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Disability Pride Month & Libraries

Every July, Disability Pride Month is celebrated to promote inclusivity, awareness, and acceptance of people with disabilities. During this important month, libraries play a significant role in creating accessible and inclusive spaces for individuals of all abilities. Let us explore how libraries contribute to Disability Pride Month and the impact they have on fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment.

  1. Accessibility: Libraries have a responsibility to ensure their spaces, services, and resources are accessible to everyone. From physical accessibility, such as ramps and elevators, to assistive technologies, libraries strive to remove barriers and provide equal access to information and knowledge for individuals with disabilities. By prioritizing accessibility, libraries send a powerful message of inclusivity and respect for diverse abilities.

  2. Disability Literature and Resources: Libraries serve as a hub of information and learning, and this includes a rich collection of disability-related literature and resources. They curate an extensive range of books, audiobooks, and e-books that highlight diverse perspectives, experiences, and achievements of individuals with disabilities. Such collections not only educate and inform but also foster empathy and understanding among library users. Moreover, libraries offer resources on disability rights, assistive technologies, and community services, empowering individuals with disabilities and their families to access the support they need.

  3. Sensory-Friendly Programs: Libraries are increasingly embracing sensory-friendly programming to cater to individuals with sensory sensitivities or autism spectrum disorders. These programs may include quiet reading corners, special storytimes with visual schedules, and sensory-friendly events. By creating welcoming and accommodating environments, libraries ensure that people of all abilities can comfortably engage in library activities and events.

  4. Collaboration with Disability Organizations: Libraries often collaborate with local disability organizations, support groups, and advocacy networks to create meaningful partnerships. By working together, libraries and disability organizations can offer specialized programs, resources, and support networks to individuals with disabilities and their families. This collaborative approach strengthens the library's role as a community hub and ensures that they remain responsive to the specific needs of the disability community.

As Disability Pride Month shines a spotlight on the achievements and contributions of individuals with disabilities, libraries play a vital role in fostering inclusivity, accessibility, and empowerment. By prioritizing accessibility, libraries create spaces that celebrate and support individuals of all abilities. Look below for some recommended reading for Disability Pride Month and information on upcoming programs: 

Book Recommendations
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century 
By Alice Wong
One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent-but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, From Harriet McBryde Johnson's account of her debate with Peter Singer over her own personhood to original pieces by authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma; from blog posts, manifestos, and eulogies to Congressional testimonies, and beyond- this anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and the past with hope and love.

Born Extraordinary: Empowering Children with Differences and Disabilities 
By Meg Zucker
Meg Zucker was born with one finger on each hand, shortened forearms, and one toe on each misshapen foot, caused by a genetic condition called ectrodactyly. She would eventually pass this condition on to her two sons, and, along with her husband, raise them and their adopted daughter, who has her own invisible differences. Born of the family's hard-won experiences, this book offers invaluable advice on raising confident, empathetic, and resilient children who succeed, not despite but because of their differences. Born Extraordinary helps parents of children with differences and disabilities to relinquish their instinctive anxieties, embrace their new normal, and ultimately find joy in watching their children thrive. Often the subjects of unwanted attention--ranging from pitying stares to bullying--Zucker and her sons have learned to ignore what others think and live fearlessly. Also incorporating the stories of other families with visible and invisible differences of all kinds, Born Extraordinary gives parents the tools to meet their children's emotional needs while supporting the whole family unit. Parents learn how best to empower their children to confront others' assumptions, grow in confidence, and encourage dialogue--rather than silence, fear, and shame--around difference.

There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness
By M. Leona Godin
There Plant Eyes probes the ways in which blindness has shaped our ocularcentric culture, challenging deeply ingrained ideas about what it means to be "blind." For millennia, blindness has been used to signify such things as thoughtlessness ("blind faith"), irrationality ("blind rage"), and unconsciousness ("blind evolution"). But at the same time, blind people have been othered as the recipients of special powers as compensation for lost sight (from the poetic gifts of John Milton to the heightened senses of the comic book hero Daredevil).
Godin--who began losing her vision at age ten--illuminates the often-surprising history of both the condition of blindness and the myths and ideas that have grown up around it over the course of generations. She combines an analysis of blindness in art and culture (from King Lear to Star Wars) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) to paint a vivid personal and cultural history.
A genre-defying work, There Plant Eyes reveals just how essential blindness and vision are to humanity's understanding of itself and the world.

Haben // Haben (sound recording)
By Haben Girma
Haben grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn't see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents' harrowing experiences during Eritrea's thirty-year war with Ethiopia. Their refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious.
Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.
Haben takes readers through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman's determination to find the keys to connection.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
By Samantha Irby
Whether Samantha Irby is talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making "adult" budgets; explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette (she's "35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something"); detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes; sharing awkward sexual encounters; or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms (hang in there for the Costco loot!); she's as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

Upcoming Programming
Autism Spectrum Disorders 
Join us for a presentation on Autism Spectrum Disorders from Michele Lammers of Partners Resource Network. This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the characteristics and educational implications of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We will explore how the characteristics of autism vary significantly within and across individuals with ASDs, as well as how students with autism have varying degrees of challenges and strengths. This workshop also discusses early diagnosis and intervention strategies will be discussed. 
October 27, 2023 | 10AM | 3rd Floor McLane Room 

Realities of Autism 
Join us for a presentation on The Realities of Autism from Michele Lammers of Partners Resource Network. This workshop will provide parents, organizations and communities with a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We will explore signs and symptoms, who is affected, what to do when you are concerned, 
diagnosis, risk factors and causes, treatment categories, behavior and communication approaches, dietary approaches, medication, complementary and alternative treatments, research, facts and statistics, and economic impacts. 
November 4, 2023 | 10AM | 3rd Floor McLane Room 

For more information, please email or call 254.298.5557. 

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