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: