This is an annotated list of books about libraries which fail to depict customers or staff with disabilities. Note that I do use some of these books, in conjunction with other materials, when working with children. Many of the titles on this list are enjoyable reads. I suspect that the exclusion of individual in many of these books is done, as it is often done in read life, out of thoughtlessness, rather than out of intention. In creating this list, I am hoping to remind all of us that it is necessary to supplement the use of these books with more inclusive materials in order to avoid unwittingly seeming unwelcome.
Inside the Books: Readers and Libraries Around the World by Toni Buzzeo. Illustrated by Jude Daly. Preschool-Sixth Grade, depending if informational sidebars are read or skipped
This picture book uses a brief rhyming text and large colorful illustrations to introduce readers to several different libraries--there are two spreads for each continent plus a final spread that uses the image of a book to represent the world . "Sidebars" in the shape of open books identify each country and continent and tell a sentence or two about a library or libraries located there. Unfortunately, the book's diversity does not extend to include disabilities of any kind. None of the customers or librarians appear to have disabilities and neither text nor illustrations include any type of accomodations that would facilitate use of the library by customers with disabilities. I suspect that the presentation of many of the libraries depicted within Inside the Books are in fact more inclusive that this book would indicate. For example, the generic U.S. library presented here appears to contain only print books. I'm sure I am not the only American librarian to be slightly horrified by this particular aspect of our portrayel. Not only do we rely on other media and technology to greatly widen accessibility to stories and information, we utilize technology and media of all kinds as an inherent part of keeping American libraries functional and relevant.
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