September 28, 2015
July 26, 2015 marked the 25th Anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To commemorate the anniversary, Chicago Community Trust is sponsoring an initiative called ADA 25 Chicago. As Marcia Bristo, the co-chair of ADA 25 Chicago states, “one of the goals of the ADA was to change how the world perceives disability and then reacts to it.”
At the library, we are taking this occasion to reflect and expand upon our efforts to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in our community. Our Board of Directors has signed the National ADA Proclamation, as well as passing our own proclamation reaffirming our commitment to working towards full ADA compliance. We are also offering a series of events to build awareness of disability and use this important anniversary to create change and opportunity.
The Hidden Story
We're kicking things off with a civic engagement program called The Hidden Story: How the ADA Gave the Largest U.S. Minority Its Rights, on Wednesday, October 7 from 7-8:30 pm. Lennard Davis, author and professor of disability and human development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will give an address marking this momentous occasion for civil rights. Following his remarks, there will be a discussion and reception featuring community members discussing their experiences pre- and post-ADA, as well as a book sale featuring Mr. Davis's extensively researched work entitled Enabling Acts.
The program will look back at what’s been accomplished and also look forward to new avenues of access. It will give the public a chance to hear from people with disabilities about is working, where change is still needed, and what they can do to facilitate that change. Register online to attend this free program or by calling 847-673-7774 or TDD 847-673-8926
Art from the Heart
Be sure to see the Art from the Heart exhibit through the month of October in our west entrance. Art From The Heart Creations is a participant-based business in The Douglas Center of Skokie which enables people living with developmental and physical disabilities to earn income from the sale of their artwork, attain a sense of accomplishment, self-esteem and assistance in achieving greater independence in life. Take a look at the beautiful mosaics, decorative accessories, and jewelry that has been created by local residents. The artwork gives those with disabilities a chance to be noted instead for their abilities, and also serves as a visual promotion for the month’s events.
Canes for a Cause
And to get involved in a more hands-on way, join us for Canes for a Cause on Sunday, October 25, 12:30-2:30 pm. Make a difference by decorating a walking cane that will be donated to a person in need. Arrive early, as supplies are limited. This service project is part of the library's celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and made possible by Canes from Chrissy. Free, drop-in event for all ages.
In addition to these special events, Skokie Public Library is proud to offer a number of ongoing programs which provide opportunities for learning and community inclusion.
Club Wonder: a unique storytime for families of children with special needs taught by a therapy specialist and combining music, art, movement.
Rainbow Therapy Time: enjoy the benefits of interacting with trained therapy dogs.
Friend Squad: a supportive environment for youth ages 11-16 of all abilities to meet new people.
Talking Books: a monthly discussion of fiction and nonfiction works for those with visual impairments. Talking Books cassettes from the Library of Congress are mailed to registrants prior to the discussion. Contact Lee Leibik at 847-972-5651 or *EMAIL* for info.
We strive to make the library a welcoming place for people of all abilities. Our building is ADA-compliant and we offer many free services and devices for persons with disabilities and special needs, including:
- Accessible parking
- Wheelchair accessible entrance/exit
- Accessible bathrooms
- Assistive Listening Devices
- Braille cards
- ASL Interpreter (with 2 weeks request notice)
- Closed Captioning with 2 weeks request notice)
For more information on accessibility, contact Dawn Wlezien at 847-324-3185 or *EMAIL*.
Through these initiatives and all year round, we want people to take away the knowledge that disability is natural; that people with disabilities have rights that have been hard fought for; that there is still work to be done; and that we can make a difference by changing our mindset, becoming an advocate for people we know and love, and offering opportunities to people with disabilities.
Our message to people with disabilities is that the library is a place of lifelong learning and discovery for people of all abilities and that our library community is not complete without their participation. These ADA 25 events help us reach our goal by bringing able-bodied and disabled together for discovery, enrichment, and the exchange of ideas.