Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Responding to Caregivers Looking for Information on Disability

Saturday night I returned from a whirlwind 19 hours in Las Vegas for #NVLA18, where I presented on how library staff need to examine the lessons they've internalized about disability if we really want to get serious about accessibility and welcoming the disability community in the library.

My thoughts on how to talk about the disability community in the library continue to evolve as I learn and grow as a self-advocate. I'm realizing that for multiple reasons we can't talk about disability in the same frame as other marginalization, though it's important to acknowledge that particularly the intersection of race makes a member of the disability community more vulnerable to the societal effects of the abled narrative (follow Vilissa Thompson at Ramp Your Voice for more on the intersection of race and disability). There are specific challenges in regards to accessibility that disabled people face in society and the workplace; and often un-examined feelings about the disability can lead to a neglect of basic access needs.

So at #NVLA18 I tried my hand at a way to talk about accessibility and the way the abled narrative inserts itself into the framework in our profession. I framed the presentation through three overarching lies the abled narrative tells us; how each plays out in libraries; and some things we can do to counter and rebalance our thinking. A tall order for 50 minutes! But hey, I had a lot to say.

One part of the presentation was not only particularly difficult to write but also prompted some discussion afterward, and I thought it might make a good post for everyone to consider: