According to federal statistics, one in five people in the United States has a disability. How can libraries better understand and support this population, and welcome them among our patrons and staff? Join us for this program, which will include:
Disabilities 101 – history, types, incidence, language, etc.
A design thinking activity to help you assess your library community’s specific needs
An opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to navigate the world in a wheelchair, use assistive software to access the internet, and more!
A panel on how to recruit and support staff with disabilities
Plenty of resources for follow-up!
MLS extends a big thank you to Mare Parker O’Toole, Assistant Director of the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation, for coordinating this program, and to the Earl Center and staff for hosting and helping! All speaker bios are below.
9:00am -- Registration and Refreshments
Tweeting the program? #mls1in5
Coffee, tea, and light breakfast will be provided.
10:00am -- Welcome
10:15am -- Disabilities 101
Topics may include history, types of disabilities and incidence, community scanning, language and permission, and more.
10:45am -- Breakouts Round 1
Group A: Experiential learning: An opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to navigate the world in a wheelchair, use assistive software to access the internet, and more!
Group B: Design thinking: An activity to help you assess your library community’s specific needs
11:45am -- Lunch and Networking
Box lunches will be provided.
12:30pm -- Breakouts Round 2
Group A: Design thinking: An activity to help you assess your library community’s specific needs
Group B: Experiential learning: An opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to navigate the world in a wheelchair, use assistive software to access the internet, and more!
1:30pm -- Staff Panel
Learn how to recruit and support library staff with disabilities.
2:30pm -- Resources and Reflection
Take some time to think about how you will follow up on today's program.
Charles G. Baldwin (panel moderator)
Charles G. Baldwin is the Program Officer for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Universal Participation (UP) Initiative, which provides resources for organizations seeking to develop inclusive and equitable tools for policy development and community engagement through an accessibility lens. For 15 years Charles was the Director of Marketing and Operations at Wheelock Family Theater, a professional, Equity theatre in Boston committed to affordable, colorful, accessible theater for children and families. Charles has attended, hosted, facilitated, and taught workshops at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts LEAD Conference (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability), and currently he serves on the Executive Committee of CANE (Cultural Access New England), is an active participant in the Disability Task Force (Jewish Family and Children’s Services), and sits on the ReelAbilities Boston Advisory Board. Charles was a founding member of TAMA (Theatre Artists Marketing Alliance) and CBACT (Consortium of Boston Area Children’s Theatres) and served as a consultant to The Accessible Theater (2012-2015) and the Fenway Alliance Disability Review Board (2008-2010). Out of the office, Charles is an educator, illustrator, stage designer, and puppeteer.
Nicole Cunha (experiential, discussion, panel)
Nicole T. Cunha graduated from the Children’s Literature and Library Science dual Master’s program at Simmons College in 2016. Their interests include: improving disability/ accessibility consciousness in libraries and educational institutions; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education; storytelling; and much more. They work as a Public Service Assistant at Wheelock College’s Earl Center for Learning and Innovation, and volunteer as the social media coordinator for Considering Disability CIC, a social enterprise based in Leeds, UK. They serve on the Membership Committee for the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) and the Special Library Association (SLA). Nicole seeks to encourage those in public service to own their marginalized identities, and be an advocate for and work with underserved communities.
Phillip Fernandes (experiential, technical support)
Phill Fernandes is the Technology Services Manager of the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation at Wheelock College. He spends his days making sure the Center’s technology in circulation works and spends time exploring all that new apps and adapted services may offer to our customers
Ruth C. Kahn (panel, discussion, experiential)
Ruth C. Kahn has participated personally and professionally in the disability community for more than 30 years; the arts, particularly music, are her life-long passion. Ruth has served as an accessibility coordinator for arts organizations. She is an editor, theatrical audio describer for blind audience members, and open captioner for audience members who are hard of hearing. In 2014, Ruth received her master’s degree in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University. Now, Ruth is a Board-Certified Music Therapist who has worked with adults with dementia and those with physical disabilities. She also serves as Co-chair of the Patient Family Advisory Council and on the Accessibility Committee at Boston Medical Center. A mezzo-soprano, Ruth sings professionally as a Victorian Caroler and in choirs.
Deborah W. Kelsey is the Director of the Sawyer Free Library and Gloucester Athenaeum. She has experience in making libraries friendly to people with disabilities both patron and staff. She is also director of an urban library with the full range of urban issues-- homelessness, poverty, mental health dilemmas, opioid addictions—issues that often intersect with disability issues.
Mare Parker-O’Toole (coordinator, speaker, other)
Mare Parker-O’Toole is the Assistant Director of the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation at Wheelock College. She comes from a background of public service in libraries and is a lifelong educator about disability culture and issues and a developer of technology resources in libraries, colleges and universities and the promotion of inclusive maker space and play as a way of being.
Mare is pronounced like the horse: “mare.”
Meaghan Roper is a senior at Wheelock College, studying Literature and Political Science. She serves as Treasurer for the Massachusetts Association of Blind Students, as well as Treasurer for Wheelock Student Theater. She works in the Earl Center practicing innovative problem-solving and investigating the latest in assistive technology creative customer service.
By Public Transportation (recommended):
The Earl Center is readily accessible via public transportation. It is about a 5-minute walk from the Fenway or Longwood stops on the D Line, or a 10-minute walk from Yawkey Station on the MBTA commuter rail (Framingham/Worcester line).
Parking is available at several private garages in the area.
A campus map is available on the Wheelock College website. The Earl Center is building E.