TILT #96 — I hope this chair is wide enough for my butt
Hello 2022, may you be an improvement over last year. I blew my 500-day meditation streak on December 27th, but my bird feeders are having a renaissance with a carolina wren keeping me company today. I’ve finished my wrap-ups including last year’s reading list and last year’s library visits. Nothing new here, which is cautiously okay. No promises for more frequent updates, you’re all living through the same pandamnit times as I am.
This fun image came in just after my last newsletter and it’s been a minute, I know, but in case you missed it the first time, please enjoy this library themed beer.
Focus this month is on disability and accessibility.
The National Endowment for the Arts commissioned a field scan specifically looking at disability as it relates to public spaces (hello libraries!) as well as disability and the human body and mind (notably fashion and technology!). The resulting summary report is a fun and fascinating look at trends and topics in disability and design topics. 🦿 🦮🧑🏽🦯
The American Association of People with Disabilities also came out with a good report on Centering Disability In Technology Policy. It highlights a LOT of things that people should be keeping in mind as they design technology that people interact with as they go about their lives. They’ve also created a plain language version (what is plain language?).
And of course with digital communication, you should be using alt text with your images all the time, but with COVID-related information it’s a human rights issue.
For folks already paying close attention to accessibility issues and Libby’s lack of them, you may be pleased to read about the accessibility “enhancements” to the app. Turns out their cutesy little “girl reading” icon wasn’t clearly telegraphing was was behind it! While I commend them for finally doing this work, it’s somewhat embarrassing that they launched an app, a reading app, without a “reduce motion” setting or adjustable text size.
Do you have a patron with a disability who needs help with a Microsoft product (including Xbox)? Microsoft’s Disability Answer Desk may be able to help them, or help you help them.
Another thing to think about when considering accessibility in (our) public spaces is what kinds of bodies fit in our furniture. I found a lot to think about in Roger Chabot’s article “Is the library for “every body”? Examining fatphobia in library spaces through online library furniture catalogues”, published in The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science. General conclusions are, of course, we can all be doing better.
The most generous explanation for the lack of any meaningful consideration of fatness in library furniture catalogues is that they are simply naïve about the needs of super-normative bodies, in a sort of malign neglect.
Lastly I enjoyed reading Netanel Ganin’s post about trying to effectively catalog a book about autistic people that wasn’t about the medical aspects of autism. It’s an imperfect solution, he acknowledges, but good to read about.
- I like this PUSH (Presidents United to Stop Hunger) initiative at Central Washington University that uses space at the library for an emergency food pantry.
- This zine library hidden inside of a non-library book on a library shelf is a great story of discovery.
- Do you fight with labels all the time at your library? I know I do. The website labelo.us can help, maybe.
- “Siphoning taxpayer, tuition, and endowment dollars to access our own behavior is a financial and moral indignity.” A look at surveillance publishing.
- Why companies with long histories should open up their archives. I always love it when brands talk about where they come from.
- Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces new editions of public domain ebooks that look nice, have great metadata, and an RSS feed of new titles.
Not a product placement but… I’ve mentioned in the past that I get a lot of insight into publishing from Jane Friedman’s Hot Sheet. One of the trends she has been tracking is the use of AI to create audiobooks. I’m sure people will have a lot of feels about this, I know I do, but it might be worth learning a bit more about one of the companies that does this work. She’s pointed me to DeepZen (I even have feels about the name) as a company that has been making inroads in this marketplace.
Audible currently doesn’t allow non-human-narrated audiobooks in its catalog. This Publisher’s Weekly article discusses some of the other competitors and looks at the thing most of them don’t mention up front: price.
These are the last few books that I’ve been reading, ongoing booklist is on Twitter or this site. If you’re looking for more titles by authors of color, Lisa runs @ReadinColor and has a list of new releases by Black authors and authors of color. She’s a good follow.
And one more I might like to read one of these days. I bet we all might. A few samples on this page on Literary Hub.
Hang in there, and happy new year.