Here is a Wrap-up of the ALIA Disability – Training for library staff Event from May, 2022.

Jillian Black from National Disability Services explains the Let’s Talk Disability training program. A physical/online program led and run by people with lived experience living with a disability. 

Learn from real people with real stories.

5 Principles:

  • Accessibility
  • Language
  • Advocacy
  • Respect
  • Inclusion

Australian Disability Clearinghouse’s Darlean Mclennan discussed a free eLearning program for; teachers in tertiary institutions and TAFE, supporting accessible teaching for students with disabilities.

Dr Jo Kaeding from the University of South Australia, Adelaide Hills Council Library Service, discussed invisible disabilities.

What is an invisible disability? 

‘An invisible disability is a long-term impairment, health condition or illness that isn’t immediately visible in most everyday circumstances – such as depression, fibromyalgia or lupus’.

Other invisible disabilities (Disabled World, 2022) include:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • IBS
  • Diabetes
  • Food allergies
  • Chronic pain

Jo addresses research statistics that highlighted:

  • 90% of disabilities are invisible in Australia
  • Almost 1 in 3 of the 5 million people living in Australia have a disability
  • 1.6 million avoid community situations
  • 77% have physical disabilities
  • 23% mental/behavioral disability  

Other questions from Jo focused on:

  • Are libraries providing events and spaces for people with invisible and physical disabilities?
  • Are the library spaces accessible for people with service animals? Do they have a provided space; to sit, drink or go to the toilet?
  • Do library staff living with invisible disabilities feel welcome in the workplace?

How can libraries address access inclusion for invisible disabilities?

  • Provide training to staff on disability awareness, universal design (library space) and keyword signing.
  • Create dementia-friendly spaces.
  • Training needs to provide cultural awareness, challenge perceptions, create empathy and educate on different types of disabilities.
  • Train as a staff and team environment – helps create a supportive environment for disability awareness training for current and future staff.

Marie and Anne from Libraries as Community Connectors ended the webinar with a conversation about a free eLearning program available on Plumtree for Libraries as Community Connectors.

A summary of lessons includes:

  •  Setting up inclusive spaces
  •  Creating sensory environments
  • Providing welcoming spaces for children and families from cultural-linguistic diverse backgrounds
  • Providing welcoming spaces for indigenous children and families.

Join the ALIA Disability eList for more information and event updates.

Reference List:

ADCET. (2022). Inclusive Teaching – Understanding Disability.

ALIANational. (2022, May 11). ALIA Disability – Training for library staff [Video]. YouTube.

Dementia Australia. (2022). How to design Dementia-friendly care environments

Government of Victoria. Department of Health.(n.d.). Dementia-friendly environments.

Disabled World. (2022). Invisible Disabilities: List and General Information.

Let’s Talk Disability. (2022). Disability awareness training.

Plumtree. (2022). Libraries as Community Connectors.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest resources