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Special Interest Group Archive: EDI SIG 1/20/22

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

January 27, 2022

The meeting was held on Thursday, January 27, 2022 via Zoom. Our facilitator was Maggie Leung. 


Land Recognition  

Clearwater site: 

The Lenape Center: 

More about Lenapehoking: 

Native Land Finder: 


Review of Community Agreements 

Icebreaker: In the context of National Mentoring Month, who has been a mentor in your life?  

Review of CDC’s Definition of Disability:  


  • Impairment 

  • Activity limitation 

  • Participation restrictions  

  • 1 in 4 people in New York have a disability; therefore we should assume that about a quarter of our patrons do, too.  

Discussion of Hunter’s Point Library (Queens Public Library)  

  • Viewed newsclip regarding the major (in)accessibility issues at the Hunter’s Point Library, which took 10 years and $41,000,000 to be built. The library has several floors of tiered shelving, which can only be accessed by stairs. The Library was subject to lawsuits almost immediately upon opening.  

  • SIG participants wondered how this could be built in the 2010s without considering the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and clearly without input from folks with disabilities (“clearly no one with a disability was involved in the planning process”).  

Talking Books and Braille Library – New York State 

  • A free library service for people who are unable to use standard print materials; materials (player and cartridge and/or braille material) are mailed to patron or sent to smartphone  

  • RCLS – Talking Book and Braille Library Info Session: 

  • Geared toward people with learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia) as well as hard of hearing (HOH)/deaf people 

Convener reviewed Powerpoint on serving deaf/HOH patrons (Powerpoint slides attached to LibGuide) 

Open Discussion 

  • One participant voiced concerns regarding wearing masks and serving those who rely on lip-reading  

  • Someone noted that it’s possible to buy transparent masks 

  • A participant commented that deaf/HOH people usually don’t hesitate to use a Notes app, texting app, or pad + paper for communication 

  • Live transcription/text-to-speech software has improved (even on Zoom); Dragon Naturally Speaking and Otter AI are two good choices 

  • A participant commented that teaching literacy to people of all abilities is critical  – deaf people use notes for communication, but literacy is the foundation of writing 

  • for assistive apps  

  • There are ASL dictionaries online, too  

  • A participant noted that literacy is the foundation for communication between deaf/hoh and hearing people 

  • A participant questioned the accuracy of the literacy stats as they were presented in the Powerpoint presentation: “most deaf/hoh people I've known are able to communicate through writing and reading and pen/paper is not an uncommon method” 

  • The convener reviewed the publication date of the statistics and confirmed that they were old, but it is unclear if new statistics have been gathered.  

  • “The diagnostic tests for hearing and sight for babies are way improved in the past few years (which has probably helped with early intervention)” 

  • A participant noted that patience is key when working with a patron with a disability – ask for collegial assistance if you are at a public desk and it is busy so you can give that patron the attention they need.   

  • Popular materials featuring characters with disabilities?  

  • El Deafo (

  • A participant noted that anecdotally, they have been seeing more characters with disabilities in picture books even if the subject of the book is unrelated to disabilities (e.g., a secondary character with a cochlear implant)  

  • “You don’t see ‘National Disability Month’ displays to the same degree you see national ethnicity months...”  

  • An academic librarian noted that if you work on a campus you should always be able to work with your Office of Special Services to support students with disabilities 

  • A participant recommended the WAVE browser plugin for a basic review of website accessibility: 

Convener shared link to “Judith Heumann’s Fight for Disability Rights – Drunk History”: 

Judith Heumann’s Fight for Disability Rights (feat. Ali Stroker) - Drunk History 




Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065