Forbes Library Disability Advisory Board

Fri January 18 2019

3:00 PM

  1. Announcements
    1. Forbes Library will host two screenings of Going Blind in March. On March 8th there will be a screening during the regular Accessibility Focus slot. On March 27 it will be screened as part of the Social Justice Film Series.
    2. Barbara Black has agreed to lead a Braille storytime and a meet-the-guide-dog, most likely during the February school vacation week
    3. Funds for Voice Dream Reader on the library’s iPad have been approved
    4. The library has purchased bluetooth speakers for accessibility events. This will be especially helpful when demonstrating VoiceOver on the library’s iPad.
    5. Rick and Ben met with two teachers from the Center for New Americans to discuss assistive technology that could benefit their students
    6. Rick Ely is planning a film series focussing on the portrayal of disability in cinema
    7. The pavement in front of the library is breaking up creating tripping hazards. The library has outlined the problem areas with bright paint to make them more visible. The DPW will fill the holes, but must wait for warmer weather to do so.

  2. Promoting the Accessibility Focus series
    • 13 attendees over 4 programs, for an average of 3.5 attendees per class
    • In 2016 we 23 attendees for our program launch, 12 for our next program, and 5 for our remaining two programs
    • We would like to increase participation. So far publicity has been limited to Gazette calendar and the library’s event calendar. In order to spread the word Ben and Lisa will reach out to Northampton Neighbors, Valley Eye Radio, the Northampton Senior Center, Prime Magazine, senior living centers in Northampton, and will use the library’s social media and email broadcast tools to spread the word. We will also revise the language used to make it clear that classes are open to all, including educators, family members, and allies, and not just folks who identify as having a disability. Committee members are encouraged to personally spread the word and to make suggest additional contacts or promotional techniques.

  3. Holding an Assistive Technology Fair
    1. Chicopee Public Library used to host an Assistive Technology fair. It was run by Perkins Library and later by the Carroll Center. Anne Gancarz who organized event for Chicopee tells us that they are not currently planning to host the event again but she is enthusiastic about having Forbes Library organize one and she is available to answer questions and suggested that the Chicopee Public Library might have a table at the fair.
    2. Possible collaborators for an Assistive Technology Fair include:
      • The Northampton Senior Center
      • United Cerebral Palsy
      • Perkins
      • Easter Seals
      • The Five Colleges
      • Northampton Public Schools
      • Communicare (Augmentative and Alternative Communication from Southwick)
      • Comcast
      • Charter
      • Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
      • Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
      • The Carroll Center
    3. It would be great to encourage and facilitate transportation to the event from neighboring communities. Perhaps local Councils on Aging/Senior Centers could run help?

  4. Other issues:
    1. The reading room can be difficult to navigate with a walker or other mobility device.

  5. Action Items
    1. Ben
      • coordinate with Lisa to increase publicity for Accessibility Focus Series
      • Revise the language used to promote the Accessibility focus make it clear that classes are open to all
    2. Lisa
      • Reach out to Marie Westburg about the possibility of holding an Assistive Technology fair in the large meeting room at the Senior Center.
      • Alert disability commission to condition of sidewalks and crossings and ask for an update
    3. Rick
      • Look into the British Film Institute’s streaming service and whether or not it can be used for library programs.