Monthly Archives: February 2021

Now is an important moment

I have already said that I think we should all be contacting our representatives regarding HR 40, the bill for studying the creation of structure to provide reparations for the descendants of enslaved people.
     One of the amazing things that happen this last week is that I received the author copies of our book. Seeking to Understand: A Journey into Disability Studies and Libraries will be published on March 15.
I am preparing to present on March 18th. So I started to reread parts of it. What I want to focus on right now is the tremendous opportunity to get the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified.

Guiding Principles of the Convention

There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:
  1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
  2. Non-discrimination
  3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
  5. Equality of opportunity
  6. Accessibility
  7. Equality between men and women
  8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
Please, this is an opportunity to join in something that has already be ratified by 182 countries. Now is the time. Please ask your Senator to sponsor putting this treaty forward for ratification.

Musical Chairs

      One of the lens through which I look at life, as a person with a life time mobility disability, is musical chairs.  I believe that game  fosters competition and getting your own needs met, regardless of the needs of others. Self obsessed competition fosters the myth of the meritocracy, and ignores privilege.  The most obvious privilege that I recall from my childhood was physical talent.  Success was defined by the  ability to win games.
      Musical chairs came into my life when I started commuting by mass transit.  I soon realized that I wasn’t sitting down because I wasn’t fast enough.  I began to say “I suck at musical chairs.”  Of course crowded mass transit trains feel like half a lifetime ago.
      I believe we are still seeing self obsessed competition. When we talk about “everybody working from home” we are forgetting the essential workers who are keeping our lights on, our heat running, and delivering our groceries.  I have been on mass transit during the pandemic, I saw very few white people. I want to suggest that pandemic hoarding is also about musical chairs.  I need to make sure that MY needs are met, regardless of the needs of my neighbor.
       Then there is the vaccine.  Who has been vaccinated? I am delighted that my 91 year old mother has been vaccinated. I am delighted that first responders are being vaccinated. I have heard stories about SUVs with NJ plates parked outside vaccination hubs in NYC.  That’s about privilege on so many levels,  it’s probably not even conscious.  Again, the drive to get your needs met, regardless of the needs of others.
     I live in NJ. I have heard stories of vaccine appointments obtained after spending hours on the phone. To those who have urged me to be proactive, and check a dozen different places, I say I just don’t have the time.  I am really extraordinarily fortunate to be working full time. I have commitments outside of my work that fill up my day.  I have neither the time or the inclination to spend hours on the phone.
      So I have decided to decline to play musical chairs because that never ends well.  I have registered where I am supposed to register, and I am waiting for a response.  I will be vaccinated some time before I am expected to return to my office.

Observations on attending a virtual conference

         Attending Library conferences over the years has truly enriched my life. When I was an active mother, it was a holiday. In 2015 I brought T with me to San Francisco and we had a lovely time. In New Orleans in 2018 I learned about grits. I also discovered that sleeping car beds are not friendly to my arthritis. In 2019 I went to the ACRL conference in Cleveland, OH and met with Library Juice Press, and they accepted my book proposal.
       So I went to ALA Midwinter virtually. I had a nice time, and learned some things about attending conferences. ALA Midwinter was distorted because I forgot to leave home. I have a rich and complex life, that includes extensive commitments on the weekends. I did everything I usually do, and then layered conference on top of it. That was a mistake.
       So, I intend to attend ALA Annual virtually. I am going to do my best to “leave home.” I will arrange to also “leave work.” It’s important to focus. I want to learn how to attend virtual conferences because I am aging with a disability, and going to F2F conferences is going to get harder.
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