Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Disability Allies in the Library: An Unsolicited Rant

Tweet from Storytime Underground that says
"Librarians are not neutral and libraries are not neutral spaces"
in all capital letters.
We need to talk.

What I am about to say is a long time coming. I am far from an activist and am speaking from the heart.

So here’s the thing; we all been dealing with a lot of tragedy recently. And it really sucks. And I get that we’re all tired.




But this week a bunch of stuff happened related to the largest minority in the world, disabled people/persons with disabilities/PWD* like me.

First, a minor with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 has decided to end her life. One thousand people attended a party hosted by her mother  to celebrate before she dies. In other words, a suicidal teen has announced her decision to commit suicide, and the adults in her life are celebrating it. Let me be clear that I am not against the right to die, but I am critical of the adults in her life, including her doctors and counselor. ThisTwitter thread by Kayla Whaley gets at my feelings about it. This is not an isolated incident.

Second, nineteen people were murdered in Japan explicitly because they are disabled.  I didn’t see this shared on my Facebook feed until 24 hours after the fact, even though I searched Facebook for it so its algorithm would know it was important to me. Conversely, I saw many people who shared the new ALS gene findings, the sharing of which reads like an in-your-face to critics of the Ice Bucket Challenge drive which just so happens to include a huge portion of the disability community (I was going to find you some links to that, but please Google it if you have questions. It is multifaceted and not the point of this post**). I’ve seen it shared on library groups and on library Facebook pages.

To me, the narratives behind these two stories and its responses are the same: disabled lives are actively seen as less than able-bodied lives, unless our lives serve to make able-bodied people feel better about themselves.

I need to ask you, library staff and librarians on the Internet, to be disability allies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top 5 Places to Hide and Cry at Your Library During Summer Reading (plus bonus links)

You didn't think I could make it through the entire summer just letting other people motivate everyone at WCCLS, did you? Well, I still kinda am. Back before the promised flurry of SRP was punched in the gut by mass shootings and overt injustices, I made a little *attempting to be funny* video about crying in the library.

It's first-take and there's no title cards or props or anything. I always intended to redo it, but I'm unsure I could bring the same levity to this video now: