Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 April 19

The following  post is one in a regular series on issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, compiled by Jay Weitz.

Unite Against Book Bans

The American Library Association has inaugurated a public effort intended to help help readers anywhere to stand up against the growing movements to censor materials, remove books from libraries, and otherwise limit access to information that enables us to comprehend the world. Unite Against Book Bans hopes to bring together and empower the majorities on the side of libraries and the rights of people to read and learn. At the same time, ALA released its annual State of America’s Libraries report for 2022, documenting 729 challenges to materials and services during 2021, the most since the Office of Intellectual Freedom began keeping track twenty years ago.

LC Authorities and Classification for Indigenous Long Island, New York

The second part of “Searching for Paumanok: Methodology for a Study of Library of Congress Authorities and Classifications for Indigenous Long Island, New York” by Kristen J. Nyitray and Dana Reijerkerk, both of Stony Brook University (OCLC Symbol: YSM) in New York, has appeared in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, Volume 60, Issue 1 (2022). In presenting strategies for the examination of the representation of Indigenous peoples and lands in Library of Congress Authorities, it “details the processes for identifying and assessing subject headings, names, and classifications with an emphasis on decolonizing methodologies.” The first part, which assessed the accuracy and usefulness of various cataloging tools for works by and about Indigenous Long Island, appeared in CCQ 59:5 (2021).

Autism Acceptance Month, April 2022

The Autism Society describes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as “a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation.  Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a ‘spectrum condition’ that affects people differently and to varying degrees.  While there is currently no known single cause of autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.” The Autism Society began its campaign to promote awareness of autism in 1970.  In 1972, the society began to promote National Autistic Children’s Week.  The United States Congress officially established National Autism Week in 1985.  The now-familiar Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon was adopted in 1999, becoming the international sign of autism awareness.  The ribbon symbolizes the complexity of the autism spectrum, the diversity of people who live with autism, and the hope that comes with awareness and early intervention.  In 2008, the United Nations declared each April 2 to be World Autism Awareness Day.  On March 4, 2021, the Autism Society announced its shift from “awareness” to “Autism Acceptance Month” to foster opportunities in and support of inclusion for the autism community. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a page devoted to news and events for Autism Awareness Month.

Library outreach in underserved communities

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) will present a webinar, “Centering Community, Building Equity: A Social Justice Approach to Outreach with Families and Children in Underserved Communities,” on May 17, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern Time. The webinar is free to ALA members and nonmembers alike. The development of authentic programs and services to meet the needs of such families and children will be the focus.

Essay: What to Read When You Feel Uprooted

Puerto Rican journalist, writer, and editor of the 2021 anthology Home in Florida: Latinx Writers and the Literature of Uprootedness, Anjanette Delgado writes “You don’t have to be an immigrant to know the fear and loneliness of uprootedness. Sometimes life, your own, kicks you out of it. What you had built with so much sweat and love, gone in seconds.” She recommends seven books in her Electric Lit essay, “What to Read When You Feel Uprooted.”

Disability history in rare ephemera

Will Hansen, Director of Reader Services and Curator of Americana at the Newberry Library in Chicago (OCLC Symbol: IBV), writes about its acquisition of the Mendicant Ephemera Collection in “Disability History in Rare Ephemera.” Consisting of “nearly 200 pamphlets, postcards, handbills, photographs, and other printed items sold by the disabled or impoverished to support themselves … they form a portrait of nearly a century of lives lived without a safety net.” Although these rare materials were created as objects for sale, Hansen notes, “the items helped to fill the deep need of their writers to share their stories, even in a society that was actively hostile to their existence.”

A library toolkit for EDI and antiracism

The Oregon Library Association Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Committee presents the first episode of its new podcast, Overdue: Weeding Out Oppression in Libraries. The episode entitled “EDI & Antiracism in Libraries: A Toolkit for Success” features Marci Ramiro-Jenkins, Reference Librarian and Latino Community Liaison at McMinnville Public Library (OCLC Symbol: OOR) in Oregon, who created the association’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Antiracism Toolkit. The toolkit “promotes freedom of speech in conjunction with strong policies that protect patrons and library staff of all gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, disability, income level, age, and all other personal, social, cultural, and economic perspectives.”