reading a book about a character that got abled character treatment: he had interests and passions and a screwed up friend and realistic goals and all of that had nothing to do with having cerebral palsy. He just had it. And lived.

This was (and still is) rare. The closest feeling I can get to my feeling reading this book was the feeling expressed by some women with the release of Ghostbusters 2016: “this is important and cathartic and satisfying and comforting and god why wasn’t it perfect it should have been perfect.” I wished it was better so that more people liked it, so that more books would be written about realistic disabled characters.

Around this time was the first time I actually started talking to other disabled people about disabilities. Specifically, when I was 29, it was people with cerebral palsy about cerebral palsy. People with other disabilities came later: an extended family member of mine has a disability, one that they have had my entire life, and it did not occur to me to talk about the disabled experience with them until Christmas two years ago. I started reading more about myself as a member of the disability community, rather than as a person in a world not created for me and didn’t understand my experience enough to represent me in media.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Summer Reading Tic-Tac-Toe: A guest post by Katie Gatten

Poodles dancing in leotards
Katie Gatten is the Branch and Youth Services Administrator for the Mansfield/Richland County Library in Mansfield, OH, located directly between Columbus and Cleveland. There are 75,000 cardholders in their diverse county. For more information on their Summer Library Program, contact Katie a kgatten at mrcpl dot org.

This post will be decorated with GIFs of cute animals dancing because we all need that in our lives right now.

We decided to change up our Summer Library Program this year, having done the same program for many years.  It wasn’t a bad program, but we just wanted to try something fresh.  We had been giving the kids reading records to complete with 7 images to check off that represented 15 minutes of reading time.  When they turned in a completed record they got to pick a prize.  This was the classic Rhode Island Novelty stuff that was cheap quality yet costly, and fell apart soon after the kids received it.  Once the child completed 5 records and visited the library five times, they would also receive a final prize of a new paperback book of their choice.