When I approached the microphone following a PLA Conference session on making your library more accessible, I never thought what I would have to say would actually have an impact.
The session on accessibility that I attended at PLA was very thorough and talked about how a library has made their space and programs more accessible to users. I was glad to see at least one session on this topic at PLA, but I think there should be more. Nineteen percent of the US population has a disability and our nation is aging with 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Based on the number of attendees at this session, it is clearly a topic people are interested in.
Back to what I said at the microphone. During the Q&A period, I went up to the mic and thanked the presenters for providing the session’s content and then I let everyone know about this amazing conference called the ADA Symposium that is offered every year, with it being hosted in Pittsburgh this June. I shared how I was the only librarian at the ADA Symposium in 2017 and I thought more of us should be there.
Three months later…
I’m in line at a Downtown Pittsburgh hotel waiting to check into my hotel room for the ADA Symposium. I’m telling someone in line that I’m a librarian and it’s my second time attending the conference. And then this person says, “Were you at PLA?” And I said, “Yes…” You will recall that in 2017, I was the only librarian at this conference of 850 attendees. She goes on to say that she saw me at PLA and that I inspired her to attend the ADA Symposium. She also brought her colleague along! What was once a conference with just one librarian, there were now three.
I took this picture of Sarah (below) who is the librarian that saw me get up to the mic in Philadelphia at PLA and was now next to me in Pittsburgh for the ADA Symposium. Sarah, you inspired me to write about this and the importance of sharing information and knowledge.
I’m so glad Sarah was there and I hope to see more librarians at the ADA Symposium in the future. Mark your calendars for June 16-19, 2019 in Grapevine – Dallas, TX. More more information, visit http://www.adasymposium.org.
Sarah, Northbrook Public Library (IL), at ADA Symposium in Pittsburgh