During the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, Texas, David Lankes led a two-day conversation on empowering our communities to seek, define, and use our voices for positive transformation. A key point Lankes made during these sessions is the idea that libraries can, and should, play important roles to foster such change. He also offered that transformation of our communities needs transformation of the profession. First, we must ask some questions, converse, and seek understanding of our community’s constituencies.

APALA’s What’s Your Normal? feature series fosters such understanding through professional and personal insight. Within this spirit, I wrote the third essay, “‘Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle.’” Through it, I hoped to bring awareness that disability is not just something that manifests within an individual person’s body and mind. Societal forces and interactions create conditions that define ideas we take for granted: “disability,” “Asian,” “American,” “normal.”   These, in turn, affect us, our institutions, and our libraries’ patrons. Seeking to foster empowerment and transformation in our communities requires us to better understand the concerns and issues our patrons have, regardless of how these are clearly and loudly expressed.


Melissa Cardenas-Dow
APALA Web Content Subcommittee Chair 

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